18th Sep2018

‘WWE Hell in a Cell 2018’ PPV Results & Review – Second Opinion

by Nathan Favel


Welcome to the 2018 WWE Hell in a Cell Pay Per View review, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and I think I might have gotten a couple of things right, this time… probably not.

SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day def. Rusev Day (Kickoff Match)

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Rusev & Aiden English walked a long, hard road to get to the doorstop of a SmackDown Tag Team Title reign. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts on WWE Hell in a Cell Kickoff, it’s not Rusev Day yet. The blue brand’s Tag Team gold will remain instead around the swiveling waists of The New Day, the three-ain’t-enough-they-need-five-time Tag Team Champions, who weathered an all-but-perfect effort from the challengers that came down to a handful of missed opportunities and miscommunication. As the title bout began to go long after a pair of mismatches (Rusev vs. Kofi Kingston and then English vs. Big E) canceled each other out, the action came so fast and furious that any game plan Rusev Day had seemed to go out the window, and the challengers opted to improvise. For a while, it paid dividends. But The Drama King’s two big gambits fell short, which led to a final breakdown between him and Rusev at the moment of truth. After English’s idea for consecutive top-rope attacks caused Rusev to take himself out with a whiffed diving headbutt, The Artiste attempted his version of an Accolade on Kofi, but The Dreadlocked Dynamo narrowly writhed free. Rusev went into panic mode and rushed the ring, only to be tossed out by Kofi into the waiting clutches of Big E. New Day’s resident big man grabbed hold of Rusev and held his right leg, leaving The Lion of Bulgaria helpless as English staggered face-first into a match-ending Trouble in Paradise.

My Take: 2 out of 5 – This was a solid match that gave the stronger team the victory.

Randy Orton def. Jeff Hardy (Hell in a Cell Match)

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

That Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton’s Hell in a Cell Match ended the way it did is less than surprising: Hardy’s rivalry with Orton had become far too stomach-churning to conclude with something as quaint as an RKO and a pinfall, and The Charismatic Enigma has been in search of a blaze of glory inside Hell in a Cell for some time now. He found one. For Hardy, competing inside Hell in a Cell was one of the last few milestones he’d yearned to achieve in WWE, though he fought like a Superstar stepping into his eighth dance in the cage rather than his first. With the psychological advantage he usually possesses rendered obsolete, Orton had no choice but to battle Jeff with pure brutality: After wearing Hardy down with lashes from his own belt, The Viper produced a toolbox from under the ring, pulled out a screwdriver and threaded it through Hardy’s earlobe, twisting the tool around and around in a sickening display until The Charismatic Enigma finally beat him away with a low blow.

Revitalized by Orton’s savagery, Hardy saw red. The Charismatic Enigma propped a chair on Orton’s chest and executed a pinpoint Swanton — aggravating The Viper’s already-wounded back — before erecting a sinister setup involving two ladders (a short one and a tall one) and a table. After propping Orton up on the table, Hardy scaled the smaller ladder, seemingly planning a leapfrog. Then, he audibled onto the taller one, seemingly planning a Swanton. Then, Hardy left the ladders entirely, suspending himself from the Cell roof like monkey bars, dropping for what appeared to be some kind of splash on The Apex Predator. Only Orton moved. And Hardy crashed and burned, shattering the table in his attempt to put Orton away. Much to the referee’s horror, Orton made the cover and insisted on defeating his opponent with a 1-2-3, and the official counted the pinfall, if only to get The Apex Predator out of the ring so EMTs could strap Hardy to a stretcher and wheel him away. It was the result Orton wanted for sure, and, perhaps, the one Jeff Hardy wanted as well. After all, he said would take Randy Orton to hell with him. He didn’t say anything about coming out.

My Take: 4 out of 5 – This was brutal and I don’t feel like a geek saying that. These guys went back to old-school NWA grudge matches and, with those old-fashioned ideals in place, had the most unique Hell in a Cell match yet. This match was a very methodical bout that didn’t avoid the big stunts, but it did save them for the finale. I didn’t like the way they did the ending, to some degree, but they did handle the fall-out correctly. This feud feels more important now than it did before.

Becky Lynch def. Charlotte Flair to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Six months ago, Charlotte Flair had a best friend at her side, a championship around her waist and two working arms attached to her body. Now, she has none of that, as Becky Lynch, who threw their friendship out the window at SummerSlam, took Charlotte’s arm and took her SmackDown Women’s Championship in a surprisingly one-sided bout that finally brought Lynch back to the top of the SmackDown Women’s division. The Irish Lass Kicker, who snapped after Charlotte exploited Triple Threat rules to win the SmackDown Women’s Title at SummerSlam — a victory that would have, and maybe should have, belonged to Becky — came to WWE Hell in a Cell with one game plan: To destroy Charlotte’s arm. That she did, fighting with such ferocity that The Queen never truly got her legs under her, save for a few stretches where her strength and athleticism put the wind back in her sails.

No matter how much of a fight Charlotte put up, however, she could only punch back so hard with one working arm. Becky’s steady dismantling of Charlotte’s left arm left her ripe for a Dis-arm-her, which Maiden Ireland finally locked in near the edge of the ring and held up to the limit of the five-count after Charlotte rolled under the ropes. Using what parts of her body were available, Charlotte built up a full head of steam and went for a spear, but The Irish Lass Kicker reversed it seamlessly into a DDT, rolled over and covered The Queen for the pin. Speechless from her loss as Becky celebrated, Charlotte made one last attempt at an olive branch, offering her hand to Becky in a show of friendship. The Irishwoman lifted her new championship over her head and declined. The moment was hers. And if tonight was any indication, it was the first of many.

My Take: 3 out of 5 – This was a good match that turned excellent towards the climax, when the right woman won. Vince seems to be going with the double face angle, which should work just fine.

Raw Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntrye def. Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

It’s not every day that The Shield walk into a fight and don’t come out the winner, so it says a lot about Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre that they held off two of The Hounds of Justice — Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins — to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship … even if they resorted to some rule-breaking when things truly got dire. Ambrose & Rollins came into the match looking to prove themselves as workhorses, and while they certainly worked hard, the champions worked smart, staying juuust on the right side of the rulebook while employing a timely array of distractions and interferences to stop the challengers from reaching full steam. When Ambrose chopped McIntyre down to his knees, Ziggler jumped the ropes to start a commotion that helped the Scotsman escape. When Rollins had Ziggler lined up for a suicide dive, McIntyre tripped him up in the ropes, and The Showoff pounced with a DDT.

As the match began to go long, strategy seemed to go out the window, with Ambrose throwing hands at anything that moved (he had eyes for McIntyre in particular) and Rollins answering Ziggler’s counters with counters of his own in an athletic showcase. Eventually, the champions managed to work their way back to their initial game plan, though they were far less subtle this time around as McIntyre blatantly rushed the ring and struck in the middle of a Rollins sequence, obliterating The Kingslayer with the Claymore while he was hoisting Ziggler up for the Falcon Arrow. The Showoff fell on top of the KO’d Rollins to earn the three-count, ending a bout that may well have remade the Tag Team division as Corey Graves said — yes, it was that good. But even if the game has changed, the titles stay where they are.

My Take: 4.5 out of 5 – This was the match of the night. Drew had his best night since returning to the main roster and every-body else had a great night as well. For those that think that tag team wrestling can’t cut the mustard, here comes another match to prove you wrong.

WWE Champion AJ Styles def. Samoa Joe

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Night-night AJ, indeed, though Samoa Joe didn’t exactly get his storybook ending when he fell to a rare defensive pinfall by AJ Styles that the WWE Champion seemingly didn’t even realize he was in the process of attempting, as he was submitting in the SoCal bully’s signature Coquina Clutch at the exact moment the pin was counted. There’s no two ways to slice it: Styles got away with one, especially given that Joe was living rent-free in his head going into the match — threatening a man’s family will do that to you — and The Phenomenal One had fought so furiously in response that he effectively punched himself out. Styles was clearly out to punish Joe more than defeat him, which gave the all-business bruiser the advantage of cold, hard clarity; and Styles had also tweaked his leg early in the match, which gave The Samoan Submission Machine an easy target each time he needed to get himself back in the fight. That the champion stayed in the match — via a combo of high-risk, high-reward and simply throwing whatever punches and kicks he could — was a testament to his heart. That he won it was a testament to his luck. Joe had slowly whittled the champion down with power maneuvers and submissions to tee him up for the Clutch, which he finally locked in after AJ whiffed on a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles managed to stack Joe up for the pinfall while he was still in the hold, but Joe rose as if he’d won the match — he claimed the champion had submitted.

The referee’s decision stood, of course, and Styles got the last word when he enziguiri’d his nemesis out of the ring while Joe was hoisting the WWE Championship over his head, but a replay showed that Joe was correct: When the referee had gotten into position to check Joe’s shoulders on the pinfall, he missed what was an unmistakable submission by Styles prior to the official’s hand hitting the mat for a third time. A heated backstage confrontation following the match did nothing to overturn the result, but SmackDown General Manager Paige agreed to give Joe another opportunity at WWE Super Show-Down. Joe, unwilling to wait three weeks, demanded that the match be made “No Disqualification, no count-out, no excuses.” Though Paige didn’t explicitly sanction those terms, she agreed on one thing: There had to be a winner. Which means, for AJ Styles, a DQ and a referee’s decision won’t be enough.

My Take: 3.5 out of 5 – I get what they were going for here, but having Dusty finishes on PPV just doesn’t work. PPVs are for meant to end things, not continue them. The match itself was excellent and is a fine example of how good these guys are with each other. If they really want to make the crowd pop, they ought to have a one-time match with AJ, Joe and Christopher Daniels at Survivor Series for the title. That ain’t gonna happen, but it’s nice to throw a good idea out there every now and then, even if it’s impossible.

The Miz & Maryse def. Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Few Superstars want to get a piece of their adversary more than Daniel Bryan wants to fight The Miz. Except, perhaps, Bryan’s wife Brie Bella, who was champing at the bit all night to fight Miz’s wife Maryse in the Mixed Tag Team Match between the two premiere power couples on SmackDown LIVE. But Bryan & Brie’s expectations of a foregone victory might have been slightly, just slightly, premature. Yes, Team “Braniel” suffered an unlikely defeat to The It Couple, thanks to a shocking, last-minute maneuver by Maryse that came after all pretense of a match had broken down and the two couples were engaged in an all-out fight. Blame the strategy by Miz and Maryse for that; they made a big show of tagging in and out to slow Bryan’s momentum in a clever exploitation of Mixed Tag rules — men and women can only fight each other — that effectively gave Miz a time-out whenever he needed.

When Brie finally got into the match, she slammed Maryse’s face off the announce desk and mauled her so viciously that Miz ran interference and broke up a pinfall attempt, which only infuriated Bryan all the more and led to a sequence of stereo “Yes!” Kicks so blistering that Miz & Maryse decided they’d had enough. Brie would have no part of that, though, and she hauled Maryse back into the ring, used her to knock Miz off the apron and rolled her up for what seemed to be a deciding pinfall … at least until Maryse reversed it and stunned Brie to earn the three-count herself. A long strategy paying off? A stroke of luck? It’s all the same. The Miz is 2-0 against Daniel Bryan in 2018, and if you’re him, everything is awesome.

My Take: 2.5 out of 5 – This was a simple match that had the wrong idea. Maryse should have been the one to attack Brie and get Bryan to come out to defend his wife. I know the politically correct thing now is for the woman to look strong, but people didn’t pay to see her fight for Bryan. Bryan is still one of the best in the world and he’s playing second fiddle to a lot of mediocre people, all of whom he seems to be friends with (married to in one case), but they just aren’t on his level. This feud wouldn’t be so dull if Bryan had been given better matches to wrestle before this feud had officially started, but that’s just the way it has been this year for the American Dragon.

Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey def. Alexa Bliss

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

It’ll take more than banged-up ribs to stop Ronda Rousey, who defeated Alexa Bliss for the second straight pay-per-view to retain the Raw Women’s Title in her first defense, despite coming into the match at less than 100 percent after a series of attacks to the champion’s ribs. To her credit, Bliss was a little more prepared for Rousey than she was at SummerSlam even before she started in on the titleholder’s torso — The Goddess’ demoralizing loss in August had somewhat clued her in to what she was up against, and this was anything but a rout. But nothing Bliss did worked for long; Ronda adapted on the fly with a series of intricate new submissions and slams, and she even thwarted potential interference from Mickie James and Alicia Fox by throwing Bliss into her own reinforcements.

Down to her last-ditch effort, Alexa honed in completely on the champion’s ribs and didn’t hesitate to cue up assistance from Mickie and Alicia, who bent Rousey sideways against the ring post to administer extra punishment. (Natalya took out Alicia moments later; Ronda dispatched Mickie). Bliss’ continuous attacks on Ronda’s ribs kept her in the fight even as Rousey began to rally, but Alexa’s attempt to throw a straight jab led to her downfall: Ronda snatched the strike out of midair, hoisted Alexa up, dropped her with a Samoan Drop and locked in an armbar that forced Bliss to tap the second it was applied. With that, the reign continues, and the Raw Women’s division is wide open — or as wide open as it gets given who sits atop the mountain.

My Take: 2.5 out of 5 – This was another good match that had the wrong idea. Ronda should still be presented as the stronger force between her and Bliss. Having Bliss dominate Rousey at all just makes them both into expendable people, rather than top-notch fighters. Bliss has spent most of her career being booked to win by way of cheating, so her only being able to bruise Rousey makes Rousey look weaker than every-one else, because Bliss looks weak to every woman but Carmella.

Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman ended in a No Contest (Hell in a Cell Match)

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

According to Braun Strowman, all Mick Foley had to do as the Special Guest Referee was count the pinfall on Universal Champion Roman Reigns. As it turned out, the conclusion to the main event of WWE Hell in a Cell wasn’t so simple, as the arrival of several Superstars and the sudden reappearance of Brock Lesnar brought the bout to an unprecedented ending: A no contest. Even for the notoriously anything-goes Cell, which just that night had played host to borderline torture from Randy Orton, the Reigns-Strowman bout was shaping up to be particularly lawless. Strowman was so sure he’d win the match, which doubled as his Money in the Bank cash-in, that he snatched the Universal Title out of Reigns’ hands just before the bell. The Monster Among Men certainly backed up his bravado, though, beating The Big Dog about the crimson structure with gleeful abandon and kicking out of every Spear and Superman Punch thrown his way — and there were a few. As he said to Reigns himself, “your boys can’t help you.”

Again, it wasn’t that simple. When Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre — Strowman’s “Dogs of War” — attempted to force their way into the Cell, Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins ran interference and initiated a mad scramble around and, eventually, atop the Hell in a Cell. All four Superstars threw fists and swung kendo sticks with reckless abandon on the roof of the harrowing structure; the brawl ended with McIntyre and Ambrose laid out on the cage, while Rollins and Ziggler tumbled off the side through the commentary tables. Then, Brock Lesnar’s music hit, and what had been a figurative hell up to that point turned literal very fast. The Beast Incarnate, who lost the Universal Title to Reigns at SummerSlam (and had been denied the rematch he wanted at WWE Hell in a Cell), kicked open the door and attacked both champion and challenger, reducing a chunk of a table to splinters across their backs before laying both out with F-5s — Reigns landing on top of Strowman. Paul Heyman, meanwhile, incapacitated Foley with what looked like pepper spray to the face, leaving the replacement ref no choice but to call off the match. So Strowman’s cash-in fails. Reigns’ big defense ends in ruins. And Brock Lesnar stands atop the wreckage. Welcome to hell, indeed.

My Take: 2.5 out of 5 – This match had a lot of action, but bad booking killed the momentum Reigns and Strowman earned as soon as they got it. Brock Lesnar attacked them both after The Shield and Ziggler/McIntyre brawled on top of the cage. There were too many periods of stalling that forced the fighters to have to abandon the excellent match this could have been in favor of keeping this going for another month. Will Vince have this match voided, in story-line, to allow Braun to get his contract back for more suspense? That might actually be the way to go here, just to show how out of line Lesnar was to attack.

Final Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 – This was an excellent show that got held down by some bad booking, which happens a lot with Vince McMahon’s cards.


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