Remember when the Hell in a Cell match was an exciting and intense event to watch? It was a match that would push two competitors to their limits until there was only one man left standing, it was like watching a car crash that you actually wanted to see, but what we witnessed on Sunday was bad and lazy booking. This past Sunday WWE hosted their 10th annual Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, but see that’s the beginning of the issue here, Hell in a Cell didn’t need its own show.
The gimmick pay-per-views have shown they don’t work but WWE still pushes it down our throats. After a while, it’s just overkill and WWE just puts on the matches for the sake of the of the pay-per-view. There’s no merit to this match anymore. We've seen classic Cell matches like Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker at Badd Blood 97, HHH vs Cactus Jack at No Way Out in 2000, or even Undertaker vs HHH at Wrestlemania 28 with Shawn Michaels as the referee. Let's be clear both men were past their prime in their careers but put on a classic match. Now it’s different with it being around yearly the match has lost its luster. It’s worse when WWE thinks having more than one Cell match in a night makes the gimmick better.
Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns deserved a Cell match because their feud has been crazy and both men have no love lost for each other. Every time they face off their matches got psychical. There’s never a dull moment with these two in the ring together. Their chemistry is on point and no it’s to the point of a wrestling a classic. But because of the physicality both men bring when facing each other, it makes their matches more entertaining. Their ambulance match last year was way better than previous ambulance matches. Ambulance matches have always had a bad reputation but Strowman and Reigns made it watchable and exciting. This past Sunday it seemed like their Hell in a Cell match would be another good encounter between the monster and the big dog. With the Universal title on the line and Strowman cashing his money in the bank briefcase the stakes for this Cell match were high. Earlier in the night though we already saw a Cell match with Jeff Hardy taking a nasty twenty foot fall inside the structure and lost to Randy Orton. Jeff Hardy could have suffered a concussion in the match but it had a clear cut winner and loser. Also starting the pay-per-view and finishing it with a Cell match in a lot of ways burns the crowd.
This year the WWE decided to change the colour of the Cell red to make it look more hellish? Whatever the reason. Watching it from home made it looked terrible and unwatchable. Thank god for the cameramen inside the Cell. I could only imagine if you’re the live crowd watching this ugly structure.
The beginning of the Reigns-Strowman match was good then it became an extreme rules match. There were tables, steel steps, and chairs. Weapons in a cell match is not a bad thing but we saw that in the Hardy-Orton match earlier in the show. Jeff Hardy basically made it look like a tables, ladders and chairs match inside the Cell. WWE show us something different! Than lazy booking comes in to play. With Strowman and Reigns down in the ring, Dolph Ziggler and Drew MacIntyre came down to the ring to try and get inside the Cell to help Strowman. Just shortly after Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose come and now there’s a brawl between the four men outside the Cell. For ten minutes we saw the four men fight on top of the Cell, that ended with Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins trading punches on the side of the Cell falling through two tables. While all this chaos was happening Strowman and Reigns were still down! Yes, that’s right. For ten minutes both men were down selling hurt. Wow wasn’t this a Strowman vs Reigns match not the Shield vs Strowman and friends? It just hurt the credibility of both wrestlers. They didn’t need this big distraction and it really hurt this match. Strowman and Reigns have shown us that they could go toe to toe on their own and have good matches. Then the former Universal Champion Brock Lesnar showed up kicking the door down like the beast he is. Beat up both Reigns and Strowman and handed them both the F5. Then another referee came in and decided to end the match because neither wrestler could continue and fight.
Did I forget to mention that Mick Foley was the damn special guest referee in this match! Foley wanted to be a part of the match in some capacity to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his legendary Hell in a Cell match with the Undertaker at the King of the Ring in 1998. So what happens? Foley gets pepper sprayed in his eyes by Lesnar’s advocate Paul Heyman, during this whole fiasco, Lesnar got beat down and did not finish of the match. Yup the man that made Hell in a Cell famous in both his matches against the Undertaker and HHH. Let's be real here, Mick Foley nearly died in his match against the Undertaker and somehow finished the match. With HHH he took a pedigree on thumbtacks and both men’s faces were coloured in red. Yet with the carnage in the ring that match had a finish. But both Strowman and Reigns took one F5, a move both of them have endured dozens of times, and neither man could get up? This is how the match ended and it made both Reigns and Strowman look weak.
Strowman whose been terrorizing RAW for over a year had looked the weakest he has ever been booked since emerging as a big superstar. While Reigns is your top champion on RAW and it made him look less than the big dog WWE tries to portray him. In fact, it made him look like a little puppy. It would have looked better if the match had a finished! It’s a Hell in a Cell match and it should always have a finish. That’s the purpose of the Cell match so we have a clear winner. WWE ended the match in the worst way. It just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. You couldn’t help but feel sorry for the fans in the building paying hundreds of dollars just to see a no one score a finish in a Hell in a Cell match that ended the show. Heck Brock could have cost one of the men in the match and we would have had a winner, instead, we have a cluster of a mess.
A Hell in a Cell match was once a novelty. A can't miss match that would help intensify a feud. Now it’s a just a bigger steel cage match that happens every year. WWE should rehab the gimmick match and find ways to make Hell in a Cell mean something again. A break from the Cell match is something the structure and the fans need.