The streak of WWE delivering absolutely fine PPVs in 2020 continued with their yearly Hell in a Cell PPV. With three matches featuring the demonic structure scheduled on the card, there is often a question of how well separated those matches are. But WWE managed to make all three of them brilliant standalone matches, and the end result – three deeply personal rivalries producing great matches with the perfect results.
With just five matches going into the PPV, there were a few last minute additions. WWE’s recent approach to keep short PPVs has worked tremendously well so far, and one can hope that they will continue the same format once fans start returning to the arenas.
Kickoff Show | WWE 24/7 Championship : Drew Gulak (c) vs. R-Truth
One of the late additions to the show, Gulak defended the title against 24/7 King, R-Truth. Gulak disrespected ‘Little Jimmy’ which angered Truth. Truth went on his John Cena tribute before Gulak tried to slow things down.
Truth and Gulak exchanged several pinfall attempts before Truth finally secured the three-count. Lucha House Party and Akira Tozawa entered the scene but R-Truth retreated.
Result: R-Truth retains.
Analysis: WWE has often used the 24/7 Championship as a filler match on cards with fewer matches, and this was clearly one of those instances. The title is absolutely stale at this point and there is nothing exciting happening in these feuds.
‘I Quit’ Hell in a Cell Match for WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Jey Uso
Roman Reigns established his dominance early on in the match before the challenger rallied a comeback with suicide dives. Reigns hit the first spear of the encounter, but Uso didn’t quit and rallied on. Reigns hit another spear to cut off Uso’s attempts.
Jey hit a superkick and his trademark splash but Reigns didn’t budge. Jey used a strap to attack his cousin, who delivered the third spear of the match. Both the stars used the strap on top of the cell in what became a strap match.
Jey tried to use the strap to choke out Reigns, who survived and applied his new guillotine choke finisher. Reigns continued to assault Jey before Jimmy Uso came in and saved his brother. Reigns had an emotional breakdown and seemed to change for the good, before locking Jimmy in the guillotine choke, which forced Jey Uso to call it quits.
Result: Roman Reigns def. Jey Uso to retain the Universal Championship
Analysis: Yet another tremendous encounter in this fantastic rivalry, which featured some tremendous character work from The Usos and Roman Reigns. The finish was very well done, with Jey sacrificing his title opportunity to save his brother. The feud seems to be done for now, with a host of new opponents waiting for the Tribal Chief.
Elias vs. Jeff Hardy
Elias did his song routine before the match and reiterated that Hardy was the one who hit him with his vehicle all those months ago. Elias took the upper hand early on in the match and hit his Electric Chair powerbomb on the former WWE Champion.
Hardy responded with the Whisper in the Wind and the Twist of Fate but Elias retreated from the ring and brought in his guitar. Hardy took the guitar and smashed it on Elias’ back to end the match by DQ.
Result: Elias def. Jeff Hardy via DQ
Analysis: A non-finish on a PPV is the absolute worst way to book any rivalry unless the situation demands it. This felt like a cheap way to continue the feud by not wanting to make either of the superstars look weak, which reeks of lazy writing on WWE’s part. Both the stars are highly talented wrestlers and should be used in that fashion.
Winner Gets Money in the Bank Briefcase: Otis vs. The Miz
The Miz tried to finish things off in the early stages as he attempted the Skull Crushing Finale but Otis countered. Otis delivered a clothesline and seemed to get in control before distractions by John Morrison allowed Miz to get some momentum on his side.
Morrison tried to use the MITB briefcase to hit Otis, but the referee noticed him and ejected him out of the match. Tucker eventually hit Otis with the briefcase, turning on his partner, and allowed Miz to win the briefcase for the second time in his career.
Result: The def. Otis to win the MITB contract
Analysis: The Miz winning is the absolute perfect move for the MITB, as Otis was never going to be a credible threat for the Universal or WWE Championship. The heel turn by Tucker was a major shocker, and with Otis on SmackDown and Tucker on RAW, it would be interesting to see how WWE handles things going forward.
Hell in a Cell Match for SmackDown Women’s Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks
Bayley entered the ring with her steel chair, a recent favorite weapon of her’s to attack Banks. Banks banked on her experience in the structure and kicked the chair out just as the cell was being lowered, much to the disappointment of the champion.
The two stars engaged in an intense battle with kendo sticks coming into the play. Banks delivered a Meteora to Bayley outside, followed by another in the ring for a near fall.
Bayley started slowing things down and introduced a chair into the ring, but Banks took it out with some quick offense. Bayley dominated for a while before Banks delivered a sunset flip powerbomb as the pace picked up.
Both the stars made effective use of the weapons at their disposal, before Banks wrapped a chair around Bayley and delivered the Banks Statement to secure the win and end Bayley’s year-long title reign.
Result: Sasha Banks def Bayley to become the new SmackDown Women’s Champion
Analysis: By far the best match of the evening, Sasha Banks and her love of HIAC matches continued once again. After delivering classic matchups with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair in the past, Banks completed the Four Horsewoman bingo with this fantastic encounter.
Although this feud is far from over and will surely continue until the New Year, at the very least, WWE must avoid their habitual short-term reigns for Sasha, and allow her to have a full-fledged run with the title.
United States Championship Match: Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Slapjack
Mustafa Ali put forth a challenge to the Hurt Business, asking one member from their faction to face off against someone from Retribution. MVP proposed a US title match between Lashley and Slapjack, and it was made official soon enough.
Slapjack provided trouble for Lashley in the early part of the match, taking down the big man and countering his moves. Lashley eventually got to speed and applied the Hurt Lock for the win. Retribution retreated after the match when Hurt Business entered the ring.
Result: Bobby Lashley def. Slapjack to retain the United States Championship
Analysis: Yet another last-minute match which didn’t exactly set the ring on fire. Retribution has had a topsy turvy run on the main roster so far. The addition of Mustafa Ali promised big things for the rebellious group, but nothing significant has come of it yet.
It is clearly leading to a Survivor Series match between these two teams, and one can hope Retribution will be booked stronger than their current status.
Hell in a Cell Match for WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Randy Orton
Randy Orton tried to sneak attack the champion before the match could get started but McIntyre prevented it. McIntyre dragged Orton into the ring to get the match started, and delivered some big blows.
Orton attacked McIntyre’s previously injured jaw and poked his eye, but the champion rallied a comeback nonetheless.
Orton hit his DDT on McIntyre for one-count before using bolt cutters to open up the cell. Both the stars climbed up to the top and started descending downwards from the side, where Orton sent McIntyre crashing into a table.
Orton’s RKO attempt was countered with a Claymore for two-count. Another Claymore attempt went in vain, as Orton hit the RKO to win the title.
Result: Randon def. Drew McIntyre to become the new WWE Champion
Analysis: This was a solid match apart from some of the forced spots. Orton and McIntyre have delivered some incredible bouts over the summer and this was certainly no less than any of those. McIntyre had a fantastic run with the title, but Orton is currently doing possibly the best work of his career and completely deserved to win the title.