Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Hell In A Cell 2019
Date: October 6, 2019
Location: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Vic Joseph, Dio Maddin, Jerry Lawler
So what happens if WWE holds a show but forgets to put it together? Until late Friday night, this was a three match card, though they added four more on Sunday afternoon so the show wouldn’t be an hour and fifteen minutes long. The big question tonight is can the Fiend take the Universal Title from Seth Rollins so let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: Lacey Evans vs. Natalya
So yes, of all things they could add, they picked THIS for the warmup match. Lacey wristlocks her to start so Natalya uses something pretty close to Owen Hart’s spinning escape to take Lacey down instead. A hammerlock keeps Natalya down as Lawler goes into his HILARIOUS material about Lacey’s time in Afghanistan. Lacey takes her down for some choking but has to fight out of a Sharpshooter attempt.
Natalya gets sent outside and we take a break. Back with Lacey’s slingshot elbow getting two and the chinlock going on. Some shots to the face let Lacey start stomping on the knee but the Sharpshooter attempt is kicked away. Back in and Lacey takes her down again but misses the double jump moonsault. Natalya gets the Sharpshooter and Lacey taps at 9:17.
Rating: D. Sure why not. This feud has been one of those nightmares that just won’t end with a fight that no one cares about and matches that aren’t any good either. I don’t know why we needed to see, what was this, the fourth match between the two, but it felt like a warmed over leftover match on a house show.
Post match Natalya punches Lacey out for some revenge.
The opening video talks about how evil the Cell is and how it changes lives, even though it has barely done that in years. The big matches get their usual attention as well.
Raw Women’s Title: Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
Lynch is defending inside the (RED) Cell. Sasha jumps her before the bell though, meaning the Cell isn’t even on the ground yet. That means a beating on the floor as the Cell completely lowers so Sasha goes inside as Becky pulls herself up outside. Becky rams the door into her face before taking it inside for the opening bell. Hang on again though as Becky grabs the chain and hits Sasha with it before raking her face across the Cell.
With Banks down, Becky chains the Cell shut, only to have Banks send her face first into the wall. They bust out a table, a ladder and a chair as it’s already time to tease the December rematch. Banks gets sent face first into a chair back inside but manages to dropkick it into Becky’s face for two. The Bexploder sends Banks outside and a baseball slide sends her into the wall. It works so well that Becky does it twice more but Sasha Meteoras her into the ladder for the big knockdown.
With the shots to the head no longer being enough, Banks puts the arm out of the Cell and slams the door onto it for two back inside. The arm gets sent into the chair and Banks unloads with forearms to the face. Another Meteora puts Becky through the chair for two more and Becky is looking shaken. A quick rollup gets Becky out of trouble and she kicks the chair into Banks’ ribs.
Becky dropkicks her into the Cell again and the Bexploder into the Cell makes it even worse. Back in and a bulldog onto the bottom of an open chair gives Lynch two and she can’t believe the kickout. A missile dropkick sends the chair into Banks’ face for another two and it’s time to bail to the floor. It’s time to get creative with Becky wedging some kendo sticks in the Cell wall and putting a chair on top, with Sasha going on top of that. Becky dropkicks her into the corner to complete the cool yet long to set up crash.
Back in and Becky gets two off the top rope legdrop but it takes too long to set up the table. That means a Backstabber to Becky and the top rope Meteora through the table gives Banks two. The Bank Statement with the kendo stick sends Becky crawling underneath the ropes. Becky gets the stick away and beats the heck out of Banks with it, only to whipped into a chair hanging in the Cell wall. Banks throws in about a dozen chairs and uses one on Becky’s arm. It takes her too long to go up though and a super Bexploder onto the chairs sets up the Disarm-Her for the tap at 21:26.
Rating: B. I liked the spots and they felt like they were hurting each other enough, though I’m scratching my head at Lynch retaining. This almost has to mean the return of Rousey right? If not, who in the world is supposed to take the title from Lynch? She has cleaned out the entire division (or at least all of the realistic challengers), so it’s either Rousey or the long awaited Horsewomen four way right? Or we could just do the same thing because the Cell is no longer a blowoff match.
We recap Erick Rowan/Luke Harper vs. Daniel Bryan/Roman Reigns. Rowan was revealed to be an evil genius who wants to destroy Reigns. He doesn’t like Bryan for thinking they were mental equals and Harper is here for the extra muscle.
Daniel Bryan/Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan/Luke Harper
Tornado Tag so it’s a brawl to start with Reigns and Rowan heading out to the floor, meaning Bryan hits the suicide dive. There’s a Superman Punch to Rowan as Harper is favoring the knee. Ever the nice guy, Bryan starts kicking at the knee, leaving Reigns to Samoan drop Rowan for two inside. Harper’s knee is fine enough to block the spear with a superkick for two.
Bryan comes back in but gets double teamed, as does Reigns in the same corner. A steps shot to the face keeps Roman in trouble on the floor, meaning Bryan gets beaten down again. Reigns pulls Harper to the floor though and Bryan rolls Rowan up for two. That leaves Rowan to yell at Bryan for embarrassing him but Bryan gets the LeBell Lock.
Harper makes a save of his own, allowing Rowan to Jackhammer Bryan for two more. Reigns and Rowan head to the floor, with Roman having to dive back in for a save after Harper’s Michinoku Driver. Another drop to the floor leaves Bryan to kick away at Harper’s arm and then chest in the corner, followed by a dropkick to the knee. Harper is back up to knock Bryan to the floor, setting up the suicide dive to Reigns.
It’s time to load up the announcers’ table so the German announcers jump over the barricade. Instead though, Reigns gets knocked down so Rowan can slam Harper onto him. To mix it up a bit, Rowan starts ripping up the barricade and then moves back to the table. Bryan escapes a double powerbomb by hurricanranaing Harper off the table, leaving Reigns to spear Rowan off said table.
Reigns is holding his knee though, leaving Bryan to hit the running dropkicks on Harper in the corner. The super hurricanrana is countered into a superbomb for two on Bryan and they’re both down. Harper is back up with a suplex but Bryan slips out, allowing Reigns to come back in for the Superman Punch. The running knee into the spear finishes Harper at 16:46.
Rating: B. Back to back good matches to start the show with these guys beating the heck out of each other throughout. This felt like they were hitting the brakes on Harper and Rowan, though I’m not sure if they’ll hit them as hard on Rowan as they do on Harper. At least they had a good match though and that’s something that helps a lot.
Post match Bryan pulls himself up and wants a hug. That’s exactly what he gets too and the fans are rather pleased.
Seth Rollins is ready for the challenge from the Fiend and promises to retain the title.
Randy Orton vs. Ali
Bonus match and Orton points at the Cell during his entrance. Orton works on the armbar to start before taking it outside for a drop onto the announcers’ table. Back in and Orton stomps away back inside before sending Ali hard into the post, leaving a NASTY bruise on the ribs. Something close to an abdominal stretch stays on the ribs back inside, followed by the required chinlock. That’s broken up and they head outside with Ali hitting a dropkick and diving over the announcers’ table onto Orton.
Ali’s rolling X Factor and Orton’s powerslam get two each but Ali is right back with a spinwheel kick. The tornado DDT sets up a missed 450 and Orton hits the handing DDT. The RKO is countered with a handstand into a crucifix for two as Orton is surprised. Another rolling X Factor is loaded up but Orton catches him with the RKO for the pin at 12:13.
Rating: C+. Yeah I don’t think anyone really expected Ali to win here and that’s the problem for him most of the time, just like so many others. It’s pretty clear that WWE isn’t interested in giving him any serious kind of push and that makes his matches a bit harder to watch. He’s trying hard, but it doesn’t seem to be getting him any higher up the card. At least he’s appearing on the show though, which is more than he’s been doing.
Tomorrow night: Lacey Evans vs. Natalya, Last Woman Standing. I’d love to know their rejected ideas.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross vs. Kabuki Warriors
The Warriors are challenging with Asuka hitting a sliding knee to Cross’ face for two. It’s off to Bliss for the running slap in the corner and Cross comes back in for a jawbreaker. Sane comes in and beats up Bliss a bit before handing it back to Asuka for a choke. Bliss blocks what looked to be an ankle lock attempt but gets knocked right back into the corner. Sane pokes Cross in the eye to knock her off the apron but it means the referee doesn’t count off the sliding lariat in the corner.
Bliss escapes another ankle lock and brings Cross in off the hot tag. Everything breaks down and Sane has to break up a quick cover. The Insane Elbow hits raised knees so it’s back to Asuka for the kicks to Cross’ face. Cross blocks a big kick, so Asuka busts out the green mist of all things to blind her rather well. The big kick finishes Cross for the pin and the titles at 10:27.
Rating: D. I was fighting to stay awake during this one as the match just was not interesting no matter what they were doing. Going full on evil Japanese monster with Asuka is kind of interesting, though it’s about a year too late. It could have been worse, but it did a very bad job of keeping me interested and that’s not a good sign with about two hours left.
Here’s a video on Smackdown.
OC vs. Viking Raiders/???
The Raiders need a mystery partner so here’s Braun Strowman to complete their team. Anderson headlocks Ivar to start so Ivar quickly reverses into the Whoopee Cushion out of the corner. Gallows comes in to hammer on Ivar, who goes up top to dive over Gallows and roll over for the tag to Erik. House is cleaned with Gallows being sent to the floor but Styles tags himself in to get in a few shots to the head.
The Pele connects for two but Erik fights out of the corner, only to walk into the spinebuster from Anderson. A backdrop is finally enough to bring Strowman in for the destruction, including the running shoulders on the floor. Back in and Strowman’s shoulder goes into the post, allowing AJ to chop his block. Erik breaks up the Calf Crushes and Ivar clotheslines Gallows. The running powerslam is broken up with another chop block and it’s a triple teaming on Braun for the DQ at 8:15.
Rating: D+. Total TV match, complete with a TV main event because we need to protect Anderson and Gallows from the Strowman and the Raiders. This was a watchable match that didn’t belong on pay per view, which has been the case with more than one match on this show. Strowman isn’t likely to be bothered by the loss as he’s doing something with Tyson Fury soon, but for now, this wasn’t much to see.
Post match the beatdown keeps going until the Vikings send Gallows and Anderson to the floor. Double suicide dives connect and Strowman is back up with a knockout right hand to drop Styles. Anderson and Gallows pick Styles up and have to tell him what day it is after that right hand.
The Street Profits do their thing. Tamina pops in and pins Carmella for the 24/7 Title. Tyler Breeze comes up and gets knocked out, leaving R-Truth and Carmella to split up to look for Tamina. More on this, meaning Carmella or R-Truth will get the title back, later.
We recap Baron Corbin vs. Chad Gable, which started with Corbin beating him for the King of the Ring, so Gable broke his throne.
Chad Gable vs. King Corbin
Hold on though as Corbin has to make some short jokes. Corbin even dubs him Shorty Gable. That’s too far for Gable, who goes straight at him with crossfaces to the jaw and a quickly broken sleeper. Corbin sends him shoulder first into the post and chest first into the buckle for two. The chinlock is broken up so Corbin clotheslines the heck out of him for two more. Gable fights up and gets in a missile dropkick, followed by another kick to the head.
Corbin is down on his knees so Graves can praises Gable for finally being taller than someone. Gable shouts a lot and forearms away, followed by a German suplex for two. The rolling Liger kick in the corner is countered into a powerbomb to give Corbin two more but Gable is right back with a cross armbreaker over the ropes. Gable walks into Deep Six for another near fall but End of Days is countered into a running flip neckbreaker.
The moonsault gets two and sets up the ankle lock but Corbin makes the rope. They head outside with Corbin hitting a chokeslam onto the apron before going to grab the scepter. That’s taken away and Gable rolls him up for the pin at 12:18. Ring announcer: “Here is your winner: SHORTY GABLE”!
Rating: C. I like this company. I really and truly do. I’ve watched it for over thirty years and I care about WWE more than any other wrestling company. Then they do nonsense like this, all for the sake of Vince thinks it’s HILARIOUS to call a guy short over and over again. You get a talented guy, who can talk, has charisma and is an Olympic wrestler. What do you do with him? Name him Shorty, soon to be changed to Shorty G. I love WWE, but they don’t make this easy.
We look at Charlotte making Bayley tap on Smackdown.
We do the international announcers’ row and Tamina runs in to use Funaki as a human shield. She throws him at R-Truth to cut him off but walks into Carmella’s superkick….so Truth can get the pin and the title back, at Carmella’s insistence.
Smackdown Women’s Title: Charlotte vs. Bayley
Bayley is defending and misses some early chops, allowing Charlotte to show her how it’s done. A crossbody misses and Charlotte goes for the Figure Eight, sending Bayley rolling outside. Bayley pokes her in the eye but Charlotte chops away again. This time Bayley gets smart by taking out the leg and sending her outside for a crash. Charlotte’s leg gets sent into the LED ring skirt and then gets wrapped around the rope/post.
The half crab goes on but Charlotte slips out, meaning it’s time for Bayley to try the Figure Eight. That isn’t going to work either as Charlotte wraps the leg around the post for a change. Natural Selection gives Charlotte two and the knee is fine enough for the moonsault to hit Bayley’s raised knees. A rollup with feet on the ropes gives Bayley two but the referee catches her. The big boot into the Figure Eight gives Charlotte the tenth title at 10:12.
Rating: C-. You had to know this was coming sooner rather than later as it had been more than a month since Charlotte held a title so WWE had the bad itch again. Charlotte winning is fine enough as I’m numb to it after this many times, but hopefully this moves us closer to a Horsewoman four way as it’s not like they have many more interesting/fresh ways to go.
For your eye roll line of the match, Cole: “We may have to start considering Charlotte as one of the all time best.” Bayley sits on the floor and asks why it’s always her.
In the back, Gable accepts the Shorty moniker because all he cares about is winning. Corbin called him a loser but tonight, Gable was the bigger man. Corbin jumps him from behind because this feud must continue.
We recap Seth Rollins vs. the Fiend. Bray Wyatt has come back and become a monster under his new persona, earning himself the shot here. Rollins is terrified of the Fiend but is ready to fight and survive, as he always does.
Raw World Title: Seth Rollins vs. The Fiend
Inside the Cell with the Fiend challenging. The creepy entrance with the human head lantern are back too. We get the old Kane red lights as Fiend goes right after him to start. Seth hammers away and gets knocked to the floor for his efforts. Back in and Fiend knocks him down again as they head outside for the second time. A whip sends Rollins into the Cell wall as the slow beating continues.
Fiend goes looking for plunder but Seth gets in a shot with the steps for a breather. A table is sent in but Seth scores with a pair of suicide dives and a whip into the steps. Another suicide dive is countered into Sister Abigail into the Cell and the table is set up inside. Some kicks put Fiend on the table and the frog splash puts Wyatt down again. Seth hits the Stomp and Fiend is right back up with another Sister Abigail for two.
With Seth down on the floor, Fiend busts out the big mallet. Seth knocks him away and hits another Stomp onto the mallet but Fiend is back on his feet inside. A springboard knee to the face and a superkick won’t put Fiend down so it’s a third Stomp into a fourth Stomp. The fans are openly booing Seth as he hits a fifth Stomp but Fiend is still getting up. The Pedigree sets up a sixth Stomp….for one. Stomps #7, #8, #9 and #10 all connect but he’s still getting up.
We get #11 to put Fiend down for a bit but Seth gets a chair instead of covering. A huge chair shot to the head only gets one so let’s bring in a ladder. The chair is placed on the Fiend’s head and crushed with the ladder for two. Fiend stays down as Seth finds a toolbox. The chair and ladder are put on Fiend’s head and Seth crushes it over and over with the toolbox, which he then puts on top of the pile. That’s not enough for a cover as the booing is getting even louder now. Seth pulls out the sledgehammer but the referee won’t let him use it. Seth stops but then crushes Fiend with it…..
INSIDE THE CELL!!!
Rating: F. They killed the Cell. I’d think that’s enough for a failure, wouldn’t you?
The Cell is raised and medics come out but Fiend pops up and puts on the Claw. Sister Abigail connects on the floor as we get a RESTART THE MATCH chant. Another Sister Abigail on the exposed concrete knocks Rollins cold and it’s the Claw again. The lights go out and laughter ends the show.
Overall Rating: D-. Once this show ended, I actually sat at my computer for a bit and just stared. I’ve spent a lot of time watching this company and I’ll defend almost anything they do. Tonight, I felt like they wasted my time and laughed at me for watching their show. It was bad enough that WWE showed how much they cared by announcing over half of the card on the day of the event, but then we get to the two main points.
First, we have what might have been the most annoyed I’ve gotten at WWE in years: Shorty Gable. That nickname, which seems to be sticking around, is a fine example of WWE ignoring every bit of talent that a wrestler has and going with a stupid joke name designed to do nothing more than amuse their writing staff, or probably Vince himself. There are probably a dozen interesting ways to push Gable (he should have been Angle’s son, he’s a wrestling machine, he’s ticked off at the short jokes and hurts people, you could have made him King of the Ring and the list goes on.)
But no. Instead, we get him being called Shorty like he’s in some 1930s gangster movie, because that’s the kind of amusement that we need around here. It’s a one note gimmick that is going to allow Graves to make as many short jokes as he can think of and then Gable will be forgotten because he’s the guy who has a stupid name designed to make people laugh. That’s the kind of thing you expect out of Vince Russo and we’re getting it here in 2019.
Then there’s the…..man this hurts to even say again. My all time favorite wrestler is Mick Foley, who is best known for the insanity he went through in the Cell. That’s what they always bring up every time one of these matches takes place (at the same time of course, because that’s what the match has become: a spot on the calendar instead of the be all end all gimmick match) and now…..it’s a match where you can have a DQ.
WWE decided that they had booked themselves into a corner and instead of coming up with a smart finish or anything good, they decided to just cut through the rules and go against the entire concept of a match that has been a big deal around here for over twenty years. It’s stupid, it’s shortsighted, it’s lazy, it’s kicking the fans between the legs and telling them to keep paying their money next year when they probably run this show again with the same premise.
This was WWE laughing at its fans and saying “yeah whatever, we know you’re going to keep coming back.” The Cell is built around the idea that anything goes and it is the ultimate battle ground. Well now it’s any given match because you can go too far and the match can be stopped. The one thing about the Cell that is supposed to make it special is now gone, because WWE, with its army of writers and creative people, couldn’t think of something else.
I can’t call the show a failure because the first two matches were really good, but then it became a mix of house show rematches, literally turning a wrestler into a joke and then pulling the plug on the company’s top violent match that this show was named for. WWE took your money/time and laughed at you for watching their show tonight, and I’m sure tomorrow everything will be fine because that’s how WWE works. This bothered me, as it’s one of the first times in a long time that I felt like I did something stupid by watching a show. That shouldn’t happen, but it did tonight.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!