I mean… I INTEND on reviewing Hell In A Cell. I guess we will see how that works out since…
Come on, Peacock! I am relying on you to give me an improv day so I don’t have to stick to the rigid schedule I laid out for myself and then immediately regretted! Impulsive replacement review articles are my saving grace.
(Because it’s easier to write an entirely new article than to… write an entirely new article?)
My wife and I have a fun game we play on pay-per-view nights. It goes something like this…
Me: Hey, do you want to watch wrestling with me?
Her: No, I hate wrestling.
And usually that turns into several back-and-forths throughout the day as I try to convince her to watch wrestling with me because I enjoy her snide comments on what is going on. Rarely–but sometimes!–I can get her to acquiesce if she is particularly bored or lonely, or I’m really pushing the show as a good one I’m excited for. Tonight, however went as follows:
Me: Hey, do you want to watch wrestling with me?
Her: No, I hate wrestling.
Me: That’s probably a good call. It’s not going to be very good.
Her: …that was easier than usual.
ALTHOUGH… boy do I kind of want to see her reaction to the Alexa Bliss vs Shayna Baszler feud. Maybe I’ll retract my ease of surrender.
But yeah… I’m not particularly jacked for this show. As someone whose BASE level of excitement for WWE pay-per-views usually floats around a 6/10, I can admit nothing about this show is really pushing the needle much higher than that. I know the matches will be good–WWE does match quality on Expert Mode these days–but the angles coming in are lackluster. Am I… am I really MOST excited about the Lilly doll match? That is disheartening!
OH HEY! I guess Peacock has dug up some CDNs to cycle because the Pre-Show is finally on. Let’s hope it stays up; I really don’t want to have to write a different article for tonight.
And, you know. I want to know how the doll match turns out.
MATCH 1: Smackdown Women’s Title Match
Bianca Belair continues feuding with Bayley as her first challenger post-Wrestlemania because I just looked over the Smackdown women’s division and OF COURSE SHE IS. I mean… is this feud ever going to be allowed to end? Who would Bianca even fight next?
(insert my desire for Mia Yim to finally debut here)
Hell, weren’t these two feuding even before Bianca went after Sasha’s title? That’s the rub with this show: there’s only one match we haven’t seen before. Several times!
That complaint aside, this was definitively their best match yet. It started somewhat slow and feelie-outtie, but it got downright brutal as the match went on. The story of much of the match was Bianca’s hair getting tied to things, which I hope doesn’t become a whole thing. It could get old fast. It got old here!
Was this as good as the Sasha/Bayley HiaC match from 2020? No, but that was my #3 match of that year, so… no shame there.
Man, there has been no better way to get Bianca over than to let her go all out in high-profile matches with Sasha and Bayley. Smart booking over on Smackdown. Now they just need to get more women.
MATCH 2: Cesaro vs Seth Rollins
Remember when we thought the main event of this show was going to be Roman Vs Seth Vs Cesaro? Good times, that.
I just made myself sad wishing we had gotten that contest instead of Roman/Rey on Smackdown. Now I have to compose myself.
I re-emphasize: the wrestling is so damn good these days. There is absolutely nothing to complain about here as a MATCH; both of these guys are gloriously talented, and they have wonderful chemistry between them. This affair was back-and-forth and hard hitting and unpredictable.
But then you get into WWE’s storytelling, and, man… what was this match for? Seth is already a bulletproof main eventer; Cesaro dropping this–even flukily–just symbolically plunges him back to the midcard, right?
We will see what the coming weeks have for these men, though. Even if all that is is just more matches that are this good. I can live with that. I suppose.
MATCH 3: Shayna Baszler vs Alexa Bliss
Hey, the story with the weird and bizarre storyline! Huzzah!
But it’s about an evil doll.
But it’s a fresh match-up we haven’t seen before!
But the two matches we’ve had that have been rematches so far were both very good.
Wait, why does this feel familiar?
The show after making a Dawn of the Dead reference, Corey Graves made a Supernatural reference here, and I’m going to write him a letter asking him to be my new best friend.
As expected, this was just an exhibition to continue showing off Bliss’ powers and effortlessly put her over. She full on possesses/mind controls people mid-match now, though. So that’s a thing that needed to happen.
Does anyone else think it’s weird that the full-on maniacal and demonic Alexa Bliss still uses Twisted Bliss as a finisher? The NAME really fits her character, but I’m not sure the move does. “I’m pure evil and powered by nefarious forces! Now watch mm pretty flippy dive! Weeee!”
MATCH 4: Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens
Me: I don’t know. Are we past the point of diminishing returns? Do I really want to watch Sami vs KO yet again?
Sami and KO: Hold our LaBatt’s.
Maybe the lowered expectations helped out tremendously, but this match was fantastic. These guys just GET storytelling and selling, and I for one bought everything they were offering here. The endless stream of vitriol they can summon for each other is fantastic, and when they have moments where both are on the mat, worn out, and still throwing clubs at each other… man, that’s good stuff.
So okay, OKAY. I apologize to Sami and KO for not having any personal heat for this match. You guys are the definition of “Fight Forever, clap clap clap-clap-clap”. Everyone else’s opinions may vary, but I really enjoyed this a great damn deal.
Three out of four matches have been swell. Good effort, Hell In A Cell!
MATCH 5: Raw Women’s Title Match
Another good match. Not a great ending! But another good match. The feud will return at WWE Money In The Bank.
Unless they use MITB to give Charlotte the briefcase.
Oh… oh no. What have I put out there in the universe?
There’s surprisingly little to say here. Like I said… it was a good match that served just as a stepping stone to the rest of the feud. It was potent and really showed these talents working well together. And while I’m more kind to PPV disqualification endings than others are sometimes, they do leave me without much to comment on!
MATCH 6: WWE Title Match
Headline: Nearly 45 Year Old Man STILL WWE Champion; Elsewhere On Raw, Cedric Alexander Is A Heel Jobber For Saying Young Talent Deserves A Chance.
That’s… a very long headline. But it’s nowhere near as long as this title reign feels.
I can not believe this match–this HELL IN A CELL match–ended with a distraction roll-up. I hate this feud. I hate this title reign. I hate this finish. I hate this result. Just… Flames… on the side of my face.
Nothing good here. I feel like I’m letting down the people; in the comments, I am usually praised for my relative positivity on the WWE product compared to others. I know things are in the doldrums, but I still watch because it does genuinely still entertain me. I don’t keep up with things when I no longer enjoy them. And somehow, against all odds, I do still enjoy WWE.
But man… this title reign is KILLING ME. At least this particular feud is over, though I have no idea who gets next for Bobby. Just… someone to get the title off of him. Anyone. Please?
Keith Lee? A returning Keith Lee? I sure hope it’s a returning Keith Lee.
See? The positivity returns!
But it will probably Lilly.
No wait… actually, I’m here for Lilly vs Lashley. I take back my implied pessimism.
Overall, Hell In A Cell 2021 was a really mixed bag. Before the main event, I’d have said it was a damn fine show, one I was really enjoying, even if one match was a goof-fest, and two others were bangers with insolent endings that helped no one.
Then the main event happened, and the pit of despair opened up.
Ah well! As always, we’ll see where WWE goes from here, and we’ll do it together! Keep the faith, guys.
Until next time… take care!