HIAC 2014 PPV: Seth vs. Dean main event, no WWE Champ


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

Last year’s WWE Hell in a Cell PPV featured Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins in a Hell in a Cell main event. It sounds like a WWE World Title match based on 2015 events, but the title was held by Brock Lesnar at the time. Lesnar did not wrestle on the PPV.

WWE Hell in a Cell PPV Report
October 26, 2014
Dallas, Tex.
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

The PPV opened with a video package on the Hell in a Cell structure. This introduced the “double main event” of Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins and John Cena vs. Randy Orton.

After WWE went to live shots in the arena, Lilian Garcia announced an Intercontinental Title match to start the show. IC champion Dolph Ziggler was out first before Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler introduced themselves at ringside. Cesaro was out next as Ziggler’s opponent.

The list of past IC champions: Austin, Rock, Hunter, Michaels, and JBL. JBL added in Bret Hart and Davey Boy Smith.

1 — IC champion DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. CESARO — 2/3 Falls Match for the Intercontinental Title

Rapid-fire pin exchange in the opening moments, but neither scored a pin. Cesaro teased the Big Swing, but Ziggler blocked with a pin attempt. Cesaro came back with the Big Swing, though, to a crowd pop for the heel. Cesaro tried a pin, but Ziggler came back with his own pin for a sudden three count.

*** Ziggler 1, Cesaro 0 at 3:33 ***

Cesaro quickly attacked Ziggler instead of adhering to a rest period. The referee reprimanded Cesaro, then checked on Ziggler, who took a running European Uppercut in the corner. Cesaro covered for a two count. More punishment, but Ziggler continued to kick out of pin attempts. Along the way, Cesaro sold a left arm injury. Ziggler capitalized with a combination sleeper and armwrench to try to force Cesaro to tap, but Cesaro showed crazy strength flowing into a suplex attempt. Not just a suplex, but he climbed to the middle rope and chucked Ziggler into the air for a Feat of Strength superplex. Cesaro could not capitalize, though, and Ziggler kicked out of an eventual pin attempt.

Reset at 10:00 with Cesaro charging Ziggler in the corner, but Ziggler ducked and hit the Fameasser for a close two count. Suddenly, Cesaro caught Ziggler in the middle of the ring and chucked him into the air for a big European Uppercut. But, Ziggler kicked out again. Cesaro had enough and went for The Neutralizer, but Ziggler swung out into an arm-yank into a superkick, then the Zig-Zag. Ziggler covered for a three count to win.

WINNER: Ziggler 2-0 at 12:18. That was something else. With champions expected to retain tonight, a nice twist on the expected outcome with Ziggler getting a clean sweep after kicking out/escaping a ton of big moves from Cesaro. Also, Cesaro lost two falls, but probably net-gained with a ton of offense and that big superplex. Finally, the first fall was a typical unrealistic early fall in a multiple-falls match, but it wasn’t as bad as other instances after they set the tone with an early pinfall exchange. (***1/4)

Backstage: Randy Orton barged into The Authority’s office looking for a piece of Seth Rollins after his stablemate curb-stomped him on Raw. Stephanie egged him on, then told Orton to use all of that anger and frustration on John Cena tonight. Orton said Steph is right, but he thought they were all on the same page. Triple H cut off Orton’s rant and told him to stop looking at Rollins, who is just like him, and use that fire from Raw on Cena tonight. Orton calmed down and told Hunter, Steph, and Kane that he’ll do it his way tonight, but if they don’t deal with Rollins, then he will.

In-ring: Nikki Bella was introduced first for a match against Brie Bella. The feud has really slid down the card after gobbling up TV time in July and August leading into Summerslam. After a review of Nikki turning heel on Brie at Summerslam, Brie was introduced as her opponent. On the way to the ring, Brie led “Yes!” chants for Daniel Bryan, who Cole referenced on commentary. Before the bell sounded, Eden Stiles announced that the loser will be the other’s “personal assistant” for one month… or else the loser must quit WWE. They really toned down the initial stipulation that the loser is the other’s “b—-” for a month.

2 — NIKKI BELLA vs. BRIE BELLA — Loser is the other’s b—-/personal assistant for a month

Nikki controlled the match early on, but Brie fired back with knee strikes. She then knocked Nikki to the outside and delivered a suicide dive, channeling her husband. Back in the ring, Nikki cut off Brie and dropped her sister with her Torture Rack finisher. But, Brie kicked out, stunning Nikki. Brie came back with a Yes! Lock, but Nikki reached the ropes with her foot to escape. And, back to Nikki, who nailed her Torture Rack finisher for a second time. This was good for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Nikki at 6:22. Another loss for Brie in this program, making the babyface seem weak. But, the 30 days of service will probably be one of those deals that back-fires on Nikki, giving the heel sister her comeuppance in a circuitous manner. (**)

Studio Panel: Renee brought in Paul Heyman, Booker T, and Alex Riley to discuss the first two matches tonight and the main events still to come.

In-ring: The Usos were introduced first as the challengers for the Tag Titles. The Rhodes Bros. were out next for a circus-like ring entrance to defend the belts.

3 — WWE tag champs RHODES BROS. (GOLDUST & “STARDUST” CODY RHODES) vs. THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) — WWE Tag Title match

Un Uso knocked the spit out of Goldust early on, but Cody cut off Jimmy from outside the ring and rammed him into the ringpost. Cody then tagged in and continued the attack on Jimmy. Goldust then tagged in and snapped off a powerslam to keep Jimmy grounded. Cody tagged back in and taunted Jey before resuming the attack on Jimmy. JBL filled the time with a Missing Link/Sportatorium reference in Dallas.

Jimmy dumped Goldust clear over the top rope to the floor and hot-tagged Jey, who immediately flew over the top rope with a splash to Goldust. Jey cleared Stardust, then big-splashed him on the outside. Back in the ring, Jey covered Goldust for a close two count. Samoan Drop for a two count. Butt splash in the corner for another two count. Slow follow-up, then Goldust came back with a spinebuster for a two count of his own.

Reset at 8:00 with Goldust working on Jey. But, Goldust missed a corner smash and Uso superkicked him for another two count. Jimmy and Cody disappeared for a big chunk of this sequence, then they re-emerged for a double corner spot. It was the Usos delivering stereo superplexes on the Rhodes Brothers. But, the Usos could not capitalize. Moments later, Jey hit a top-rope splash, but Cody broke up the pin.

Chaos at 10:00, then Cody kicked Uso at the back of the knee behind the ref’s back, cutting off his momentum. Goldust followed right up with the Curtain Call for the pin and the win. JBL endorsed their tactics winning by any means necessary. On the way out, the Rhodes Bros. celebrated while the Usos sat stunned in the ring.

WINNERS: Rhodes Bros. at 10:21 to retain the Tag Titles. Now playing the role of Cesaro, Jey Uso, with multiple high-impact moves and nearfalls to try to cover for an eventual loss. Solid tag match. The lack of a credible lead announcer restoring the Usos after the loss remains a problem, though, for babyfaces in defeat. (**1/2)

Ringside: Byron Saxton conducted a breast cancer awareness interview at ringside.

Arena: The Cell was lowered to ringside for … John Cena vs. Randy Orton. On the line is the #1 contender spot for the WWE World Title. But, first, a video package on the history of big-time rivalries in WWE and sports, which WWE attempted to link to Cena vs. Orton.

LIVE PPV SECOND HOUR

In-ring: Randy Orton was introduced first for the first of two “main events” tonight. Orton surveyed the Cell before entering. John Cena’s music then played and Orton bent down at the knees to sell the fictional magnitude of the match. Cena walked over to a Cena Fan in the production area, then handed off his hat to a fan in the deep, deep corner of the arena nearly tucked behind the video screen. Cena handed off his t-shirt at ringside, then handed his dog tags to referee John Cone before taking a deep breath and entering the Cell. After a pause, cue the bell.

4 — JOHN CENA vs. RANDY ORTON — Hell in a Cell match — #1 contender match to the WWE World Title held by Brock Lesnar

After the bell sounded, Cena and Orton remained in their corners to let the moment breathe before meeting in the middle. Physicality, then Orton elbowed Cena in the face to control early on. Orton knocked Cena to the floor, told the cameraman to get out of the way, and ran Cena into a Cell wall. Back in the ring, Orton dropped Cena with a DDT for a two count. Back on the floor, Orton tried to re-arrange Cena’s square jaw by raking his face against a Cell wall.

Back in the ring, Orton took a moment to do his trademark pose, which gave Cena an opening to blast him with a clothesline as soon as Orton turned around. Orton kneed Cena in the gut to re-take control, but Cena ducked a clothesline and nailed shoulder blocks into the sit-out slam. Cena wanted the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Orton kicked him in the face into a snap powerslam for a two count.

On the outside, Cena tried to ram Orton into a Cell wall, but Orton hoisted him into the air and crotched him right in the post. Orton held Cena in the crotchal position with a heelish smile on his face for a few moments to almost savor Cena’s pain before snapping off a trademark backbreaker on the floor. Back in the ring, Orton smashed Cena off the ring apron into the Cell. “RKO” chant from the crowd. But, Cena cut everything off by smashing Orton into the Cell wall.

On the other side of the ring, Cena retrieved a table and set it up inside the ring while Orton recovered on the floor. Orton returned to the ring after Cena set up the table in the corner, then Cena delivered his shoulder tackle and went for a second, but RKO “vined” Cena with a surprise RKO. Orton covered, but Cena kicked out just in time. Orton then smashed Cena into the corner table, but Cena kicked out again. “C’mon!” Orton shouted.

Reset at 16:00. Orton went out of the ring and retrieved steel steps, which he slid into the ring as Cena woke up from an RKO nap. Cena used the steps to try to pull himself up, then avoided an RKO onto the steps before bodyslamming Orton onto the steps. Five Knuckle Shuffle, then Cena wanted the Attitude Adjustment onto the steps, but Orton wriggled out and low-blowed Cena right in the stones, but only got a two count.

Reset at 19:00. Orton measured Cena, then backed up looking for The Punt, but Cena easily avoided. Drop toe hold into the STF. Orton teased tapping out, then grabbed the ropes, but it doesn’t force a rope break in HIAC. So, Orton kept dragging the loosely-applied hold toward the ropes to use the ropes to force Cena to release the STF. Cena quickly picked up the ring steps and chucked them over the top rope toward Orton, but Orton moved just in time.

Reset at 21:30 with the crowd chanting for and against Cena. Orton was seemingly distracted by the chants, then walked right into an AA, but Orton kicked out. Cena regrouped and went for another AA, but Orton countered on the way down. It was an inverted RKO upon replay. Orton covered for another nearfall. It didn’t look like an RKO, so the crowd wasn’t that surprised when Cena kicked out. The crowd also was not surprised when Cena suddenly recovered and hit an AA that Orton kicked out of.

At 24:00, Cena went under the ring to retrieve another table. Cena set up the table in the middle of the ring, then scooped up Orton and dragged him onto the table. Cena then climbed to the top turnbuckle and wanted a dive, but Orton got up and crotched Cena. “RKO” chant from the vocal males. Orton stalked Cena, then wanted a top-rope RKO through the table, but Cena shoved Orton away. Orton tried a second time, but Cena delivered a super AA off the top rope through the table. It was good for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Cena at 25:52 to get another title shot at Lesnar. The feud is over-done and the match was shoehorned onto the PPV card two weeks ago, but this was a very strong singles match. Every spot was deliberately laid out to mean something, rather than simply be a collection of rapid-fire weapon-based spots. The main drawback was the lack of selling at the end when they went to a series of finisher teases. Another round of Cena vs. Lesnar will generate some groans, but Cena has been restored since Summerslam, so the build-up will be interesting. (***3/4)

Post-match: Cena walked to the ringside are and glared toward the pre-show panel, where Paul Heyman was staring toward the ring. Cena sent a non-verbal message to Heyman, who accepted the reality of Lesnar having to face Cena once again with the title on the line.

Backstage: Mark Henry gave Big Show a pep talk ahead of his match against Rusev tonight.

In-ring: The Miz (with Damien Sandow) was introduced to the ring for the U.S. Title match. After a review of Sheamus sending Miz a message on the pre-show, Sheamus was introduced for his title defense.

5 — U.S. champion SHEAMUS vs. THE MIZ (w/Damien Sandow) — U.S. Title match

Sheamus went for a Brogue Kick in the opening seconds, but Miz avoided. Sandow continued to be a distraction ringside imitating Miz’s offense and defense. The bit worked out, though, when Sheamus set up Miz for Ten Forearms to the Chest and Sandow joined in selling each blow after tying himself up in the ropes. But, Miz and Sandow used their numbers advantage to cut off Sheamus on the outside.

Back in the ring, Miz took control as JBL wondered what Sandow does while Miz in his bed with his wife. Moving on, Sheamus tried to come back with the Brogue Kick, but Miz easily avoided, then dropped Sheamus with a neckbreaker for a two count. “That was three!” Sandow shouted toward the ref, breaking the silence in the arena. Miz then slapped Sheamus around, angering the champ, but Miz planted Sheamus with a DDT for a two count.

After the vocal males chanted “Mizdow’s awesome,” Sheamus cut off Miz with a powerslam. He then tried to engage the casual audience setting up for the Brogue Kick, but Sandow hopped up on the ring apron screaming, “Cut, cut, cut!” Sheamus scared him off, but Miz grappled Sheamus and delivered the Skullcrushing Finale for a close two count. Miz wanted a top-rope move, but Sheamus intercepted with a mid-air Brogue Kick. Sheamus covered for the win.

Post-match, Sheamus did not sell the Brogue Kick, instead pacing the ringside area upset by the loss. Sandow then entered the ring and laid down next to Miz to then sell the loss. Sheamus then extended the bit by raising Miz’s (and Sandow’s arm) three times. Sheamus went for comedy lightly hitting Miz (and Sandow), then forcing Miz and Sandow into doing the YMCA. Sheamus left Miz standing, then backed up and smashed him with the Brogue Kick, which Sandow also sold. JBL, the heel, hyped the babyface’s celebration as Cole and Lawler sat quietly.

WINNER: Sheamus at 8:20. Your basic WWE silliness trying to create some “levity” on the show. The match was TV-quality at best. (**)

Backstage: Brie Bella loaded the trunk of Nikki Bella’s car, then Nikki walked up to Brie asking to make sure her order was done correctly on her smoothie. Nikki tasted the smoothie, then wasted a perfectly good smoothie by dumping it over Brie’s head. Nikki told Brie to make it the same way and bring it to her hotel room. Nikki drove off, leaving Brie to lament the next 30 days.

Video Package: Big Show, the Patriot, faces Rusev tonight.

In-ring: Rusev, flanked by Lana, was out first for the USA vs. Russia match. The announcers played this up as Rusev battling Big Show in “America’s Heartland,” with the Dallas Cowboys also being America’s team. Well, depending on which poll you believe. “ShuTup!” Lana shouted toward the crowd. Lana said America clams to have the largest athlete, Big Show. But, in Russia, they have the super-athlete, Rusev. Tonight, these two athletes collide for global supremacy. She asked for the crowd to rise for the playing of the Russian National Anthem, but Big Show’s music interrupted. Out came Big Show firing up the crowd and using a lot of pre-match energy on the way to the ring.

LIVE PPV THIRD HOUR

6 — BIG SHOW vs. RUSEV (w/Lana)

Big Show quickly started the match with blows to the chest, rocking Rusev. Show then quieted the crowd to deliver a frying pan-like chop, but Rusev jabbed Show in the throat to break free. Rusev took out Show’s left knee, then went to work on the limb. Big dropkick, then a wild celebration from Rusev. Rusev tried to stomp Show’s back, but Show reached back and put Rusev in a modified Indian Deathlock. Rusev sold the hold, but reached the ropes for a break.

Suddenly, Mark Henry walked down to ringside encouraging Big Show to knock Rusev out. Show landed a chokeslam, but Rusev kicked out just before three. Show then left the ring to retrieve Rusev while having a mini-conversation with Henry. Henry tapped him on the knee to encourage him to get it done, and Show said he’ll get this. But, Rusev kicked Show in the face on the way back into the ring. Then, Rusev kicked Henry off the ring apron. Another kick to a woozy Show, then Rusev put him in The Accolade. Show fought, but tapped out, giving Rusev, the heel, another win overcoming the odds of a numbers disadvantage.

WINNER: Rusev via submission at 7:55. They’re getting closer to Henry turning on Show or Show getting fed up with Henry. Meanwhile, Rusev continues to be built up as a monster overcoming the odds until WWE gets to the destination of a top babyface eventually taking down Rusev. (**)

The PPV was interrupted by an old-school handheld Shield video promo. Somewhere backstage, Dean Ambrose sent a final message to Seth Rollins ahead of their Hell in a Cell main event up later.

In-ring: A.J. Lee was introduced for her latest Divas Title defense against Paige, who was out next flanked by Alicia Fox.

7 — Divas champion A.J. LEE vs. PAIGE (w/Alicia Fox) — Divas Title match

A.J. had fun with Paige early on, skipping around the ring while inflicting pain with a handful of her hair. On the outside, though, Paige swung A.J. hard into the barricade after Fox provided a distraction. Back in the ring, Paige went to work on A.J., but couldn’t put her away doing the Randy Orton thing taking too long to gloat in-between offense.

A.J. came back with a corner DDT for a two count, then they moved back to the outside. Paige wanted a suplex off the barricade, but A.J. countered and put Paige on the floor. Fox panicked when Paige was in jeopardy of being counted out, so she rolled Paige back into the ring, but A.J. immediately capitalized with Black Widow for a quick tap out.

Post-match, A.J. celebrated with her best friend, the title, before Fox and Paige regrouped in the ring. Paige then slapped Fox for not helping her win and stomped out of the ring.

WINNER: A.J. at 6:50 to retain the Divas Title. Solid match. Now, where do they go with A.J. and Paige after putting an end to their game of hot potato with the title? (**)

Video Package: The Shield’s implosion after dominating WWE for one-and-a-half years. Now, Dean Ambrose finally gets Seth Rollins inside the Cell.

Pre-Main Event Brawl

In-ring: Dean Ambrose was introduced first for the Hell in a Cell main event. Ambrose had a weapon in a bag slung over his shoulder like an archer, then he entered the Cell and threw various weapons inside the ring. Ambrose decided he wasn’t done, so he walked out of the Cell and climbed to the top of the Cell. Ambrose then pulled out his weapon from the shoulder bag – a Kendo Stick. Ambrose fired up the crowd daring Rollins to come meet him on top of the Cell.

Seth Rollins’s music played next and he marched down to the ring with Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury. Rollins entered the Cell and screamed at Ambrose to get in the ring. But, Ambrose remained standing on top of the Cell, so Rollins left the ring to contemplate joining Ambrose up there. Noble and Mercury tried to tell Rollins it’s not a good idea, then Rollins said they don’t tell him what to do, so he teased climbing the Cell, but dropped down. Joey told Seth to think about it. So, Seth did by telling them to climb up there and get Ambrose.

Joey and Noble removed their suit jackets, then circled the Cell to try to corner Ambrose on top of the Cell. Both men made it to the top of the Cell, drawing mock applause from Ambrose. Noble and Joey slowly walked toward Ambrose, who caned Joey, then Noble, then back and forth. Meanwhile, Rollins snuck up the Cell to try to ambush Ambrose, but Ambrose cut him off. Joey and Noble eventually knocked down Ambrose, allowing Seth to cane Ambrose on top of the Cell.

“Ambrose, Ambrose” chants before Rollins held up Ambrose and told his henchmen to throw Ambrose off the Cell. But, Ambrose fought them off and DDT’ed Noble onto the Cell roof. Ambrose then clotheslined Mercury onto the lid while Rollins climbed down the Cell wall. Ambrose followed him climbing down the Cell wall like they were doing a reverse rock climb. Ambrose eventually caught up to Rollins, grabbed him, and they punched each until a headbutt sent Rollins through the Spanish announce table and Ambrose through the English table down below.

After the big fall, medics showed up to tend to both wrestlers to sell the injuries from the bump. Rollins was placed on a stretcher and slowly wheeled away as the crowd booed, buying this as the end of the match before it even started. Ambrose was also placed on a stretcher and wheeled away from ringside. Ambrose suddenly started to shake and come to life as Noble admonished him. Ambrose then fought off the gurney and hobbled toward Rollins, attacking him on his stretcher. Rollins fell off, then Ambrose threw Rollins into the Cell before chucking him inside the Cell. Ambrose scared everyone away, then slammed the Cell door on Rollins’s head, closed the door, called for the Cell to be locked, and the bell sounded to officially begin the match. Big pop for the opening bell.

8 — DEAN AMBROSE vs. SETH ROLLINS — Hell in a Cell match

Once the match started, Ambrose sat down in a chair to yell at Rollins that he brought this on himself for stabbing him in the back. Chair shot to the back, then another, and another. “Please,” Rollins begged. Ambrose tried to drive a screwdriver into Rollins’s forehead, but Rollins blocked. So, Ambrose backed up and dropkicked Rollins off the ring apron into the Cell wall. Big sound effect to enhance the impact.

Ambrose followed up with a suicide dive on the outside as Rollins continued to sell the effects of the pre-match. Ambrose then dragged Rollins back into the ring and re-arranged some chairs. Ambrose wanted a big suplex onto a pile of chairs, but Rollins blocked and back-dropped Ambrose onto the chairs for his first offense of the match.

At 5:30, Rollins tried to suplex Ambrose over the top rope through a table on the outside, but Ambrose blocked. Ambrose then dumped Rollins onto the chair and came off the top rope with a flying elbow smash sending Rollins through the table. Ambrose and Rollins remained slumped over on the table scraps to sell the move. Once Ambrose was back on his feet, Kane suddenly showed up ringside with a fire extinguisher that he sprayed through the Cell wall into Ambrose’s face. Rollins capitalized by giving Ambrose a running Bucklebomb through another table on the outside.

At 8:00, Rollins took Ambrose back into the ring to give him a Curb Stomp in the middle of the ring. Rollins covered, the announcers sold the match being over, and Ambrose kicked out just before three. Rollins left the ring to grab his MITB briefcase, then he smashed a chair over Ambrose’s back twice, then his mid-section three times.

Rollins sold losing his mind before deciding he wanted to end Ambrose. Rollins went for a Curb Stomp into the case, but Ambrose blocked and smashed Rollins with a rebound lariat. Ambrose followed with a briefcase shot to the head for a close two count. Ambrose then left the ring and retrieved cinder blocks looking for revenge on Rollins. Ambrose placed Rollins face-first onto the blocks, then went for a Curb Stomp, but the lights suddenly went out. The crowd groaned, then Bray Wyatt’s voice was heard speaking in tongues.

Back live, there was a lantern in the middle of the Cell. A hologram image appeared in the middle of smoke coming up from the lantern. Suddenly, Bray Wyatt came out of nowhere with a clothesline to Ambrose. The lights went out again, then Bray was shown hanging upside down in the corner. Bray crab-walked toward Ambrose, then dropped him with a uranage in the still-darkened arena. Rollins, selling concern over Bray’s presence, dragged himself on top of Ambrose, covered him for a three count, and quickly got the heck out of the Cell.

Post-match, Bray remained kneeling in the ring as Ambrose sold the effects of the match. On the way out, Rollins sold a mix of emotions. Back in the ring, Bray stood over Ambrose before scooping him up and delivering Sister Abigail. Bray knelt down over Ambrose and posed as the PPV signed off.

WINNER: Rollins at 14:03. Chaotic match fitting the feud, then a questionable TV-style finish to a main event. WWE is fortunate they built up enough goodwill with the first half of the PPV to soften the blow of this finish. But, it sets up Bray in a clear heel position opposite a top babyface who gets a 100 percent babyface reaction going forward. Ambrose vs. Bray should provide some interesting matches and promos. (Editor’s Note: The feud is still going one year later.) Meanwhile, Rollins probably moves into an extended issue with Orton. (n/a)

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