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KELLER’S WWE HELL IN A CELL PPV REPORT
OCTOBER 25, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT AMWAY ARENA’S “THUNDERDOME”
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
Smackdown Commentators: Micahel Cole, Corey Graves
Raw Commentators: Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe, Byron Saxton
-A video package aired on the top matches on the show.
(Keller’s Analysis: Top notch video production pizzazz setting the stage for the event.)
-Pyro blasted and cheers were piped in as the HIAC theme song played and Cole introduced the show. He said tonight is a night people’s lives change. Cole said in 1997, Shawn Michaels and Undertaker were the first to step into the HIAC and it’s gotten more ominous since then. They shifted to hyping the opening match between Reigns and Uso. A video recap aired.
(Keller’s Analysis: Interesting choice to make this match first.)
(1) ROMAN REIGNS vs. JEY USO – Universal Title match inside Hell in a Cell stucture
Cole said Jey battled inside the Cell before, but it was a tag match. This is his first one-on-one match with I Quit rules. As Reigns came out with Heyman, Heyman stared directly at Reigns’s profile, and Reigns as usual stared straight ahead and didn’t acknowledge Heyman. Reigns’s demeanor as a heel is spectacular. They showed a clip of the Heyman interview with Kayla Braxton that aired during the Kickoff Show where Heyman said after Jey loses, he’ll become his indentured servant, doing what Reigns tells him when he tells him to do so. Jey paced and did some trash-talking during formal ring introductions. Reigns stared a hole in him as he stood in his spot. The door was locked and the bell rang.
Jey yelled that he’s changed. Reigns said, “I only changed because I had to, to keep our family where it needs to be.” Reigns took control early, but Jey came back with a kick to Reigns’s head that staggered him. Then Jey took it to him at ringside for a minute. Back in the ring Jey yelled and charged at Reigns, but Reigns popped up and speared him out of mid-air. The announcers said that could be good for a pin in a regular match, but Jey would have to quit for this to be over. Reigns said, “In five or ten minutes you’re going to wish you quit right now.” He said, in fact, he’ll wish he “kept his ass at home.” Jey made a comeback with a slidekick. Reigns came back with another spear. “You’re making me a bad guy,” Reigns said. He waited for Jey to stand, then said, “I’m going to end you.” He went for a third spear, but Jey kicked him in the jaw. Then he landed a top rope splash. The ref asked if Reigns quit. Reigns said no. Jey hit another splash. The ref asked again.
Graves said it’s going to have to get more violent. Jey reached under the ring and grabbed a leather strap. Jey whipped him and called him a bitch and yelled “shit,” but was bleeped. Reigns surprised Jey with a third spear out of nowhere. Jey said, “I can’t breathe!” He pounded the mat and gasped for breath. The ref asked. Jey said no. Reigns attached himself and Jey to the strap by the wrists. Reigns pulled on it, but Jey flew at him with a forearm. Reigns shook it off, but Jey hit another. Reigns retorted with a hard side elbow to the face. Jey superkicked Reigns in the jaw. Jey was so excited he tried to wrap the strap around Reigns’s neck twice and missed both times. He succeeded on a third. “Roman may pass out!” said Graves. Cole said Reigns has to say the words “I quit.” Reigns looked like he was passed out. The ref asked if he quit. Jey asked. The ref said no. Jey stood first. “I’m going to end this,” he said. He picked up a chair and waited for Reigns to stand. As he charged, Reigns landed a Superman Punch and then applied a guillotine. Cole said that finished Braun Strowman. Jey’s arms went limp as the ref asked if he quit. Heyman yelled, “Jey, quit!” The ref asked again. Reigns sat up and seemed emotionally spent, bordering on distraught, that Jey just wouldn’t say it.
Reigns stood and told him it’s time. He pleaded with him as he walked around him and kneeled. “If you don’t quit, I can’t be held responsible,” he said. The ref asked him again and again. Reigns finally told the ref to “shut your mouth.” He said he’s going to learn a lesson. He dragged a limp Jey to the floor and leaned his head backwards off the ring apron. Then he hit the Drive By to the side of his head. The ref asked again. Reigns pleaded with Jey to just say it. He put the ring steps against his head then hit another Drive By by kicking the steps into Jey’s head. The ref said he can ring the bell if he says “I quit.” Jey wouldn’t. Reigns grabbed the ref as the ref was about to call off the match. The ref said, “Your cousin is out.” Reigns yelled, “You’re out.” And he threw the ref over the top rope.
The ringside referee opened the door and entered. Pat Buck, Jamie Noble, and Adam Pearce ran out to check on Jey. Reigns threw the ringside steps over the top rope into the ring (although it took two tries). He placed the gap over the steps over Jey and had a talk with him about knowing him since they were kids. “We’re 35 years old and you’re still testing me! I am the Tribal Chief and all you had to do was acknowledge me! This is how serious it is at the top. There ain’t no going back when you go this far.” He lifted the steps threateningly into the air. The announcers yelled for Heyman to stop him. Jimmy ran out and covered Jey.
Jey was in tears and asked Reigns what is wrong with him. Reigns teared up, too. Jimmy said whatever he’s going through, they can fix it. “This is Josh that is laying here right in this damn ring! Look at me!” Reigns started crying. He sat and covered his face with his hands. Reigns said, “I don’t even know who I am.” He was sobbing. Jimmy said it’s all about love and family. Jimmy offered a hand. Reigns grabbed it. Reigns the yanked Jimmy in a guillotine. Jimmy reached to grab Jey’s hand. Jey tried to pry Jimmy off of Roman. “I quit!” Jey said, as a way to protect his brother. The bell rang.
As Reigns left the ring, Afa and Sika stood on the stage and greeted Reigns as the Tribal Chief. Afa hugged him and Sika put a lei over his head, symbolic that the elders recognize him as the leader. Graves said there’s only room for one leader at the table.
WINNER: Reigns in 29:00 to retain the Universal Title. (****1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Really dramatic and well performed. Good storyline. This wasn’t a traditional classic match, but it wasn’t aiming to be, and because of that, it really didn’t wear out the Cell as a setting for a violent match, so it fit into the show nicely in that way. The Cell really wasn’t a factor, as even Jimmy was able to get inside once the outside ref opened the door after Reigns threw the original ref over the top rope. Now it’s time for Jey to choose to declare Reigns the Tribal Chief or be disowned and ostracized. Big credit to Jey, Roman, Heyman, and Jimmy. They just were spot on with their performances. The most was asked of Reigns, and he delivered. He seems a lot more creatively engaged now than the one-dimensional rejected babyface act he was shoved into for so many years.)
-After commercials, they went to ringside with Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe at ringside. Joe said there’s been distress in the family, and maybe this caps it off.
(2) JEFF HARDY vs. ELIAS
Elias strummed his guitar and he asked who wants to walk with him. He complained about Jeff Hardy trying to end his career by hitting him with a car. He said his new album comes out tomorrow called “Universal Truth.” He sang a song at Hardy’s expense that closed with “WWE stands for Walk With Elias while Jeff Hardy stands for DUI.” Back and forth action early. Hardy took it to Elias at ringside, but back in the ring Elias took over and then settled into side headlock. Hardy fought back and landed an atomic drop and a dropkick for a two count. Hardy stood and played to the fans, then went for a Twist of Fate. Elias blocked it and gave Hardy a turning sitout powerbomb for a near fall. Hardy landed a Whisper in the Wind a minute later for a near fall. He hit a Twist of Fate, yanked off his shirt, and then climbed to the top rope. Elias rolled to the floor. Hardy jumped down and went after Elias. Elias grabbed a guitar, but Hardy took it from him and bashed him across his back. The ref DQ’d him.
WINNER: Elias via DQ in 8:00. (**)
(Keller’s Analysis: This was fine. Pretty much what you’d show someone who wants to know what qualifies as a basic two-star match.)
-A video package aired on the Otis-Miz storyline.
(3) OTIS (w/Tucker) vs. MIZ (w/John Morrison) – Money in the Bank briefcase on the line
A Morrison distraction gave Miz an opening to take over a few minutes in. Miz applied a sleeper. Then he threw Yes Kicks. Otis made a comeback and went for the Caterpillar. Morrison yanked Miz to safety. Back in the ring, Miz caught Otis. Morrison almost hit Otis with the briefcase, but the ref turned and saw him, so he stopped short. The ref sent him back to the locker room. Otis schoolboyed an upset Miz for a two count. Otis hit a discus clothesline for a two count. Tucker then hit Otis with the briefcase. You read that right. Miz rolled Otis over and pinned him. Cole was outraged. Graves excitedly announced Miz was the new MITB briefcase holder.
WINNER: Miz in 6:00 to win the MITB briefcase. (*3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: I mean, that was a possibility, of course, because it’s pro wrestling, but I didn’t see it coming. I’ve thought there have been glimpses of Tucker having some upside as a singles wrestler outside of the Heavy Machinery tag team. Now that’ll be tested.)
-After a commercial, Braxton congratulated Miz backstage for winning. “Was this victory worth destroying Otis’s life?” she asked. Miz said he’s doing what he needed to for the betterment of the business. He said the briefcase is a golden opportunity and he will not squander it. He warned that the WWE Champion and Universal Champion are on notice. Miz said Otis obviously took his friend for granted. Tucker showed up. He told Miz and Morrison this wasn’t about them. Braxton asked why. He said he was the workhorse and he put the team first. “I treated him like a brother, but for what?” he said. He said everyone noticed Otis and never wanted him to talk and wanted him to step aside and stay out of the spotlight. “Truth is, he can’t function without me.” Otis arrived and attacked him in a rage. Tucker fled.
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-A video package recapped the Sasha-Bayley saga.
(4) BAYLEY vs. SASHA BANKS – WWE Smackdown Title match in a Hell in a Cell structure
As Sasha made her ring entrance, Graves said there’s no way Sasha would reach the level she has without Bayley, and Bayley knows it, and he said Sasha knows it too. Cole noted Bayley has held the title 380 days. After ring introductions, as the cage lowered around them, Sasha kicked the chair out of Bayley’s hands and it flew to the floor outside the cage. Cole said Bayley’s security blanket was just taken out of play. Banks applied an early Bank Statement. Bayley bit her hand and dropped to the floor. Sasha went after her, but Bayley shoved her hard into the cage. Bayley jabbed a table at Sasha at ringside. Sasha landed a meteora into the cage, then a standard one inside the ring for a two count. Graves said Sasha almost made Bayley look like the Play-Do spaghetti factory through the Cell.
Sasha slid two kendo sticks into holes in the steps and then the Cell, creating a bridge of sorts. She tried to suplex Bayley on them, but Bayley countered and then sent Sasha head first into the sticks. Bayley got in some sustained offense and seemed frustrated she couldn’t finish Sasha. Sasha sunset powerbombed Bayley off the ring apron into the side of the Cell. Back in the ring, she scored a near fall on Bayley. Bayley sunset flipped Sasha into a chair wedged between the turnbuckles in the ring for another near fall.
Bayley eventually duct taped two kendo sticks together and bridged them between the fence and the ring. It was comically inept looking. Cole said, within ear shot of Bayley, “I still don’t know what she’s trying to do.” Bayley heard it. Funny. Sasha then sprayed Bayley with a fire extinguisher. Bayley reached out the gap in the door and pulled a chair into the ring from just outside. Sasha aggressively went after Bayley before she could utilize it. She hit another meteora against Bayley in the corner of the Cell. Back in the ring, Sasha bashed Bayley across her back over and over with the kendo stick while trash-talking her. Sasha went for a top rope splash, but Bayley lifted the chair onto her. Both were hurt from the impact.
Bayley bridged a ladder over two chairs in the ring. Sasha tried to fight back, but Bayley dropped her face-first onto the ladder. She put Bayley on her back on the ladder, then spray painted a black “X” over her chest. Bayley picked up the chair and leaped off the second rope, but Sasha moved. Bayley sold a rib injury from the chair jabbing her. Banks hit another meteora and then a Bayley-to-Belly onto the ladder for a believable near fall. Graves said it could have been poetic justice, but it wasn’t meant to be. Bayley came back with her own Bayley-to-Belly. She went for another, chair in hand, but Sasha countered into a Bank Statement with Bayley’s head in the chair. She was stomping on the chair as she held on. Bayley tapped out. Graves said the one title that eluded Sasha eludes her no more.
WINNER: Sasha Banks in 27:00 to capture the Smackdown Title. (****1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. Dramatic. Violent without seeming to go too far where the big spots stopped really resonating or counting.)
-Charly Caruso asked who they’ve selected to represent the Hurt Business in a singles match against a member of Retribution, after Mustafa Ali challenged them to a match during the Kickoff Show. Shelton Benjamin selected Slapjack to represent Retribution. MVP said they are driven by profit, but they are also driven by their intense passion for inflicting excruciating pain. He said Lashley is prepared to make it a U.S. Title match. Lashley said he’s heading to the ring, waiting for Retribution.
(5) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. SLAPJACK – U.S. Title match
Lashley dominated early. Slapjack got in some offense before Lashley won with a spinebuster and the Hurt Lock.
WINNER: Lashley in 4:00. (*)
-After the match, Mace and T-Barr attacked Lashley as Mustafa Ali stood on the ring apron. The rest of Hurt Business ran to the ring. Ali scurried to the floor and regrouped with his Retribution mates.
-A video package aired on the Drew McIntyre-Randy Orton saga.
(6) DREW MCINTYRE vs. RANDY ORTON – WWE Title match inside Hell in a Cell
As Drew made his way to the ring, Orton snuck up behind him. Drew saw him and they battled at ringside before getting inside the Cell. Orton threw Drew into the announce desk and against the outside of the cage. Drew threw Orton into the Cell, then closed the door. The ref locked the cage and called for the bell. Drew nodded as he looked at Orton in the ring. He said, “Now you belong to me.” Drew took it to Orton for several minutes with an intense, methodical beatdown. He hit Orton with the ringside steps, then said, “You chose this. You chose this match!” Orton ducked when Drew threw the steps his way. He rolled into the ring. Drew followed. He kneeled in the corner and then charged with a Claymore Kick in mind. Orton moved and then smashed Orton’s leg with the chair. Then he jabbed Drew with the chair, smashed it across his back, and finally shoved the chair onto the jaw of Drew. Drew yelled in pain. Orton put Drew’s head against the steps and stomped on him. He trash-talked him and then headbutted him at the first hint of a comeback. He shoved Drew into the ringside steps.
Several minutes later Drew made a comeback with a dropkick. He kipped up and lifted Orton. Orton slipped free and rolled to the floor. Orton threw Drew into the fence. Drew overhead-tossed Orton into a table at ringside against the fence. A “This is awesome!” chant was piped in. Orton was down and slow to get up. Drew crawled over and brought Orton into the ring. Orton gave Drew a kick to the crotch and a draping DDT for a one count. Orton pulled a chain cutter out from under the ring. (Boy is it stupid those were under there.) Orton snipped the chain to get out. Joe said, “Like any great general, if you don’t like the battlefield, change it.” Orton began walking to the back as the ref told him to get back inside. Drew ran and attacked Orton from behind. He threw him into the barricade, then fought up the ramp and back to ringside. Orton reverse-whipped Drew into the cage door. Orton gazed up to the top of the Cell. Then he climbed to the roof. Drew looked up at Orton and smiled and nodded. “This is how we’re going to finish?” he said. The ref told them to bring into the ring. Instead, Drew climbed to the top.
The fought on top of the Cell. Orton had enough and began crawling down the side of the cage. Drew followed along side of him. They stood on the mid-rail of the Cell and exchanged strikes. Orton knocked Drew off the Cell wall and he landed on the announce table below. The director somehow missed the shot. (How does that happen?) They showed the very very end of Drew landing on the floor. Drew was bleeding from his mouth. Orton climbed down and admired his work. Orton stood over Drew as Drew crawled and coughed around the perimeter of the Cell structure. They went to a replay of the landing from four angles. Orton helped Drew get into the Cell. Joe said Orton knows what he has to do in order to secure a victory.
Drew surprised Orton with a backslide for a two count. Then he surged and nailed a Claymore to knock him out of the ring to the floor. Drew lifted Orton and threw him back into the ring. Drew waited for Orton to stand, then charged with a Claymore Kick, but Orton ducked and hit an RKO for the win. Phillips said Orton has tied Triple H for the most WWE Title victories in WWE history with 14. Orton looked at Drew from the stage. Drew looked back at Orton and appeared emotionally choked up over the loss.
WINNER: Orton in 31:00 to capture the WWE Title. (***1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Interesting. I didn’t expect an Orton win. I’m curious what this leads to. The match itself was pretty slow for the first two-thirds, but the trip to the roof and the drama at the end with a surprise finish helped elevate it. It still was too long and pretty plodding.)