Monday, October 29, 2012

10/28/12 Hell in a Cell

Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio: **3/4

Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow (Tag Team Titles): **3/4

Kofi Kingston vs. Miz (IC Title): ***

Antonio Cesaro vs. Justin Gabriel (U.S. Title): **

Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. Titus O'Neil & Darren Young: **3/4

Big Show vs. Sheamus (World Heavyweight Title): ***1/2

Eve Torres vs. Layla vs. Kaitlyn (Divas Title): *1/2

CM Punk vs. Ryback (Hell in a Cell; WWE Title): **1/2

JBL, Cole, and Ross on commentary tonight. With Lilian Garcia hit by a car over the weekend (she was released from the hospital on Sunday or so), Tony Chimel did the Smackdown announcing duties for the PPV.

We start the show with Del Rio and Orton. Doesn't take long for this one to get physical. ADR works on Orton's left arm throughout the match. Nice array of moves there. ADR is sure to take full advantage of the ref's 5-count before breaking holds. Ricardo and Alberto mock Orton's signature poses, and that pisses the Viper off. Ricardo pulled Orton's shoulder into the ropes, ADR with cross armbreaker again. Orton counters out. ADR goes for the enzuigiri in the corner and Orton counters into an AWESOME RKO for three.

Next up is the tag title match. Gotta love how over that "YES!" chant is. Team Hell No with some nice teamwork at the start. JBL says the goat can fly! YES! DB tags himself in as Kane goes for the chokeslam. Headbutt from DB, but Kane pulls DB off Cody?! Vintage bickering. Cody backdropped onto Kane. DB nukes Kane on accident with the running knee. Yeah, way to go, goat face. Cross Rhodes to DB but Kane broke it up. Kane goes berserk on Cody and Sandow. Ref loses control and calls for the bell. More Kane carnage. So Rhodes Scholars wins by DQ but Team Hell No keeps the titles.

Second title match of the night is the IC Title bout between Kofi and Miz. Both guys just miss their finishers in the first few seconds of the match. Crowd was a bit dead for parts of this one, deserved a better reaction overall. Can't doubt Kofi's athleticism here. Nice job by Miz to attack Kofi's left leg and ground the high-flyer. The padding's all removed on Kofi's left boot. Multiple counters out of the SCF, Miz booted to the outside. Miz gets back in and eats Trouble in Paradise for three. Great match here. Post-match interview with Kofi. Miz brought out the "Wildcat" in Kofi. I like the new nickname. Definitely one of Kofi's best matches to date.

Kane and DB continue to bicker:

Kane: "Old McDonald had a GOAT! E-I-E-I..."
Daniel: "NO!!!"

U.S. Title match between Cesaro and Gabriel. Cesaro basically not speaking English for much of the promo. Nice to see the South African get a push. Gabriel the thrillseeker went out to surf the waves as Hurricane Sandy approached? Sandy at the time wasn't even that bad in that area...that's what they won't tell you. Good counters here. Gabriel landed weird when missing that 450 splash, but back to that AJ Styles moonsault reverse DDT for two. Cesaro with that Euro uppercut as Gabriel did a springboard move to the outside. JG basically KO'd. Deadlift neutralizer gets three.

Nice tension teased between Heyman and Vickie. Yeah, the match is still on, despite Heyman wanting Punk out of the match.

Oh, and the theme song for the PPV ("Sandpaper") just happens to be from Jericho's band, Fozzy. Nice that Y2J still gets the love even though he still can't come to terms on a new contract. Understandable that Jericho wants all the control on his outside bookings. He's had a lengthy career with amazing storylines, been incredibly durable without major injuries, and should be a first-ballot WWE Hall of Famer.

Grammy award-winning artist Chilli rockin' out to the Primetime Players' music. Rey and Sin Cara face the PTPs on the PPV. Gotta keep the masked ones on PPV for the fan appeal and the merchandise sales, I guess. Cara has indeed looked better in the ring since teaming with Mysterio. Rey gets the hot tag here House of fire, to say the least. D-Young tries to get that gutbuster in, but Rey counters into 619 and splash for three. I think Sin Cara has been used very well in this partnership. He really hasn't had to change his moveset, and he gets involved only when he needs to.

World Title match is next. Sheamus comes out first, then Big Show. Main event intros. This is a typical Big Show match, lots of power moves and striking. Show with the methodical Sheamus beatdown, tossing the Irishman around like a rag doll. It's just not something I can continue to watch for a lengthy time. Show unable to put Sheamus away, even with a Vader Bomb and a chokeslam. Sheamus showing he's a resilient champ despite all the punishment. Sheamus splashes Show against the ringpost a couple of times. You can see the welts on the left side of Sheamus' chest. White Noise from Sheamus, but only two! Awesome show of power there. Show caught Sheamus coming with the Brogue Kick and hits the WMD! ONLY TWO! Finally, we got exciting stuff here! Show primed for another WMD. Sheamus ducks. BROGUE! TWO! WTF, nice. Nice storytelling on the faces of Sheamus and Show. Announcers hype how devastating and final  each of those finishers (WMD and Brogue Kick) have been. Fans behind this one and Sheamus signals for another Brogue Kick. Show sidesteps and decks Sheamus with the WMD! New champ! Ihave to admit, after a predictable slow start, the end was outstanding. Sheamus trended on Twitter, woohoo.

Zack Ryder is dressed as a witch, a.k.a. Eve Torres. Long says Zack is one letter off. Ha.

Punk wants Vince to call the WWE Title match off. Vince basically refuses and wants Punk to show he's the best in the world.

Time for the Divas triple threat title match. Layla and Kaitlyn double-team Eve. Some sloppy moments during the Layla/Kaitlyn chain wrestling segment. Eve with some good submissions on Kaitlyn -- if only the crowd cared. Eve and Layla doing the splits -- and again no one cares. Even Kaitlyn with an armbar submission. Is Sara Del Rey partially responsible for this? Layla hits her Bombshell kick. Layla and Eve basically spend a few seconds trying to pin Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn now with Trish Stratus' Stratusfaction move. Way to recycle finishers, I guess. Impressive power display from Kaitlyn at the end, countering Layla's crossbody like John Cena would. Powerslam from Kaitlyn, but Eve with a senton to take Kaitlyn out. Eve pins Layla for three. A very respectable match. Unfortunately, the crowd still treats it as a damn bathroom break.

Show promo saying he has reached the pinnacle of the business. Meanwhile, Sheamus is being tended to by a doctor.

The cell is lowered. Champ out first. Punk has been champ now for 343 consecutive days. Ryback sporting a red singlet this time. Main event intros. Hey, remember that ref who "botched" the finish to one of Punk's matches? He's back to ref this one. Crowd with the "feed me more" chants. The cell door is locked.

Bell rings and Punk plays keepaway as long as possible. Ryback then starts decimating Punk in the cell. Punk wants out but there's no way out. Punk with the fire extinguisher to get the upper hand. Punk with a chair, but Ryback kicks it back in Punk's face. Punk with the Savage top-rope double axe handles. Match seems to remind me of the Savage/Warrior career-ending match. Ryback went full-blast into the steps trying to spear Punk. What a visual. Punk hits the running knee and diving elbow. Punk to the kendo stick. Ryback no-sells the multiple kendo stick shots. Ryback gets the meathook clothesline. Shellshock time!

I KNEW I had to keep an eye on the ref. If you haven't guessed by now, that's Brad Maddox, who is also a pro wrestler by trade. Maddox steps in front of Ryback and low blows him. Punk with the weak rollup and Maddox fast counts three. Screwjob city again!

Maddox and Punk want to get out of the cell now, but the ref just happens to fiddle with the lock and drop the key. Ryback nukes Maddox like there's no tomorrow. The cell door's finally open. Heyman tries to drag Punk out of the cell, but Ryback stops that. Heyman runs away.

PUNK CLIMBS TO THE TOP OF THE CELL! YES! Ryback climbs up as well. Shellshocked on top of the cell! YES! Oh, how I wish this was part of the actual match. Ryback stands over Punk on top of the cell as the show ends.

I'd call it an average show overall. Fairly OK from beginning to end, but there was no huge OMG match to speak of -- unless you want to count the crooked ref screwjob finish on the WWE Title match. Sucks that Ziggler wasn't wrestling. Frankly, I wanted him on the card somewhere. But as long as Ziggler still has the briefcase, there's always the "will Ziggler cash the briefcase in and the ref ring the bell?" question looming over the show.

I will say that the World Title match exceeded my expectations. Granted, the beginning was just too slow for me, and you can't help that with a lengthy Big Show match. The last several minutes made up for it, and it ultimately got my vote for Match of the Night.

The WWE Title match was the one that generated the most interest from me and many others because of how the finish would be booked. Some people probably thought Ryback would get the win, but I kept trying to figure out how Punk would escape with the title. It was one of those instances where a Ryback loss could mean a screeching halt to his mega push, while a Punk loss would derail the champ's momentum. WWE has really hyped how long Punk has been champ, and it looks WWE wants Rock to be the guy to take him down. WWE also probably wanted to avoid Ryback being a transitional champ (not consistent with a guy getting a mega push), so even a short Ryback title reign was out of the question.

From what I read, multiple finishes were considered for Punk/Ryback. For the longest time, I thought Lesnar would make an appearance, but WWE understandably wants to save Lesnar's limited appearances and keep the "I quit WWE" storyline solid.

I think the screwy ref angle worked beautifully, and I'm happy with the finish. Once I saw Brad Maddox was the ref, I knew something was fishy. Usually, you'd think a guy like Scott Armstrong or Mike Chioda would work the title match, but for all intents and purposes, Maddox is considered a "rookie" ref. Brad also has the training to take major bumps like you saw after the match.

Ryback had to get screwed out of a possible title win. Punk should get more heel heat for all this, and that also was a major factor in having the champ retain. Ryback was still the monster I hoped he'd be booked as. They both went to the top of the freakin' cell, albeit after the match was over. WWE ended the show with Ryback standing over Punk on top of the cell. Fans soaked it all in. I'd say mission accomplished, and then some.

Ryback should be a huge star in WWE. The match itself was fairly straightforward for HIAC, so I can't say it was epic. But I felt it was booked properly given the circumstances. **1/2

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