Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Hell in a Cell 2012
• Scheduled Card:
1. Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton.
2. WWE Tag Team Championship: Rhodes Scholar vs. Hell No (c).
3. WWE Intercontinental Championship: The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston (c).
4. WWE United States Championship: Justin Gabriel vs. Antonio Cesaro (c).
5. Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio vs. The Prime Time Playas.
6. World Heavyweight Championship: Big Show vs. Sheamus (c).
7. Triple Threat for the WWE Diva’s Championship: Layla vs. Kaitlyn vs. Eve (c).
8. Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship: Ryback vs. CM Punk (c).
• TONIGHT! IS! HELL! The WMD may help Showster take the World Heavyweight Championship off Sheamus. And the insatiable Ryback tries to feed on the respect-hungry WWE Champion CM Punk. Solid video package that focuses on both feuds.
• Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton. Oh shit. JBL’s “you gotta love him” shtick continues for yet another PPV as he’s already said it twice about ADR and the match hasn’t even started. ADR cost Orton in a number 1 contender’s match and Randy RKOed Ricardo on the announce table and here we are. Cole wants to talk turkey and know if Orton has “lost his edge.” JR dodges and calls Orton “almost naked” and JBL takes umbrage at the literal imagery. Cole takes back over and says that when talking to Ricardo earlier tonight he concocted an elaborate metaphor for this match using the Mexican flag: “This match will resemble the Mexican flag where the Eagle, Del Rio, conquers the Serpent, Randy Orton.” You’ve got JBL making fun of everyone, JR penchant for poor word choice rearing its head, and Cole plugging Ricardo’s Twitter poetry. What more could you want?
• Orton does his best Hogan and makes ADR look like an inconsequential nothing as he shitcans him out and LARIATOS him down. Orton throws him into the announce table and then the ringpost. Back in, Orton goes to the Malenko/Garvin stomp and kicks a mudhole in the corner. Del Rio tries to get something going as Ricardo distracts and ADR wraps the arm across the turnbuckle. Del Rio stays on the arm smashing it against the apron. Back in, ADR covers for 2 and then goes to a standing kimura. Orton no sells and runs Berto into the corner. ADR drops down and applies the armbar in the ropes awesomely. He breaks the hold before the 5 count and then launches Orton into the ringpost. ADR mocks the Destiny pose and hits a single arm DDT for a nearfall. ADR goes back to a resthold on the arm. Orton headbutts his way free and rolls up Berto for 2. ADR with an armbreaker. He covers for 1, 2, only 2. Back to the hold. JBL loses his mind trying to hype up the stakes of this nothing match on a throwaway PPV: “This is a battle of alpha-males. THIS IS BIGGER THAN HELL IN A CELL! THIS IS BETTER THAN A WRESTLEMANIA MATCH! THIS IS HAS BEEN BREWING SINCE THEY WERE KIDS AND FIRST ENTERED THE WWE!” ADR reapplies the armbar in the ropes as JR needles JBL and questions the accuracy of saying this match is better than the main event. Orton, like a dick, just drops ADR from a good 7 feet up down to the floor. Back in, Orton goes to a few clotheslines. He calls for the powerslam but ADR outsmarts and locks in the ARMBAR! Orton grabs the ropes. Orton no sells a broken arm and hits a neck/backbreaker WITH HIS LEFT ARM! Orton covers for 2 and then sells the arm a bit. Berto bails out to the apron as Cole and JR congratulate him on winning the RR two years ago. Orton wants the apron DDT but Berto attacks the arm. Ricardo: “JEFE! JEFE! *DESTINY POSE*” ADR now starts hearing voices in his head and cues up the Diamond Cutter.
• Orton’s pissed and counters to the apron DDT. Orton tees up an RKO with one arm but ADR hits a SWEET Backcracker to come back. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Berto wants the armbar but Orton no sells and just grabs a powerslam. He covers for 1, 2, only 2. Orton gets hung up in a Tree of Woe as JBL plays Mike Tenay and lists some lucha libre history for Berto’s family tree. ADR with a double foot stomp off the top. He covers for 1, 2, 2 ½. ADR spazzes out and boots the shit out of Orton. Berto heads up top and jumps off into… nothing as he and Orton botch the transition. JBL: “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!” Cole: “Maybe he’s afraid of heights.” After 10 of the best seconds of my life, Orton shoves ADR into the ropes and hits a Bluechipper dropkick. Orton goes for the RKO but ADR counters and tries to go to the arm. Orton puts the brakes on but Ricardo smashes the arm into the ringpost! YES! HOLD NUMBER 712! ARMBAR! Orton stacks ADR up for a 1, 2, 2.999. ADR goes for the step up enzuigiri out of nowhere but he whiffs and Orton catches him in the RKO. Cover gets 1, 2, 3 to win at 12:40. ADR’s almost incapable of having a bad match, even when Orton does his usual of giving his opponent nothing and does it so unenthusiastically. Seriously, even when Luger was humping around WCW, he tried to wince occasionally even if not breaking a sweat. Orton, on the other hand, seems disinterested in any part of the match that isn’t him hitting moves. Solid enough though lacking in a palpable sense of drama because Orton always wins these kinds of matches and ADR always loses them lately. ***
• Meanwhile, Cole fills us in on Cena and Vickie Guerrero’s Twitter war over AJ. Vickie says on RAW she’ll reveal the damning evidence, BUT WAIT! She runs into Paul Heyman. Even though he tried to swoop in and get the GM job on Monday, now he’s all nice. He wants Vickie to cancel the match tonight against Ryback. Vickie declines but Heyman loses his shit saying how Punk ISN’T AFRAID OF RYBACK, THE BOOGEYMAN, ANYONE!
• WWE Tag Team Championship: Rhodes Scholar vs. Hell No (c). Rhodes Scholar got this shot by beating Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio in the finals of a tournament. The heels give us a quick promo about how tonight, WE (they) WILL BE THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS! Cole speculates about whether it’s smart for Rhodes Scholar to try and piss off the champs. JBL sets him straight: “Michael, you are in a TITLE FIGHT! DOES IT REALLY MATTER IF THE OTHER GUY’S MAD OR NOT? YOU REALLY THINK HE’S GOING TO FIGHT HARDER BECAUSE HE’S MAD?! Let them try to get in their head. Cody Rhodes is a 4-time tag team champion with three different partners. Cody Rhodes KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING!”
• DB and Sandow to start. DB with some kicks and a knee to the gut as Cole tries to get over a new nickname for Sandow, “the duke of decency.” JR miffs at such a witticism: “Hmm… What a… captivating cliché.” Kane tags in and he pulls in Cody and hits a basement dropkick for a brief 2 count. Kane goes to work in the corner on Cody with a clothesline and tags in DB. Kane whips Dragon into Cody with an IED. DB covers for 2. DB with some STIFF Euro uppercuts and DR FG kicks on Cody. Kane back in with the FOOT TO THE FACE and a bodyslam. A short elbow drop gets a 2 count. JBL and JR take turns making tag team comparisons and Cole tries to one-up JBL and winds up with egg on his face. JBL: “The great team of Doom.” Cole: “[Condescendingly] That would be the Legion of Doom.” JBL: “… Ron Simmons and Butch Reed.” Cole: “OH! THAT DOOM!” JBL: “I’m out here with someone who didn’t even know wrestling existed before 2000.” Cole: “I STARTED WORKING HERE IN 1997!” Sandow blind tags in and clips Kane’s knee. Cody piles on behind the ref’s back with some BLATANTCHOKING and then gets tagged in. The heel works some quick tags and stay on Kane’s leg. JR fumbles his way through trying to compliment the challengers whose NAME he can’t even remember. JR: “Lot of WWE Hall of Fame influence on the…. Team of…. Rhodes—Rhodes… Scholars. Easy for me to say.” Kane tries to fight them off but Cody clips the knee again. Sandow back in but jumps off the top into a throat thrust. Kane tags in DB and JBL plays up their teamwork. JBL: “Not that dysfunctional JR, like a wooorrrroiled (sic) machine.” JR: “Even a well-oiled machine.” JBL aint taking shit off the likes of JR for English pronunciation so he skewers him about the Notre Dame blasting of Oklahoma in college football. JBL: “Little like Notre Dame last night.” JR: “No lie.” This will continue to be a theme all night. DB boots Sandow down in the corner and flips up and over and hits a VEGAN BURRITO. DB is fired up and hits several DR FG’s. Sandow ducks another and shoves Dragon into Cody knocking him off the apron. DB manages to avoid a charge and shitcans Sandow out. DB follows out with a suicide dive. Back in, Cody distracts DB long enough for Sandow to knock him off the apron.
• Awesomely, on commentary, JR and Cole are now DEFENDING Daniel Bryan as the stronger member of the team and Kane as the weak link in the tag team. Amazing how far they have come in finally getting on the DB bandwagon. Cody tags in and hits a running knee to the face. JR now proffers that one-on-one DB is as good as anyone in the entire company. That’s right, Cena, Punk, Triple H, Undertaker, and Sheamus. JR says there’s a new Tiger Beat posterboy in Skokie, Oklahoma. Sandow with a Bossman attack for 2. Cody back in and works a resthold on DB. Dragon fights back but runs into a knee. Sandow back in and drops several knees on DB to the breadbasket. Sandow hits a Russian Leg Sweep, but since, he’s a man of worldly culture, we’ll call it a Tolstoy Leg Sweep. Sandow cues up the Evil Magician’s Elbow and AWESOMELY flips off Kane in the arm sweep and makes sure to pause so he sees it. He covers for 1, 2, only 2. He LAYS into DB with some stiff crossfaces. Kane: “C’MON, GOATFACE!” Sandow tries a back suplex but DB flips out and lands on his feet. He wants the armbar takedown but Sandow shoves him away only to eat turnbuckle himself. DB makes the inferno tag to Kane who burns the heels with clotheslines and backdrops. Kane with a sideslam for 2. Kane heads up top and hits the theoretical physics clothesline on Cody. He wants the ChokeSlam but DB tags himself in and hits a diving headbutt off the top. DB goes for the cover but Kane is pissed about the blind tag. Sandow pulls Kane out before he can hug it out with DB. Cody comes charging but DB backdrops him onto Kane on the floor and well that won’t help therapy any. DB runs for the flying knee off the apron but Cody ducks and Kane eats it. Kane: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THIS MATCH!?” They now shove it out and well let’s just say that has a less than happy ending. Rhodes Scholar tries a double baseball slide that looks HORRIBLE but Kane bumps anyway and DB, like a boss, no sells. Cody throws DB into the ring for Crossroads. Cover gets 1, 2—Kane breaks it up. Kane tackles Cody in the corner and stacks up Sandow with him. Kane continues stomping a mudhole over the referee’s protestations and finally Doane rings the bell for the DQ at 13:11.
• The crowd meets that finish with groans of petulance and ennui because while the match was going along fine moreso from competence than greatness, that ending still reinforces that the tag division is still not yet on the level of even the old WWECW championship in terms of quality matches and satisfying finishes. Still, WWE booked themselves in a bit of a corner due to the accelerated nature of all booking. “Kane and DB are over, put them in a tag team, and put the belts on them!” “They’re getting stale, Sandow and Cody have some chemistry, put them together, they’re over, put the belts on them!” etc. Sometimes, the story needs a second act. **3/4
• Meanwhile, Josh Matthews is with Miz. They clumsily try to plug that awful TV show, Doomsday Preppers, and then Miz puns to say doomsday might arrive early. You see, doomsday would be Kofi Kingston being a star because that would lower standards to the point of accepting mediocrity. When Miz calls you mediocre, there’s a problem. Miz says he will save the world by being AWESOME.
• WWE Intercontinental Championship: The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston (c). After botching a kick on Miz and busting him open hardway, WWE rewarded Kofi with the IC title on the C-show. Miz is not impressed with Kofi’s smiling at the beginning so he takes him down and runs through a few leap frogs to avoid a Butt Bomb. Miz goes for the SCF but Kofi tosses him away and into the ropes. Kofi cues up the Trouble in Paradise but Miz bails out to the floor to take a breather. Energetic start. Back in, the ref for no reason pulls Kofi away and that allows Miz to jump Kofi with some punches. EVIL REF ANGLE!~! I bet we won’t see another one of those tonight. Kofi with a double leg and some GnP as Cole sounds concerned that “this could turn into a fight.” Kofi shitcans Miz out and then dropkicks him off the apron. Miz tries to send Kofi into the ring steps but Kofi awesomely jumps over then and rolls through. He gets a head of steam but runs into Miz’s BOOT OF FEAR! Back in, Miz covers for 2. Miz goes to a chinlock as JBL puts over Miz HUGE as a former reality TV star like Johnny Bananas who has transformed himself through hard work into a former world champion. Kofi tries to start a rally but Miz pulls Kofi down by the hair and delivers a Batista kick for 2. Miz hits the leaping corner clothesline and heads up top for the MARINE THREE HAMMER and covers for 2. JR compliments Miz’s advanced strategery of going for covers after moves: “I like the fact that Miz is going for the cover. He strikes with something that he thinks will get him 3 and he goes right for the lateral press looking for the pin.” Miz goes for another corner clothesline but runs into a BICUSPID-LOOSENING LARIATO! Double KO spot. Kofi hits a few Dragon chops and a burrito to crickets. He fires up for the Boom Drop, but NO ONE CARES! He might as well be on Velocity against Simon Dean with that anemic pop.
• He calls for the Trouble in Paradise but Miz ducks out to the floor. JR: “Wasting a lot of booms there.” Miz runs around and tries to cut him off at the pass but Kofi counters to a school boy for 1, 2, only 2. Kofi springboards into a crossbody for 1, 2, 2 ½. Miz cuts him off with a shitcan attempt but Kofi blocks with his head of all things. Miz counters back to his neckbreaker combo and they botch the transition so Kofi covers with the Ranhei. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Kofi gets hung up in the ropes and Miz catches him in a nice knee hyperextender. Miz stomps a mudhole and then wraps the leg around the ropes as the crowd is just dead as a doornail. Miz dropkicks the bad leg and begins to tear off Kofi’s gear to really focus on the injured knee. Now, that is actually kind of awesome. Kofi escapes to the top rope to beat some life back into his leg so Miz pulls him off and rolls him into a half crab. Miz, the technical virtuoso!~! Kofi tries grabbing the ropes so Miz pulls him back to the middle(!). Kofi with a small package out of desperation for a 2 count. Miz gets PISSED and clips the knee again and hits a DDT. Miz: “GOODNIGHT!” Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Miz wants the SCF but Kofi rolls through into a cradle and another 2 count. Kofi goes for a flash Trouble in Paradise but Miz ducks. He tries for the SCF but Kofi AGAIN rolls through so Miz STAYS ON THE HOLD! If Miz wants to beef up his ground game by working like Kurt Angle, then go for it. Kofi shrugs Miz off and finally hits the Trouble in Paradise. Cover gets 1, 2, 3 to retain at 10:21. Even though JR and the crew were tripping all over themselves to say Kofi had more intensity than usual, it was actually MIZ who seemed noticeably sharper and trying to new stuff to step his game up. If Miz can supplant Swagger as the grade A Angle-biter or to a lesser degree Lance Storm, as long as it turns him into a better worker, I’m all for it. ***
• Matt Striker, like a dedicated paparazzi, confronts Kofi right after the match and wants an interview right now. Kofi thanks Miz because he brought “The Wildcat” out of him. I really hope this doesn’t lead to a serious interpretation of Ernest Miller’s career.
• Meanwhile, Hell No is backstage and they are pissed. Kane says DB is all haughty about the vegan candy he WON’T be getting for Halloween. Oh yeah? Well, Kane has been wearing a mask all year. Oh yeah? Well, Dragon has been wearing a mask his entire life, A GOAT MASK! They argue some more over the last word before Kane exits stage right.
• WWE United States Championship: Justin Gabriel vs. Antonio Cesaro (c). All night, JBL has this fantastically egotistical gimmick of running down each belt’s lineage and including his own name with punctuated distinction. Pre-match, Cesaro gets the stick and shows off his multilingual abilities. If Johnny Ace were still GM like he should be, I’m sure Cesaro could negotiate on-air subtitles for his promos. Gabriel got this shot by beating Cesaro clean on RAW in a non-title match. JR called Gabriel’s 450 on Cesaro bowling-shoe ugly but Cole decides to needle him: “You know, you can get bowling shoes that aren’t ugly anymore, right? You can get them in white, black.” JR: “Really?” JBL: “I’ll tell ya what’s ‘Oklahoma ugly’ is that haircut of Justin Gabriel’s.” JBL wins again with another jab about the football game.
• Cesaro with a quick takedown and piefaces Gabriel into the mat just to be a dick, but like I always say, if you’re going to be a dick, might as well be an arrogant, foreign dick because Regal > Miz. Gabriel flips over to get out of an armwringer and armdrags Cesaro through. Cesaro comes back with a headbutt. Gabriel lands on his feet out of another hiptoss attempt and then monkey flips Cesaro over. Gabriel sneaks up to the top rope and Cesaro has HAD IT WITH THIS FLIPPING SHIT and shoves him off the turnbuckle and down to the floor. SWEET! Awesomely on commentary, Cole plays up how Cesaro is undefeated against Americans and claims no one from the states can beat him – Gabriel is from South Africa. Cesaro follows up with a Snake Eyes on the apron. Back in, he drops a leg for a 1 count. Cesaro hits the SWISS DEATH and mounts with some more stiff forearms to the face. Cesaro hits another SWISS DEATH to the back of the head and whoa, the crowd is comatose, even worse than the Miz/Kofi match. Cesaro covers for 2 and then locks in a chinlock. Cesaro tries to wake them up and drops Gabriel on the top turnbuckle and follows up with a snap ab suplex for 1, 2, only 2. A couple of double foot stomps are next for another 2 count. Cesaro stays on the offense and the crowd is all IT’S TOO EARLY FOR A BATHROOM BREAK as they can’t be bothered to cheer, boo, chant boring, or anything. Cesaro scrambles and goes to another resthold but they’re just dying. You can’t insert an undercard smiling face like Gabriel into a PPV match and expect him just to be a proxy face and get over without SOME support from above. A PPV match is an opportunity but when it dies because the crowd hasn’t been given a reason to care about you other than that you can flip and sometimes land on your feet doing it, it’s not entirely your fault. ANYWAY, Gabriel lands on his feet out of a German suplex and spinwheel kicks Cesaro down. A double jump moonsault gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Cesaro cuts off the rally with a LARIATO. Cover gets 1, 2, only 2. And now, because everyone else is taking a nap, three guys get together and decide THEY WANT RYDER and suddenly, Ryder’s the most over guy in the match. Gabriel tilt-a-whirls around and counters to a DDT. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Gabriel cues up the 450 but Cesaro moves only for Gabriel to… wait for it… land on his feet. Gabriel moonsaults off the top and lands into the AJ Styles Scorpion DeathDrop. Cover gets 1, 2, nearfall. Gabriel dropkicks Cesaro to the floor and tries to follow out with a springboard plancha but lands into the SWISS DEATH FROM BELOW! And Gabriel takes it like a man. Cesario brings what’s left of Gabriel back in and hits the Cradle Piledriver. Cover gets 1, 2, 3 to retain at 7:22. Your rating of this will perfectly reflect how you feel about crowds and crowd reaction playing into a match’s rating – the wrestling is a quality use of 7 minutes (***), the crowd is at an orthodontist’s office (DUD). I tend to watch the wrestling more than I listen to the crowd especially when I feel it’s not the wrestler’s fault and the crowd would rather watch a John Cena Tout-questionnaire. **3/4
• Next, Cole and JR lead us into a Ryback vignette which as usual is well-done.
• Meanwhile, Heyman is in the back with Vickie again. Didn’t we already see this? Heyman pre-emptively thanks Vickie for cancelling the HITC against Ryback. Vickie says YOU LIE! IT’S STILL ON! What the hell was the point of that? Crap on WCW all you want (and I’ve done it plenty) but at least, they made their backstage MacGuffins and teases about cancelling matches due to the demands of the n.W.o seem much more legitimate.
• Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio vs. The Prime Time Playas. Darren and Cara to start. DY with a quick TD and some paintbrushes to the back. DY: “THIS IS MY HOUSE!” Cara handsprings into a back flip and then rans DY down. Mysterio tags in and they take a while setting up a Lionsault and leg drop combo. Rey covers for a 1 count. Rey tries up and over but DY elbows him down. Rey boots him into the ropes for the 619 but DY catches him in a Northern Lights suplex. Titus tags in and hits a Euro uppercut and poses for the crowd. Darren back in for a double shoulderblock as JBL says the PTPers are loaded with talent but need “refinement.” DY works a few covers and then goes to a chinlock. DY just LETS REY GO so Rey can kick him some. Titus tags back in and tries coming back with a few kicks and tags in Cara. Cara hits a missile dropkick and a handspring back elbow. Titus tries shitcanning him out but Cara lands on the apron and comes back with an enzuigiri and a crossbody for 2. Cara goes for the knuckle-lock rana but Titus catches him into a series of backbreakers and just THROWS DOWN CARA! URAH! URAH! URAH! That taunt is so awful and annoying that it’s perfect for a heel. DY in with a Saito suplex for 2. He locks in the OrtonLock. Cara elbows out and floats over in a suplex for 1, 2, only 2. DY boots him around and Cara escapes out to the apron. The PTPers go for the double team but Cara fights them off with kicks. DY gets back on the offense with a back suplex on the apron. Nice. DY covers but Rey breaks it up immediately. Titus back in for a hammerlock reverse bodyslam and tags in DY. Titus suplexes DY onto Cara and they pose. Crowd is politely silent through all through.
• Cara gets some space but then just waits around for Darren to cut him off with a clothesline. DY tries another pose but Cara cuts him off with a booty. DY comes back with the GnP. Titus smacks around Cara and talks trash as JBL takes another shot at Oklahoma’s lose to Notre Dame and again JR just hangs his head. Titus hits a vertical suplex for another 2 count. Rey gets a Sin Cara chant going as Titus applies an ab stretch. Titus with an ugly, stiff short-arm clothesline and covers for another 2 count. DY in to hit a backbreaker and covers for 1, 2, only 2. Titus with an elbow to the lower back to stay on some psychology. This is some standard formula stuff but the crowd is dead. Titus stacks up Cara in the corner and then tells the crowd he’s going to show them how a real football team does to stick it to them and JR simultaneously. Awesome. Titus goes for the 3 point stance but Cara moves and Titus eats ringpost. Cara hits a Spanish Fly and injures his neck in the process but still makes the hot tag to Mysterio. DY in but runs into a headscissors. Rey off the top with a seated senton and a Maivia Hurricane. Rey wants a sunset flip but DY blocks so Rey hits a BRUTAL DR FG ENZUIGIRI! Titus charges him but Rey dumps him out. Cara heads up top and splashes Titus on the floor. Rey springboards back onto DY and ranas him into the ropes. 619 follows and Rey covers for 1, 2, 3 to win at 12:27. Standard RAW tag match, but I’m enjoying the personality of the PTPers. **3/4
• World Heavyweight Championship: Big Show vs. Sheamus (c). JR worries that Sheamus may be too confrontational and hot-headed to hang with Show in the mind games department. FORESHADOWING! Cole switches to say it’s KO punch vs. Brogue Kick. The video package focuses on both finishers but with an awesome Rocky IV homage addendum with Show impressing onlookers with the pounds per square inch force of his punches.
• JR calls Sheamus a “great roll model for everyone” and JBL tells him to stick it because Oklahoma sucks. Nice. Cole brings up Show’s “iron-clad contract” from Ace months ago which is some of the best continuity the WWE has done lately.
• Show throws Sheamus down and hits a shoulderblock to start. Show goes to the CLUBBINGBLOWS early and some shots to the breadbasket. Cole: “IS IT SMART TO BRAWL WITH THIS MAN, THE BIG SHOW?!” More rights and headbutts from Show and Sheamus begs off in the corner. JBL: “Show knocked out Mark Henry, the World’s Strongest Man, with one punch!” Show stays in charge with a slam as we cut to the back and see Dolph looking on from the locker room as he promised to cash in tonight. Sheamus tries coming back with rights of his own to the gut but Show no sells and follows up with a Runaway Samoan Semi. Sheamus no sells that and chop blocks him. Show bails out to regroup and sell the knee. Now, Cole and JBL put over Show’s title history and JBL says that Show won a belt in his first ever match against Hulk Hogan. Back in, Sheamus with more rights and mounts in the corner but Show throws him off. Sheamus comes back with a few harpoons but gets shitcanned out and back to square one. Show with some overhand chops and throws Sheamus into the barricade. JBL: “THOSE HANDS ARE LIKE CATCHER’S MITTS!” Back in, Sheamus fights back but runs into a sideslam for a 1 count. Show hits another headbutt and does the Andre spot. JBL continues putting over how this is Sheamus’ first time EVER facing the Showster. JR: “How do you train for the Big Show? Who do you spar with, workout with? There is no one.” Cole to JBL: “What did you do? How did you prepare to get in the ring with him?” JBL: “Survived. That’s the only thing you can do. You can’t beat the Big Show. YOU HOPE HE GETS TIRED! YOU HOPE HE MAKES A MISTAKE! BUT WHAT IF HE DOESN’T!? HE’S A GIANT! HIS FIRST MATCH HE TAKES OUT HULK HOGAN! IN ANOTHER MATCH, HE ALSO TOOK OUT RIC FLAIR FOR A WORLD TITLE!” Show talks some trash and knees him to the chin casually LIKE A BOSS. Now, out to the floor, Show throws Sheamus over the announce table like he’s cleaning off the dishes. Back in, Show hits a Sling Blade for a 2 count. Sheamus tries some right hands and Show shitcans him out again. JBL: “SHOW IS THROWING ABOUT SHEAMUS LIKE HE’S A RAG DOLL! THAT’S A 275 LB. TOUGH MAN!”
• Sheamus fights back with the slingshot shoulderblock. He runs into a standing sidekick(!) from Showster. The crowd is mostly quiet, quiet enough that you can hear one little boy in the crowd shout that Big Show SUCKS! Show: “I suck, huh? [Headbutts Sheamus] TELL ME I SUCK NOW!” Awesome job trolling a five year old. Sheamus tries using Show to pull himself up and Show paintbrushes him away awesomely. Sheamus with a comeback but runs into a bearhug. JBL points out the brilliance of Show dropping to one knee because he doesn’t have to hold Sheamus up in the air. Sheamus tries a slam to escape but his back buckles. Show heads up for a VADER BOMB! Cover gets 1, 2, only 2. Show says it’s over and calls for the ChokeSlam. Show goes for it but Sheamus counters to a DDT. Sheamus covers for 1, 2, EMPHATICKICKOUT! Sheamus tries the CLUBBINGBLOWBARRAGE in the corner but Show goozles him. Sheamus escapes but runs into a CHOKESLAM! 1, 2, THREEOHNOHEALMOSTGOT’IM! Show goes for a shitty Camel Clutch but Sheamus escapes, drops an elbow, and tries the Irish Cloverleaf but Show kicks him away. To the floor, Show tries to ram Sheamus into the ringpost but Sheamus slides out and shoves Show into it instead. Shoulderblock into the ringpost follows. Back in, Sheamus heads up top and goes for the flying shoulderblock. Show counters with a goozle but Sheamus escapes again and hits a few MAYONNAISE HAMMERS! Sheamus gets Show up for the Schweinn. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. The crowd finally gets into it as Sheamus fires up for the Pump Kick, though I swear I hear a substantial section chanting along with NO, NO, NO in honor of DB. Show catches the Pump Kick and counters with the KO PUNCH… TO A POP! 1, 2, 2.99! All of the crew put over how no one has EVER kicked out of the KO punch. Show goes for it again but Sheamus DUCKS! PUMP KICK! 1, 2, 2.9999999! Sheamus fires up and wants the kick again. Show sidesteps. KO PUNCH! 1, 2, 3! NEW CHAMP AT 20:19! JR: “THE FELONIOUS FISTS OF BIG SHOW!”
• The crowd actually pops for the finish. Because they were sick of Sheamus? Because they love Show? Neither I think. They popped because they are wrestling fans who are susceptible to well-told, well-worked stories and that was a fine one, near a GREAT one. You’re probably not going to get better out of a Sheamus/Show match. It’s almost always slow when Show is dominating, so if that’s not your game, this was a tough pill to swallow, but I can dig big man offense and was all in. Plus, when the commentary team can all get on the same page they can really affect a match’s overall mojo and for the better in this case. ****
• In the back, Eve wants a word with Book, but he’s AGHAST! HE MUST CHECK ON SHEAMUS! OUTTATHEWAY! But HELLOMYNAMEISTEDDY with Zack Ryder in drag for Halloween interrupt and they both call her a bitch through tortured euphemisms. Stay classy. Santino shows up as “Heels in a Cell” or Lady Gaga so Ron Simmons Damns the segment to hell and out of existence.
• Meanwhile, Vince is on the horn but Punk interrupts and says he wants the match against Ryback called off. Vince says no way and that the match must go on.
• Triple Threat for the WWE Diva’s Championship: Layla vs. Kaitlyn vs. Eve (c). For those of you unfamiliar with Kaitlyn, JBL fills you in: “You’ve got Teddy Long with a blonde wig on. What more do you need to know?” Stay classy, again, WWE. This feud is because Eve attacked Kaitlyn and we know because of some mysterious iPad visuals no one can get their hands on. You mean the CGI department responsible for this fantastic, realistic footage wasn’t up to the job?
• Layla and Kaitlyn try to jump Eve but she bails out. They chase her down and Kaitlyn clotheslines her. Back in, it’s more of the 2-on-1 game on Eve to crickets. Layla turns on Kaitlyn with a schoolgirl for 2. Kaitlyn’s all “WHAT THE FUCK, HOESKI? FIRST, AN IPAD, NOW THIS!” They shove it out and both go for covers at the same time. Layla with a slick roll up that gets nothing. They go through a sunset flip series of roll-ups until Eve breaks it up with a Flatliner on Layla. Eve then scoop slams Kaitlyn INTO the ropes on the injured ankle. Eve exposes the business by kneedropping the MAT a good foot away from Kaitlyn’s leg. Eve tries a wretched Lasso from El Paso until she just releases and rolls Kaitlyn into an anklelock. Layla in with a few kicks as the gents discuss ex-wives and barbecues. Layla: “CMONNNNNNNNNNNN!” Layla springboard rolls up Eve for 2. They throw each other into stretches as Kaitlyn hits a coconut. JBL: “CALL THIS, JR!” JR: “Well… I’d just rather let the pictures tell the story.” Kaitlyn goes to the rolling suplexes and stops at 1 amigo and hooks in a Fujiwara armbar. JBL being no fan of the ladies claims he can’t tell them apart. JBL to Cole: “I’M BEGGING YOU TO BE ABLE TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE! THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME!” Cole: “Kailtyn has a submission move on Layla. What match are you watching?” Layla gets the ropes but runs into a gutbuster from Kaitlyn. Layla no sells to hit an enzuigiri. Eve breaks up the pin and shitcans her out. Layla no sells and is in back in. They fight over who gets to pin Kailtyn. JR has had enough and taps out: “Maybe, we should let the Spanish guys do this?” Kaitlyn now joins the roll up party and hits a springboard bulldog on Eve. JBL drifts into senility calling all of the women “pretty ladies… DIVAS! I MADE A MISTAKE! PRETTY DIVAS! … I’m trying to dig my way out of this hole and there’s absolutely no way I can do it. It’s like I’m …. OU AGAINST NOTRE DAME!” JR: “OHHHH! HAHA! I took the over this week and won the pot.” That was terrific. ANYWAY, Layla tries a crossbody but Kaitlyn rolls through with a Bulldog powerslam. Eve breaks up the pin with a Swanton off the top and covers Layla for 1, 2, 3 to retain at 6:28. The usual, a tad sloppy and soft if motivated. If the last match was commentary enhancing a match, this time they dragged it down a bit. *1/4
• In case you weren’t sure Punk was a heel, the WWE heels it up by having him cut a Nazi promo complete with heil hand signal and his own group of brownshirts for the WWE ’13 commercial.
• Meanwhile, Josh Matthews is in the back with Showster. He’s thrilled because he’s finally reached THE PINNACLE! THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN! Everyone’s nightmare has come true and he’s the WHW champ and he DARES anyone to try and take it from him. Solid promo, I appreciate a guy being genuinely enthusiastic because he wants a championship.
• Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship: Ryback vs. CM Punk (c). The video package puts over Punk’s ever-increasing-in-length reign and his maniacal quest for respect… but some men hunger for MORE! LIKE JOBBERS! FEED HIM MORE! Punk tried to run from Ryback but multiple times whether at the lumberjack match or the contract signing, Punk was left lying. TONIGHT, THERE WILL BE NO RUNNING! Good stuff. As usual, the cell gets its own entrance. Cole says there are “rumors” that Punk is afraid of Ryback. Yeah, like the FOUR backstage segments where he tried to get the match canceled. JBL counters that it may not be Ryback that’s he’s afraid of, but the cell. That would be the perfect opportunity for someone with a sense of history like… JBL or JR to bring up that Punk has already been in a HITC against UT but no one does. Tonight, Ryback sporting new red gear that looks good. Ryback’s music hits and the reaction is decidedly underwhelming. In fairness, the pop for his in-ring intro is much better but then he leads a chant in his own honor which is something I find endlessly aggravating but I’ll save that rant for another review.
• Punk keeps his distance early as JBL notes how Ryback has never been in the cell, never had a championship match, etc. JBL: “THIS IS SINK OR SWIM FOR THIS BEAST!” Punk avoids a lockup and again bails out. Heyman: “I BELIEVE IN YOU! YOU’RE THE BEST IN THE WORLD!” So, Punk is Two-Face/Harvey Dent? That actually makes sense. Punk finally engages with a chop but Ryback no sells so Punk backs off. JR: “This man does not work by the hour, gentleman.” Ryback with a choke toss and a BOOT OF FEAR. He choke tosses Punk down into the mat a few times and sends him across with a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Ryback with a head of steam but runs into a boot in the corner. Punk tries a tornado DDT but Ryback shoves him away and clotheslines him out to the floor. Punk flops around like a fish and falls into the cell and pulls his best Flair: “AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Punk tries escaping through the door as Ryback throws him around a couple of times for the requisite cage violence. Punk crawls under the ring as the crowd pulls out the GOLDBERG chant. Heyman tries begging for mercy for Punk and Ryback grunts at him and moves in for the kill. Punk comes back out from under the ring with the fire extinguisher and hoses Ryback down and Ryback shockingly sells it. Insert in your own Superman-kryptonite analogy here. Punk hits several MT knees and gets a chair. Punk goes for the waffle but Ryback BOOTS OF FEAR it back into his face and then THROWS THE CHAIR… AT THE CAMERA MAN! So now he’s Macho Man or Scott Steiner? Ryback then press slams Punk… into the ring in a spot that NEVER pays off. It’s like a two foot drop after a teased gorilla press on the floor. It just doesn’t work. Back in, Ryback fixes it with a regular press slam and then goads the crowd into chanting for him again. He’s all HEY, I’M GOING FOR THE MEATHOOK SO CHANT! The crowd obliges but Punk avoids and hits a Stun Gun and a springboard clothesline to a bit of a pop. Punk heads up top and almost whiffs but barely connects on a RESPECT HAMMER.
• Punk follows up with another but Ryback still only goes down to a knee. Punk goes for a third but Ryback catches him and harpoons him into the turnbuckle a few times. Punk no sells and leg lariats him down. Ryback bails out and Punk follows with a suicide dive. Punk follows up with a chairshot to the breadbasket and a neckbreaker. Punk goes for another neckbreaker but Ryback blocks. Punk slides out of a powerslam attempt, so Ryback goes for a Spear which JR dubs The Cannon. Punk sidesteps and Ryback blasts into the stairs with some gnarly gusto. Way better than that Cena slide-shove crap. Back in, Punk applies a chinlock but Ryback counters to a backpack chinbreaker and still the crowd isn’t really with them. Ryback goes for another Harpoon/Cannon but Punk moves again and tries to egg the crowd on. Heyman: “HE’S STILL ALIVE! HE’S STILL ALIVE!” Punk ignores to hit the step-up knee and a clothesline. Punk heads up for the Macho elbow. Punk digs under the ring and comes up with a Kendo stick. Punk mocks the Feed Me MOAR chant and then blasts Ryback a few times. Ryback no sells, Hulks up and throws the stick away again to very little reaction. He fires up for the clotheslines and a press slam and spinebuster. FEED HIM CHANTS! PLEASE! CHANTS! Ryback hits the Meat Hook. FINISH IT… CHANT! Ryback gets Punk up for the Shell Shock, BUT WAIT! The ref holds off Ryback quizzically. LOW BLOW! WAIT A MINUTE! HOLD ON A DAMN MINUTE! Punk rolls up Ryback! 1, 2, 3 quick count for Punk to retain at 11:22. Even if there was a buzz for Ryback based on the online chatter and the buyrate, the in-house crowd just did not respond outside of the manufactured, synchronized chants. After that initial cage bump, I was expecting more Flair-Luger stuff here but Punk never followed the comical direction of his recent booking toward its natural destination at cartoon-y Flair and instead played it mostly straight. A solid match but one that also proves they were right for not putting Ryback over. **3/4
• Post-match, Punk tries hightailing it out but Maddox nor Heyman can get the key, so they are left at the whims of Ryback. Only after Ryback throws around both does Heyman finally get the door open. Ryback beheads Maddox with a clothesline and for once, the crowd chants of their own accord without prompting. Ryback press slams Maddox from in the ring OUTSIDE to the cell. Ryback now chases Punk out of the cell and tries to whip him into it. Punk uses the momentum and starts to climb. OH NO! RYBACK FOLLOWS! This is quite the mindfuck in the PG era to see them even tease something from the top of the cell. Punk begs off.. ON TOP OF THE CELL! RYBACK HOISTS HIM UP! SHELL SHOCK! Now THAT got a reaction.
The 411: The usual here -- everything outside of the women's match is watchable to good with the Show/Sheamus match tipping the scales but even that is a slow, methodical hossfest which is not everyone's cup of tea. Solid recommendation but easily skippable.
|Final Score: 6.5 [ Average ] legend|