Wrestling Review: WWE Hell in a Cell (2021)

Hell once again descends upon the WWE Thunderdome, and for the final time inside the Thunderdome before the WWE goes back on the road. In the main event of Hell in a Cell, Drew McIntyre receives one final opportunity for “The All Mighty” Bobby Lashley’s WWE Championship as they enter the unforgiving titular structure. If McIntyre is unsuccessful in reclaiming the gold, he will receive no more opportunities for the WWE title so long as Lashley holds it. Also inside the demonic structure, Bianca Belair defends the SmackDown Women’s Title against Bayley in the champion’s first foray inside the Cell, and Bayley’s second year in a row to challenge for the title. After weeks of one-upmanship and ‘anything you can do, I can do better’ back and forths, Raw Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley squares off with Charlotte Flair with the title on the line, and two grudges look to be settled as Seth Rollins and Cesaro face off in a Wrestlemania rematch, and Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn rekindle a decades long rivalry. Finally, Shayna Baszler looks to show that smoke and mirrors are no match for submission mastery, as she faces the unhinged Alexa Bliss after weeks of psychological torment.

+ Bobby Lashley (c) vs Drew McIntyre (Last Chance Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship): I really liked this, and these two have great chemistry. McIntyre’s back was sliced to pieces by the end of the fight (and rest assured, a ‘fight’ it certainly was) and Lashley looked dominant as the defending champion. These two have arguably been the strongest champions of the past few years in all of WWE, maybe on equal footing with Roman Reigns on SmackDown; it’s always good when two unbeatable competitors face off and this was no exception. I could take or leave the ending of the match, considering the ‘last chance’ stipulation, but the match itself was fine
+ Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn: it’s not 2012 anymore, but I could still watch these two go forever. Like Rollins/Cesaro before it, the story going in was lacking at best, but once the bell rang these two knew exactly what to do. The match was hard hitting, between two long time friends and enemies, and I think both guys had busted mouths by the end of it. I’m so glad Zayn is back to wrestling after his stint as a glorified manager, because he’s so damn good, especially when in against someone just as good in Kevin Owens
+ Seth Rollins vs Cesaro: these two don’t need a story to put on a great match — case in point exactly this; I don’t know why they are fighting, but who even cares because they are so good. I love Cesaro, and I’d be putting him in far bigger matches than he is, but I still really enjoyed this for what it was

Rhea Ripley (c) vs Charlotte Flair (Raw Women’s Championship): I did not care for this at all. The story leading up to this has made no sense for this to be a single match, and Nikki Cross and Asuka should have each been involved in one form or another (maybe a gauntlet or even a fatal 4-way), or simply a twenty minute iron man match to tie into the ‘beat the clock’ matches each have had of late
Alexa Bliss vs Shayna Baszler (w/ Nia Jax & Reginald): I like Bray Wyatt, I liked Alexa being part of that act, and I even generally like the spooky/supernatural stuff in wrestling; this was actuall better than I expected and had a fun new gimmick ti play with, but don’t waste Shayna in this stuff
– Bianca Belair (c) vs Bayley (Hell in a Cell Match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship): this was okay, and full of call backs to Bayley/Sasha Banks from last year, but didn’t feel nearly as ‘intense’ as Hell in a Cell matches should be. I don’t quite understand why this feud/story needed to be inside the cell, and the match never made it feel like it needed to be either
– holy hell, what a horrible match card. Where are Sheamus and Apollo Crews? Where are AJ Styles and Omos, and didn’t the Viking Raiders win a match against them for the tag titled?? Where is whoever the current 24/7 Champion is? Why is Natalya in a singles match on the pre-show? What about Big E? Or the Dirty Dawgs, Street Profits, or Alpha Academy? Where are Randy Orton and Riddle or Lucha House Party? Haven’t Elias and Jaxson Ryker been feuding and need a pay off? What happened to Cedric Alexander, Shelton Benjamin and Jeff Hardy; surely a triple threat here wouldn’t have been amiss? This stuff isn’t difficult.

Should you watch this event: This was a very hit and miss show, once again showing how pointless and unnecessary it is to have an entire show themed around Hell in a Cell matches when the feud doesn’t really call for them. Drew McIntyre/Lashley have not had a bad match between them yet, and Rollins/Cesaro and Owens/Zayn were both great, but if you can’t be bothered watching you won’t miss much.

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