With only five matches on the card prior to this weekend, the 2020 edition of Hell in a Cell looked a little light even by the standards of gimmick-based pay-per-views. That made it even more crucial for the matches featuring the namesake cell to deliver on Sunday night in Orlando, and for the most part, they did exactly that, bringing with them a wide variety of stiff bumps, the expected big fall and several significant title changes.
Separate debates can be had about whether three Hell in a Cell matches out of six (with one extra bout added during the pre-show) is too many, or whether a I Quit stipulation makes any sense with a champion booked as a ruthless, unstoppable force (hint: it doesn’t). However, by the time Drew McIntyre entered the ThunderDome for his WWE Championship title defense against Randy Orton, there was reason to feel a live crowd would have been pumped to see them collide.
That had to wait a few minutes, as the enmity between the two men led to their fight starting even before the opening bell, with the champ eventually prevailing. Once they both entered the cage and stepped between the ropes, McIntyre warned Orton “now you belong to me” as the cage door was locked and the bell finally rang.
An early RKO attempt was rebuffed by McIntyre, who sent his challenger to the floor with a clothesline. The champ quickly found several ways to make Orton taste the steel, including scraping his face along the cage. Orton kicked out from a near fall but was right back on the defensive as McIntyre picked him up and slammed him into the steel multiple times.
A smile flashed across McIntyre’s face while reminding Orton that he chose this match, and Orton had to hurry to avoid steel steps flying at him. The action moved back inside the ring, where Orton finally found some footing in the match by driving a steel chair into the champ’s leg and pushing down on his jaw. Orton covered but McIntyre kicked out at one.
Undeterred, Orton stomped McIntyre’s jaw on top of the steps, then returned the favor from earlier as he ground Drew’s face across the cage links and hurled him into the steps — not once but twice.
McIntyre fought his way back up from his knees, only to run into a backbreaker that forced him to kick out from another near fall. Orton took some time to gloat about things going his way, but that proved costly as McIntyre fired out of a corner with a clothesline and launched him twice through the air with overhead belly to belly suplexes.
After he couldn’t connect with a Future Shock DDT, McIntyre switched to a neckbreaker, but Orton slithered out of the ring. He charged the champ out on the floor but got caught and thrown backward through a table with yet another overhead belly to belly.
Orton hunted under the ring and came out with a pair of boltcutters, cutting the door open and leaving the cage. It wasn’t long until he climbed to the top of the cell, daring McIntyre to join him — which he eventually obliged. Orton revealed a steel pipe that blended in with the red cage, but it was McIntyre who got the upper hand as they began trading shots.
After a brief exchange, Orton decided to start climbing down the opposite side of the cell, with McIntyre following until they reached some conveniently placed footholds about halfway down. A scrap at that level led to the champion taking the fall down through a table, where he emerged bloodied. It took a bit, but the combatants eventually made their way back to the ring, where Orton tried for an RKO. McIntyre used a backslide to get a near fall, then dug deep for a Claymore. Orton rolled out to the floor, forcing McIntyre to head out to scoop him up.
It appeared McIntyre had the momentum, and he stalked his challenger into the ring to seal the deal. But Orton ducked the incoming Claymore, hit the RKO, and quickly covered to secure the three count. For the 14th time, Orton became a world champion, and all McIntyre could do was lock eyes with the Viper as he exited up the ramp with the gold.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Survivor Series on Nov. 22, 2020.
WWE Hell in a Cell 2020 Main Card Results
Jey Uso (challenger) vs. Roman Reigns (champion) – WWE Universal Championship Hell in a Cell I Quit Match
Even by wrestling standards, this match makes little sense. The way Reigns is being booked right now (which is just fine), there’s really no way he would ever verbally quit. Seriously, what would Jey have to do to get him to that point? What is logical is putting this on first, so the virtual fans can boo and this storyline can proceed. Even a good offensive sequence or two for Jey would be nice for him, and he does get that, at least. After Reigns connects on a spear, the announcers are already assuming it’s over for Uso. A second spear has the ref checking to see if Jey would like to quit. The positions are reversed a little bit later after two frog splashed, but as Roman puts it, “the head of the table never quits.” Uso whips him multiple times with a leather strap, but that just angers the apparently indestructible Reigns until he hits a third spear. Uso gets whipped in return, but survives and uses it to choke out the champ. Neither that nor Reigns using the guillotine choke are enough to get someone to say those two magic words. Ominously, the champ threatens to take things to “the next level,” then does his jumping kick on the outside to smash the stairs into Uso’s head. The ref wants to stop the match, but Reigns is not having it, throwing him out of the ring. After scaring off numerous refs and officials, Reigns threatens to slam the steel steps into an unconscious Jey’s chest. Jimmy Uso slides into the ring, giving us … the exact same ending we got to their last match? Jimmy calls his brother “Josh,” and you know it’s serious when they are using real names. Or something. Reigns pretends that Jimmy’s pleas are getting to him, then locks him in a guillotine. Corey Graves reminds us Jimmy just had knee surgery, but that choke isn’t affecting his knee, sir. Anyway, a tortured Jey can’t bear to see his brother in agony, so he finally says “I quit.” This is the best booking Reigns has ever had, but this match was pretty dumb. Reigns is officially given the tribal bead, which were apparently vacant prior to this bout.
Winner … and still WWE Universal Champion … Roman Reigns
Elias vs. Jeff Hardy
In case you’ve forgotten what the beef between these two is, Elias believes Hardy is the one who hit him with a car all the way back in late May. His pre-match song takes several shots at Hardy’s battles with sobriety, which would be uncalled for if they didn’t fit with Elias’ shtick. Just when it appears Hardy has the upper hand, Elias leaves the ring to attempt a guitar shot, but Hardy swipes the instrument and lands one of his own. That’s against the rules, even at a pay-per-view that celebrates a match type with no rules.
Winner: Elias by disqualification
A video recap replays the Law & Otis segment from Smackdown that explains why Otis’ briefcase is up for grabs, while omitting a crucial detail: JBL took a bribe to rule in favor of The Miz. Back in the ThunderDome, Otis gives an unusually wordy interview and lets everyone know how he feels about The Miz, namely angry.
The Miz (w/ John Morrison) vs. Otis (w/ Tucker) – Otis’ Money in the Bank contract at stake
A cleanly shaven Morrison threatens to use the briefcase on Otis, getting himself ejected from ringside in the process. That would seem to clear the path for Otis to win, but Tucker smashes his friend in the head with the briefcase instead. It does not appear Miz is in on the turn, but happily accepts the gift-wrapped pinfall and the contract he gets for the victory. Tucker vs. Otis might be a hot feud … except that the former Heavy Machinery partners are on different shows. Common sense is taking a beating tonight.
Winner … and new Money in the Bank contract holder: The Miz by pinfall
A jubilant Miz puts the champions on notice in a backstage interview, reminding everyone that he has successfully cashed in the briefcase for championships before. He goes to thank Tucker, who replies that he did not betray Otis for anyone but himself. After all, he was the workhorse of Heavy Machinery, and without him, Otis couldn’t even tie his own shoes. An enraged Otis runs over Miz and Morrison, then scraps with Tucker into the bowels of the arena.
Sasha Banks (challenger) vs. Bayley (champion) – WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Hell in a Cell Match
Bayley’s title defense doesn’t get off to a strong start, as she loses the chair she’s been carrying around before the cell descends, then has to fight off an early Bank Statement. She brings a kendo stick into play but sees that thrown through the cage to the outside. It’s not that Banks has any issue with weapons, however, as the ring quickly fills up with chairs and a second kendo stick. It’s on the outside that she takes the stiffest bump so far, flying face first into a kendo stick and the steel steps.
Not to be outdone, Bayley is on the receiving end of a sunset flip powerbomb into the cell, but she returns the favor in the ring, using the same move to whip Sasha’s head into a chair set up in one corner. Bayley screams in frustration after dropping an elbow off the top turnbuckle but having Banks kick out at two.
As the game of one-upsmanship continues, Banks uses a fire extinguisher to blind the champ, screaming at the champ as she rains down shots in the corner of the cage. But Bayley sets Banks on a ladder and gets ready to drop a flying chair shot on her. It fails when Sasha rolls away, but Bayley is able to kick out after the challenger hits her with a Bayley to Belly on the ladder.
What will it take to win this one? As it turns out, the Bank Statement, applied while Banks simultaneously stomps Bayley’s arm with a chair. Bayley taps out, giving Banks this particular title for the first time.
Winner … and new WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship … Sasha Banks
It’s decision time for the Hurt Business. Instead of just accepting the challenge from Retribution (made by Mustafa Ali on the pre-show), MVP announces that Bobby Lashley will face any member of the group one on one, and is willing to put his United States Championship on the line. Lashley heads for the ring to find out who will face him.
Bobby Lashley (champion) vs. Slapjack (challenger) – WWE United States Championship Match
For all of you who ever wanted a guy named Slapjack to wrestle a title match while wearing an old style hockey mask, congrats, you got your wish. Alas, Lashley makes him tap out to the Hurt Lock after a fairly quick encounter.
Winner … and still WWE United States Champion: Bobby Lashley by submission
Immediately after the bell, the rest of Retribution floods the ring. Ali tells his troops to finish Lashley, but he fights his way out of trouble on his own, and the remainder of Hurt Business soon joins him. All Ali can do is scurry to safety as Retribution licks its wounds on the outside. I have to say, not very impressive for a group that is supposed to be wreaking havoc on the promotion.
Randy Orton (challenger) vs. Drew McIntyre (champion) – WWE Championship Hell in a Cell Match
Winner … and new WWE Champion … Randy Orton by pinfall
Total Event Rating: 7/10
WWE Hell in a Cell 2020 - October 25, 2020
WWE ThunderDome at Amway Center, Orlando, FL
Sometimes all it takes to be entertained during a WWE pay-per-view is for the talent to work their butts off and have the writing stay out of the way. That’s what this edition of Hell in a Cell did well, so even when the logic was fuzzy, as in the opener, it didn’t ruin the evening. The Hell in a Cell matches themselves are getting a little overexposed, which is the hazard of having them multiple times a year, but they have enough juice to show they don’t need to be put on pause just yet.