Sunday, October 4, 2009

10/4/09 Hell in a Cell

The Undertaker vs. CM Punk (Hell in a Cell; World Heavyweight Title): **1/4

John Morrison vs. Dolph Ziggler (IC Title): ***1/2

Mickie James vs. Alicia Fox (Divas Title): 1/2*

Chris Jericho & The Big Show vs. Batista & Rey Mysterio (Unified Tag Team Titles): ***

Randy Orton vs. John Cena (Hell in a Cell; WWE Title): ***3/4

Drew McIntyre vs. R-Truth: *

Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz vs. Jack Swagger (U.S. Title): **3/4

Triple H & Shawn Michaels vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase (Hell in a Cell): ****

Match of the Night: Triple H & Shawn Michaels vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase. Special mention must go to Morrison/Ziggler for a job well done.

Trash of the Night: If you want to go by ratings, it is the divas match (Mickie James vs. Alicia Fox). Hell, McIntyre/R-Truth were not far behind, and shouldn't have even been on the card to begin with.

Yet again, I cannot help but think that Undertaker/Punk has to be mentioned here. For all the hype that was created, for all the airtime Smackdown gave it, for all the hoopla to unban Taker's Hell's Gate finisher and to give Taker another shot at the title, and especially the fact that it was contested inside Hell in a Cell, that match was another letdown. I'm not saying the match was bad; it was just nothing spectacular and should have been a lot better. If anything, WWE was pushed for time and Undertaker/Punk was the sacrificial lamb. They should have nixed R-Truth/McIntyre and given Undertaker/Punk about 10 more minutes.

Three Stars: Here, I will actually go with four young upcoming stars: John Morrison, Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, and Ted DiBiase. Each of these four individuals showed me something tonight. The future of WWE is in great hands.

Honorable mention goes to Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio for their work.

Analysis: I was shocked to see Taker/Punk start. It reminds me of when WWE bookended the Elimination chamber matches. It was not a bad match. Punk had some nice counters, and I liked the suicide dive onto Taker and crashing into the cell. Taker hit signature moves and Punk kicked out of almost all of them. The finish was pretty much standard: Taker hits the Tombstone and wins in 10 minutes. However, you could tell WWE really held the two back again. Lame, especially for all the buildup it had. We didn't need the unbanning of Hell's Gate. We didn't even need the cell for this. A No DQ match would have accomplished practically the same thing.

Morrison vs. Ziggler was a fantastic match showcasing the future of WWE in about 15 minutes. I hope this feud lasts a while longer, because this is real good stuff. I'm glad the Smackdown brand is doing something right and pushing a guy like Ziggler. I may not care for his ring attire or his ring entrance theme, but the guy is damn good. I just hope Ziggler breaks through soon, or else he will become labeled as "that guy who choked under pressure again."

Mickie and Alicia wrestled a predictable basic match where the crowd didn't care. I didn't care much for it either. Alicia hit a Northern Lights Suplex...that was cool. Oh yeah, Mickie retained her title. I managed to care for the last 10 seconds of the match.

The Unified Tag Title match was also good. I loved watching Jericho and Mysterio go at it again, and having two people like Batista and Big Show actually worked out. Nice solid finish with Big Show punching Mysterio when Rey was trying some springboard move.

Orton and Cena had a very good Hell in a Cell match, but I don't think it was the best match they've ever had. Each of them hit their finisher and I liked how the ropes don't break a submission hold; that really helped this match out. The cell was used well, but I marvel at Orton's use of the ropes to help take Cena out. The punt was fine to end the match, although, again, the match seemed too restricted.

The problem I have with the Orton match: WHY put the belt on Cena in the first place?! I would have been fine with having Cena pass out from the pain at Breaking Point and let Orton retain. Cena could still claim to not quit, and Orton would have the belt, so everyone wins. But here, the belt switches back and forth, and this hurts the credibility of the WWE Title. I could care less on how many world title reigns someone has. To me, another way of looking at a multiple-time champion is that he had to lose the belt just as many times.

Drew McIntyre and R-Truth wrestled. OK, fine. Did I really care? Nope. And the crowd didn't care much either. It was a basic match, way better than the divas match. Honestly, this should not have been anywhere NEAR this card. So what if these two brawled on Smackdown the last few weeks? That doesn't mean these two earn a PPV spot over the likes of Christian, William Regal, and, dare I say it, even Zack Ryder.

U.S. Title triple threat was also good. I liked that each of them hit their finisher (Kofi more than once). It had a decent flow, and I thought the match was as good as it could really have been. As much as I like Kofi retaining (so the belt doesn't just become what the WWE Title has in being exchanged so frequently), I wouldn't mind letting Miz or Swagger step up.

Match of the Night honors, by a slim margin, went to DX vs. Legacy. The proverbial fast start meant chaos from the outset. I really loved the divide-and-conquer deal locking one person outside while a 2-on-1 beatdown took place. Rhodes and DiBiase proved yet again, even in defeat, that they are top performers who will one day lead this company. While the crowd was deader than Orton/Cena, it made up for that with great storytelling. As a note, I do miss the days where it was standard on PPVs for the table to break, especially the Spanish table. Nonetheless, it is a Match of the Year candidate in my book.

On paper, the card looked very good. The only question I had left was whether the actual matches would live up to the hype. For the most part, I was satisfied. Four of the eight matches were at least three stars. Morrison and Ziggler impressed me a lot, and two of the three HIAC matches delivered. I say the PPV was above average, but I can't help but think how much better it could have really been if they had one less match on the card and given Taker/Punk more time.

Overall Rating: ***

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