Pro Wrestling

10 Things We Learned At WWE Hell In A Cell Source:

Last night, WWE went into its Hell in a Cell Pay Per View on something of a down note. Ratings are down, fan apathy is climbing, and for some reason, Kane’s in a World title match again. With that said, the looming rumored (and basically confirmed) departure of John Cena raised possibilities for change, and all things considered, WWE is still capable of putting on a good wrestling show. So, with that in mind, here’s our rundown of all the important things that we learned from watching Hell in a Cell, and how the events of the show may drastically change WWE for the future.

10. Cesaro May Still Get His Due

Sure, we might be reading a lot into a match that meant nothing, only happened on the pre-show, and was a rematch in a series of rematches involving the same wrestlers that has been taking place all month. But the one man who stood out during that match is Cesaro, who tore through his opponents, dodged finishers that would have ended him even a week ago, got a good long Giant Swing (which is something he hasn’t been allowed to do in a long time), and set up the finish for his team. We’re not saying the Cesaro push is real, but there are several options for him to have featured feuds going forward, including both of the guys holding secondary titles and that Stardust guy, who seems to have been watching the Swiss Superman from the audience. Source:

9. Alberto Del Rio Is Back

Hey, speaking of those guys holding the secondary titles, we’ve got a new United States champion. Although the returning Del Rio’s seeming alliance with Zeb Colter doesn’t immediaetly to make sense (and also likely gave several people minor heart attacks as they thought, for a second, that WWE might be pushing Jack Swagger again), he was an excellent choice to defeat the soon-to-be-vacationing Cena, with the credibility of being a multiple-time World Champion who has gone toe-to-toe with Cena before. And it was a decisive victory for the Mexican Aristocrat, who took Cena down cleanly and suddenly with a backstabber and straight kick to the face. It was a bit unfortunate, after months of Cena generally tearing the house down in US Open Challenge matches, to have it end in a match that was merely okay, but it was a decision that had to be made, and it was absolutely the right choice to bring back Del Rio to take the title. Hopefully we get more clarification on his partnership with Zeb tonight, and see if the hero’s welcome Del Rio received on Sunday is intended to continue. Source:

8. Roman Reigns Supreme

In what was probably the best match of the night, WWE did the right thing and had Roman Reigns finally get his big victory over Bray Wyatt, decisively ending their feud and setting himself up for big things in the very near future. Setting aside a couple fumbles in the last two weeks, as WWE tried to get him to cut long promos again and (hopefully) realized that it just isn’t his thing, Reigns has been on a roll since bottoming out at WrestleMania. This feud has helped both Wyatt and Reigns find their footing again, regaining all the momentum lost due to negative fan reception (Reigns) and a complete loss of direction over the last year (Wyatt). The popular rumor is that this could potentially make Reigns the #1 contender to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and with John Cena temporarily gone, and Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan sidelined with injuries, the time could be right to run with Roman on top. Source:

7. Unicorn Magic Rocks

With Xavier Woods not present due to being put through yet another table on Raw (and also, conveniently, getting married this weekend, so congratulations to him), and the numbers game no longer in their favor, it looked like The New Day’s time as Tag Team Champions might be up. But Kofi and Big E showed that while Xavier may get all the press for his stellar abilities with a trombone, they’re pretty good wrestlers in their own right, and having a broken trombone can be helpful as well. While an attempt at reviving the old Eddie Guerrero foreign object misdirection trick didn’t pay off, resorting to clubbing Bubba Ray over the back with the damaged instrument proved to be the distraction necessary to allow New Day to pull off another victory. With the Dudleyz potentially out of justifiable rematches, could we see a new challenge for the Tag Team champions step up?

But before that, we should let the New Day celebrate, right? Source:

6. Nikki Bella Is A Great Heel, But…

It’s time to actually give Nikki Bella credit for improving in the ring to the point where she can actually hang with the more highly-trained NXT Divas for the most part. She was in her element last night as a brutal heel, controlling the offense of the match and doing everything she could to create sympathy for Charlotte, before ultimately falling to the Figure Eight submission. The only problem is that the writing has been so scattershot, that the fans were less inclined to get behind Charlotte, because she hasn’t been portrayed as a sympathetic figure (or really, any character at all beyond “daughter of Ric Flair”) since her debut. The reason why Bayley vs Sasha Banks in NXT created the kind of emotional pull that made grown men weep was because their characters had been fully fleshed out and fans were able to identify with Bayley in her quest to beat Sasha. The same depth of storytelling has not existed on Raw, even with the advent of the Divas Revolution, and while the match quality is there, the fans aren’t as invested in the poorly written main roster females. For another example, look no further than Paige once again celebrating with her former teammates post-match, while subtly pushing Becky Lynch away. That would be great character work, if Paige hadn’t already turned on her friends three weeks ago.—divas-championship-match-photos;jsessionid=4D0E008775EFD90616F5F2CE04AACFA6?r30_r1_r1:page=13 Source:

5. The Best Bad Option Is Still A Bad Option

So Seth Rollins defeated Kane, as anybody who hadn’t given into wild delusions knew would happen, because it’s 2015 and not even WWE would be crazy enough to put their top belt on Kane, no matter which personality he’s operating under. This was actually was the entire problem with this feud in the first place: Kane was never going to win and everyone saw the ending that happened last night coming. As a result, WWE over-compensated and had Kane basically get the best of Seth at every turn, then put the job of Corporate Kane, who has been remarkably entertaining, on the line, which was likely done to induce doubt, but in the end, left us with a series of bad potential outcomes. Either Kane wins the title, we lose Corporate Kane (and potentially don’t lose Demon Kane, who is neither entertaining nor interesting), or WWE tries to write their way out of things with a screwy finish that satisfies nobody and likely makes Seth look even weaker as Champion. Obviously, Seth winning was the best result, even if it cost us Corporate Kane. But WWE could have entirely avoided this if they had just never put Kane in this position from the start, and I think everyone would have been happier that way. Source:

4. The Undertaker Is Done

Last night confirmed what many of us have feared for several years: The Undertaker we remember no longer exists. The problem that developed from placing him in a feud with Brock Lesnar was finally fully exposed last night, as the younger, stronger wrestler dominated the old, tired man with the receding hairline who looked nothing like the Phenom we’ve all been used to seeing over the years. With Lesnar not intimidated in the least by the usual smoke and mirrors that have disguised his weaknesses for so long, Undertaker was forced to face Brock in a straight-up fight, and the result was as predictable as it was sad. This was not the catharsis of watching Lesnar manhandle Cena, or the spectacle of a WrestleMania appearance. After getting lucky with a decent match at SummerSlam, WWE should probably have counted their blessing and moved on, but they attempted to milk the feud for one more match, and in the process, exposed The Undertaker at a level he is no longer prepared to handle. The persona of The Undertaker is strong, but the man behind the gimmick is clearly no longer able to sustain it. It’s a sad realization for those who have followed the Dead Man for 25 years, but it appears that his time is finally over. Source:

3. The New Face Of Fear Is Here

On the bright side, a final feud with Bray Wyatt (and we say “final” while fully understanding that Undertaker will probably still wrestle at WrestleMania 32, due to it being located in his home state), where Wyatt assumes the mantle of WWE’s Chief Supernatural Guy (official titles are hard to come up with sometimes) and finally realizes his potential as a cornerstone of the main event scene, would not actually have the problems that the Lesnar-Taker feud had. While Brock ignored the mystical elements and forced Undertaker to fight him on a more realistic and grounded level, to the detriment of Taker, Wyatt will be right at home trading magical blows with the Phenom. This will allow many of the weaknesses of the aging Undertaker to be covered up with special effects and gimmicks, combined with the Wyatt Family using a four-on-one advantage to their benefit (and also for bodies to bounce off Taker during any actual matches). While Undertaker could not match Lesnar’s physicality, the battle with Wyatt will be fought more in the psychological arena, and that is an area where The Undertaker can be portrayed as strongly as he’s always been. Source:

2. Clean Finishes Are Good

All right, so a trombone did factor into New Day’s victory and Brock punched Taker in the crotch as part of his comeback (although surely you can concede that Undertaker deserved it), but by and large Hell in a Cell was a night full of clean and decisive victories. Even the matches that seemed to scream for outside interference had none, as Xavier was not at ringside for The New Day, The Wyatt Family didn’t accompany Bray out for his match (admittedly, with the Cell surrounding the ring, there was nowhere to put them), and the entire Divas division was banned from interfering in the Nikki-Charlotte match on the pre-show. For as much as WWE often (rightly) gets accused of over-using inconclusive finishes to stretch feuds for multiple Pay Per Views, last night was clearly set up to end a large number of ongoing feuds, with Raw being set up to start an entire new series of conflicts, with all five WWE championships looking like they’ll need new #1 contenders. Source:

1. The Future Is Now

Speaking of the five titles in WWE, perhaps you might have noticed that, aside from the returning Del Rio, the rest of WWE’s championships are held by NXT graduates: Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Charlotte, and two of the three members of The New Day. In addition, it certainly looks like Roman Reigns is once again being positioned to be #1 Contender to the WWE World title, and Bray Wyatt, despite losing to Roman, appears to be getting ready to cement his position as The New Face of Fear by potentially finishing off The Undertaker. It’s been easy to point out where WWE has failed with NXT graduates, looking at acts like Adam Rose, Emma, and Bo Dallas, but in reality, NXT alumni have quietly moved into strong positions on the main roster. With a post-Hell in a Cell WWE looking to be missing John Cena, Randy Orton, The Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar (and possibly Kane) for extended periods of time, the opportunity now exists for a real change to the makeup of WWE, and it seems like, for the first time in a long time, WWE may be willing to embrace that change.

Also, we wanted a spot on this list where we could post a video of Kevin Owens annoying WWE’s backstage announce crew, even if we had to shoehorn it with a complete non-sequitur.

Can he be World Champion soon?

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.