This Week in WWE – Hell in a Cell 2016

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Hell in a Cell 2016 featured a Triple Main Event! Find out what we thought about the Raw Women’s Championship Match inside the cell and so much more inside!

It’s a tough thing to have a pay-per-view with three main event matches with the same stipulation. The crowd can get burned out easily when watching three matches that are essentially very much the same. The way that WWE combats this is by constructing each match differently. They did that successfully last night and it started with Roman Reigns and Rusev.

Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE United States Championship – Roman Reigns (c) vs. Rusev

Roman Reigns and Rusev have had a pretty lengthy feud full of a lot of hard-hitting action and some good matches. Their match last night was no exception. These two went on first and I think that was a good decision. The United States Championship is easily the third most important championship on Raw currently. A lot of the reasoning for that is how incredible the feud between Sasha and Charlotte has been over the Raw Women’s Championship. Reigns and Rusev were able to set the pace for the other two cell matches, but more importantly differentiated themselves from those matches.

I was pleased with what Roman and Rusev were able to accomplish inside the cell. They were given ample time to go out there and have a really brutal match. These two used all kinds of weapons and ended up beating each other all over the ring. These two mean always have brutal matches and this night was no different.

I felt like the end sequence to this match was really creative. Rusev had The Accolade locked in with a steel chain in Roman’s mouth. Reigns managed to get out of it and hit a Samoan Drop onto the steel steps. Reigns then speared Rusev off the steel steps and got the three-count. 

I’m ready for this feud to be over now after this cell match. Reigns and Rusev have run their course and I don’t think there’s a whole lot more this feud can accomplish. I maintain that Rusev deserves a bit more than the mid-card and I’d like to see him get into the Universal Championship picture. It looks like Reigns is going in that direction according to his comments on Raw Talk after Hell in a Cell, though. Either man deserves to be in that title hunt and it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.

Bayley vs. Dana Brooke

I’ve been a vocal supporter of Dana Brooke lately. Not everything she does is gold, but I really can see the effort that she puts in in every facet of her character. Dana has a ton of personality and is one of the women that can benefit a lot from increased exposure like she’s been getting since debuting on the main roster. Dana is very polarizing, some people love here and some hate her and that’s why I think she has a lot of potential to be very successful.

Last night at Hell in a Cell, Dana battled Bayley in a fairly one-sided match. Dana dominated Bayley and went after her injured right arm. It was the first match that I can remember where I’ve thought of Dana as a legitimate threat. That’s no knock on Dana, it’s simply how she was booked for a long time. It was a case of waiting for an opportunity which she has found with Bayley. 

Bayley did end up getting the victory last night and it actually accomplished quite a bit. Bayley got a quick win at the end after barely getting any offense in during the match. This went with her underdog character and it allowed her to be considered for the Raw Women’s Championship. Even though Dana lost, she was able to look strong for the entire match while getting beaten at the very end. This allowed the feud to continue, or it created the possibility of Dana going on to a new opponent to which she looks more legitimate.

I’m looking towards a Dana/Sasha feud and a Charlotte/Bayley feud coming out of this.

Enzo/Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson

This was a battle of two very misused tag teams on Raw. I’ve been incredibly frustrated over the use of both teams in the last month or so. Big Cass and Enzo went from one of the most over teams in WWE to being glorified jobbers. Anderson and Gallows came in with big fanfare and just can’t seem to catch on with the casual fans no matter what they do.

Enzo and Big Cass took the loss last night and in pretty convincing fashion. I have a sneaking suspicion that eventually Cass is going to turn heel on Enzo and this team is going to break up. It may not be soon, but I feel like Enzo takes the pin almost every time that team loses. I’m sure Enzo and Cass have a lot of mileage left, but things really need to turn around in a hurry for them.

Anderson and Gallows have fared slightly better lately, but I still feel like they need to show more. This team hasn’t been booked like the legitimately tough team that they had the reputation of being in Japan. This is a creative decision that needs to be made to make these guys meaningful again. I personally think they’re a great team and that they should have beaten The New Day for the tag titles, but instead that never happened and they’ve been directionless since.  I hope to see both teams thrive in the very near-future.

WWE Universal Championship – Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins

I didn’t know quite what to expect from these two inside the cell. Both men are known to pull out all the stops and that was exactly what they did last night. 

Kevin Owens exploited the back of Seth for most of the beginning of the match and there were some memorable dives and a table spot where Kevin went through two tables at ringside. The turning point of the match was Owens spraying the referee with a fire extinguisher causing them to open the cell door allowing Chris Jericho to lock himself inside with Rollins and Owens. Owens ended up successfully defending the title with a Pop-Up Powerbomb through two chairs. Rollins then received a Codebreaker after the match from Jericho for good measure.

This match was full of action and it had a lot of cool moments. It’s hard to innovate on a match that has been contested so many times, but these two guys did what they could to entertain and it ended up being a really good match. 

The whole Jericho interference thing was a bit expected and I almost wish they wouldn;t have taken that route, but he continued his brilliance. Jericho didn’t play a huge factor in the match, but having him out there and being a threat gave the match a different feel. I think this match was only the beginning for Rollins and Owens.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship – TJ Perkins (c) vs. Brian Kendrick

There’s not much to say about these two. I’ve assumed after the past few weeks that Brian Kendrick was going to steal the Cruiserweight Championship and that’s exactly what he managed to do at Hell in a Cell. Kendrick faked an injury, hit TJP with a headbutt, and locked in the Captain’s Hook for the victory.

I feel that these two should continue their feud until at least Survivor Series. It’s been great to see Raw investing time in a good personal story between these two men that makes these flashy matches mean something. I fully believe that Kendrick could hold this title a long time. Brian seems more motivated than ever right now and is as good as he’s ever been.

Cesaro/Sheamus vs. The New Day

I feel like Raw is blatantly copying Slater and Rhyno on SmackDown by making an odd-couple Cinderella story, but with enemies instead of friends. I’m just not into this storyline, these guys both deserve a better spot in the company. For what it’s worth, Cesaro had the match won with Woods tapping in the ring, but Sheamus was disqualified on the outside. 

I think we’ll ultimately see Cesaro and Sheamus win the titles and I just don’t see the value in that for anyone involved.

Raw Women’s Championship – Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte

Sasha Banks and Charlotte did something last night that no other woman in the history of wrestling can say. These two women not only main-evented a pay-per-view, but they became the first women to compete in a Hell in a Cell match. I can easily say that putting the women on last was the best decision of the night.

Sasha and Charlotte was my choice for match of the night. These two women did some insane things in and out of that cell and kept my attention for the entire match. The match started off with Sasha Banks being powerbombed through a table and creating a back injury. The match looked like it wouldn’t continue until Charlotte was about to be awarded the title by forfeit. Sasha then got up and started to fight for her life.

I hate the decision of the injury angle at the start of the match, but by the end, the story that they told was an incredible one that won’t soon be forgotten. Charlotte regained her championship after tossing Sasha across the ring onto the table and hitting Natural Selection.

It’s hard to put into words why this match was so good. Not everything was perfect, tables broke early or didn’t break at all, both women took a lot of punishment, and the match ended with a quick finisher. None of that mattered at the end of the day because the story was the highlight. It was Sasha losing in Boston after giving her all despite an injured back and Charlotte doing everything to regain what she lost. It’s rare to have a feud that has been so compelling the whole time, but this one was just that.

I think the Sasha Banks/Charlotte feud may finally be over, but these two certainly left behind one heck of an act to follow. These two women should be proud of everything that they accomplished. This has certainly been one of the best feuds in years.

Conclusion

Hell in a Cell 2016 really delivered. From top to bottom, I feel like this pay-per-view was worth the hype. The women lived up to the expectations and arguably exceeded both men’s cell matches. I cringe at these specialty events normally, but Raw really pulled it off.

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