Hell in a Cell. It has provided some of the greatest moments in WWE history… But this is the PG era. Can a PG Hell in the Cell live up to the bloodier brawls of the past? The opening promo wants us to believe Hell in a Cell is a demonic, possibly even sentient construct. It’s a brand new cell and it’s certainly big. But it seems cleaner, less rough around the edges. Like it wouldn’t hurt that much to hit it. I guess they wanted to reduce the odds of unintentional cuts since it would be weird to stop a Hell in a Cell match to patch a cut.
Our opening contest is a Triple Threat Submission match for the United States Championship. John Morrison comes out first and there’s no sign of a heel turn as he gives his sunglasses to a small child in the audience. The champion comes out next, which is still wrong. Miz is last so he can get on the mic before the match. Well, no point in having Miz on a PPV and not letting him talk. Miz claims to have been the mentor of both of them. Without him they’d be nobodies. Without them he’s still be a star because he has the “It factor.” The last guy who claimed that was David Otunga. That’s not good company to be in.
The match features very little in the way of alliances. If you like submission wrestling this is a great match. These guys bust out some old school moves. The problem is Striker calls everything as a “variation” of a move. I think Matt Striker even refers to one as the Haas of Pain. Didn’t think Charlie Haas would get a shout out from WWE any time soon. It’s also nice that everyone involved remembers if there are no disqualifications there are no rope breaks. Bryan busts out Cattle Mutilation which leads more annoying banter from the three-man announce team of Cole, Striker and the King. I keep trying to hear what they call John Morrison’s training technique. Wikipedia is no help but it sounds like “harcore.”
They fight all over the arena and use the arena environment to their advantage. At one point Miz locks a hold on Morrison while Morrison is threaded through the metal railing on the steps. The action eventually winds up near the entrance ramp. Miz uses a rolling stagehand’s equipment box, the same type they always use at the end of NXT obstacle courses. Bryan tries for the LaBell lock at every opportunity. Miz hits a Skull Crushing Finale on Morrison to the concrete floor. A DDT on the floor once took people out for months. Now people shrug off finishers on the outside. Who says people were tougher in the old days?
Morrison Spidermans the lighting grid onto the decorative cell wall beside the entrance ramp. The Splash he hits on both men from about twelve feet in the air prompts a “That was awesome” chant from the crowd. Morrison traps Miz in a Texas Cloverleaf a Dean Malenko shout out! But Miz’s apprentice, Alex Reilly, runs out and takes Morrison out. That opens up Bryan to lock the LaBell lock on The Miz on the entrance ramp. Miz holds out longer than you’d expect, but taps out to give Bryan the title. Alex Cole finally admits that Daniel Bryan is for real, but he still thinks he’s a nerd. Absolutely awesome opener. Fired up the crowd and gave them something to pop for.
I don’t want to see Legendary. Screw off.
Next up we go into a Hell in a Cell already as Sheamus and Randy Orton lock up for the WWE Championship. As I feared, the cell really isn’t menacing anymore. It looks pliant and clean-edged. I’ve seen baseball diamonds I’d be more scared to be thrown into. To make up for it the pair has to use both ring steps as weapons. That ramps up the macho factor a little. But mostly the match is a long running brawl, which I consider the most boring style of wrestling. Orton takes damage to the ribs early on and it becomes the story of the match. Sheamus exposes a turnbuckle but, as is often the case, it comes back to bite him in the arm. At the end Sheamus brings the ring steps into the ring and it backfires again. Orton Scoop Slams him onto the steps. That’s only good enough for a two. Sheamus finally succeeds in using a weapon as he whacks Orton a few times with a steel chair.
Orton finally hits his RKO, but Sheamus manages to roll out of the ring. Sheamus dodges the punt and hits another Brogue Kick but, again, outside the ring. He gets two but, in the end, Mr. Orton delivers his initials onto the steel steps. 1… 2… 3! Orton retains. This was an okay match, especially for second on the card, but it really didn’t need to be a Hell in a Cell match. The ring steps and exposed turnbuckle mattered more than the cell. This could have been an No-Disqualification match and worked just as well. Do we need to have two Hell in a Cell matches on one show? Even if the show is called Hell in a Cell? Sheamus has become a credible main eventer and Orton is mad over. Pity they drew the short straw of importance on this Pay Per View. Orton delivers a better spot after the match when he climbs the outside of the cell, about twenty feet up, and parades the title on top of the steel structure.
Keep your useless NXT Divas off my PPV. NXT scares them off. Is this supposed to be a face turn. We’re reminded that if the other members of Nexus get involved in any way Cena wins.
Did you think Alberto Del Rio wouldn’t be on the PPV? Here comes the Mexican JBL right now. Jerry Lawler used to at least be a dirty old man. Now he just makes weak puns. Del Rio runs down Mysterio and Christian so it’s odd that it’s Edge who interrupts. Rumors are going around that Edge is not only turning face again but going to Smackdown to bolster it after the SyFy move. Edge isn’t the best face, but Smackdown does need a new on at the main event level. Edge continues his campaign against stupidity. A Chihuahua in a mask? Stupid. A scarf the size of a blanket? Stupid. Don’t tell Tom Baker that! The little wink? Stupid. Edge is still acting like a heel. Than again so is Randy Orton and they cheer him. Edge does seem to be getting some face heat here.
Just when we are about to get a fight Jack Swagger shows up. He’s mad at Edge over Spearing his Eagle mascot. Swagger has to point out it’s a real person inside that suit and demand Edge pay his medical bills. Edge gets brave but Del Rio ambushes him and Swagger attack. The E-GM ping goes off and the anonymous General Manager’s new computer tells Michael Cole that Edge will apologize tomorrow on RAW. And face Jack Swagger right now. Impromptu match!
Edge starts hurt so he’s at the disadvantage throughout. Again, face style booking. It’s odd but after two gimmick matches in a row it’s already odd to see things like rope breaks and count outs again. Swagger eventually gets the Ankle Lock cinched in. I hate when a wrestler grabs the rope, then gets pulled off, and the ref doesn’t still force a break. Edge rolls through the ankle lock anyway and hits a Spear for a win! So far tonight all the matches have been given plenty of time and none of them have been bad.