I have one very prominent thought that is impacting much of my watching tonight: I swear to god I thought the Seahawks’ game was supposed to be at 4pm EST! But nope, they moved the game to Sunday Night Football, opposite what will be at least the second half of Hell In A Cell. Can I further erode my entertainment-adled mind by watching this show, watching the Seahawks, AND writing this article? We shall see. But if I give a fantastic match crummy thoughts because it coincided with a Cardinal’s touchdown, that is just to be expected.
Before the show went on air, we got word from Mustafa Ali that Retribution is issuing an open challenge to The Hurt Business: one member of each side, one-on-one. This will be the pay-per-view debut of Retribution (assuming MVP takes the challenge)! That took… a while.
I still love Retribution, I don’t care what anyone says. Their story is so weird. “We want to bring this corrupt company to the ground! And to do that, we will engage in a minor feud with these other heels, live only on the WWE Network. THAT WILL TEACH YOU, VINCE! Also, we used to care about Otis’ love life”.
I hope we get Mia Yim vs Shelton.
MATCH 1: Jey Uso vs Roman Reigns
These two had an extended, story-driven, squash match at Clash of the Champions, and the angle between these family members has been unimpeachable. Jey and Roman are pushing the best out of each other, and I love it. It resulted in this, the first ever Hell In A Cell I Quit match. Someone has been playing with creating match stipulations on WWE 2K!
And then–AND THEN–midway through the match they added a spontaneous strap match aspect! Love it. I started hoping they would bring out an I Quit Briefcase and some ladders for one of them to climb to get it. Just make an Everything Match, like they do with bagels; why not? Hell In A Cell I Quit Counts Anywhere On A Pole match.
I imagine this match will generally be divisive, but I could be wrong. It was methodical beyond almost any match I’ve seen in quite some time, and while the ending was predictable, it wasn’t pulled off amazingly well (Jey wasn’t trapped or incapacitated, so why would he quit instead of just attacking Roman to save Jimmy?). And honestly? This whole “I’m The Tribal ChiefTM!” feels like such dumb WWE branding in an otherwise realistic dynamic.
But aside from all that, this was glorious story-telling and character work, and Roman and Jey continue to make magic in this storyline. It felt less like a match and more like a late October horror story coming to life before my eyes. I was 100% absorbed from the opening bell, and… what more can a match be asked to do? I was a big fan.
MATCH 2: Elias vs Jeff Hardy
Real talk? I was hoping this match would have been during the Seattle game. Ah well.
This was the basic Generic Raw Match Template, complete with the unfulfilling disqualification ending. I can’t really fault that, though, because this is a feud that just started and is based on goings-on from months ago. WWE doesn’t do much in the way of one-off matches. Still, this went on longer than it needed to, and probably should have been on the Pre-Show for the result it had.
MATCH 3: The Miz vs Otis
We start this off with a recap of the “Law & Otis” segment from this past week wherein JBL determined this match would happen, and real talk? “Law and Otis” makes me chuckle. I’m an easy mark. The recaps don’t show the bribe, however; it just shows JBL ruling in favor of The Miz. I missed Smackdown this past week, so I would liked to have seen the bribe.
Love or hate this storyline, everyone involved is exceptionally talented, and I’ve really enjoyed it for weeks now. I noted in my Raw Season Premiere thoughts that Miz delivered a dynamite promo at Otis, in particular. This match had some great fire, too, with Otis in particular starting really hot and not just beginning with tepid lock-ups. It felt as important as the stars involved had been trying to make it.
I’m actually disappointed that Otis lost here. It felt like Otis having the briefcase was new and had a few different options where to go. I know a LOT of people think Otis shouldn’t have had the contract, but it was working for me. The match was entertaining, though.
Will The Miz cash in by the end of the night? It seems likely…
All four men are involved in a backstage bit post-match, with Morrison being both a blast as always, but still just Miz’ henchman. That gives me mixed feelings. Then we get the Tucker turn rationale, and… coincidental or not, it seems wildly reminiscent of Sonya turning on Mandy. It’s… something.
Oh no, I missed the first three minutes of the Seahawks game. BUT! the first play after I turn it on is the touchdown to Tyler Lockett that puts Seattle up 7-0. Keep it up, Hawks; I don’t want to miss much of the upcoming Banks/Bayley encounter.
MATCH 4: Sasha Bank vs Bayley
It really doesn’t feel like it’s been FIVE YEARS since these two tore up NXT over the women’s title and had a lot of peoples’ 2015 Match Of The Year at NXT Takeover Brooklyn. But this story… this match… has been building for years. I mean, hell, this technically goes back to before even 2018’s Royal Rumble where Sasha eliminated Bayley while they were friends. Who would have guessed back then that we wouldn’t get a proper live event special match between these two until October 2020?
On the one hand… Banks going 0-3 inside Hell in a Cell against all of the other Horsewomen feels like it makes her look really bad. On the other… Banks winning the belt right away might feel rushed given what I said about how long these seeds have been sprouting.
My favorite game to play during most Sasha Banks matches is losing count of how many times I say “Oh, Sasha! Please don’t die”. I’m convinced this woman is not made out of bones and organs. Her insides are just rubber bands and Superballs and hope.
Sasha FINALLY wins a Hell In A Cell match with a chair-assisted Banks Statement, and yeah… these two have some of the best chemistry on the planet. This match was epic and well worth a two-year-plus story arc. When I’m clapping to myself from the privacy of my couch… that’s a damn good match.
So, wow, take out the Elias/Jeff nothing match, and this has been a stand-out Pay-Per-View.
Seahawks are up 10-7. Because the officials unjustly overturned a touchdown pass!
(Narrator: It was very just)
The Hurt Business announce backstage that Bobby Lashley is going to face Slapjack from Retribution… and it will be a United States Championship match.
If Slapjacks wins the U.S. title, I will give this my Show Of The Year for 2020.
MATCH 5: Bobby Lashley vs Slap-hahaha…. sorry. Slapjack. Sigh. “Slapjack”.
Do it, Slapjack! I’m in your corner! Headbutt him with whatever your mask is made out of!
Slapjack, unfortunately, does not do it. This is the former Shane Thorne, though, right? He has some great athleticism.
Lashley pretty easily dismantles Slappy, and then fights off Dio Madden and Dominick Dijakovic when they attempt to jump him. I still have faith, man; this is going SOMEWHERE. It just has to be. It’s too intentionally demeaning and ridiculous to not have a destination in mind.
MATCH 6: Randy Orton vs Drew McIntyre
Is it main event time already? Man, this show has breezed by.
I’m not particularly excited for this; this feud feels played out already. These two have had good affairs together, but it’s been going on too long at this point. I think the general Randy Orton malaise is kicking in. I’ve been as complimentary of 2020 Orton as anyone else, but I don’t see what these two still have to do between them?
I think I’m getting more and more worried that they are actually going to put the title on Randy. No one needs that. I don’t want the fabled Edge/Orton WrestleMania main event.
Orton does win, however, and I can’t help but be really deflated by that ending. McIntyre’s run had been a high point of WWE this year, and to lose it because he dropped one match out of three? Feels cheap. I’d have been much happier if Drew had fought off Randy and fell to a Miz cash-in. The match itself was fine. I mean, it was better than fine. It was a good wrestling contest. I didn’t think it was as emotionally potent as Roman/Jey; nor was it as impressive as Banks/Bayley. But it was solid enough.
Well great. Now the show is over AND the Seahawks are at halftime (leading 27-17!). Time to proofread this article, I guess.
On the whole, Hell In A Cell 2020 was a really enjoyable. If the ending of the show hadn’t knocked the wind out of my sails, I’d be much higher on the show, but I was engaged throughout.
And yeah… Randy Orton is champion again. Where do we go now? Do you think he REALLY holds the belt until WrestleMania and a showdown with Edge? Or is this just a red herring, and Drew will regain the title before then? Maybe Orton will defend the title at WrestleMania against Royal Rumble winner Keith Lee?
What do you think happens next? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time… take care!