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WWE Hell in a Cell

October 4, 2009 by Samoa Rowe

-Those of you who are long-time DWB readers (or just Erick and Scrooge) might remember that in 2008-2009 I was trying to keep up with all the WWE pay-per-views as they aired or came out on DVD. Well, in the fall of 2009, I just couldn’t take it anymore. There were too many shows, with too many repetitive matches, and the October double shot of Hell in a Cell and Bragging Rights just ensured that I was tapping out. Now, three years later, I’m finding that I miss doing this, and enough time has passed that some of these shows might seem interesting in retrospect. Here goes nothing.

From Newark, NJ. Our hosts are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler for Raw, Jim Ross and Todd Grisham for Smackdown, and

World Heavyweight Championship (Hell in a Cell match):
CM Punk © vs. The Undertaker

It was still somewhat eyebrow raising for a World title match to open a pay-per-view at this point. In the coming years, it would become routine. Punk was doing a nice job getting over as the obnoxious straight-edge champion, so naturally they needed to drag Undertaker out of semiretirement to do something about it. Undertaker makes it clear from the opening bell that under no circumstance should we perceive CM Punk to be in his league. Punk scores with the ring steps and goes to work on the knee. Punk delivers a suicide dive, pushing the Dead Man into the cell wall. Only six minutes into the match, they start ramping up for what seems to be the finishing sequence. Undertaker surprises with the Last Ride but Punk kicks out! At least, Punk is going to retain a shred of dignity. Punk counters Old School for 2. The near falls are forced, but are starting to get over. Undertaker counters a chair shot and finishes Punk with the choke slam/Tombstone sequence at 10:22. This felt like a house show main event that happened to take place inside Hell in a Cell, **.
Winner and new World Heavyweight Champion: The Undertaker

Intercontinental Championship:
John Morrison © vs. Dolph Ziggler

Morrison was actually on a nice roll as IC champion, having recently won the belt from Rey Mysterio in a **** TV match. Ziggler had been on the roster for about a year at this point, but was just starting to catch on as a perennial IC title challenger. These guys both have something to prove and it translates to a good mid-card encounter. It also helps that they have a nice chemistry working together, as Ziggler can mat wrestle and Morrison brings the athleticism. Morrison crashes and burns on a Starship Pain attempt, allowing Ziggler to work him over for a while. Ziggler spices it up with some increasingly aggressive attacks, including a modified fireman’s carry. Morrison counters with a DDT and a slug-fest erupts. Standing shooting star press by Morrison gets 2! They trade several counters, some of which really raise my eyebrows. Ziggler becomes outraged when Morrison kicks out of the Fame-asser. Ziggler counters Starship Pain! Morrison blocks the Zig Zag and nails a kick to the head. Starship Pain finally connects and Morrison wins at 15:39. They wrestled as if they were the future of the company, a promise yet unfulfilled, ***½.
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: John Morrison

-Josh Mathews interviews Batista, but he gets his microphone taken away from him. Batista introduces his tag partner, Rey Mysterio, who leaps into his arms in awkward fashion. Batista and Rey are challenging Jerishow for the Unified Tag Team Championship, and Rey hasn’t forgotten about all the bad things Jericho did to him earlier this year. Batista says that Jericho and Show can’t claim to be the best tag team in the world until they’ve beaten them.

Divas Championship:
Mickie James © vs. Alicia Fox

Alicia is your challenger of the month. This was when there as a Divas title AND a Women’s title, so there was a tad more variety in their monthly diva match offerings. Fox is clumsy and awkward in the ring but Mickie is seasoned enough to hold it together. Mickie essentially squashes Alicia until getting pulled leg-first off the turnbuckles. Alicia stretches this out longer than needed with a lovely chinlock, not to mention hair-pulling. Fox busts out a tirt-a-whirl backbreaker! I shouldn’t make fun of her so much. Mickie makes her comeback, though at times it seems like they’re not sure what to do next. Mickie kicks out of a Northern Lights suplex and nails her patented DDT for the win at 5:20. Brutally boring, ½*.
Winner and still Divas Champion: Mickie James

Unified WWE Tag Team Championship:
Big Show and Chris Jericho © vs. Batista and Rey Mysterio

Show and Jericho were the most effective Tag Team Champions the WWE had seen in a while, as they *gasp* got over by defeating actual tag teams in competitive matches, and they weren’t being jobbed out all the while. Mysterio and Jericho kick things off by revisiting their heated rivalry from earlier in the year. Mysterio and Batista are good pals and work well together in the early going. Rey bravely squares off against Big Show, but quickly becomes isolated. Rey delivers a seated senton and makes the hot tag to Batista. Big Show distracts and prevents a Batista Bomb, but gets knocked to the floor. Batista delivers a spinebuster on Jericho for a devastating near fall. Show distracts again, allowing the Codebreaker for only 2! Big Show misses a leg drop, but nails a choke slam. Rey springboards in for the save! Jericho misses the lionsault! Rey tags and outsmarts Show, nailing a DDT for 2. Rey dumps Show and goes for 619 on Jericho, instead hitting Show. Jericho lands in Show’s arms and Batista spears them both! Rey hits another 619 on Show, but springboards into a closed fist! Show pins Rey at 13:40. This was a ton of fun, ***.
Winners and still Unified Tag Team Champions: Chris Jericho and Big Show

WWE Championship (Hell in a Cell match):
John Cena © vs. Randy Orton

This feud was a big reason why I stopped reviewing every PPV in 2009, as I could only sit through (and pay close attention) to so many Orton/Cena matches. Orton tries to run away but *surprise* the cell is locked. It’s okay, as Orton quickly starts dominating. Two minutes in, and Cena is already wrestling like an underdog and selling exhaustion. Cena powers back and drives Orton into the cell, if for no other reason than to justify the gimmick. Remember when Hell in a Cell was the ultimate blow-off match gimmick? Now, it’s pure filler. Cena blocks a DDT onto the ring steps and back drops Orton to ringside. Cena launches the steps at Orton, who dodges at the last moment. That’s real nice, Cena, had the steps hit Orton, he’d be dead. Cena goes through his routine but Orton snaps his neck on the ropes. Orton nails his DDT and signals the RKO. Cena blocks and nails the Attitude Adjustment for only 2! Cena goes for another AA off the turnbuckles but it’s countered into an electric chair! Cena blocks a top rope RKO but misses the flying leg drop. Orton fetches a chair and targets Cena’s surgically repaired neck. Orton misses a knee drop and gets caught in the STF. Orton kicks Cena into the referee, who is conveniently knocked out when Orton taps out. Cena revives the referee and gets surprised with an RKO. Cena kicks out! Orton ties Cena up in the ropes for a Hell in a Cell chinlock! Orton finishes it with the death punt at 21:21. This is the second Hell in a Cell match of the night where the cell hardly came into play. They could have done this match without it, only then I wouldn’t have made fun of it the entire time. This had it’s moments, but dragged on for a bit too long to earn my praise, **½.
Winner and new WWE Champion: Randy Orton

-Orton’s death punt used to make people disappear from television, but Cena just sits up afterwards and has a sort of sad look on his face. Maybe I shouldn’t spend so much time defending Cena and join the hate bandwagon.

-Josh Mathews interviews R-Truth backstage. We’re treated to a video package highlighting all the times Drew McIntyre kicked Truth’s ass on Smackdown. Truth says you don’t disrespect people to get ahead and he’s been disrespected for the last time. Truth doesn’t know how things work in Scotland, but in the USA you have to earn respect. Yeah, boo that foreign a-hole! Bleh.

R-Truth vs. Drew McIntyre

Truth’s rapping has always been terrible, yet just kept letting him do it all the same. McIntyre was just beginning a huge push and this is his first singles match on pay-per-view. Drew wastes little time going for a headlock, and the crowd can’t wait to chant “boring.” Truth appeases the crowd by cart wheeling around. The referee admonishes Truth for being too aggressive and Drew takes advantage to take full control. Truth makes a comeback before the crowd fully turns on the match again. Drew power bombs Truth off the turnbuckle and nails his double under hook DDT for the win at 4:37. Nothing to see here, folks, *.
Winner: Drew McIntyre

-Orton is icing his knee and clutching the WWE title when he’s approached by Dibiase and Rhodes. Legacy wants to hit the town after they’re done with DX tonight. Orton warns them that in Hell in a Cell, no one just walks away. Dibiase says they have every right to be confident as they’re younger and faster than DX. Rhodes says Orton is starting to sound like his old man. Orton says they have no idea what they’re getting themselves into and reminds them of just who the hell he is. Dibiase warns Orton not to underestimate them. Oooh, they’re foreshadowing their mediocre Wrestlemania match!

-The Miz, coming out to his old music for one of the last times, says he’s going to win the U.S. title. The only problem is that he’d rather not win it in Newark. Ah, classic cheap heat. Miz says all sewers lead to Newark and pleads for the mayor to ban him from ever coming back.

United States Championship:
Kofi Kingston © vs. The Miz vs. Jack Swagger

If memory serves, Miz would go on to win the U.S. title the next night on Raw. The heels overwhelm the babyface in the early going, just like in every triple threat match ever. And wouldn’t you know it, they can’t agree on who should beat him so they start fighting! I’m glad their agent pulled out all the stops so they could have a memorable pay-per-view outing. This crew is almost too clumsy to pull off a cross body/electric chair combo spot, but it works. Swagger and Miz take turns being in control, allowing Kofi to come off as a sympathetic underdog. Kofi leaps over Swagger to hit Miz with a back superplex. Swagger Bomb on Miz, but Kofi gets the pin attempt. Kofi unleashes his controlled frenzy. Miz delivers the Skull Crushing Finale on Kingston for 2. Swagger nails the Gut Wrench Powerbomb on Miz but Kofi surprises with Trouble in Paradise. Kofi wins at 7:52. Run of the mill triple threat here, **.
Winner and still United States Champion: Kofi Kingston

Hell in a Cell match:
Triple H and Shawn Michaels vs. Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes

Legacy assault DX from behind during their entrance. They brawl around the ringside area and I find myself thinking about how fitting it would be for there to be a Hell in a Cell match where the participants don’t even enter the cell. Cody Rhodes suffers a double suplex onto the announce table. Dibiase aggressively pounces off the table and goes to town on Triple H. The brawl continues until Legacy gets the upper hand and lock themselves in the cell alone with Shawn Michaels. After slamming the cell door into HBK’s leg, they have a clear target as the match settles into a glorified handicap match. Triple H is out cold on the stage, having previously suffered a Cross Rhodes, so HBK is on his own for quite a while. It’s about this time that the match officially begins. HHH stumbles to the door, but he can’t get in through the flimsy wall that breaks like tissue paper in every other HIAC match ever. We’re treated to some unintentional comedy as Triple H hit’s the lock with a chair. Legacy smirks at Triple H through the steel in an admittedly cool moment, prompting The Game to head backstage. Legacy continues to murder HBK until Triple H returns with some bolt cutters. This is the equivalent of a really hot tag and Triple H cleans house. HHH gets nasty, hitting Dibiase with a Pedigree on the floor and then locking him out of the cell. I guess it’s payback time, as Rhodes is alone with both members of DX. They wrap a chair around Cody’s neck so HBK can hit an extra nasty flying elbow. Dibiase is distraught as Rhodes it simultaneously hit with Sweet Chin Music and a sledgehammer shot. HBK pins Rhodes at 17:57. Have fun in the midcard, boys. The match was mostly a drag, but had just enough violence and character moments to earn a passing grade, **¾.
Winners: Triple H and Shawn Michaels

-Dibiase walks into a Sweet Chin Music as well, just in case we didn’t realize he is as big a loser as Cody is.

Final Thoughts: This was a throwaway pay-per-view and by and large the roster seemed to know it. There’s a lot of decent matches here but I couldn’t shake the feeling that a lot of the key performers were phoning it in (Cena/Orton, Punk/Undertaker being key offenders). Also, the poor use of the HIAC gimmick hurts. I remember a time when HIAC was the ultimate grudge match gimmick and when a wrestler was in one, I looked at that guy across as a bigger star in my eyes. It would have been wise for only the DX/Legacy match to have had the gimmick and to have just let Punk/Taker and Orton/Cena be straight up singles matches. All in all, you can skip this show and sleep well at night.

Thumbs down.

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