Wrestling Review: WWE Hell in a Cell (2016)

Welcome to WWE’s most dangerous night of the year. The WWE storms into the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, when it hosts the Raw exclusive event Hell in a Cell, and will feature a triple main event of three (yes, three!) Hell in a Cell matches. For the first time ever, two women will enter the demonic structure, as the home town heroine looks to defend her Raw Women’s Championship against Charlotte. Also inside the Cell will be Rusev looking to regain his United States Championship against Roman Reigns, while two former ROH champions fight over the Universal Championship when Kevin Owens defends his title against Seth Rollins. Two more championships are on the line, when The New Day continue their near-record breaking run as they attempt to overrun the make-shift team of Cesaro and Sheamus, whilst TJ Perkins defends his Cruiserweight Championship against the wily veteran Brian Kendrick. Who will leave the TD Garden a champion, and who will be left… in hell.

+ Sasha Banks (c) vs Charlotte Flair (Raw Women’s Championship) (Hell in a Cell): after a lengthy and stupid time-wasting sequence, the match finally turned into a solid slugfest between the two women. Many high spots, done better than the previous two cells, made for an epic confrontation. Despite a wonky ending, this was a success, in terms of the first women’s Hell in a Cell match, and one of the best WWE women’s match in quite some time
+ Kevin Owens (c) vs Seth Rollins (Universal Championship) (Hell in a Cell): this was far more technical than the previous men’s cell match, and had many more big spots, including the hellacious use of tables and various weapons. Owens is the best bad guy they have, and the crowd has been clamoring for Rollins to be the good guy for months, so this new dynamic makes for perfect characters
+ Roman Reigns (c) vs Rusev (w/ Lana) (United States Championship): for the opener, this was surprisingly full of high spots. These two went to war with each other, and I think I saw both men bleeding on various limbs by the end of it. This was a very solid mid-card championship brawl
+ The New Day (Xavier Woods & Big E) (w/ Kofi Kingston) vs Sheamus & Cesaro (Raw Tag Team Championships): even though it appeared to be the breather match before the main event, this was a very solid tag team match. The crowd was very vocal and behind Cesaro, but to vehemently against Sheamus it mad for some interesting teamwork between the two. An interesting ending keeps things fresh for all involved
+ Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado & Sin Cara vs Tony Nese, Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari (6-Man Tag): this was the pre-show time filler, and god damn it was a good match. The fact these incredible, international cruiserweight athletes are already relegated to the pre-show is a bad sign, but with matches like this it is hard not to see them getting more and more time every show
+ the crowd was absolutely electric all throughout the event, even for the pre-show match. A good crowd can make anything seem bigger and better than it would otherwise be to silence

– TJ Perkins (c) vs Brian Kendrick (Cruiserweight Championship): this storyline has run its course. A few ‘crafty veteran’ spots fell completely flat due to poor execution and even worse in-story refereeing. Both of these guys need something else to do
– Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs The Club (Karl Anderson & Luke “DOC” Gallows): I don’t know what to make of this. It was a match you’d expect to see on any weekly TV show with just as ridiculous a story attached to it. The Club need something (or anything) to get them back in business
– Dana Brooke vs Bayley: since her call-up form NXT, Bayley has had a hard go of it. As the “heart and soul of NXT”, Bayley was beloved and treated like the super star she could be. As much as Dana has improved during her tenure as Charlotte’s protege, she is still very new to this, and it still shows. This was a below average match between two women who should be in very different places right now

Should you watch this event: This was a history making event, for both the number of Hell in a Cell matches and the participants of the main event. The matches listed above as positives were all good to great, but there were no mind blowing matches here. Watch it if you care about any of the competitors in the top half, but otherwise just wait for the inevitable fallout on Raw.

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