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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

3838 - WWE Heck In A Cell 2018 (also an extra note on Roman)



So there were three Network shows that took place in the past two months. One was playing in the background and I ended up watching first (as evidenced by the subsequent posting made). The other took place just this past weekend and I ended up not watching due to lack of interest. And then the other show is the subject of today's post.

In any event, I completely forgot about the Hell In A Cell show until a couple weeks ago, so here we are. I've heard some good things about this show as well as some bad things, but the only reason I even bothered to watch this is spelled out for you in the banner for this post. That having been, this is being posted after two other events have already taken place and I will try NOT to elude to events I have yet to see... but sometimes, you know, I just can't help myself.





So I guess I would be remiss to mention that they debuted a new Cell on this show; now it's all red and shit. I'm guessing they added some kind of extra layer to the mesh so that it'd be a much safer place to work and you don't have to worry about all those unplanned lacerations and stuff. I have to admit that it's not too bad looking and I have wonder if we're going to get a similar set-up with the standard steel cage (possibly make it blue). I don't mind this red Cell business; I just have a problem with the match concept in this age of PG family friendly entertainment.

Case in point, in our first Cell match and opening contest, RKO defeated Brother Nero in a finish that absolutely confounded me. So Jeff has Randy on the ropes and is about to win the match, but because it's Jeff Hardy, he needs to do something spectacular. So he finds a couple ladders before settling for monkey climbing the Cell ceiling, positioning himself over an empty table (because Randy has since bailed despite camera angles trying to hide this obvious fact. Jeff drops the ground, lands in the table, and the ref calls for the Cell to be raised so that medical crews can come down. Meanwhile, Randy goes for the pin and the ref cries foul, telling Randy that Jeff's hurt. Randy insists that the ref counts the pinball and the ref does just that.

So in a sense, this could be seen as a cool little dirtbag tactic on Orton's part; as despite Jeff having been deemed unable to continue, Orton insists on getting the pinfall victory and the ref has to agree to it or risk permanent injury. The problem with this scenario is that while the ref called for the Cell to be raised and for the EMTs to come on down so that they can tend to Jeff, the one thing that the stupid ref didn't do was RING THE BELL AND THROW THE MATCH OUT. So rather than this being a dirtbag move on Orton's part because he wants the pinfall victory despite the match being thrown out, Orton is going for the pinfall and demanding that the ref count because in his mind (and in the minds of other sane viewers), the match is still going on and the ref is thus obligated to count the pin. That one little detail derailed me from what was otherwise a perfectly acceptable little match.

Just to add something to my point... I was recently watching the WCW Fall Brawl 2000 and there was a tag match featuring Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff, who hadn't wrestled a match since 1995 due to prior injuries. He did a piledriver on some guy and suffered a neck injury that left him paralyzed in the ring. The match kept going while you had these referees and EMTs checking on Orndorff before designated ref Charles Robinson threw the match out and THE BELL RANG. This was a legit injury, a legit tragedy, and yet the ref had the sense to CALL FOR THE BELL AND END THE MATCH. And this was in WCW, in the year 2000... and the ref had a better sense to call for the bell when a guy was (legit) injured... and yet this dumb fuck couldn't be bothered to do that, which is why Randy went for the pin, told the ref to do his job, and... fuck it, whatever. This is stupid.

Becky Lynch defeated Smackdown Women's champion Baby Flair to win the title, much to the approval of the crowd. Baby Flair tries to congratulate Becky and get some sympathy, but Bex wants none of that shit and the crowd approves... and the announcers want us to believe that Becky's disrespect is unwarranted despite the fact that her reasons for distrusting Baby Flair actually makes sense. Seriously, Becky gets a title shot against Whatsherface... and then Charlotte makes a comeback and gets a free pass, wins the title much to the chagrin of Becky who felt a bit slighted, and then people cheer her and boo Charlotte because Becky's actually the hero who had her moment to shine taken away and thus here we are; Becky wins and tells Charlotte to fuck off.

Credit where it's due: the match was pretty good and I actually cared about the story being told; a rare feat in a lot of these women's matches on the main roster. And now that Becky is seemingly done with Baby Flair, she can defend her title against her greatest rival: the can opener.

Seriously, how does Road Dunce and crew expect people to boo this lovely person? Plonkers.

RAW Tag-Team Champions defeated Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre defeated Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose to retain the titles. I thought this was alright, if not a little long in the tooth. Lots of moves and counters being done; if you like moves and stuff, then you'll probably like this.

WWE World champion AJ Styles defeated Samoa Joe in controversial fashion to retain the title. A later replay would show AJ tapping out to Joe's Kokina Clutch move before the ref counted to three, but since the ref only saw Joe's shoulders on the ropes and not the tap-out, AJ wins. This would result in the No-Countout, No-DQ match at the Super Slowdown show in Australia that I've yet to see. Great match despite the spotty finish, but you know what? I didn't mind it because we get to continue this wonderful feud between two TNA guys for a WWE World title.

Sidenote: I like how the stipulations for the rematch are no count-out, no disqualifications, and there MUST be a winner. Despite the fact that this match had no count-outs, no disqualifications, and definitely had a winner despite the somewhat questionable finish.

So in keeping with my own personal rule, I called it quits after the WWE Title match and wouldn't come back to this one until a week later.

The Miz and Maryse defeated Daniel Bryan Danielson and Botch Bella when Maryse pinned Botch with a roll-up. Try as I might, I really couldn't get into this one. They kept the women participation to a minimum due to Botch being shit and Maryse being rather merde, but they still took this thing down a notch or two. It confounds me that what should've been a nice, quick Summerslam program with lots of heat behind it has degraded into the Battle Of The Shitty Reality TV Shows.

RAW Women's Champion Cold Ronda defeated Alexa Bliss to retain the title... and so now that we got Alexa out of the way, can we just bring Shayna Bazler up and have her feud with Ronda for a bit so that we have something interesting to watch this lady do? I find myself totally out of the loop with this one.

The main event match between Red Belt Champion Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman ended in a no contest when first we have the other Shield guys duel with Dolph and Drew to distract us from the main event rest period, leading to a neatly choreographed drop from the side of the Cell onto the table. And then Brock Lesnar shows up, rips the door off, gives Braun and Roman F5s before walking out. And then another ref comes out to ring the bell and declare the match a no-contest. And then the show ends before the television audience gets a chance to watch fans express their anger over yet another fuck finish in the main event. When the highlight of a Cell match are the run ins that last as long as the in-ring stuff, there's something seriously wrong. Not to mention; Roman and Braun have been out for roughly ten minutes or so, and only after Brock comes along and F5s both guys does the match get thrown out?

And then they wonder why people shit on their main events.

Here are the positives that I can pull out of this show; the Becky/Charlotte match was great with the right person winning (for once), the tag title match was pretty good, the World title match was fun, and even with the shit ending, Hardy/Orton in the Cell was not a bad way to start. It's just that once you get to the final stretch, that's when the interest wanes. Not an MMA fan, so Ronda does nothing for me until she does something interesting within the context of WWE... and I was so over Roman in the main event that it'll take something truly significant for me to give a match worth anything more than passing glances in the background. More Bork Lazer is not the answer, I'm afraid.

So yeah... a (mostly) good show from WWE for once. Sadly, it simply wasn't enough to entice me on checking out the other shows, but hey, maybe down the line.

POSTSCRIPT
The majority of this post was written about a couple weeks ago, shortly after watching this show in a couple days time. A short time afterwards, the Roman Reigns announcement broke. I thought about changing some of the narrative, but decided against it. I feel being honest about a main event that didn't interest me all that much was the best way to go. Besides, I don't think it's anything harsh and I'm not going to go back and say I enjoyed the match all of a sudden because the man behind Roman Reigns has a serious illness. It wouldn't be fair.

Joe Anoa'i has lived with leukemia for the past eleven years. The fact that he was able to have the career that he did in WWE while never making light of this condition in any way, shape, or form is something to admire and respect because more than anything, he wanted no pity, no freebies, no special treatment. He could've made light of his condition years ago and gotten the cheap sympathy pop, but he didn't want that. He wanted to be treated the same as all the rest, open to equal amounts of praise, criticism, and everything in between.

So while I respect the man for what he had to endure, that doesn't mean that my opinion has changed on his main event run. The Roman Reigns main event run has done nothing for me and that hasn't changed despite this being out in the open. Maybe when he comes back - however long it takes - I might give it a shot. But it came, it went, it didn't work for me, and nothing has changed.

In any case, that doesn't matter. Joe is busy with health and family and that's his main focus. As for what happens on the WWE shows? Nothing else but the show must go on.

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