In the latest edition of “Magic, Memories, and Mania,” PWTorch specialist Shawn Valentino reports live from the Hell in a Cell PPV at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Find out how the imortant L.A. audience reacted to WWE’s not-quite-Summerslam event…
MAGIC, MEMORIES, AND MANIA – HELL IN A CELL EDITION
This past Sunday, I was fortunate to be at Staples Center for the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. I was at the Superdome in New Orleans when Brock Lesnar ended The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak in a bad match and an awful moment, but I was anxious to see the Beast and the Dead Man face off in the Cell. I attended the show with some friends, including Rich Twilling, formerly of Prowrestling.not. Here are some live notes from my experience at the live special.
(1) We had possibly the best seats in the arena – floor seats on the rail right next to the entrance. The only catch was that if anybody in front of us stood up, it made it impossible to see the matches. Hopefully WWE’s production team gets wind of this. Please arrange floor seats at an angle so we can actually see the ring!
(2) Alberto Del Rio got a huge response, largely due to the enormous Latin population in Los Angeles. WWE undoubtedly is looking to regain some of the Hispanic demographic they have lost over the years.
(3) John Cena was booed more than normal, and his efforts in the U.S. Title match did not help.
(4) Roman Reigns slowly won over the crowd with a strong performance in the Cell. I still think he needs to turn heel soon.
(5) The Divas “revolution” got a flat response. The only stand-out moment from the match was the botched huracanrana, which looked extremely dangerous.
6) People did not care about the Seth Rollins vs. Kane WWE World Title match. They need to do a much better job of booking Rollins strong as top champion.
(7) The PPV had the feel of a one-match show, and Taker versus Lesnar had that big match atmosphere. The Staples Center crowd favored the legendary Undertaker, but Brock had a strong following, too.
(8) Undertaker’s entrance was absolutely unbelievable. We were close enough to feel the flames, and being by the ramp is a surreal feeling. At times, it literally felt like we could catch fire because the rising heat blew right into us. I am surprised we have not heard stories of audience injuries. WWE’s production values on these entrances are second to none.
(9) The main event had the fans in a frenzy, and people appreciated the efforts of both combatants. Lesnar ripping the ring apart was a unique spot that added to the drama of the event. Again, sadly, it was extremely difficult to see sitting on the floor unless you are in the front row. There needs to be a production adjustment so fans paying big prices are actually able to see the matches.
(10) The crowd was a legitimate sell-out and most everyone was happy in the end. Brock got over as a dominant monster that will do what he needs to do to win, and Taker got over as an aging gunfighter fighting for survival. The Wyatt family entrance was impressive, and it kept the storyline moving forward to Survivor Series. Many in the arena anticipated Sting would come out, but it was not to be. I would have preferred the show end with Taker walking out proud to a standing ovation, but having such a great view of him carried away by the Wyatts was an impressive spectacle.
Although I had a great time at the show, I came away with the feeling that wrestling is best meant for television because the trappings of a live show create too many awkward visuals. I hate having to resort to watching the screen to see the matches. Hopefully WWE can now focus on creating better stories, otherwise it will be another unbearable period for viewers on the Road to WrestleMania.