Tonight we dine in Hell – Hell in a Cell 2016 Recap


In the second Raw only PPV of the new era, we get not one, not two, but THREE STEEL CAGES, and one not only featured two of the top stars in women’s wrestling, but they also main evented a WWE PPV.  Honestly, growing up in the Diva/Attitude/Puppies era, I never really thought I’d see the day.  I’d also like to point out that I hit 1.000 on my predictions for this show.

The Hell in a Cell Kickoff Show presented by Jacked Colonel Sanders.


Kickoff Show Match:

HIAC Kickoff match

Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado, and Sin Cara Vs. Tony Nese, Drew Gulak, and Ariya Daivari

This match was exactly as you expected it to be.  Lots of truly great action from some really talented guys.  Cedric picked up the pinfall for the good guys.  He needs the nudge a little bit.


Hell in a Cell 2016


Roman Reigns vs Rusev for the United States Championship

I won’t even lie, the build to this has been quite good and given that they main evented like 9 straight episodes of Raw, I did not expect this to be the kickoff match of the main show, but it definitely set the bar high for the rest of the evening.  Last year at HIAC, I was even willing to concede that Roman-Wyatt was my match of the night.  I loved it.  Roman thrives in this environment, when they give him the big stage but don’t put the biggest prize out there, people aren’t relentlessly booing him and he can actually do what he does, and that’s kick ass.  I thought he broke his own back with a Samoan Drop onto the steel steps, but the spear off the top of them was pretty great.  Roman retained, and I’m actually quite happy about it.


Enzo and Big Cass Vs. Gallows and Anderson

As much as I hate the fact that Enzo and Cass are being booked like the comic relief Wyatt Family, I knew this outcome was on its way.  Gallows and Anderson have to be booked back into the no-nonsense heel role so that they can finally usurp The New Day, once the record is broken of course.  Enzo eats a Magic Killer and the pinfall.


Bayley vs Dana Brooke

They didn’t give these two enough time to work.  They did the best they could with the limited time they were given.  If 1/4 of the show hadn’t been burnt on promotional video packages and another 1/4 of the show on ridiculously long entrances by pretty much everyone on the roster, they could have given them another 5 minutes or so.  In any event, Dana targeted the shoulder, and Bayley rallied for the Bayley-to-Belly.


The Odd Couple vs The New Day for the Raw Tag Team Championship….

You’ve got to love WWE booking sometimes, because this match teased New Day dropping the belts so many times.  You also got to see just how good a Cesaro-Sheamus team is when they’re on the same page.  I think the biggest tease of all came as it was revealed that Xavier, not Kofi, would be in the match with Big E.  While Cesaro got the submission via the Sharpshooter, Kofi simultaneously got New Day disqualified by striking Sheamus on the outside, so while Sheasaro got the win, New Day are still….your…W…W…E…World…Tag…Team…Champions.


THE Brian Kendrick vs TJ Perkins for the Cruiserweight Championship

As anticipated, Kendrick outsmarted Perkins by using their relationship against him.  Did they plan this all along?  It would explain why every third comment made by the commentary team for a month and a half has been about Perkins and Kendrick having a previous relationship.  It’s been obnoxious as shit, but the payoff, a Kendrick victory after faking a knee injury to get sympathy from Perkins, was pretty good.  Kendrick hits a headbutt and locks in the Captain’s Hook while Perkins attempts to aid his “injured” friend.


Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship

This match was great.  Everything from Owens literally just beating the hell out of Rollins the vast majority of the match, to all of Rollins momentum shifts that quickly got turned back around on him, to Owens inadvertently spraying one referee in the face with a fire extinguisher, causing another to have to open the cage to replace him, giving Jericho enough time to run down and get himself into the cage and sealing it back up behind him.  The double table, the absolutely devastating powerbomb through two chairs and the Codebreaker for no reason whatsoever, every part of this match worked for me and furthered the storyline.  And for those expecting the relationship between the best friends to crack, it certainly didn’t appear to be on the agenda during Hell in a Cell.


Sasha Banks vs Charlotte for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship.

The build to this match was lackluster, actually counterproductive to everything that this match was.  It was history, but it was history for the sake of being history as far as I could interpret from the build and what the laid out there last night was definitely better than that.

The start of this endeavor, with Charlotte brutally jumping Sasha, the two fighting into the crowd, the nasty powerbomb on the announcers table and Charlotte’s relentless taunting….amazing.

The 10 minutes of TV time wasted on the referee calling for an EMT and saying Sasha was unfit to compete, only to turn right back around 15 seconds later and ring the starting bell, ridiculous, and honestly it took me so far out of it that for all the amazing work these two did in this cell, and I mean amazing work, I had a hell of a lot of trouble reeling myself back in.

Charlotte was brutal throughout this whole thing, and Sasha even managed to do her dive to the outside correctly, twisting her body to absorb the blow as opposed to the crown of her head like she normally does.  While I wanted to see the table in the corner lowered and Charlotte hit Natural Selection through it for the win, the table didn’t seem to want to break, and they’ve given literally all they had in this match.  It was great work by both of these two amazing athletes and I really wish they hadn’t cheapened any of it with the 10 minutes of completely unnecessary theatrics in the beginning.  Easy Fix: Commentary table powerbomb, Charlotte drags Sasha all the way around the cage and into the ring, Sasha starts to fight back.  Injury is just as meaningful and effective as a storytelling tool without going overboard with it.

In any event, a very well deserved title win for Charlotte, but not to take anything away from Sasha, this is on the short list of her crowning achievements thus far.  Fantastic work.

Final Thoughts:

The vast majority of recaps that I’ve scrolled through this morning seemed to be on the fence about the entire show.  Roughly a C-C+ grade from nearly everyone.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I felt cheated a little bit by how little time they let Bayley-Dana have, especially considering it felt like Enzo talked for damned ever (and I like Enzo).  I’m going to give it a B+.  I’d move into the A- area, but the whole EMT thing was completely unnecessary and it really didn’t help that the “medical staff” got the camera cables stuck in Sasha’s neck brace either.

Match of the Night: Rollins-Owens

Overall PPV Grade: B+