Hell in a Cell Review – The Age of Orton dawns again

Randy Orton claims his fourteenth World title, Roman Reigns dominates Universal title defence. Conn McGillion reviews everything that went down in Hell in a Cell.

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Hell in a Cell is always a brutal affair. One of the most vicious shows on the WWE calendar, the Hell in a Cell match sees a massive cell-like structure fastened around the entire ring. All of the cell doors are locked, with two wrestlers trapped inside the cell. Chaos usually ensued. The 2020 edition of the Hell in a Cell lived up to that brutality in unique fashion, with milestones and major story advancement capping off a fantastic show.

WWE Championship- Randy Orton def Drew McIntyre © –  This match was a brilliant culmination to this stellar rivalry. The match was aggressive and vicious from the get go. At various points in the match, both McIntyre and Orton used the cell as a ‘weapon’. There were several call-backs to the previous matches that the two had over the last few months. Orton realising he could not out wrestle McIntyre, he took the match outside of the ring and used as many weapons as he could get his hands on. He also broke open the cell door, and scaled the entire twelve foot Hell in a Cell, luring McIntyre up there to battle atop the massive structure. 

The fall through the table played a major part in McIntyre’s downfall. When both Orton and McIntyre were climbing back down the Cell, Orton would knock McIntyre off the cell walls. This caused him to fall almost twelve feet through the announcer table. After a brief finishing exchange, Orton would hit his patented RKO finisher to defeat McIntyre. The victory would prove to be Orton’s record breaking fourteenth world title. McIntyre had a brilliant run with the championship on Raw, but Orton was absolutely the right man to dethrone him. 2020 has been the year of Randy Orton in every way, and another WWE Championship is only the cherry on top.

Universal Championship- Roman Reigns © def Jey Uso This rivalry could perhaps go down as one of the most personal and riveting rivalries of recent times. In a rematch from Clash of Champions in September, these cousins go head to head for Smackdown’s top belt – the Universal title. And this match was an ‘I Quit’ match. In order to gain a victory, you must force your opponent to say ‘I Quit’. And, in this emotional battle, Roman Reigns truly forced his cousin to say ‘I Quit’. 

The bitter rivalry between the two real life cousins comes completely from a matter of pride. Reigns demands to be acknowledged as the ‘Tribal Chief’ of their Samoan family – the head of the family table and the main provider to the household. However, the younger Jey Uso believes he has what it takes to be the Tribal Chief – he is sick of being overlooked. Jey needs to prove he is more than just Roman Reigns’ cousin. 

Jey took a pounding early from Reigns. Throughout the match, Reigns was almost scolding Jey. “It didn’t have to be this way, it didn’t have to come to this,” he said. All Jey had to do was acknowledge Reigns. But, Jey’s heart shined through in this match. Jey fought back with several vicious forearms and superkicks to try to weather his older cousin’s storm. At one point, Jey even brought out the Samoan strap, which is synonymous with their Samoan culture, and beat his cousin senseless with it. However, Reigns soon got control of the strap himself, and the real beatings began. Jey cried out in agony, and all the time you could hear Reigns bellowing at Jey. “I do the whippings around here!” Soon, it came to a point where the referees were threatening to stop the match. Reigns beatings were going far beyond the point of competition. However, throughout the match, Jey refused to quit. So, Reigns refused to stop beating his cousin. 

It was only when Jimmy Uso, Jey’s brother, intervened, and Reigns other cousin. Jimmy shielded a beaten Jey with his own body, and begged Reigns to stop. Reigns himself seem to concede then- breaking down in tears, he even told Jimmy he wasn’t sure who he was anymore. Only when Jimmy seemed to accept Reigns ‘apology’, and the two men shook hands, did Reigns reveal his true colours. He grabbed Jimmy immediately in a guillotine choke, and it could have been a matter of moments until he was unconscious. It is only when a dazed Jey saw his own brother being choked out, did he finally bellow ‘I Quit’. And, the Tribal Chief proved his dominance. 

This match needs to be watched, whether you are a wrestling fan or not. The entire story arc, the family split, and the brutal ending makes this a contender for match of the year. Roman Reigns is undoubtedly the top wrestler on Smackdown, and maybe even the entire WWE. But, he is without any doubt, the Tribal Chief. 

Smackdown Women’s Championship – Sasha Banks def Bayley © – This was a fantastic, gruelling match, that was a fitting culmination to the personal rivalry between the two former friends. The use of the chair in the finishing sequence was very good. Bayley used a steel chair to attack Banks months ago, and injure her. It was fitting that Banks used the chair to get her vengeance, and capture the title. The two women were certainly creative with their offense – the use of the kendo sticks in several instances only added to the animosity between the two. Overall, the result was a satisfactory one – with Banks once more vengefully taking the crown, and winning another Women’s championship from her bitter former ally.

The Miz def Otis – The Money in the Bank contract – This was a decent match designed to change the Money in the Bank Contract to the Miz. The Money in the Bank briefcase gives the holder the right to ‘cash in’ on any champion they like, at any time. It essentially gives the holder a world title match on their own terms. Otis has held the contract since June, but in a quick, solid match – the Miz wrenched it from the lovable powerhouse. The true story of this match is the betrayal. Tucker, Otis’ tag team partner, turned on Otis- costing him the match, and the contract. The change was to be expected – Otis was not truly ready for a world title match, and the veteran Miz having the briefcase re-establishes the former World champion as a threat once again. 

United States Championship- Bobby Lashley © def Slapjack –  This match was a glorified domination. These two men represented two different factions on Raw in a ‘gang war’ of sorts that has been waging across Raw the last few months. The suited and suave ‘Hurt Business’ were represented here by champion Bobby Lashley- the powerhouse of the group. And, the masked gang of anarchists Retribution, were represented here by ‘Slapjack’. 

This match was over in a matter of moments- the much more imposing Lashley tossing around his masked adversary, and finishing him off quickly with his Full Nelson submission. Post match, other members of Retribution attempted to jump Lashley. However, the Hurt Business came to their allies aid- all four driving away the masked rebels before any damage could be done.

Elias def Jeff Hardy via DQ – There is little to this match to talk about. It was over in a matter of minutes, with Hardy smacking Elias over the back with Elias’ own guitar. The measure of revenge was sweet- Elias had been assaulting Hardy with a guitar several times over the last few weeks. However, the result was cheap, and served as a purpose to stretch the rivalry on.

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