WWE – Hell In A Cell 2016 (Cert 15)
1 Disc Blu-ray / DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 184 minutes approx.
The 2016 iteration of this annual multi-cage match event made history, not just for holding the first ever Woman’s match inside Hell In The Cell, but by also being the first ever WWE PPV to be headlined by a woman’s match. We’re not entirely sure what happened but it seems someone in WWE HQ finally got through to Vince McSenile that it was the 21st century and women’s wrestling was actually getting over at last.
It many ways it was a no brainer to close the show with Women’s Title match since it was one of the more emotionally driven and compelling feuds, despite the belt being treated like a hot potato between Charlotte and Sasha Banks, and as it was held in Banks’ home town of Boston. It would likely be the significance of the latter that ensured the closing spot on the card after much discussion, said to have lasted right up until the night before the show.
Unfortunately Vince wasn’t completely convinced thus he promoted the show as a “triple main event” so all three of the cell matches were considered of equal importance to give him a get out clause for if/when he changed his mind.
This RAW brand show took place on October 30th at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts before 13,000 fans and our commentators as always are Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton. As ever, while my match review won’t contain any results, expect plenty of opinion.
WWE US Title Hell In A Cell Match – Roman Reigns (c) vs. Rusev
This feud gets dumber and dumber. Having already ruined their wedding, personally insulted Lana and attacked Rusev, Reigns goes on to offend Rusev’s family and yet Rusev is still the heel in this feud? Regardless of this askew psychology Reigns received another customary warm welcome from the fans.
A passable big hoss match that went far too long (almost 25 minutes) and the crowd was dead for most of it. They worked hard and garnered some response when things got a bit edgy with the weapons and the near falls, but it was your typical Reigns match where he overcomes the impossible odds. Then there is the protective McBooking in favour of Reigns that basically annuls any real semblance of surprise, re the result.
Bayley vs. Dana Brooke
Sadly the days of fans singing to Bayley are over as the crowd only popped for her entrance here. This match came about because Dana Botch got a (botched) win on Bayley on RAW then cheated in an arm wrestling re-match when Bayley had an injured arm.
The match was mercifully short but did Bayley no favours as this is only a placement feud while she waits for to get the title shot she would have had if Sasha Banks hadn’t returned quicker than expected and resumed her feud with Charlotte over the Women’s belt.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
I don’t know if it is a cultural or regional thing but I often have trouble understanding what Enzo and Cass are talking about in their long winded promos. Basically I think they accused The Club of being women.
Another short match, the most positive thing about it is that The Club looked like the killers they should have been from the start, hoping to erase the memory of the comedy doctors gimmick they were lumbered with during their feud with the New Day.
WWE Universal Title Hell In A Cell Match – Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins
Usually the cell is the last match featured in a big feud but since these two have only been fighting for a month prior to this, the lack of emotional investment in this match is lacking, making it feel like a forced formality just because it is for the Universal Title.
That said these two didn’t hold back and went at from the onset, incorporating a combination of wrestling, weapons and plunder, as well as the cell itself. At one point there was a great sequence of kicks and spots were neither man got the advantage that woke the crowd up, which led to Owens being forced to get nasty. Chris Jericho’s absence would soon be addressed in one of the more clever ways to facilitate a run-in but this only turned up the heat. Great match.
WWE Cruiserweight Title Match – T.J Perkins vs. The Brian Kendrick
As hard as they worked and as solid as this match was, these two had no chance following the previous match, not to mention that the new cruisers have been poorly presented to the main audience after wowing everyone in the CWC tournament.
There was an angle going into this match with Kendrick feeling this was his last chance and begged Perkins to let him win so he can go home to his family with pride. I’m sure his kids would been proud that their dad took the easy way to the title. Further killing the match was the fake injury spot Kendrick did that Perkins had to fall for, making him look such a mug that Perkins was resoundingly booed by the fans (muted here) who knew it was obviously a trick from a mile off.
WWE RAW Tag Title Match – The New Day (c) vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
After the Best of Seven series between Sheamus and Cesaro ended in a tie at Clash Of Champions, the RAW GM Mick Foley decided to put them in a team so they wouldn’t have face off against each other again. Of course this doesn’t stop them from fighting but as the prize of their series was a “championship opportunity”, they are the No 1 contenders to the RAW tag titles.
Big E and Xavier Woods worked the match while Kofi Kingston admitted beforehand that he was actually from Boston and not Jamaican at all! The bulk of this match, which was pretty good, saw the challengers try to one up each other until they briefly came unstuck. However, as we know The New Day are set to break Demolition’s longest reign record, explaining the lame McBooking that spoiled the end of this match.
WWE RAW Women’s Title Hell In A Cell Match – Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte
Sasha Banks naturally got the biggest pop of the night and a big entrance ahead of this first ever women’s cell match. After the previous two matches they needed to something to stand out so they brawled before the cell was lowered, leading to a faux stretcher job outside the ring after a huge table bump off the side of the cell! The idea of course was to put the smaller champ on the back foot and fight back valiantly at all costs which she did.
But being the hometown hero is a curse as we know from the past, so Vince once again had to pee in everyone’s cornflakes. I won’t say anymore except that this was a great effort from both women, hampered only by the occasional inverted psychology and the fact the plunder would refuse to co-operate because Sasha was too light to break a table. But history was made and both women can be proud of that if nothing else.
It might be considered a novelty to see women inside a cage on a WWE show but the timing was right for it to happen and this feud in particular was the right one to do it with. If this PPV is recognised for anything it should be this sign of progress and a long overdue improving attitude within the WWE towards women’s wrestling by the old boys club in charge of the company.
Yet there is the looming question of whether we will see another women’s match in the headline spot of a PPV. Sasha vs. Charlotte drew polarising responses from fans (the finish had a LOT to do with that which IS down to Vince) but it delivered what it had to and was the most heated match of the night. We have seen subsequent RAWs headlined by women’s matches and they’ve drawn well in the ratings, but that often means nothing in swaying Vince’s stubborn old mind.
Outside of the WWE Universal Title match, this show is pretty much emblematic of the inert state of WWE booking with the same old faces prevailing, while even the addition of the Cruiserweights has been hampered by Vince banning them from doing the usual cruiser stuff, essentially making them smaller versions of the heavyweights who do more flying than they do.
Scratched record time but as ever, the effort is there yet the rewards for the talent and the fans are often not.
Best Match – Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
Blu Ray Only:
Monday Night RAW 10th October 2016
Stephanie McMahon & Mick Foley Hype Hell In A Cell
Seth Rollins vs. Chris Jericho (If Jericho Wins, he gets added to the Universal Title Match at HIAC)
Monday Night RAW 24th October 2016
Rusev And Roman Reigns Are Ready For Hell In A Cell
The RAW Women’s Championship Contract Signing
Rating – ***
Man In Black