411’s Instant Access 10.27.13: WWE Hell in a Cell 2013
Posted by Scott Slimmer on 10.28.2013
Randy Orton won the WWE Championship. John Cena won the World Heavyweight Championship. CM Punk won a Hell in a Cell Match. And despite all that, it was till a couple of grandsons of a plumber who stole the show.
Hey kids, I'm Scott, and this is 411's Instant Access: WWE Hell in a Cell 2013. Instant Access is the companion piece to 411 Live Pay-Per-View Coverage and features immediate reaction to wrestling pay-per-views. The focus in Instant Access is on first thoughts and initial reactions instead of play-by-play with the goal of providing you with instant access to one TWO writers' thoughts on the show. Here's the team for Hell in a Cell:
Okay kids, enough with the explanations. Let's get to the wrestling.
Kick-Off Show Match Kofi Kingston vs. Damien Sandow
Match Result: Damien Sandow defeats Kofi Kingston with the You're Welcome! Match Length: 6:52 Match Analysis: Slimmer: Another fairly solid Kickoff Show match from two guys who are essentially treading water right now. Kingston and Sandow worked well together in the ring, but you can only become so invested in match that WWE feels isn't important enough to be on the main card. This match served its purpose tonight, but I wonder how well it really served Kingston and Sandow in the long run. Match Rating: Slimmer: **
Triple Threat WWE Tag Team Championship Match Cody Rhodes & Goldust (Champions) vs. The Shield vs. The Usos
Match Result: Cody Rhodes defeats Seth Rollins with Cross Rhodes. Match Length: 14:38 Match Analysis: Slimmer: In a strange way, this was the match that I was looking forward to more than any other on the card, including the two Hell in a Cell matches. The Rhodes family captures something magical last month at Battleground, and I couldn't wait to see what they could do on PPV as the Tag Team Champions. I've been a big fan of the Usos for quite some time, so I was also excited to see what they could add to the very compelling dynamic that the Rhodes and the Shield set up last month. The result was one hell of a tag team match – possibly one of the best we've seen in WWE in years. It has fantastic in-ring action, and the story of the reunited Rhodes brothers really provided it with a solid emotional foundation. Of particular note is the fact that Goldust is 16 YEARS OLDER than everyone else in the match, but you totally couldn't tell it by his performance tonight. Goldust isn't just a nostalgia act – he's still a top notch in-ring performer. And then there was Cody's superplex to Seth Rollins to the outside. I legitimately can't even remember seeing that spot before, and that's something you hardly ever get to say after you've been watching professional wrestling for as long as most of us have. Given that Cody Rhodes & Goldust retained tonight, I tend to believe the rumor that they'll hold the belts until the Royal Rumble, when Goldust will turn on Cody to set up a match at WrestleMania. Given how compelling the Rhodes family story has been over the past few months, I can't wait to see what they'll be able to do on the Road to WrestleMania. Benjamin: Loving the theme for Team Rhodes Ballers. This was a great choice to open the show. These guys got some legit main event level pops for the near falls. I think Rollins may be better than Kurt Angle when it comes to kicking out at 2.9999. This was as good as tag wrestling gets toward the end. They really built up the near falls and had me jumping off the couch. The elevated Samoan Drop and the superplex to the outside were BRILLIANTLY executed. They took advantage of the no DQ stipulation perfect. Not with garbage trash can shots but with some good, honest psychology concerning no count outs. Every time you're about to complain about Cross Rhodes, remember how it's been executed on able bodied wrestlers since his return. He's been really hitting that thing good. Rollins being on the receiving end obviously helps out too. All in all, this was a great opener that most of the matches probably can't follow. Match Rating: Slimmer: **** Benjamin: **** Average Match Rating: ****
Mixed Tag Team Match The Great Khali & Natalya w/ Hornswoggle vs. Fandango & Summer Rae
Match Result: Summer Rae defeats Natalya with a roll-up pin. Match Length: 4:39 Match Analysis: Slimmer: Well, the good news for the Divas Division is that this was one of those rare mixed tag team matches in which the Divas outperformed the Superstars. We all know that Natalya is solid in the ring, but Summer Rae look surprisingly passable, especially for her first PPV match. I doubt this feud will continue much beyond tonight, but I would be interested to see Summer Rae in a few singles matches. Benjamin: The Miz/Wyatt Family angle was redeemed in large by Kane who made a killer return. Him chokeslamming Miz when he was done with Harper and Rowan was the right choice. This crowd is hot for everything so far but they still didn't give a shit about Miz. The mixed tag match wasn't good, bad, or average. Everything was "fine" but I'd never watch it again. There was no need to get either of the four competitors on the card. Match Rating: Slimmer: ¾* Benjamin: ¾* Average Match Rating: ¾ *
United States Championship Match Dean Ambrose (Champion) vs. Big E. Langston
Match Result: Big E. Langston defeats Dean Ambrose via count-out. Match Length: 8:43 Match Analysis: Slimmer: Big E. Langston was supposed to challenge Curtis Axel for the Intercontinental Championship tonight, but that match had to be scrapped due to an undisclosed injury to Axel. That led to this somewhat impromptu match for the United States Championship. The crowd was DEAD for this match, which is unfortunate, because the match was better than the crowd would have you believe. It started a bit slow, but there was some impressive physicality being delivered by the end. Big E. got a nasty gut under his right eye, and the big spear to the floor isn't the king of spot you usually see in an impromptu match like this. With Curtis Axel possibly on the shelf for a while, I'd have no problem with Big E. continuing to chase Ambrose's United States Championship for a while. Benjamin: Ambrose vs. Langston happened and much like the crowd, it didn't really hold my attention. Langston looked good, Ambrose looked good, the match was just there though. The action never got out of second gear and count out finishes are never fun to see on PPV. Had they been given a definitive finish to work towards, I think they could have done a lot better. Match Rating: Slimmer: **¼ Benjamin: ** Average Match Rating: **¼
Two-On-One Handicap Hell in a Cell Match CM Punk vs. Ryback & Paul Heyman
Match Result: CM Punk defeats Ryback with the Go-To-Sleep. Match Length: 13:48 Match Analysis: Slimmer: CM Punk is just about my favorite wrestler on the planet, but even I have to admit that his ongoing feud with the Heyman guys really isn't setting the world on fire. Punk and Brock had a great match at Survivor Series, but it's really all been downhill since then. The real problem is that Punk has really been feuding with Paul Heyman for the past few months, not Curtis Axel or Ryback. That makes Axel and Ryback seem like little more that hired hands, and it's difficult to become invested in their feuds. Luckily, Punk has now vanquished Axel, Ryback, and Heyman, so I think there's hope that he'll be able to move on to a new feud. Of course, given that it's almost November, WWE may want to have him keep treading water until the Royal Rumble and the Road to WrestleMania. I suppose I could see Punk and Ryback (and Axel if he's not still injured) as part of a traditional Survivor Series Match next month, and that would just leave Punk needed a match at TLC to carry him through until the Royal Rumble. Benjamin: They didn't deliver much more than they did in their singles match encounters in my opinion. Plunder doesn't make plodding better. The pacing was okay, but it wasn't enthralling. Ryback's offense just isn't interesting enough in the capacity that a main event heel needs to be. Punk eventually picks up the win and gets at Heyman on the top of the cell and that wasn't good enough. There's not a lot you can do with a non-wrestler on top of the cell. It didn't feel like the beating Heyman deserved after all of the buildup between the him and Punk. Don't get me wrong, everything was solid but it didn't feel like a good way to close the Heyman/Punk saga. Maybe it won't? At this point, I really hope this is the end though. Heyman has been cutting the same promo on Punk for months now. I don't think a new Heyman Guy could get me invested as much as I was during the initial MITB turn. Match Rating: Slimmer: *** Benjamin: *** Average Match Rating: ***
Los Matadores vs. The Real Americans w/ Zeb Colter
Match Result: Los Matadores defeats the Real Americans. Match Length: 5:34 Match Analysis: Slimmer: I know – I mean, I KNOW – that all four guys in this match can flat out go in the ring. I've seen them do it. And so I have no idea why this match felt so damn slow and uneventful. I suppose part of the problem might be the clash of styles between the quick, high-flying offense of Los Matadores and the more technical, strength-based offense of the Real Americans, but speed vs. strength is a classic in-ring storyline that has been done right on countless occasions in the past. I think the real problem here was that this was a thrown-together match with nowhere near the kind of emotional investment that was present in the opening match. Of course, related to the lack of emotional investment is the fact that both of these teams are sorta kinda comedy teams, but not really, at least not all of the time. They're not flat-out comedic jobbers like 3MB, but they're certainly not to be taken seriously in the same way that the Rhodes and the Shield are. Both of these teams are in a strange middle ground, and that led to a rather middling match. Benjamin: This felt like a Smackdown match. It was typical TV action that would have been just "okay" on Smackdown. It deserved being on the card far more than the mixed tag obviously, it still felt bellow PPV event standards. They built this up as a big show and proceeded to deliver a bunch of middling shit in between their main events. The biggest factor into my dislike for this match is that Los Matadores just aren't clicking with me. I'd rather sit through some Tons of Funk shenanigans for my fix of lighthearted baby faces. I can only pray that Los Matadors aren't taking the titles off Rollins and Reigns at this point as they slowly work their way up the ranks. Match Rating: Slimmer: *½ Benjamin: *½ Average Match Rating: *½
World Heavyweight Championship Match Alberto Del Rio (Champion) vs. John Cena
Match Result: John Cena defeats Alberto Del Rio with the Attitude Adjustment. Match Length: 15:04 Match Analysis: Slimmer: I don't think I've ever really climbed on the anti-Superman Cena bandwagon, but I don't really see any alternative at this point. I've been able to find some redeeming value in almost every Cena push and championship reign up to this point, but this one definitely has me boggled. It really does seem like WWE pushed the panic button and brought Cena back simply because they couldn't figure out what else to do with the World Heavyweight Championship, but that really has created more problems than it solved. First, big returns seem important at big shows like the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, but they seem decidedly less earth-shattering at a second tier PPV like Hell in a Cell. Second, due to the noted decline in prestige of the World Heavyweight Championship, it sorta seems like Cena is slumming it at this point. Settling for second best is a rather un-Superman Cena like decision. Finally, given that Cena left after defending and losing the WWE Championship to Daniel Bryan, and given that his final promo before leaving put over Daniel Bryan, and given that Cena is the upstanding bastion of all that is right in the WWE Universe, there's simply no way to explain why he would return to WWE and be content to challenge Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship while completely ignoring Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, and the entire WWE Championship debacle. This really was a case of WWE pulling either big pink Cena parachute and not giving a damn about anything else. We'll see where things go from here, but I'm definitely not too excited about the state of the big gold belt. Benjamin: They worked their match exactly how most of us expected them to. Cena was coming in off of an arm injury against the man that notoriously works over the arm in preparation for his finisher, so from a match psychology standpoint it was a perfect big time return match for Cena. He didn't have to go crazy with huge moves/spots but still managed to work an engaging match. He picked up the victory and walked away as champion which is the right call in my mind. I don't know their plans for Cena or the title moving on, but ADR just wasn't cutting it. They gave him every cheap heat trait in the book and couldn't buy boos for him. I'm sure we'll see a rematch next month with a stipulation, and that will be a good time for Sandow to cash in if they decide to pull the trigger. We got a good match that didn't disappoint. Match Rating: Slimmer: *** Benjamin: ***½ Average Match Rating: ***¼
Divas Championship Match AJ Lee (Champion) w/ Tamina Snuka vs. Brie Bella w/ Nikki Bella
Match Result: AJ Lee defeats Brie Bella with the Black Widow. Match Length: 4:47 Match Analysis: Slimmer: The Divas Division may not be getting better and better every month, but at least they're not losing ground like they were for so long. AJ and Brie work together reasonable well in the ring, and this was another in their series of inoffensive but forgettable matches. They're maintaining the status quo in the Divas Division, but is that good enough? When will someone come along to finally raise the bar? Benjamin: This was pretty similar to the match we saw on Smackdown two weeks ago. That's okay with me too. I'm not sure how long Brie could maintain working a match at this point. Brie (and Nikki) has come so far in the ring though. I really don't think the Bella Twins get the credit they deserve when it comes to their progression inside the ring. Brie's half crab looks pretty damn impressive as well. Match Rating: Slimmer: *¾ Benjamin: *½ Average Match Rating: *¾
Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship Special Guest Referee: Shawn Michaels Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
Match Result: Randy Orton defeats Daniel Bryan after Shawn Michaels delivers Sweet Chin Music to Bryan. Match Length: 21:44 Match Analysis: Slimmer: Bryan and Daniel actually had a fairly good in-ring match, but their efforts were overshadowed by two obvious factors. First, today's WWE will never allow the kind of brutal Hell in a Cell matches that we saw in the Attitude Era, and that always limits our ability to become invested in this era's HiaC matches. If we're not going to see blood, chair shots to the head, or dives from the top of the cell, then what really makes a HiaC match so special? That may sound cynical or even barbaric, but it's a question that needs to be asked. Second, it was hard to really care about the in-ring action in this match, because we all assumed that the finish would be decided by some sort of run-in, interference, or screw job. You tend to pay attention to every move in a match when you have some confidence that there will be a continuity of psychology that leads naturally to the finish of the match. In this case, it really kinds of seemed like Bryan and Orton were just biding their time until the big finish. In the end we got the screwy finish that man predicted, but I'm not even sure how screwy it was supposed to be. Did HBK really turn heel and screw over his protégé to help his best friend, or did he just snap when he saw his best friend attacked? We'll probably find out more on Raw, but the end result is what many predicted. Randy Orton is once again the face of the WWE, and my guess is that his next big challenge will come in the form or a rather angry giant. Of course, that leaves the question of whether Shawn Michaels' actions tonight will lead to an in-ring return, either against Daniel Bryan or possibly even Triple H. I suppose that's a possibility, and I have every reason to believe that either of those matches would be quite good. However, given that Michaels had what I easily consider to be the best retirement storyline in wrestling history, I hope that he stays retired. I love HBK. He's my favorite professional wrestler of all time, and he always will be. I get excited when he shows up on Raw, and I look forward to PPVs a little bit more when he's going to be a special guest referee. But in this case, against all odds, I hope that he leaves the memories alone. Benjamin: Boy, the crowd sure wasn't happy about seeing Triple H walk down to the ring. No cheers, no boos, just fearful radio silence. Shawn Michaels did a good job as ref in this one. I forgot that he was even part of the match until they wanted me to know. Bryan and Orton delivered another great bout in their series of matches over the course of the year. These guys have good chemistry plain and simple. Every move that Bryan delivered was met to response from the audience. When the "purists" say that crowd response holds no bearing on the way the perceive a match, I have a very hard time believing them. If the crowd doesn't think it's important, I'm liable to consider the match less important solely based on the environment. So anyways, Orton and Bryan are chugging along at a pretty good pace and I was really excited to see the go home sequence. Don't forget about lil old Trips at ringside though. He gets involved and the ending of the match is very similar to the last time we saw HBK and HHH involved in a HIAC match... Telling a story with words and not with visuals. D-Bry knocks out Triple H and then eats a Superkick. Ultimately, he got screwed again which should have seemed obvious after the other two main events had faces go over. It wasn't for me at all. I don't want to see Bryan vs. Orton again. I don't want to see Bryan vs. Orton vs. Big Show. The possibility of spending another $45 on a main event with a screwy finish just doesn't entice me. The match was headed into the amazing territory but I can't pretend like the last 5 minutes didn't happen and rate it as such. Match Rating: Slimmer: ***¾ Benjamin: ***¾ Average Match Rating: ***¾
Match of the Night: Slimmer: Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. The Shield vs. The Usos (****)
The only other match that really could be considered for MotN is Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton, but I have to give the edge to the tag team opener. Bryan vs. Orton was the main event, and it will definitely have more high-profile booking implications moving forward. But for my money, the tag team match had the best in-ring action AND the best story of the night. It wasn't as convoluted and over-booked as the main event, but it always felt more organic and more compelling. The meta story here is the gradual rebuilding of the WWE tag team division, and I think that process took a huge step forward tonight. Benjamin: Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. The Shield vs. The Usos (****)
As soon as the bell rang, I was very afraid that the tag title match would end up being the best match on the card. It's not that I wanted it to be bad. I was looking forward to it the most and didn't want to sit through 150 minutes of wrestling that couldn't proceed the opener. My fears came to fruition. The opener over-delivered and the rest of the card delivered what was expected or under-delivered. This match was absolutely great though. Everything came together perfectly.
Trash of the Night: Slimmer: The Great Khali & Natalya vs. Fandango & Summer Rae (¾*)
This match would have been pretty bad on Smackdown. That makes it horrendous on PPV. These five minutes could have been used much more productively in just about any other match on the card. Heck, with five more minutes, the opening match might have gone from MotN to a serious MotY contender. Benjamin: The Great Khali & Natalya vs. Fandango & Summer Rae (¾*)
This had no purpose, it was really short, and it wasn't good. That's the recipe for Trash of the Night most of the time and tonight wasn't one of the exceptions. I didn't like seeing them work Main Event, let alone Smackdown, let alone an actual PPV. Just bad all around.
Final Analysis: Slimmer: The opening tag team match delivered in every way possible, and the WWE Championship match had decent in-ring action and the kind of over-booked finish that we expected. Everything else in the middle was fairly mundane and forgettable, and that's kind of a problem when "everything else in the middle" included CM Punk winning a Hell in a Cell match and John Cena winning the World Heavyweight Championship. This was simply one of WWE's weaker PPVs this year. But hey, at the end of the day, it's hard to not walk away from a show smiling when the MotN was a tag team match and the Rhodes family once again stole the show. Benjamin: Like a lot of WWE shows lately, the best matches were the bookends. Unfortunately, the main event closed the show on a sour note and really put hampered what was building to be a great match. At this point, I'm not interesting in seeing the angle move forward beyond what my wrestling obsession requires. I need current product! They definitely lost my trust at this point as far as delivering promises on PPV. If Hell in a Cell couldn't give us a squeaky clean winner, I don't know how they could convince me that I'll walk away from a PPV feeling satisfied after a well fought match. It may be fake, but I like to get caught up in the wrestling, not the ringside drama.
Verdict: Slimmer: **¼ Benjamin: **½ Average Verdict: **½