Could it just be a coincidence that CM Punk is defending his WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell against Ryback, who could be described as a force of nature, on the same day that a hurricane is approaching the north-east? Of course it’s a coincidence. There isn’t even a remote connection. Still, it’s easily the most intriguing match up in an underwhelming PPV card.
Here is all you need to know about the pre-show. Dolph Ziggler went on TOUT and talked smack about John Cena. Cena responded by going in the ring and calling out Ziggler to fight it out. Vickie Guerrero comes out instead and distracts Cena so that Ziggler can sneak up from behind, but Cena saw it coming, nearly hit an AA but settled for clotheslining Dolph out of the ring. Essentially this means that there could be a Ziggler/Cena program in the works, headed by Raw managing whatever the hell she is Vickie Guerrero pulling the strings with the while AJ scandal.
Michael Cole opens up the show by calling it the once a year Pay Per View known as Hell in a Cell. I must have been confusing it with all of the PPV’s that happen every two months.
The first match of the night is also the most thrown together. Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton are facing each other because why not? Jim Ross said that Orton without gold is like seeing him naked, and seeing a grown man naked is not his kind of night. I didn’t need to know that at all. It’s all Orton early, including picking up JBL’s cowboy hat after it fell off the announce table. Del Rio then begins working Orton’s left arm. Cole said the locker room expects Del Rio to win. So? I never hear Joe Buck talk about who the other teams think will win the World Series. Such an odd way to push a story through. Orton starts selling the arm injury and Del Rio applies the armbreaker but Orton reaches the ropes quickly. I’m sensing a match dominated by Del Rio but that Orton wins anyway with an out of nowhere RKO. Del Rio is countering all of Orton’s signature moves and taunting Randy the whole way. Del Rio went a step too far though when he attempted an RKO. Orton escaped and turned it into a second rope DDT. Orton then goes for the RKO (still selling the arm) but Del Rio got out. Alberto then goes to the top rope but looks to lose his balance (not on purpose) and we get a very awkward sequence ending in an Orton dropkick. Del Rio again escapes the RKO and sends Orton into the corner, where Ricardo Rodriguez pulls Randy’s shoulder into the post, quickly followed by an armbreaker. After fighting it off for a while Orton managed to roll up Del Rio, forcing him to release the hold to avoid being pinned. Alberto then goes for an insiguri kick to the head, but Orton moves away and hits an RKO on the way down (there it is) to get the win by pinfall. Decent match. A little sloppy and way too predictable though.
Backstage, Vickie is saying that she has pictures to prove that Cena and AJ had an affair, while Paul Heyman is still trying to get Guerrero to cancel the Ryback match. Vickie isn’t budging (even though it wasn’t her match) but Heyman looks to be wearing her down.
Tag team titles on the line next. Is Daniel Bryan the only face that has ever ripped fans signs? He doesn’t even make it to the ring this time before Kane’s music hit. Sandow and Rhodes (in his home town of Atlanta) declare that at the end of the match “WE, are the tag team champions!” (Get it?) Again, Cole goes to a poll of the locker room that says Team Hell No will win. I hope this doesn’t become a thing. Kane and Bryan act like a real team early on, and do well until the Rhodes Scholars start quick tagging and chopping down Kane. It’s interesting that Kane is the one taking the bumps while Bryan eventually gets the hot tag. Bryan does a backflip off the top turnbuckle (which is turning into a signature move) and starts delivering kicks to Sandow’s chest and clears the ring. It’s only when Rhodes causes a distraction that Sandow gets the momentum back. We’re back to the familiar formula now. A Bryan toe drag on Sandow gives the opportunity for Kane to get the hot tag this time and he makes Rhodes his whipping boy. With Cody down, Kane sets up for the chokeslam but Bryan tags himself in (uh oh) and hits a headbutt off the top rope. He goes for the cover but Kane pull him up after just a two count and they start arguing. Eventually Sandow pulls Kane outside and Bryan throws Cody over the top rope. Bryan then lines up Rhodes for a flying knee outside the ring, but Cody moves away and Bryan hits Kane instead (UH OH!) and they go back to arguing. Now the Rhodes Scholars take out Kane and get Bryan back in the ring. Rhodes hits the Cross Rhodes on Daniel but Kane breaks up the pin. Kane, not the legal man, then takes all of his aggression on Rhodes and Sandow, resulting in Team Hell No being disqualified. They hold on to the titles but Kane an Bryan still can’t stop arguing. It’s a shame because the match was pretty good, and it shows how well it can work when Kane and Bryan work together.
Time for the Miz to get his rematch for the Intercontinental Championship against Kofi Kingston. This could be the match that steals the show. It’s been a well developed story that has already produced a couple of good matches. The pace starts fast which both men missing attempts at their finishers. They also repeated the spot from Main Event where Kofi avoided the steel steps by jumping over them, only this time Miz met Kofi with a boot to the face when he tried to go back to attack him. Kofi again tries to land Trouble in Paradise, but Miz sees it coming and escapes the ring. Miz then goes for a back breaker but it’s reversed into an SOS for a two count. Kofi then goes for a kick against the ropes but Miz catches him and injures Kofi’s leg, and Kingston sells it hard. He looks like he just got put in a bear trap. Miz exploits the injury, including taking off Kofi’s knee pads. Miz then applies a leg lock in the middle of the ring. Kofi almost reaches the ropes but Miz pulls him back in the middle, only for Kofi to roll up Miz to break it up. Could this also end like the Orton/Del Rio match, replacing the RKO with TIP? Miz tried to go for a Skull Crushing Finale three times but Kofi kept slipping out, eventually hitting a Trouble in Paridise with his good leg (told ya) to retain the title. Not the show stopper I was hoping for, but still enough for match of the night so far. Say what you want about Kofi, but between the Tag Titles and his current IC run, he’s had a belt around his waste for most of the last year. Afterwards he would call the new side of him that Miz unleashed, the wildcat. T-shirts coming to WWE.com?
Backstage, Kane and Bryan are still arguing about the match. Ready for the Halloween jokes? Kane says Bryan was too busy thinking about all the vegan candy he wasn’t going to get for Halloween. Bryan replies by saying that the guy that wears a mask 365 days a year is not going to talk to him about Halloween. An old McDonald reference later and we’re still not sure who the tag team champions is.
Back at ringside, Justin Gabriel is getting a United States title shot after beating Antonio Cesaro last week on Raw. Cesaro starts beating down Gabriel early, just like the last two weeks on Raw. He’s pulling ears, putting fingers in Justin’s mouth, the whole nine yards. Eventually Gabriel and his stupid hair get going, starting with a kick to the head and ending with essentially a lionsault off the top rope. Gabriel goes for the 450 splash again but Cesaro rolls away. Justin has Cesaro on the ropes when he jumps over the top rope to attack Gabriel outside the ring. Antonio instead meets him with an upper cut, knocking him out cold. Neutralizer and match over. Solid mid card match, and if they play their cards right they can have two strong performers in Gabriel and Cesaro.
Because they have to be here, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara team up again to face the Prime Time Players. I actually didn’t know that until their music hit, but I guessed because who else could they possibly face? Aside from Titus O’Neil being an absolute beast, there isn’t much to say about this match. It’s not bad. There just isn’t anything sticking out to me. Like every other match they have had, Sin Cara starts to get beaten to a pulp while Mysterio awaits the hot tag. O’Neil asks Sin Cara if he wants to speak english. This is the best part of the match. Titus lines up in a three point stance and runs at Sin Cara in the corner, but Sin Cara moves and O’Neil finds nothing but the ring post. Cue the hot tag and here comes Mysterio. Sin Cara hits Titus outside the ring, Mysterio lands a 619 on Young, and it’s the same match you seen a hundred times by now. That seems to be a theme so far in this Pay Per View. It can’t be helped by everything on the card so far being a rematch. This is where Sheamus/Big Show and Punk/Ryback have the most appeal.
Speaking of which, it’s now time for the punch versus the kick showdown between Big Show and Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship. I wonder how many letters had to come in to finally make them change the name of the WMD to the KO Punch? They had to know it was near the line when they started it right? Could it have anything to do with the election? They should check with the locker room on that subject. The theme is Sheamus trying to overpower Big Show and Show having none of it. Meanwhile Dolph Ziggler is backstage watching on TV. He had no match tonight and guaranteed he’d cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase after the match. Remember all those Big Show/John Cena matches? It’s a lot like that. Show chopped Sheamus in the beginning of the match and several minutes later there is a big hand print and possibly a small amount of blood. This is the same thing that happened to me when I got chopped by Greg “The Hammer” Valentine at the New York Comic Con a couple of weeks ago. I still have a small bruise. Big Show is almost just toying with him at this point. Could this be another match where we get a finisher from the face out of nowhere? If that is the case then it would work out perfectly for Ziggler to cash in. Sheamus tried to run at Big Show but Show gave him his version of sweet chin music instead. Got his leg up pretty high. With Sheamus down Show did a splash from the second rope for a two count, then as Show was going for a chokeslam Sheamus hit a running DDT for his first real offense since the opening minutes. Then after Sheamus missed from the top rope, Big Show hit a chokeslam but Sheamus kicked out on two and a half. Gaining momentum again, Sheamus lands a flurry of running axe handles to finally put the Big Show on his back. He followed that with White Noise for a two count. He reportedly did it after Raw went off the air last week but it’s damn impressive to see. Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick but Big Show catches it and lands a KO Punch instead, but Sheamus kicked out on two. Huge pop from the crowd. Big Show prepares to land another KO Punch, but Sheamus ducks under it and lands a Brogue Kick. Big Show kicks out on two however and we’re at a stalemate. Now it’s Sheamus preparing to hit the Brogue Kick again. When he goes in however, Big Show swerves to the side and lands a second KO Punch, and this time gets the pin to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Fantastic match. It could have gone either way and both men put on a great show. Wisely, no Ziggler appearance.
Backstage Santino and Zack Ryder were acting like idiots, and I wouldn’t even mention it if Ron Simmons didn’t come out of nowhere and yell DAMN!. Meanwhile Vince McMahon is in the house and CM Punk is demanding that he call of the match with Ryback. Obviously that doesn’t work.
Eve defended the Divas championship in a triple threat match against Layla and Kaitlyn. Eve basically got double teamed until Layla tried to pin Kaitlyn and then it was every woman for herself. With Layla and Eve alone in the ring they finally did the spot where Eve threw Layla’s leg out to get her in a split, only for Layla to return the favor so that they are both in splits. Kaitlyn ruined the whole thing by smashing their heads together, but it’s still the coolest thing you can see in a Diva’s match. JBL said he can’t tell any of the ladies apart. Nailed it. Kaitlyn knocks out Layla but Eve breaks up the pin by doing a front flip off the second rope (even though she completely missed both of them) and pinned Layla to retain the title. Then everyone came back from the bathroom for the main event.
But first, backstage Big Show is challenging anyone to try to take his title and that all the 45 second talk is over, while Sheamus is being examined by a doctor. Could Sheamus be taking a little hiatus? WWE better hope not.
NOW on to the main event. Punk comes out already looking psyched out. He gets a handshake and a hug from Paul Heyman before going in. Ryback comes in, to Goldberg chants, in Atlanta where WCW and Goldberg made their mark. Coincidence? The match starts with Punk avoiding getting near Ryback at all costs. This can also be referred to as padding. After a chop by Punk, Ryback starts to do his thing. Kicks to the head and tossing Punk around the ring like a local athlete. Ryback just watches as Punk tries to escape the cell before throwing him in the gate. Goldberg chants getting a little louder. Punk hides under the ring and Heyman pleads with Ryback to show mercy. This gives Punk enough time to get a fire extinguisher, which he uses to first spray Ryback in the face before going on the offensive. Punk takes Ryback down and grabs a steel chair, but Ryback kicks it into Punk’s face and throws the chair away. Back in the ring, Punk dodges the big clothesline from Ryback and then takes him down again with a springboard clothes line. Punk then hits a pair of double axe handles from the top rope, and after having the third one blocked he lands a running high leg. With Ryback outside the ring, Punk dives through the ropes to drive Ryback into the cell, followed by a neckbreaker. Ryback reverses out of another neckbreaker, but when he attempts to spear Punk, Punk moves and Ryback goes into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Ryback again misses a spear, this time going into the ring post. Signature move time for Punk. High knee in the corner, clothesline, flying elbow. Punk then gets the kendo stick from under the ring and goes to work on Ryback. Ryback no sells the stick though and starts hitting Punk with clotheslines and power moves of his own. It just occurred to me that Ziggler may not have specifies who he would cash in the briefcase on. I know each case was supposed to be specific to each show, but it’s not like they can’t change the rules. Well forget any of what I just said. Ryback hits the meat hook clothesline and puts Punk up for Shellshock, but all of a sudden the referee, the same one who called the Punk and Cena controversial finish, hits Ryback with a low blow. Punk rolls up Ryback while the ref holds him down as well and quick counts to retain the title for Punk. My mind is blown. They both try to escape the cell, but the ref outside can’t get the cell unlocked fast enough. Ryback gets up and takes out Punk, then attacks the ref, throwing him into the fence. He then chases Heyman away and keeps Punk from heading up the ramp with him. He throws him into the fence, but Punk jumps up and starts climbing to the top of the cell. This could get good. Ryback goes after him and the crowd is all about it. Ryback lands Shellshocked on top of the cell. The show ends with Ryback on top of the cell and a “Feed me more” chant coming from the crowd.
Not exactly the most memorable Hell in a Cell match but what a finish. Punk took just a many bumps from Ryback as anyone else and made him look pretty good in the process. Ryback meanwhile took as much punishment as he could realistically take, even though most of it was his own doing. Overall I think they made the most out of a tough situation. I have to think that this would have been the finish even if Cena was in the match. The story with the ref really would have come full circle. My main question now is where do they go from here. With a heel GM (excuse me, managing supervisor) in Vickie Guerrero, there is no guarantee that the rematch happens now, but you also can’t have Ryback just beat on jobbers again. He’s big time. Not the best PPV but it could have been worse. The Big Show/Sheamus match was the clear highlight of the card for me, and I wonder now when Dolph will ever be able to cash in his briefcase. He’s not going to attack a heel champion, is he? As always, we’ll just have to watch Raw and hope for the best.