Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair’s rivalry dates back to their time at WWE NXT, when Banks eventually ended Flair’s run with the NXT Women’s Championship and went on to have her own long run with the title. Their time on WWE Raw has been just as competitive, with three WWE RAW Women’s Championship title changes between them in just over two months, leading to a historic match that will end this feud one and for all: the first ever women’s Hell in a Cell match.
Sin Cara, Lince Dorado & Cedric Alexander
Tony Nese, Ariya Daivari & Drew Gulak
Only one match on the pre-show, and it goes to the cruiserweights. As is the norm now, the ropes were turned purple, the mat changed, and the lighting altered to purple too – I really hate it. Not going to hold back on that.
Cedric Alexander got a nice little pop during his entrance, just another sign that he is going to get over quite well with the audience over time. Really like Drew Gulak’s look, but he did look a little overweight today, I won’t lie. Sin Cara is looking a little loose on the stomach area too, in fact.
Tony Nese’s throw of Lince Dorado over the top rope was pretty impressive, but I hate that it led to a commercial break. There’s really no need to do that on a pre-show that WWE control production and distribution of. Longtime issue for me, doubt it will ever change though!
Decent work throughout the whole match, but a real lack of psychology which is quite common for a three way tag team match thrown together at the last second. All the men put on a show though, and Sin Cara looks rejuvenated. Drew Gulak’s dragon sleeper on Alexander looked damn legit, as most of the submissions do in this division. Alexander got saved though, and went on to pin Gulak to get the win for his team.
Roman Reigns (C)
(Hell In A Cell for the WWE United States Championship)
Announcers played on the fact that Reigns had been in a Hell In A Cell match before, giving him the upper hand over Rusev. The match started as you’d expect between these two, with strong punches. A table care out early, but Reigns never had a chance to assemble it before Rusev came back on the offensive, and the table would never get used again.
Lots of power moves throughout, and both men got thrown into the cell walls a couple times. Reigns used a kendo stick to do some damage to Rusev, before the latter turned things around to tie Reigns up in the ropes, and use the stick himself. Given he was hitting Reigns right on his chest armour, I somewhat resent the idea that such blows could actually hurt Reigns.
Reigns took a super kick to the head, before being thrown head first into the steel steps that had been balanced on the ropes in one of the corners. Brutal hit, could’ve easily been the finish, but Reigns kicked out. Accolade gets locked in by Rusev, but Reigns breaks free, only to find himself locked in the submission hold again a few minutes later, this time with a steel chain stretching his mouth open and pulling his head back. It looked nuts.
In a finish that John Cena in his prime would’ve been proud of, Reigns took all this damage, to then break free and hit a spear off the steps, getting the three count right after. Successful title defence for the former world champion.
The cell was barely used, beyond being a wall to be thrown into. Everything else was no different than anything you’d see in a street fight match. Better than their match at WWE Clash of Champions 2016.
Bayley was out first to a big pop, followed by Dana. Still seems nuts that Brooke made it to the main roster before Bayley did. The latter looks in great shape, but same can’t be said for Dana, which is a little surprising given how into her physique she has been shown to be in the past. Still fitter than I will ever be though…
Bayley started in control, but Dana turned it around, and looked very strong in offence. Bayley really is great at making her opponents look like genuine threats to her, and this was no different.
Crowd a little flat, but Bayley got a pop when she hit the Bayley-To-Belly for the three count and win. The finish came a little out of nowhere, but the match was decent. One of Brooke’s better matches, and Bayley just did what she does well without having to step it up a gear. The Bayley build continues.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Enzo and Big Cass are out, and get their usual mic time. Personally, when they do this every show, every week… it becomes a little dull. Saying that, they are super over with the fans.
They got decent time, considering how many matches are still on the card. Enzo needs to remember he’s on live TV sometimes, and not at a house show – there’s a time and place for the pandering to the crowd with little dances and such, and it isn’t right as you’re about to go into your finish after a supposedly tough match.
Karl Anderson got the pin after he and Gallows hit Magic Killer on Enzo. Pretty generic match to be fair, no different to anything you might see on their weekly television show.
Kevin Owens (C)
(Hell In A Cell for the WWE Universal Championship)
Kevin Owens was out first, in what was his first Hell In A Cell match. Rollins was out last, for his second match inside the structure. Crowd were hot.
Rollins had early control, trash talking Owens, telling him “I’m the man around here!” Owens responded with a low-key “Shut up,” which was priceless. Unlike the earlier Hell In A Cell match, the table was actually set up this time around. A second would get set up a bit later too, balanced ominously against the cell wall and over the first table.
Owens took control after the early stages, and pretty much beat up Rollins, who took some brutal hits into the cell walls. Owens’ cannonball in particular looked rough! Owens had some die hards at ringside cheering him on, and he looked pretty awesome inside the Hell In A Cell.
Owens accidentally took out the referee with a fire extinguisher, leading to the cell door having to be opened to let the referee out. Cue chants for Chris Jericho, who duly responded by running out and locking himself in the cage with his best friend Kevin Owens and Rollins.
After a struggle, Rollins powerbombed Owens over the top rope and through the two tables. Jericho managed to recover from a pedigree to pull the referee out of the ring just as Rollins was about the get a three count and win his first WWE Universal Championship.
Near fall as Rollins just kicks out following a pop-up power bomb by Owens. Finish came after Rollins took multiple chair shots, and then was powerbombed through two chairs that had been set up beside each other. Owens retains his championship.
Main event quality.
T.J. Perkins (C)
(WWE Cruiserweight Championship)
The cruiserweight divisions first championship feud had social media torn, with quite a few people hoping for a Kendrick win. The announcers did a good job of putting over the story of the match, and how much it means to Kendrick.
Kendrick tried to work a slow match, with TJP doing his best to pick up the pace so that he could hit Kendrick with more of his move set. As he started to do just that, Kendrick feigned a leg injury, making TJP lower his guard as he checked to make sure his friend was okay. Kendrick quickly hit him with a head butt, before locking in the submission hold that would see T.J. Perkins tap out to lose his his first ever WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
Interesting match, and completely different style to the cruiserweight match that was on the pre-show. Good to show different tempo matches in the division, but don’t think the crowd were too into it following the exhausting Hell In A Cell match that was on just before it.
The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) (C)
Cesaro & Sheamus
(WWE RAW Tag Team Championship)
I would have preferred to see the Cesaro/Sheamus Best of 7 series culminate with a tie-breaker inside Hell In A Cell, but tonight we instead got to see them competing for the WWE RAW Tag Team Championships.
Sheamus and Cesaro, not exactly operating as a team, spend most of the match trying to outdo each other. That aside, they all but dominate New Day. Just as it looks like they are about to become your new WWE Raw Tag Team Champions, Kofi Kingston takes out Sheamus at ringside right in view of the referee, who doesn’t see Xavier Woods tapping out to a sharpshooter, and gives Cesaro and Sheamus the win through DQ rather than submission win. New Day retain as a result.
Really enjoyed this match. Cesaro and Sheamus have echoes of Team Hell No about them, which is always a good thing. Would’ve been great to see them win the titles here.
Sasha Banks (C)
(Hell In A Cell for the WWE RAW Women’s Championship)
Historic moment for WWE, and the women of the sport, as Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair became the first women to main event a WWE PPV.
It’s hard to summarise this match, as my eyes were glued to the TV. The story of the fight was Charlotte going after Sasha’s back before the match had even begun, trying to injure her again, in a throwback to their WWE Summerslam 2016 match. Just as the referee was about to declare Sasha unable to compete, and award Charlotte the WWE RAW Women’s Championship, Sasha found something within her to get herself off a stretcher and drag herself into the ring. The bell rung, and then all hell broke loose.
I won’t even try to describe what I saw, other than to say that it was incredible. Genuine history being made before our eyes, and neither woman let themselves down. This was one of the best Hell In A Cell matches since the PPV was brought in as an annual event in 2009. Brutal, too, and I feel that it will open doors for the kind of gimmick matches the women can work in the future.
The finish was an absolute shock, and I genuinely put my hands on my head. I did not see Sasha Banks losing this match, but it happened, and as I write this I’m sure social media is going into meltdown. Had Sasha won this, I’d say it was the end of their feud, but with the way Charlotte went about injuring Sasha before the fight had officially begun, you’ve got to wonder if there’s more to come from this feud. Sasha certainly has a rematch clause she can cash in, at least.
One of the best matches you’ll see this year. Having followed these women for a few years now, I can’t even begin to describe how proud I am of them.
Match of the Night
Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair
Hell in a Cell 2016
(Gets an extra star for the main event!)