As Universal Champion Seth Rollins stepped into the Hell in a Cell structure, the question being asked was whether he could withstand “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt’s fight for the title. Halfway through the match, the conversation changed to whether the title had anything to do with what The Fiend wanted. We have title matches and title changes to bring you in this recap of Hell in a Cell!
We are LIVE from Sacramento, CA, and our second cage match of the night is the main event for The Universal Championship. There is heavy anticipation of what Bray Wyatt will bring to this match. Having been in attendance at SummerSlam, I can tell you that his entrance and performance had a tremendous effect on the crowd in Toronto. We’ll see if he can match it tonight.
Wyatt apparently took some time to read the lighting clauses in Sin Cara’s old contract with WWE, because the entire match is contested in a sea of red light. Looks awesome, but I wonder how it looks live?
Vic Joseph, Dio Maddin, and Jerry Lawler bring us the commentary for the Raw matches.
In a match very reminiscent of Shawn Michaels against Mankind at In Your House: Mind Games, The Fiend starts off strong, hitting Rollins with a cross body and sending him scurrying to the outside. Rollins grabs a kendo stick and lays some beats on the challenger to no effect, and Wyatt handily grabs Rollins off a top rope attack into a ura-nagi. Wyatt takes time with Rollins on the floor to wave to the fans and, I don’t know, rub his back against the cage like he’s a cat.
Wyatt’s finally knocked down as Rollins attacks with the steps, hitting him with two suicide dives to pin Wyatt against the side of the cage. He attempts another dive through the ropes, but Rollins catches him and delivers a Sister Abigail into the side of the cage.
Rollins quite literally turns the tables by bringing Wyatt into the ring and laying him on a table, delivering a body splash off the top rope. Wyatt rises slowly, looking no worse for wear. Rollins hits a curb stomp, and The Fiend simply rises afterwards. Wyatt hits a strong Sister Abigail but Rollins kicks out.
After Wyatt twists Rollins’ neck (a move that, I just have to say, just looks like a murder in an action movie), Wyatt finds his big sledgehammer under the ring and gets in a shot, but Rollins hits another curb stomp landing Wyatt onto the hammer. Back in the ring, Rollins hits two springboard knees to the head, two superkicks, and a third and fourth and fifth curb stomp. The Fiend slowly rises to cheers! A sixth stomp for only one count then gets great cheers.
Superkick. Seventh and eighth curb stomp. Ninth. Tenth. Eleventh. Now there are boos from the crowd, just like what happens to me in the video games when I repeat a move over and over again. Rollins gets a chair and hits Wyatt straight in the face. I mean solidly. Wyatt kicks out at one.
Rollins lays a chair on top of The Fiend’s head and grabs the ladder; he drives the ladder down into the chair (and into Wyatt) and gets a two-count. Rollins goes under the ring shopping again and pulls out a toolbox. He lays the ladder over The Fiend’s upper body, and the chair between the ladder, then rams the toolbox multiple times into the ladder.
He goes under the ring again for a sledgehammer but the ref stops him, convincing him that The Fiend has had enough. Rollins relents … momentarily, then hammers down on top of the heaping mass of metal laying on The Fiend.
Inexplicably, the ref calls for the bell in this No-DQ match. The cage rises as the boos rain down, and EMTs arrives to take care of Wyatt. As they attend to him, Rollins gets in his face again. The Fiend suddenly rises with a Mandible Claw on Rollins, showing no effects from all of the attacks and dragging Rollins to the floor for another Sister Abigail.
The crowd chants “restart the match” as Wyatt pulls the padding off of the floor for a third Abigail onto the concrete. Another Mandible Claw locks in, this time sending blood spewing from Rollins’ mouth as Wyatt’s music hits and even more boos signal the end of the PPV.
Match Result: No Contest (Seth Rollins is STILL Universal Champion)
I don’t blame those in attendance for booing a non-ending, but this storytelling was perfect. Wyatt was dominantly impervious to attack without needing the title here. Rollins keeps his belt but suffers a psychological loss. My friend watching the show may have nailed it by observing that this is what Wyatt meant by “Let him in”, as The Fiend now has a permanent place in the head of the champ.
Hell in a Cell Results
PRE-SHOW: Lacey Evans VS. Natalya
There are reversals upon reversals in this tight contest. Natalya ends up on the wrong end of a stair-accentuated stomp before Lacey smothers her face in the apron and wrenches her head around, then delivering a strong slingshot elbow from the apron.
Lacey methodically starts a sharpshooter, but a slap to the face breaks it up. Lacey is on point tonight. She leaps from the second rope to the top for a moonsault, but Natalya dodges and puts on the Sharpshooter for the win.
Winner via submission: Natalya
Match Rating: 6/10
That’s a classic win by losing for Evans tonight, as Natalya effectively executed only one move tonight — it just happened to be a finishing move. Natalya celebrates and waits for Lacey to stand, then delivers a Canadian woman’s right. Is this all payback for Edmonton?
Sarah Schreiber is interviewing Ali who is frustrated at his stunted momentum, but in walks Randy Orton, fresh from his n-word on Twitch controversy. So, is he going to be punished or suspended? Will he receive the Hulk Hogan treatment?
Nope. He gets a match on the very next show. It’s him against Ali later tonight.
Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch (C) for the Raw Women’s Championship
It’s a tradition with multiple matches of the same type on the card to open the show with one and close with the other, and so it’s up to Banks and Lynch to kick things off.
Banks attacks Lynch before the cell is fully lowered, taking the fight to the outside momentarily before order is restored. Lynch grabs the chain from the ref before he manages to figure out how to lock the door, and she uses it for a few punches to Banks’ gut before going back to tie it up and really start this match.
As they trade outside attacks, Lynch goes under the ring and pulls out a table, ladder, and chair. Lynch hits a Becksploder sending Banks to the floor, then follows with baseball slide kicks that send Banks careening into the cage.
Banks fires back on another level of cruelty by placing Lynch’s arm into the door, opening and closing the door repeatedly on it, then trapping it in a chair in the ring before stomping on it. Lynch takes control again, though, with another Becksploder into the cage. In a terribly risky move, Lynch lays a chair on the mat, legs in the air, then drops Banks face first into it twice. Seriously, a few inches off and that’s a life-changing injury for Banks.
Banks repays her with a kendo stick attack. She then braces two kendo sticks in the cage corner, trying to run Lynch into them only to have the move reversed on her. Lynch balances a chair on the kendo sticks, adds more sticks, and then plants Banks on the chair — are you picturing this? — and runs off the apron delivering a drop kick to the perched Banks. The crowd chants tables and Lynch nods in agreement with them, placing one near a corner. Banks backstabs Lynch, then sets her up on the table for a driving knee attack off the top rope and through the table. “This is awesome” is certainly an overused chant, but this is awesome.
Banks figures enough of this and applies a Bank Statement with a stick for leverage, but Lynch wiggles out and waylays her with the stick instead. Banks tosses an irresponsible number of chairs into the ring, but never gets to use them as Lynch lands a Super-Becksploder off the ropes into all those chairs, then applies the Disarm-Her for the win.
Winner via submission and STILL Raw Women’s Champion: Becky Lynch
Match Rating: 9/10
Michael Cole and Corey Graves bring us the SmackDown commentary.
Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns VS. Erick Rowan & Luke Harper (Tornado Tag Team Match)
With Daniel Bryan turning face, is it cool to care about the planet again?
As Vince McMahon would say, there’s a lot of beef in the ring right now. If I were Bryan, I would be staying as far from the fight as I could. Bryan’s not me, though, and so he launches a missile dropkick on Rowan before flying on a suicide dive to Harper on the outside. Not long after, with Bryan out of the fight for a few, Reigns puts up a valiant fight, setting up a spear on Rowan before Harper interrupts it with a superkick, leaving the former Bludgeon Brothers to pound on Bryan.
Harper throws Bryan in to Rowan’s waiting arms, who scoops him for a powerslam and a two count. As Harper hits a Michinoku Driver for another pinning attempt, Reigns returns to break it up. Reigns gets on a roll, knocking out Rowan with a Drive-By, but Harper follows immediately with a suicide dive that knocks down Reigns but also sends his own forehead into the announcers’ table.
Rowan and Harper take the covers off all three tables (sending announcer Marcelo Rodriguez diving over the barricade for safety). Rowan grabs a piece of the barricade and, as Harper holds Reigns, runs it into Roman and sends him over the wall.
Harper and Rowan grab Bryan on the middle table, setting up for a Shield Bomb, but Bryan uses a hurricanrana to send Harper flying before Reigns re-emerges to spear Rowan through the German table. That great teamwork leads to another terrific tandem attack inside the ring as Bryan escapes a suplex, letting Reigns hits a Superman Punch, followed by Bryan’s running knee to the face, and finished by Reigns’ spear on Harper for the win.
Winners via pinfall: Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, and the Planet Earth.
Match Rating: 7/10
Afterwards, Bryan refuses a handshake (to boos), but he offers to hug it out instead. Reigns has second thoughts (to more boos), but eventually they embrace in peace and friendship.
Randy Orton VS. Ali
Fresh off a feud with Kofi Kingston, based on the idea that Orton was using his political pull to hold the emerging Kingston down, Orton takes on Ali to presumably the same end.
Orton tosses Ali off the top rope to the floor, following him to send Ali flying on his front then his back onto the announce table. He then runs Ali chest first into the ringpost as Ali almost spins around on the metal.
Back in the ring, Ali suffers through a chinlock before breaking out, escaping a pop-up attack by Orton with a dropkick to Orton’s legs. He then dives through the ropes to attack Orton and sending him sprawling over the announcers’ table.
As Ali picks up steam, Orton catches him with a scoop slam. Ali won’t stop, though, getting on the top rope to deliver a 450 splash, but Orton slinks away leaving Ali to pancake himself on the mat. Not long afterwards, Orton sets up his fist-pounding announcement of the RKO, but in mid-RKO Ali slips out into a handstand. I hope I’m describing that in worthy fashion, because it was very cool. However, Ali tries a rolling attack immediately after and is caught in an RKO for real. Orton very leisurely pins him for the winner.
Winner via pinfall and serial suppression: Randy Orton
Match Rating: 6/10 (but 5 of that is for Ali’s RKO-escape)
Graves and Cole recount the pre-show match and announce that Raw will feature a last-woman standing match between Natalya and Evans tomorrow night.
The Kabuki Warriors (Kairi Sane & Asuka) VS. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (C) for the Women’s Tag Team Championship
Sane opens with the offer of a very formal handshake, which Cross accepts, but Sane uses it to throw her behind and knock Bliss off the apron. A quick turnaround has Bliss and Cross employing great double-teaming on Sane, but as the fight spills to the floor, Asuka joins the fray and turns the tide. Back in the ring, Asuka sends her butt flying into Bliss in the corner, then cinches in an ankle lock in the middle of the ring, transitioning to a half-crab.
The crowd chants for Nikki, so Sane stomps over and pokes her in the eyes. That shuts them up. Cross gets in soon, though, but after a flurry of offense she’s taken down by Sane and set up for the Insane Elbow. Cross gets her knees up, disabling Sane and forcing a tag to Asuka.
Cross levels her with a clothesline while Bliss battles Sane on the floor. After Cross returns from checking on her partner, Asuka spews green mist into her face and follows with a kick to the head to land the win for the team.
Winners via pinfall and NEW Women’s Tag Team Champions: The Kabuki Warriors Match Rating: 7/10
The O.C. (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, & Karl Anderson ) VS. The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) & Braun Strowman
The O.C. are seemingly taken aback by the surprise inclusion of Strowman. Things get more shocking as Gallows attempts to run Ivar into the corner but the big Viking rolls upward and over the ropes to the apron to evade the impact. He brings in Erik who falls victim to unscrupulous attacks from the outside by Styles.
Erik is worked over in turn by all three of the O.C., highlighted by a spinebuster by Anderson. Actually, no, the highlight is the backdrop that Erik employs on Styles, sending him to an impressive height. Strowman gets in the ring, and with a shoulder tackle, headbutt, and more running shoulder tackles, everybody got everything but his hands.
A big mess ensues with everyone taking their turns delivering punishing moves, until it ends with a sudden call for the bell with a call for disqualification.
Winners via disqualification: The Viking Raiders & Braun Strowman.
Match Rating: 4/10 (Each team gets two points for showing up)
The crowd boos, and rightly so, as these kinds of six-man skirmishes are to be expected in a match like this. The fight continues for a few minutes after the bell anyway, until Strowman gets to deliver a knock-out punch on Styles, which is noted as a message for Tyson Fury.
I see. So, five other wrestlers took part in a match that was a promo for Strowman versus Fury.
The Street Profits are backstage, looking forward to the draft. In comes R-Truth and Carmella bumping into the Profits before Tamina comes along after them, pinning Carmella to win the 24/7 Championship. Tyler Breeze puts in a cameo, but Tamina knocks him silly before taking off with the belt.
King Baron Corbin VS. Chad Gable
However long it’s been, it still hasn’t been enough time for me to get used to babyface Chad Gable with the short hair and clean-shaven face. Corbin tries to rile the crowd up, but gets a lukewarm reaction at best. The crowd needs a rest for sure.
Gable attacks right off the bell, but Corbin is able to easily toss, dispatch, and strike Gable away seemingly at his will. A hard clothesline garners an “off with his head” comment from Graves. Gable gets some life with a dropkick off the top rope, and one to the lower legs, but the sounds of his strikes are sprinkled in against a few “this is boring” calls. A very impressive roll into a dead lift German suplex by Gable gets a two count.
Gable follows with an attack from the outside, ramming Corbin’s leg into the ring post, but Corbin follows with Deep-Six. Gable won’t go away, though, battling back to land a moonsault and getting an ankle lock on Corbin, which the lanky Corbin manages to escape. The king tries to bring his sceptre into the ring but the ref grabs it in mid-swing, allowing Gable to roll him up from behind for the win.
Winner via pinfall: Chad Gable
Match Rating: 6/10
A better than “boring” match. Oh, by the way, King Corbin laid down a decree that Chad now be known as Shorty Gable. He’s even announced as Shorty Gable for the win. I won’t be calling him that.
Charlotte Flair VS. Bayley (C) for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
Before Flair tries for her tenth championship, R-Truth wins his twentieth by chasing down Tamina by the international commentators and landing a pinfall.
Flair is oozing confidence from the outset, just missing a driving foot to the head at the bell, but Bayley dodges her attacks until she manages to focus a string of attacks on the lower left leg of the challenger. She runs the leg into the ring, wraps it around the bottom rope, and drives it into the ringpost — a sequence culminating in a half-Boston crab.
Charlotte claws her way back in, paying back a lot of the attack to Bayley’s leg. Charlotte misses a moonsault (she does that a lot) and Bayley tries to take advantage with a roll-up near the ropes. She also tries using the ropes themselves for some support, but the ref catches it and calls off the pin. Flair gains the advantage and drags Bayley to the middle of the ring for the Figure Eight and the win.
Winner via submission and NEW SmackDown Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair
Match Rating: 6/10
There simply wasn’t a lot of drama in this win for Charlotte. For such a momentous number of titles, this felt perilously run-of-the-mill. Even her expression afterwards was one of entitlement. I get that she’s The Queen, but there wasn’t enough emotion in this match.
Gable is backstage and says he doesn’t mind being called Shorty, as long as he’s called the winner. That good feeling lasts for about five seconds before Corbin attacks him and leaves him splayed out in a stairwell.
”The Fiend” Bray Wyatt VS. Seth Rollins (C) for the Universal Championship.
Match Rating: 8/10
Hell in a Cell 2019
Not your typical storytelling in the main even, but one that suits the character for The Fiend. I’d like to take this moment to give appreciation to the championship run of Kofi Kingston. His clean win over Randy Orton is far more significant than his dismissive usage in the set-up of a Lesnar/Velasquez storyline. Put some extra syrup on those pancakes, Kofi.