Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Hell in a Cell 2009
Posted by Jack Bramma on 04.13.2014
The Undertaker gets CM Punk in the Cell for the World Heavyweight Championship, John Cena and Randy Orton vie for the WWE Championship, and DX tries to get revenge on Legacy all in the cell as well.
• Scheduled Card:
1. Hell in the Cell for the World Heavyweight Championship: The Undertaker vs. CM Punk (c).
2. WWE Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler vs. John Morrison (c).
3. WWE Divas Championship: Alicia Fox vs. Mickie James (c ).
4. WWE Unified Tag Team Championship: Batista & Rey Mysterio vs. JeriShow (c).
5. Hell in the Cell Match for the WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. John Cena (c).
6. R-Truth vs. Drew McIntyre.
7. Triple Threat Match for the WWE United States Championship: The Miz vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston (c).
8. Hell in the Cell: DX vs. Legacy.
• We start off with some gothic voiceover that gives equal billing to Cena/Orton, DX/Legacy, and Punk/Taker. Eternal Damnation is here set to “Monster” by Skillet.
• We're greeted by RAW announcers, Cole and King and Smackdown announcers, JR and Todd Grisham.
• Hell in the Cell for the World Heavyweight Championship: The Undertaker vs. CM Punk (c). Punk gloriously turned heel back in 2009 by cashing in the MITB briefcase on Jeff Hardy. After owning the summer, he defeated Hardy for the world strap at Summerslam. He defeated Hardy one more time in a cage match on Smackdown to finally send him packing. The following month, UT easily defeated Punk at Breaking Point but Teddy Long reversed the decision because Hell's Gate was banned. UT then relived one of his career highlights by kidnapping Teddy via commandeering a limo. WHERE TO, TEDDY?! On Smackdown, Punk would call out Taker but would instead get a casket with Teddy Long. Upon coming to, Teddy booked Punk in HITC against Taker. Good package for this. As usual, the cell gets it own entrance.
• JR says that we should expect a gameplan from Punk and that if he wins tonight, he'll cement his place as one of the greatest of all-time. This is UT's 9th trip to the cell but only Punk's first, yet JR thinks it could benefit Punk: “You don't fear what you don't know.”
• JR: “EXPECT PAIN AND SUFFERING! MISERY AND AGONY! INSIDE THE STEEL! THE DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND! It's almost as if the cell has its own DNA as the cell awaits two more victims. THE CELL TONIGHT WILL FEAST ON THE FLESH OF MEN SEEKING VICTORY AND SURVIVAL!”
• UT corners Punk early but Punk slips out of the way and bails out as UT no sells. UT teases giving chase and Punk tries to cut him off at the pass but UT counters and pulls him out. UT sends Punk into the steel and then whips him hard across into the steel as well. JR: “THE SO-CALLED PIOUS PUNK!” Settle down, Beavis. It doesn't get much better as Grisham calls Punk a “Muay Thai master.” Punk gets nothing as UT no sells and Punk goes splat into the cage. Back in, UT gets a bit of a running start and BOOT OF FEARs Punk into the cage off the apron for the Tim White bump that later caused his kayfabe suicide attempts and murder of Josh Matthews.
• Punk finally gets some room and kicks the stairs back into UT's knees. Punk goes to work and stomps a mudhole for a while on the bad legs. Loud dueling CMPUNK/UNDERTAKER chants. Punk tries to wrap the leg around the post but UT fights him off for the goozle. Punk counters that with a thumb to the eye. Punk tries a bulldog on the apron and of course, UT no sells to give Punk another Tim White bump. Thankfully though, UT at least sells bad knees while going for the apron leg drop. Punk counters with a kick and a suicide dive into the cell with Taker. Back in, they slug it out from their knees at 5 minutes in. UT wins that in a landslide with soup bones. UT wants Snake Eyes but Punk slides behind only to eat another FOOT TO THE FACE and a leg drop for 1, 2, only 2. UT wants the ChokeSlam. Punk clips the knee to counter and wants the G2S. They exchange finisher counters before Punk again clips the knee. Punk ducks under the ring for a chair and lays UT the FUCK out. 1, 2, kickout. Punk hits the step up knee but UT no sells for the Last Ride, 1, 2, 2.99999. Hmm, thought that was it. UT goes for Old School but Punk counters to a knee to the breadbasket. JR: “CM PUNK HAS DONE HIS HOMEWORK!” Punk covers for 1, 2, no. He works the cover for another 2 count. He races in with the chair but UT gets the boot up. ChokeSlam, throat slash, and Tombstone finish Punk at 8:26. Not as entirely one-sided as I remembered even if Taker virtually counters everything Punk throws at him, but more just underdeveloped. Punk got to work UT's leg and UT actually sold it. He countered Old School and kick out of the Last Ride. If this has a solid heat sequence, like say their WM match, you're got all the makings of a really good match. As is, it's the beginning and end of a good match without the allowance of a heat sequence from Punk to drive it home. **1/2
• Post-match, JR lays out some new WWE card placement guidelines: “In our very first match here tonight, at Hell in a Cell kicking it off with a main event and we have a new World Heavyweight Champion.” Then, UT gets his usual hand raise in victory on his way to the back.
• WWE Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler vs. John Morrison (c). So far, two champs out first. Rather than talk about a feud, JR sidesteps to instead hum a few bars about the IC belt’s 30 year history. Though we do get video highlights of Dolph and Miz defeating Morrison and Kofi on Smackdown. To help put him over, Rock made a rare appearance as well and quipped: “WHO IN THE BLUE HELL IS DOLPH ZIGGLER?!” Thanks for that.
• We start off with a standoff as JR and Grisham discuss women’s fashion and whether or not his gear is cheetah, leopard, or zebra print. Morrison grabs a leg as Grisham guarantees that we’ll have a quickly-paced matchup. They trade single leg attempts before Dolph cradles him for a gator roll for a fleeting 1 count. Dolph with another flash pin for 1. Morrison with a go-behind and a half nelson for 1 before Dolph begs off for the ropes. In the meantime, Grisham notes that Morrison dubbed Ziggler, “Mr. Ziggles” and then wants to know if JR has a nickname. JR: “I can’t say it on the air… Yes, I have a couple of them… JR is my nickname.” ANYWAY, back to the mat as Morrison works a waistlock before Dolph counters back into a cover for a nearfall. ECW STANDOFF! Dolph drops the amateur shtick and goes to the rights. BUT WAIT! BACK TO THE HEADLOCK! Ziggler adds a scissored armbar to boot. Morrison sends him off but eats a dropkick. One more go-round but Morrison lands the Bluechipper dropkick for 1, 2, only 2. Morrison lands the Breakin’ legdrop for 1, 2, 2 ½. Morrison is all I GOT A FEVER AND THE ONLY PRESCRIPTION IS MORE HEADLOCK! Dolph counters and slugs him down with a shot to the neck. Dolph takes over the prescription with headlockery of his own.
• Dolph switches to the headstand chinlock and then mounts for GnP. He goes back to the hair and takes over Morrison for somewhere in the neighborhood of the 15th headlock or chinlock in the first 5 minutes. Dolph: “ALL DAY LONG!” Don’t get me wrong, I’m digging it but it’s hardly the fast bout Grisham was selling, but rather than change up, he doubles down: “JR, you think in this type of match where both athletes are so keen to impress, you think there could be a game of oneupsmanship… when it comes to spectacular moves?” Maybe he means eventually but so far, he’s insane. Morrison finally gets free and then sweeps the leg with a baseball slide and springboards in with a crossbody for 1, 2, no. Morrison with another dropkick that sets up Starship Pain. Dolph moves out of the way. JR: “Morrison Starshipped the canvas.” Dolph drapes the arm for 1, 2, nearfall. Elbow drop gets 1, 2, only 2 for Dolph. He sizes up Morrison with a Bluechipper dropkick for more of the same. Dolph has HAD IT WITH THE STRIKES and goes back to the neck for a SWEET Standing Muta Lock/reverse cravat. Morrison gets sent off and baseball slides through for an uppercut. Dolph comes right back with a powerslam for 1, 2, only 2. Dolph hits the Perfect flipping neck whip. Dolph kicks him around and chokes for a spell. Dolph lands a Stinger Splash and Morrison really giving Dolph all he wants. Dolph throws a tantrum and smashes his head into the mat because he can’t get 3. Dolph fires up for a fireman’s carry TD and another. Cover gets 1, 2, no. Dolph: “GET UP, BOY!” Morrison counters out of a pick up with a swinging DDT. Double KO spot. They both get to their feet for the slug it out. Morrison wins it with a haymaker and a leg lariat.
• Grisham: “MORRISON’S MOJO IS BEGINNING TO RISE!” Standing moonsault gets 1, 2, 2.99. Dolph ducks behind for an O’Connor roll for 1, 2, ref spots the rope grab. Morrison comes back with his own roll for 1, 2, kickout. Dolph tries a Jack Briscoe roll up but Morrison rolls through the DR FG. NO! Dolph ducks for a jawbreaker. 1, 2, 2.99. Dolph mounts in the corner but Morrison fights him off. They try a dropkick/dive reversal spot but mistime it a bit. Still, Morrison catches him for a catapult into the turnbuckle. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.999. Morrison goes for a springboard but rolls through only for Dolph to catch him in a BRIDGING GERMAN SUPLEX! 1, 2, no. Dolph fires up again for the Fame-asser. 1, 2, 2.99999. Dolph is pissed off but catches into a boot in the corner. Morrison wants Starship Pain again but AGAIN Dolph counters this time with a reverse powerslam off the top! 1, 2, kickout. Dolph wants Zig Zag but Morrison blocks with the ropes. DR FG and Starship Pain for 1, 2, 3 to win it at 15:44.
• I loved the first several minutes. It started off calmly enough with each guy trying to just get a takedown and win the mat game, but after a few minutes, it escalated into try to headlock each other to death with Dolph winning that in a landslide. They weren’t just headlocks; they were HEEL facelocks and forearm grinds and fish hooks, etc. At the halfway mark, we got into the dueling go-homes and while the pace was a bit slow, I was really into it the whole way. ***1/2
• Meanwhile, we go to the back Josh Matthews who has still face Batista and Rey My—Batista steals the stick from Matthews and introduces Rey himself. Rey jumps on him and they embrace in comically bromance fashion. Josh says last week at the decade of Smackdown celebration it practically brought a tear to everyone's eye when they relived their 2005 tag title win. Will they recreate that magic tonight? Can they defeat JeriShow. Rey Rey says it's not about magic, it's about la familia. FIST POUNDS AND HUGS ALL AROUND! I was surprised they didn't kiss.
• Next up, we cut to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the balcony dancing promoting their video game. What in the fuck is happening?
• WWE Divas Championship: Alicia Fox vs. Mickie James (c). King: “You know this is good for your health. A diva match a day keeps the doctor away.” Slow start which Cole attributes to MJ knowing the “damage that Fox can deliver.” Lockup goes nowhere as MJ tosses her down but Alicia hangs on in a cool spot before they break. Fox: “DON'T TOUCH MY HAIR!” Fox grabs a wristlock so MJ cartwheels through and sweeps her for nothing as Cole breaks out the thesaurus to describe Fox: vicious, vindictive, spiteful, arrogant, etc. MJ monkey flips her to take over. MJ baseball slides through and snapmares her for a basement dropkick for 1, 2, only 2. MJ ducks a clothesline for a neckbreaker. She plays to the crowd and heads up top but Fox pulls her off and MJ eats canvas. Cover gets 1, 2, only 2. Fox goes to the shitty STF but at least she pulls the hair for good measure. MJ comes back with gut shots but she runs right into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Fox bows a curtsy and then floats into some GnP before applies the body triangle. That's... actually quite good. Fox pulls the hair some more to decent heat. They slug it out and MJ wins with some burritos. She headscissors Fox out of the corner and again heads up top. Seated senton gets 1, 2, no. MJ says it's over but Fox counters to a Northern Lights suplex. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.99. Fox wants the Ax Kick but MJ ducks to set up the DDT which Fox takes like a champ. Cover gets 1, 2, 3 for MJ to retain at 5:19. That was pretty impressive considering I wasn't expecting anything and instead got some good heel personality from Alicia Fox and some back/forth action. **1/2
• WWE Unified Tag Team Championship: Batista & Rey Mysterio vs. JeriShow (c). How did I forget how awesome the JeriShow entrance theme is?
• To drive the point home that they are BFF and would never ever do anything bad to each other, Rey and Batista embrace again before deciding that Rey should start. Imagine how many world tag titles LOD could have won if they hugged more often. Rey and Jericho to start as JR opines that Rey “embodies the spirit of Eddie Guerrero.” That sounds like an angle I don't want to see. Jericho goes to work and boots Mysterio around like he's trash. Grisham drops in to mention that Mysterio still remembers and doesn't respect Jericho for trying to de-mask him earlier in 2009. Rey counters Jericho with a wheelbarrow arm drag and a pseudo monkey flip. A headscissors and Jericho is in the ropes. Rey goes for the 619 but Jericho ducks so Rey moonsaults into a cover for 1, 2, only 2. Batista tags in with a big shoulderblock on Jericho. Ho Train and Batista pounds away in the corner. Batista goes to the shoulder surges and then tags in Rey to whip him into Jericho in the corner. Cover gets 1, 2, no. Rey hits a DR FG enzuigiri for another 2 count. Jericho tries to get something going but eats a back elbow and a vertical suplex from Batista. Another quick tag to Rey for the old Andre-Snuka spot. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. JR big time putting over the teamwork between Rey and Batista despite not tagging much in their careers. Jericho finally gets some distance and tags in Showster. JR: “All due respect, Rey Mysterio might want to make a tag. I would make the tag, just a suggestion.” Instead, Mysterio waves off Batista and says he's got it. Show has a good laugh but Batista is fired up for Rey. Rey tries whatever but Show swats him down easily with a headbutt and then steps on him. Show goes to the ribs and then chops Rey off the top turnbuckle to the floor to a big reaction. Rey sells the hell out of it struggling to get to his feet at 7 on the count before Show palms him back into the ring to another reaction.
• Rey tries again but Show kicks him down like nothing and tags in Jericho. Jericho poses and then slingshots Rey into the ropes for 1, 2, no. Jericho locks in a lying half nelson to slow things down. Rey counters with an enzuigiri out of the corner. Rey wants the 619 but Jericho was playing possum and lays him out with a sledge. Jericho puts Rey up top and then fish hooks the nose and goes after the mask. THIS MAN HAS NO CONSCIENCE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! Luckily, Rey elbows his way free and lands a seated senton off the top. Tag to Batista and he cleans house and hits a Bossman slam on Jericho for 1, 2, 2 ½. Jericho goes for a crossbody but Batista catches him. Jericho elbows free but runs into a SPEARSPEARSPEAR from Batista. Batista fires up and wants the DemonBomb. BUT WAIT! HERE COMES SHOW! Batista casually dismisses him by sending Jericho into him. Spinebuster for Jericho. 1, 2, 2.99999999999. Batista can't believe it and goes for Jericho but Show distracts long enough for Jericho to hit the Codebreaker. Delayed cover gets 1, 2, nearfall. Show tags in and stomps down Batista. Show pulls him back to the middle and goes for the Uranium Leg Drop but Batista moves. They slug it out but Show goozles him for the CHOKESLAM! 1, 2, broken up by Rey. Rey bails to the floor to avoid Show's vengeance. Jericho in and mounts Batista for some shots. Jericho taunts the crowd and goes for the Lionsault but he comes up dry too. Hot tag to Rey and another to Showster. Rey goes to the dropkicks and he ducks a BOOT OF FEAR and baseball slides to the floor. He tries to springboard back in but Show catches him and alley oops Rey back but he lands on his feet. Basement dropkick sends Show into the post and a springboard swinging DDT gets 1, 2, EMPHATIC KICKOUT! Show charges in but Rey lowers the bridge to shitcan him out. Jericho in but gets caught up in the ropes. Rey goes for the 619 but Jericho moves and Show eats it. Jericho tries to waffle him from behind but gets tossed out on Show. SPEAR FROM BATISTA ON BOTH! Everyone's down selling and the crowd comes alive. Back in, Rey clips Show's knee and rings up the 619. Rey springboards in to drop the dime but NO! WMD! 1, 2, 3 for JeriShow to retain at 13:41. JR: “Rey delivered two 619's... what's that? A 1238?”
• A solid outing but nothing spectacular from either team. It's two makeshift megastar, singles tag teams and it played out exactly like that with rather pedestrian teamwork being proclaimed as the second coming of the Kangaroos from JR and Grisham. Still though, it does plant the sees for Batista's eventual turn as Rey comes off like the weak link, but not incompetent, just overmatched and a bit unlucky this time out. **3/4
• Hell in the Cell Match for the WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. John Cena (c). For the better part of 2009, the WWE strap floated between a smorgasbord of Triple H, Batista, Randy Orton, and John Cena. Cena won the title from Orton at Breaking Point in the middle of their 1000-match series. If Cena wins, Orton gets no more shots ever at the belt. Wonder how that'll go. Cole tries to downplay Cena's heavily mixed reaction. Cole: “NO ONE EVOKES THE RANGE OF EMOTIONS OUT OF THE WWE UNIVERSE THE WAY THAT JOHN CENA DOES!” Thankfully, he switches off that talking point to mention that the WWE Championship has never changed hands in the HITC. Good stuff. Despite trying to kayfabe murder every top babyface for the last year solid, Orton still gets a face pop over Cena.
• Cena jacks Orton's jaw early and Orton bails out to try and exit stage right out the door. Uhhhhhhhhh. Orton tries another tack and runs Cena around and cuts him off at the pass. CENASUXCENASUXCENASUX! Orton goes to work as Cole puts over the new super cell structure. Bottom line, no one is getting out of this thing. Cena no sells for an FU attempt but Orton slides out. He catches Cena in a powerslam for 1, 2, no. They slug it out and Cena wins that and goes to the shoulderblocks. Orton ducks the second in the series and Cena wipes out. RKORKORKORKO! Orton plows into Cena on the apron and Cena eats it into the cage. Orton drops a few knees on the floor and then piefaces Cena into the cage with his boot. Cole: “A HUMAN FLESH GRATER!” Cena overpowers to drive Orton back-first into the steel. King: “2700 FEET OF CHAIN LINK!” Thanks for that. ANYWAY, Orton ducks behind and shoves Cena back into the cell and then drive him into the stairs. Orton stomps the hand and Cena's HEAD ON THE STAIRS! BRUTAL! Orton tosses the steps in the ring and almost botches it but recovers effectively and the fans give him shit anyway. Assholes. Cole rambles on about Orton's wrestling pedigree - “nearly 100 years in the business” - which begs the question as to whether or not, Bob Orton Sr. wrestled as a toddler, but I digress. Orton drags Cena through the ropes to prep the DDT on the stairs and Cole is up in arms. Cole: “ORTON PLANNED THIS! IT WAS PREMEDITATED!” Cena, of course, blocks to backdrop Cena to the floor in a cool spot. Cena hoists up the stairs and launches them at Orton. Orton dodges but Cole is none the wiser as to whether or not that stair throw was in the first or second degree statutorily.
• Back in, Orton cuts off Cena with the back/neckbreaker. Delayed cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Orton and Cena dial up the selling to a 9 to slow down the pace. Back to the shoulderblocks for Cena and the 5KS. Cena hits it but Orton avoids the FU with a Stun Gun. Cena crawls to the apron and now the Orton DDT. Those were logical sequences and sold as such, so I'm pleased. Cover gets 1, 2, kickout. My only issue is that there's been no heat. It's barely 10 minutes in and both guys are headed for the go-home. Orton wants the RKO but Cena shoves him off for the FU. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Crowd pops but these guys are still only in 2nd gear. Cena premediates a super FU but Orton elbows free for an Electric Chair. Cole: “INSIDE HELL IN THE CELL!” … Yeah. Orton hooks the leg for 1, 2, no. These guys are so busy selling that they're dragging ass through the meat of the match. Seriously, there's been no extended batch of moves on either guy, yet after one move, both guys are down like it's a Texas Death Match. Cena Prototypes up to fight off a superplex. He wants the super Fame-asser but whiffs. Orton rolls to the floor and comes up with a chair. Orton drives the chair into Cena's NECK. Orton appears legit concerned and immediately drops to the match to confer with Cena and they switch to some safer chest waffles. Orton covers for 1, 2, 2.7. Orton drops acid, passes out to Grateful Dead, wakes up to try a knee drop and Cena manages to move and Orton eats chair. Cena drops Orton into the STF. Orton crawls to the ropes, but no DQ and all, so Chioda doesn't call for the break. Cena releases anyway to pull Orton back to the middle but Orton kicks him off for the patented ref bump. Cena rolls him back over for the STF and Orton taps out. No ref so no finish. Cena helps the ref recover and turns around into an RKO. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.99. Cole: “ORTON ALMOST IN TEARS!” King: “I THINK ORTON IS ABOUT TO CRY!” That's one way to build up a top heel. Orton pulls Cena to the ropes to tie him up. Orton tortures him for a bit with a fishhook and a chinlock. Cena appears to pass out and collapses to the mat after Chioda pries him free. Orton fires up for the PUNT! Orton hooks the leg for 1, 2, 3(!) to win it clean-ish at 21:28.
• Other than Rock and DB, that's about as clean of a loss as Cena has had in recent years, cleaner even than Punk at MITB. That fact alone and the somewhat shocking finality of the 3 count is a pleasant surprise, but it doesn't entirely redeem the extended selling and slow pacing of the middle 10 minutes. Like a lot of Cena/Orton matches, you don't so much get a wealth of riches as a wealth of finishers and signature moves. It's less a match and more a series of video game combinations and highlight reel vignettes. If they had played up more of a story of Orton using his viciousness and cell experience from the Taker match to stay a step ahead of Cena, we might get somewhere. Instead, they just gesture in that direction but mitigate it by protecting Cena with a ref bump and Orton tap out. Keep the finish and Orton's brutal boots on the stairs and the chair, but needed more heat and vulnerability from Cena. ***1/4
• R-Truth vs. Drew McIntyre. Truth is still face and yet to really get over the hump from bland to ridiculously, ironically over the top good/bad. Drew, on the other hand, is riding the wave of getting the rub from Vince himself on Smackdown and being labeled as a future world champ by the Chairman of the Board. This is Drew's WWE PPV debut.
• Feeling out process to start with Drew going to the vaunted headlock. Truth can't break it loose so Drew hiplocks him over. The guys have worked a chinlock for MAYBE 15 seconds and the boo birds are already turning on them with mild but audible BORINGBORING chants. Truth sends him off for a dropkick and then flips up and over into a leg lariat but no one cares. Truth with an odd sitout biel for 1, 2, only 2. Truth pounds away in the corner as Grisham pimps the Armed Forces Network and all of those watching in Saudi Arabia. High times. It devolves into fisticuffs before the ref breaks them up. They redo the spot so Drew can boot Truth away for some GnP. Drew hits the Troll Yell for some Ruthless Aggression but still no buys. Short-arm clothesline gets 1, kickout. Drew kind of guides Truth's face down into the mat slowly to apply a resthold with Truth putting up no defense which JR calls a “precarious position.” Truth punches his way right into a slugfest as BORING is back with a vengeance. Double crossbody draws a double KO spot. Truth blocks a kick and STO's Drew into some GnP. Truth fires up for a clothesline, Ho Train, and ax kick. Drew kicks out and wants the Double Arm DDT but Truth jackknife rolls him up for 1, 2, 2 ½. Truth mounts in the corner but Drew suckers him in and dumps him to the mat. Double Arm DDT gets 1, 2, 3 to win it clean at 4:39.
• I really think the WWE missed the boat on Drew. He could have been a Homeless Man's William Regal especially with all of that pomp and circumstance put into his repackaging in 2010 with the “Broken Dreams” intro and that lengthy program with Kelly Kelly going into EC 2011, but at least he carved out a niche for himself earning that enhancement talent paycheck. Match, on the other hand, was less than compelling but competent for the most part. *1/2
• Meanwhile, Orton is icing up in the back and Legacy interrupts. Ted Jr. and Cody want to go out and party on the town tonight celebrating his and their expected victory. Orton teaches his young padowans that there is no getting tipsy after HITC, there is only gloomy recollections of pain and torture. Dibiase assures him that last week on RAW, he and Cody spent hours in the cell strategizing for DX, learning all the ins and outs of the structure. Holy shit, where is that footage? I'd get the network just for that. ANYWAY, Cody is disappointed that Orton is starting to sound like his old man, Big Dust. Orton blows them off saying that he ain't Dusty, he's the WWE champ. Ted gets the last word saying that Orton shouldn't underestimate them.
• Triple Threat Match for the WWE United States Championship: The Miz vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston (c). Miz has got the stick pre-match. He says that he'll win the US strap tonight but unfortunately, he'll have to do it in Newark, NJ. And in the words of Conan O'Brien, all sewers lead to Newark. Miz sees logic because the TMNT are in the house tonight and they come from sewers. He begs the mayor to ban him for life. He's the Miz and he's awesome. Well, not for another year and then only for a year, but he was improving year by year at this point in his career. Swagger hits the push ups as Cole highlights the backstory – namely that Miz and Swagger have been stealing the US strap for weeks recycling that Syxx gimmick from 97 WCW.
3-way brawl to start with Kofi fighting off both heels with forearms. He leaps onto Swagger in the corner and boots down a charging Miz as well. Swagger pummels him from behind with a clothesline and now it's the inevitable 2-on-1 heel beatdown. Miz is all 1+1=2 AND 2>1 and Swagger can't argue with the math. Double back elbow and the heels are rolling. Double suplex and now Swagger and Miz can't decide who gets the cover. Kofi sneaks a school boy and Swagger quickly breaks it up. Crowd is still dead as they send Kofi across for the Bret Hart bump. Swagger tells Miz to whip him across and Miz turns on him with a clothesline and the corner clothesline on Kofi. REAL WORLD HAMMER and a double neckbreaker on Kofi gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Miz admires his handiwork but Kofi fights back from the apron off countering a backdrop. Swagger drops under to get Miz in an Electric Chair and Kofi finishes it off with a crossbody off the top. Kofi tries lateral presses on both and gets two 2 counts. Swagger Snake Eyes Kofi in the corner and then trashes him into Miz. Belly to belly suplex gets nothing as Miz breaks it up. Swagger stomps away on Miz in the Tree of Woe but the crowd is restless. They give Swagger a pity pop for going to the pushups. Kofi counters a whip and sends Swagger head-first into the turnbuckle. Kofi leaps over him and back suplexes Miz off the top in a cool sequence. Swagger breaks THAT up with a Vader Bomb. Kofi avoids the splash for La Magisteral but no dice. Fast action in the nearfalls. Kofi goes to the Steamboat chops and a burrito. Boom Drop on Swagger gets 1, 2, broken up by Miz. Swagger pulls Kofi down by the hair from behind. Miz blocks a suplex long enough for Kofi to hit Trouble in Paradise on Swagger. Miz hits the SCF TO A POP! 1, 2, SWAGGER PUTS THE FEET ON THE ROPES! … Not really as Swagger is late and Kofi has to shit on Miz's finisher to kick out. Kofi cradles Miz but Miz rolls through for 1, 2, no. Swagger with a cltohesline on Kofi and a MAIVIA HURRICANE BOMB! SWEET! Trouble in Paradise on Swagger. Kofi hooks Miz's leg for 1, 2, 3 to retain at 7:55.
• Decent but miles better than Truth/Drew due to rapid-fire spots in the last couple of minutes. Fairly standard layout with each guy getting a brief spell to control and ultimately, the winner just being a split second ahead in finisher. **1/2
• Hell in The Cell: DX vs. Legacy. Cole talks up how both world titles have changed hands tonight. King piggy backs to suggest that we may see a changing of the guard as well in the main event. HBK and Trips are at their smarmiest during their intro throwing the DX glow sticks around to hock some merch. Thankfully, Cody and Ted Jr. jump them from behind to get us started.
• Trips no sells the beatdown to fight back and DX seems to right the ship. The brawl continues outside the cage making a lap around ringside. Trips clotheslines Dibiase over the announce table and helps HBK fight off Cody. He gets sent into the announce table as well and now it’s some DX double teaming. They prep the SAT (Smackdown Announce Table). They waffle Cody with the monitors and follow up with a double suplex onto the table but it doesn’t budge. Ted Jr. flies in with a MARYSE DUMPEE HAMMER and goes to work on both. He dumps H into the front row and suplexes him back over. HBK no sells to pair off with Cody and send him into the barricade. I guess selling is not part of the story tonight as H is already up and back up on Dibiase in the crowd five seconds after taking a suplex on the floor. HBK chops Cody over the barricade as well on the opposite side of the ring. Cody charges in but gets backdropped OVER the rail INTO the cell. That was awesome. BUT WAIT! CODY’S GOT A CHAIN! He waffles HBK’s knee and then runs down H and Ted who have migrated over to the ramp. He winds up and lays out Trips. Legacy now isolates Trips 2-on-1 for a DDT on the stage. Cole: “It seems Legacy is once again beating DX at their own game.”
• Cody follows up with Crossroads on the STEEL as well. HBK is just now recovering in time for Legacy to chase him down and grapevine the leg around the cage and then get wedged between the cage and the door a few times. The crowd chants for Trips but to no avail. Cody now gets the chain and finally locks the door while Trips is out cold on the top of the ramp. The bell finally rings at about 6 minutes in. Cole: “THE HELL IN A CELL HAS TURNED INTO A TORTURE CHAMBER FOR SHAWN MICHAELS!” The crowd is kinda dead but HBK is still a consummate pro. He crawls to his feet and you can see the realizations dawning on him that he’s done for as Legacy corners him from both sides. Tepid HBK chant that dies as his comeback does. Ted Jr. with a Batista kick and he’s fired up. Cole proffers that tonight is about “erasing the memory of DX” which sounds like a bad WWE Studios Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind crossed with Lawnmower Man hybrid starring Jeff Fahey and the NAO. They tee up HBK for Total Elimination. Cody covers for 1, 2, 2 ½. Dibiase picks up HBK for another drive into the mat and a kneebreaker. The fans try another TRIPLEH chant as HBK no sells for a desperation enzuigiri. He rolls out of the way but can’t get to his feet. Dibiase swarms and boots him down in the corner. Cody brings him over to post the leg a few times. They celebrate a bit prematurely allowing HBK to go spelunking and come up with a chair. That’s an idiotic spot that only works on TV when cutting away from Shawn. Unfortunately, the monkeys in the trunk cut back to HBK and we see Cody have to ignore him like a moron while HBK crawls under the ring to bring out the plunder. ANYWAY, HBK gives him the Sabu chairshot. Ted Jr. gets pulled in as well while Triple H stumbles back to life. HBK manages to fight off both with one leg while on his back. He finally eats a slingshot into the cell rather timidly. H is down to the ring and can’t get to the door open. HBK counters another slingshot and dives on Cody to crickets. Back in the ring, HBK tosses Ted Jr. into Cody who sells the impact into the cell. Michaels with an inverted atomic drop but still sells the leg. Burrito time and the crowd is still mostly out to lunch. Trips starts climbing the cell to the biggest reaction of the match. Sweet Chin Music on Dibiase. HBK crawls over for 1, 2, Cody pulls him off for a chairshot to the back. Trips gets a chair and tries to knock the lock in. Dibiase talks trash at the futility of his actions while Cody half powerbombs HBK into the cage. They hoist Shawn up for another flimsy powerbomb drive into the cage. Every single one of the cage shots as been weak as hell other than Cody lawn darting himself into the cage.
• Legacy stands vainly over HBK while simultaneously taunting Triple H. Triple H stalks to the back looking for a Plan B while King speculates that Triple H has abandoned DX for good. HBK begs and whimpers a bit too unrealistically even for him. This might come across better if Legacy was doing another other than some of the most generic heel beatdowns imaginable. Dibiase gets up HBK to drive him into the cage and post several times to pick things up a bit. HBK practically slobbers all over himself regressing into a vegetative state. HBK pleads for mercy but then doesn’t need it as he fights back only to eat a clothesline from Ted Jr. Dibiase: “LET’S FINISH THIS, NOW!” King begs for Legacy to get it over with and pin him, but it’s not over yet. Dibiase dropkicks a chair INTO HBK’s head and throat awesomely. Now, see, that’s a legitimately dangerous looking move, way better than say gently, shoving his back into chain link fence. Legacy then pauses calmly to steal the DX taunt. They pounce on HBK and drag him over to the post for the deadly RING POST FINGER FOUR! YEAHHHH! Cole: “THIS IS HOW SHAWN MICHAELS TAPPED AT BREAKING POINT!” Cody applies the F4 while Ted locks in the Million Dollar Dream from behind. BUT WAIT! TRIPLE H IS BACK AND HAS THE BOLT CUTTERS! Trips busts in and cleans house. High knee and a jawbreaker for Ted and a coconut for both. Spinebuster on a chair for Cody. VINTAGE COO AUTHORITY! He wants a Pedigree but it breaks down back into a donnybrook. HBK has recovered from the mildest life-threatening beatdown of all time to pole vault Dibiase to the floor. Another ref comes out to relock the door. But first, Trips steals the chain and they beat the tar out of Dibiase. King: “THE SICKENING THUD!” Pedigree on the floor and Dibiase is carted out in a crate to OVW with the Spirit Squad. DX is in with another spinebuster on Cody. HBK Pillmanizes Cody with a flying elbow on the chair on his throat. Triple H gets the Sledge while Dibiase is forced to watch on. DX both tune up the bands to sandwich Cody between SCM and a sledge shot to the skull. NICE! Badass finish for this one. Cover gets 1, 2, 3 for the academic win at 18:01 but more like 25:00 with the pre-match beatdown.
• I think part of my initial love for this match was the belief that Legacy might actually win and that it might actually lead to something. After all, they had gone over at Breaking Point the previous month. DX was in their twilight run and seemed to get it, but Legacy didn't bring enough good to back up their end of the deal. While DX got a decisive final victory in the match and the feud, Legacy still got a PPV victory over them and 20 minutes alone in a cage beating up one of the most sympathetic babyface sellers ever and still got almost nothing out of it. They just weren't ready. The first time around, Legacy trapping Trips outside of the cage in a straight up fair fight, seemed like they were getting over on him, outsmarting the cerebral assassin. Now, it just seems like a crutch, so the mega-faces can take heat without looking like they are overmatched. Ted gets to do pretty much everything for the heels which was fitting given the The Marine 2's release not long after this. This has the structure, story, and finish of what should have been an awesome brawl but instead is just an awesome structure with a brawl inside it. Awesome finish though. ***1/4
The 411: An enjoyable, solid show with the stars carrying the load with a few *** matches and some heels getting clean victories as well. Morrison and Ziggler put on the match of the card with a nice IC title defense and nothing really dragging down the card other than UT mostly easily dispatching Punk.