KELLER INTERVIEWS ROB VAN DAM FOR FIRST TIME...
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WWE HELL IN A CELL 2019 KICKOFF
OCTOBER 6, 2019
STREAMED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY MIKE F. MEYERS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Kickoff Panel: Jonathan Coachman, Charly Caruso, Booker T, Sam Roberts
The panel discussed Lynch vs Banks, and Charly pointed out that of the two, only Banks had experience in the Cell. Booker said that Lynch put herself in this position, as champion, by design. Coach wondered if Banks has sucked Lynch into a position where the confidence of Lynch will be finally challenged. Sam declared that Lynch is threatened by the fact that Banks is the most buzzed-about woman in WWE, and not her.
Bliss and Cross joined the panel via video interview. Bliss said she doesn’t know what Kabuki Warriors did to earn a shot at their tag team championships. When Booker laid out Asuka and Sane’s accomplishments, Bliss noted that those were mere individual endeavors, and they haven’t accomplished anything as a team. Charly admitted that it was “pretty sudden” that they have to face Kabuki Warriors, acknowledging the nonexistent booking leading to this PPV.
Kayla interviewed Charlotte Flair backstage. Charlotte said that Bayley’s tough girl act is just that: An act. She added that she’s about to become a ten-time champion, and wooed at the camera.
Announcers: Vic Joseph, Dio Madden, Jerry Lawler
(1) LACEY EVANS vs. NATALYA
As Evans strutted around the ring, Jerry said, “Southern belle! You gotta love ’em!” Dio said, “Easy, King.”
The women locked up and Natalya spun Evans to the mat with a headlock takedown, then got to her feet while Natalya lay on the mat. Evans got to her feet and applied an arm bar to Natalya, but Natalya escaped by throwing Evans with a hip toss.
They exchanged more wrestling holds on the mat, with Evans exhibiting some good heel aggression. Natalya battled out of a headlock but was leveled by Evans with a shoulder block off the ropes. Evans fired Natalya into the corner, then took her to the mat again and rolled up Natalya for a two-count. Natalya nearly applied a sharpshooter but Evans grabbed the bottom rope and slid out to safety. Natalya yelled, “Get your ass back in the ring!” This fired up some of the fans who had arrived at their seats early.
Natalya joined Evans at ringside, but Evans was ready and fired her into the ring steps. With Natalya stunned on the floor, Evans twice stomped her left leg against the steel steps and rolled her into the ring. Evans used the top edge of the ring apron to choke Natalya, then landed her over-the-top-rope elbow drop to Natalya. Evans covered for another two-count.
In the corner, Evans continued the punishment to Natalya’s knee by wrenching it around the bottom rope. Evans tied up Natalya in the middle of the ring, then repeatedly slammed Natalya’s face into the canvas. She slammed Natalya’s leg into the mat, and Natalya cried out in agony, grasping her knee. Evans applied an arm bar.
Evans slowly began to apply a sharpshooter, drawing some boos from the crowd. Natalya leaned upward and slapped Evans, knocking her back. Evans snap mared Natalya to the mat then kicked at Natalya’s knee some more. Evans again tried the sharpshooter, but Natalya kicked her out to ringside. Evans quickly re-entered the ring and attacked Natalya in the corner, then turned Natalya inside out with a big clothesline.
Evans dragged Natalya on her back toward the corner, then took flight with a springboard moonsault, but Natalya dodged and applied the sharpshooter. Evans tapped almost immediately.
With her music playing, Natalya nailed Evans with a forearm for good measure.
WINNER: Natalya by submission.
(Meyers’s Analysis: This was a couple steps above their basic Main Event matchups. Evans acted like a heel throughout and maintained the upper hand, perhaps for too much of the match. The opening of the match showed the women exchanging mat holds – nothing too advanced, but it worked well enough. Nice to see Evans target a body part and repeatedly work on it. Her moonsault was impressive: She began standing on the middle ropes, facing the ring, then jumped and spun 180 degrees to the top rope to begin the launch backward. Nothing to be scoff at. The women built up the sharpshooter as a dangerous move with Evans threatening it twice, and when Natalya finally applied it it ended the match immediately. Also cool to see Evans’s unique elbow drop from the apron into the ring .)
Back on the panel, Jonathan asked Sam how his listeners on Sirius XM reacted to the Smackdown premiere. He said they were melting down because of Lesnar ending Kofi’s title reign. Booker said it wasn’t fear on Lesnar’s face when Velasquez appeared – it was just competition.
Backstage, Sarah Schreiber (with a name check both from Jonathan and an on-screen graphic) interviewed Ali. He said he’s been frustrated with his missed opportunities, but they won’t keep him down. Orton appeared and said he was the one who stomped out his momentum. Ali challenged Orton to a match tonight to see who really has the momentum. Orton agreed.
Rowan was stopped backstage by Kayla. Rowan said his involvement with Reigns wasn’t a battle, it was a war. He said tonight’s match is a tornado tag match, so there will be no place for these boys to hide. “Tonight the Big Dog and his pup get put down for good.”
Sam said this is a different Rowan than we’ve ever seen. He added that a tag match isn’t the right environment for Bryan. Booker claimed that Bryan is the one who stirred the pot and riled Rowan up. He also found a way to use the phrase, “champagne wishes and caviar dreams,” an ode to Robin Leach, a true legend in professional wrestling.
After showing a replay of the Strowman-Tyson Fury altercation from Smackdown, Jonathan indicated that Fury would appear on the next episode of Raw with a mic in hand.
Charly asked how to prepare for a match against the Fiend. Booker said there was no way, that you can’t just find someone to spar with. Booker spouted some amusing nonsense about how Wyatt doesn’t need, but rather wants the championship. Jonathan said the Fiend should be pleased that the playing field he gets to “play in” is Hell in a Cell. Sam said that Rollins wants to be the poster boy for the company, whereas the Fiend just wants to watch the world burn. When Sam pointed out that in every interaction they’ve had, the Fiend has gotten the upper hand on Rollins, Booker said that tonight would be different because there’s “a time limit and a referee.” Brilliant.
- Kickoff Show Recap Session:
- Lynch-Banks video package
- Smackdown on Fox video package
- Rowan/Harper vs. Reigns/Bryan video package
- Replay of Firefly Funhouse