The John Report: WWE Hell in a Cell 2012 Review

This was written on the day after the show.

WWE Hell in a Cell
Atlanta, Georgia
October 28, 2012
Twitter @johnreport

There was a video package to start the show focusing on the CM Punk/Ryback storyline.

The announcers are Michael Cole, Jim Ross and John Bradshaw Layfield. I like them together. The Spanish announcers are also there.

First match is Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton. Some brief clips are shown to give us the key points in the feud. Basically they’re two guys near the main event level having a feud because there’s nothing else for them to do. Works for me.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton

Orton was aggressive early on. He threw Del Rio to the floor and attacked him outside the ring. Orton beat on Del Rio in the corner with punches, but then Del Rio took control after a Ricardo Rodriguez distraction. He draped the left arm of Orton over the top rope. Del Rio whipped Orton shoulder first into the steel post. Orton got a nice rollup for two, but then Del Rio worked on the arm again by ramming his knees into Orton’s arm. Orton sent Del Rio to the floor. Then Orton hit a bunch of clotheslines. They did an awesome spot where Orton was going to hit his powerslam, but Del Rio held onto ropes so Orton fell to the mat. Del Rio applied the Cross Armbreaker. Orton was close to the ropes, so the hold was broken. Orton hit his backbreaker variation. Orton went for his DDT off the ropes, but Del Rio countered and dropped Orton neck first off the top rope. Del Rio went for a RKO. Orton avoided that. He hit his DDT off the ropes as the crowd came alive. Del Rio avoided a RKO. He hit the Backstabber for two. They’re telling a good story because Del Rio is countering a lot of the signature offense of Orton. Orton hit his spinning powerslam for two.

They did a really cool spot on the turnbuckle where Orton got his feet tied up in the ropes only for Del Rio to counter with a double foot stomp to the chest of Orton. That led to a two count for the best nearfall of the match so far. Del Rio went to the top rope. He didn’t even attempt a move. He stopped before he could hit anything. Odd spot. Orton hit a dropkick. I’m guessing Orton was supposed to hit Del Rio with a dropkick while ADR was coming off the top, but I’m not sure. Orton avoided an attack. He was trapped in the turnbuckle. Rodriguez grabbed his injured left arm rammed it into the post. Del Rio slapped on the Cross Armbreaker. Orton tried to fight it. He did. Del Rio had it applied until Orton covered him and Del Rio had to let go or else he would have been pinned. Orton went for his top rope enziguiri kick, Orton moved out of the way and countered into a RKO for the win. That was an interesting spot. The match went 13 minutes.

Winner: Randy Orton

Analysis: ***1/4 Very good match for the opener. I had picked Del Rio to win because I thought this would be the start of their feud, but it’s no surprise that Orton got the win. I do hope there are more matches in their future. Their chemistry was good although the finish to the match may have been messed up a bit. I’m not sure what is in the future of either guy, but obviously they’re near that main event level. Orton beat Ziggler at Night of Champions. Now he beat Del Rio. Perhaps another main event run for him? We’ll see.

The announcers summarized the “AJ Scandal” as they called it that led to AJ Lee resigning as GM and then Vince McMahon appointing Vickie Guerrero as the Managing Supervisor of Raw.

On the PPV pre-show, John Cena was answering questions from fans. Vickie Guerrero was in the ring to confront him. Dolph Ziggler showed up to attack him and Cena knocked him out of the ring with a clothesline.

Backstage, Josh Mathews talked to Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero. She said she had an anonymous source that gave her pictures of Cena and Lee together, so she wanted AJ to show up to Raw to see them in person. She thanked Josh.

Paul Heyman showed up. He wanted Guerrero to cancel the CM Punk/Ryback match. She said she wouldn’t cancel it.

The tag title match was next. Prior to the match, Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes said they will be able to say something together: “We are the tag team champions.” They said it three times in unison. Good job of mocking Kane and Bryan.

Tag Team Championships: Daniel Bryan & Kane (Team Hell No) vs. Damien Sandow & Cody Rhodes (Team Rhodes Scholars)

Bryan started with Sandow. Their partners came in with Kane hitting a low dropkick on Rhodes. Kane hit a clothesline on Rhodes. Then he tagged in Bryan, who hit his running dropkick in the corner. Kane decked Rhodes with a big boot to the face followed by an elbow drop for two. Sandow made a blind tag, so he hit Kane from behind with a shoulder attack to the back of the knee. JBL mentioned Cody’s high school wrestling record in Atlanta – it was 101-2 apparently. Kane made a comeback on Sandow with an uppercut to the jaw. He tagged in Bryan, who destroyed Sandow with kicks in the corner and then his leaping clothesline. Bryan hit his kicks to the chest of Sandow while the crowd chanted “yes” at him. Sandow avoided the kick to the head, so Bryan connected on a dive outside the ring between the middle and top ropes. Rhodes grabbed Bryan’s leg, so Sandow knocked Bryan off the apron and the heels isolated on Bryan.

Team Rhodes Scholars made a lot of quick tags to work over Bryan in their corner. Bryan tried to make the comeback, but Rhodes delivered a knee to the stomach to prevent that. Sandow hit the Elbow of Disdain for two. Sandow gave Bryan a headlock as the crowd cheered him on. Kane was encouraging his partner in his corner: “Come on goat face let’s go.” That was funny. Bryan gave Sandow a drop toe hold in the corner so Sandow’s nose hit the middle turnbuckle. Rhodes tagged in and Bryan made the hot tag to Kane. Kane with the backdrop on Rhodes followed by a couple of corner clotheslines and then a sidewalk slam. Cole said that was “classic Kane” because I guess he forgot to say “vintage” this time. Kane hit his top rope clothesline to knock down Rhodes. He went for the Chokeslam, but Bryan tagged himself in. Bryan hit the top rope headbutt. He covered. Kane pulled him off. They argued. Sandow pulled Kane out of the ring, so Kane punched him in the face. Bryan gave Rhodes a backdrop over the top rope, which led to Rhodes knocking down Kane. Bryan went for his running knee off the apron. Rhodes moved, so Bryan accidentally hit Kane. Kane and Bryan argued on the floor while Team Rhodes Scholars attacked them. They got Bryan back in the ring where Rhodes hit Bryan with the Cross Rhodes. Kane saved his partner. He unloaded on Rhodes in the corner with punches. He attacked Sandow in the corner too. The ref was telling him to stop. Kane was losing it, so he kept on punching. The ref rang the bell for the disqualification. The match went about 14 minutes.

Winners: Damien Sandow & Cody Rhodes via DQ. Kane & Daniel Bryan retain tag team titles.

Post match, Kane hit a Chokeslam on Sandow. Kane argued with Bryan even though they retained the tag team titles. Rhodes and Sandow left.

Analysis: ** It was an okay match. It seemed like it was 2/3 of a full match without a finish. There were times when it dragged on too much. At least the crowd was into it when Bryan was in the ring, which is no surprise since he’s such a fantastic performer. In the preview of this event I wrote that I thought Kane and Bryan would retain their titles because they only won them at Night of Champions last month. Obviously they didn’t retain in a dominant winning fashion, so the rematch is likely going to happen at Survivor Series or on television in the near future. I’m fine with that. The tag division is very strong these days. I’ve had some people complain to me about the booking of the finish. I think it’s a case of wanting to keep the titles on Kane & Bryan without pinning Rhodes & Sandow to keep them strong. That’s why they went for the DQ option. The ending of the match was a little flat.

There was a commercial for some show called Doomsday Preppers on National Geographic channel. That was different. Apparently if you are insane you can get a television show. I have a few ex-girlfriends that would qualify for that.

Backstage, Josh Mathews talked to The Miz. He did a promo about his match. There wasn’t much to this except Miz saying he had to save the world by winning back his Intercontinental Title. That was a little much.

The next pay-per-view is Survivor Series on November 18. There was six weeks between Night of Champions and Hell in a Cell. Now there’s only three weeks between HIAC & Survivor Series.

Intercontinental Championship: Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz

Kofi Kingston made his entrance first. Champions are entering the ring first in every match, it seems. I’m not a huge fan of that. Champions should come out last. Miz went for the Skull Crushing Finale. He avoided it. Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise, but Miz avoided that as well. The story is they know eachother too well. Kingston threw Miz out to the floor and hit a dropkick to keep him out there. Miz whipped Kingston into the steel steps, Kingston leaped over the steps, but then Miz decked Kingston with a boot to the face. Miz hit his corner clothesline followed by a double axe handle off the top rope for two. Kingston came back with a clothesline for the double KO spot. The crowd is pretty quiet as they have been most of the night. Dropkick by Kingston followed by his leaping clothesline. Boom Drop by Kingston. Kingston got a rollup for two followed by a springboard crossbody block off the top rope for two. That was pretty move. Kingston got his SOS off a counter and that got him a two count. Lots of counter wrestling, which plays up the idea that they know eachother so well. Miz gave Kingston a knee breaker by driving his own shoulder in to the knee of Kingston. Dropkick by Miz to the knee of Kingston. Miz took the padding off the left leg of Kingston. Kingston just had a long black sock on his left leg. Miz applied a single leg Boston Crab on the injured left knee of Kingston. Kingston found a way to give Miz a cradle for a two count. Miz hit his DDT for two. Kingston countered the Skull Crushing Finale with a rollup for two. Miz avoided the Trouble in Paradise. Miz went for the SCF again, but Kingston avoided it by kicking Miz out of the ring. Miz went back into the ring and Kingston nailed him with the Trouble in Paradise using the good right leg. That was enough for the pinfall. The match went 11 minutes.

Winner: Kofi Kingston

Analysis: **1/2 I picked Kingston to retain because I thought it would be foolish to put it back on The Miz so soon. Miz is above this title while it’s right for Kingston to give him some momentum. Their match on Main Event a couple of weeks ago was better. They had more time for that one, though. There was nothing wrong with this of course. I liked the psychology used with Miz working over the left leg of Kingston and it showed that Kingston could fight back from the adversity of an injury. It’s a simple story that works. From a booking perspective, the hope is that Kingston gains some credibility by beating a former WWE Champion and maybe this will elevate Kingston a little bit.

Post match, Matt Striker interviewed Kingston in the ring. Kingston thanked The Miz for bringing out the Wildcat in Kofi Kingston. Is he going to be calling himself The Wildcat now? Not sure. That’s the nickname Chris Harris used in TNA, by the way.

There was a commercial for WrestleMania 29 in New Jersey/New York. Tickets are on sale November 10th.

Backstage, Daniel Bryan and Kane argued in the locker room. Kane said Bryan had a goat face that was fit for Halloween while Bryan said Kane wore a mask 365 days per year. Kane left saying he was the tag team champions. Bryan quietly said that he was. Not a great segment.

Antonio Cesaro came out for his US Title match. He spoke in Swiss to get some heel heat. At least the crowd woke up to chant “what” at him.

United States Championship: Antonio Cesaro vs. Justin Gabriel

I figured this match would be on the pay-per-view, but not sure why they couldn’t announce it beforehand. JBL questioned the haircut of Gabriel, which is why JBL is great. Cole said Gabriel went surfing this weekend. This is supposed to make us care about him. Gabriel went to the top rope, so Cesaro shoved him off the top. That sent Gabriel to the floor. In the ring, Cesaro got a leg drop for two. The announcers mentioned the fake rugby career of Cesaro, which is WWE’s way of giving somebody character development I guess. Cesaro got a forearm for two followed by a chin lock. The crowd is completely dead. Fallaway slam by Cesaro for two. Cesaro hit two double foot stomps for two. Armbar by Cesaro as the crowd made no noise. Gabriel hit a spinning heel kick followed by the Lionsault for two although he came off the top rope rather than the middle rope like Chris Jericho usually does. Cesaro came back with a hard clothesline for two. Gabriel reversed the pinfall for two. Gabriel hit a spinning DDT for two. That was a cool move. Gabriel went for the 450 Splash. Cesaro rolled out of the way. Gabriel came back with a reverse DDT for two. Cesaro went to the floor, so Gabriel hit a dropkick that sent Cesaro into the security wall. Gabriel went to the top rope and jumped down to Cesaro only for Cesaro to move and drill him with a European uppercut to the chest! Wow. That was a visually impressive spot that was perfectly timed. Cesaro rolled him back into the ring where he hit the Neutralizer for the win after eight minutes.

Winner: Antonio Cesaro

Analysis: *1/2 Nothing wrong with the match. It just felt uninspired especially because the crowd was making absolutely no noise for the first five minutes. That uppercut on the floor was by far the most memorable moment of the match. It really was a KO shot. It looked terrific on the replay too. I’m a big fan of Cesaro and hope he gets a lengthy US Title reign with good feuds. Gabriel showed a lot of fight and he has a lot of talent, but I don’t think any of the fans believed he had a chance to win here.

They aired the story Layla has told about how her mom died of breast cancer. October is breast cancer awareness month, so go to for more info.

To hype the main event, there was a video package focusing on how unstoppable Ryback is. Congrats to Stan Stansky for making a video package.

Backstage, Paul Heyman talked to Vickie Guerrero again. He acted as if she had cancelled the Hell in a Cell match. Heyman sucked up to her. She told him the match was still on.

The song “Sandpaper” by Chris Jericho’s band Fozzy is the theme song for Hell in a Cell. It’s a good song. I miss Jericho in the ring, but I’m happy that his band is doing very well.

The announcers mentioned that Lilian Garcia had a car accident on Friday afternoon, but that she was recovering well and would be back soon. Tony Chimel has been announcing the Smackdown matches in case you’re wondering.

Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. Titus O’Neil & Darren Young (The Primetime Players)

This match wasn’t announced before the show either, but I’m all for more tag team matches. Sin Cara and Mysterio worked well together early on, but Young hit a nice belly to belly suplex on Mysterio. O’Neil tagged in and he quickly brought Young back in as they gave a shoulderblock on Mysterio at the same time. Mysterio came back with a dropkick on O’Neil and then he tagged in Sin Cara. Sin Cara hit a back elbow on O’Neil, a kick to the gut of Young and then a kick to the head on O’Neil. Springboard crossbody by Sin Cara on O’Neil. Finally O’Neil was able to catch him, so he drove him into the turnbuckle and then three backbreakers in a row. Young with a back suplex on Sin Cara. JR mentioned how a wrestler was being isolated in this match like tag match earlier. Also like 99% of tag matches in the history of the business. It’s the tag team formula and it works. Sin Cara countered a back suplex into a pinfall attempt for two. Sin Cara fought off a double team, but Young was able to hit a back suplex onto the side of the ring apron. That was an innovative spot. JBL was making references to Dez Bryant’s hand being barely out of bounds during the Giants/Cowboys NFL game and Cole said that maybe one person saw that. More like 30 million or more. Great game. Anyway, O’Neil suplexed Young onto Sin Cara in a cool spot. Young nailed Sin Cara with a clothesline. Suplex by O’Neil on Sin Cara as they continue to isolate him. Clothesline by O’Neil. Back elbow by Young followed by a backbreaker. As usual for this show, the crowd was pretty quiet. O’Neil missed an attack in the corner as Sin Cara moved out of the way. Sin Cara hit a flipping reverse DDT, which led to a tag to Rey Mysterio while Young also got brought in. Mysterio hit a seated senton off the top rope followed by a tilt-a-whirl DDT for two. His offense after a hot tag is fantastic. Hard kick to the face by Mysterio. O’Neil attacked, but Mysterio pulled the rope down so O’Neil went out to the floor. Cross body off the top by Sin Cara onto O’Neil on the floor. Crowd popped big for that. Mysterio with a headscissors leading to the 619. To the top, Mysterio hit the top rope splash (dropping the dime) for the win. The match went about 12 minutes.

Winners: Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara

Post match, Sin Cara looked to be hurt at ringside. The doctor was checking on hi. It happened on that flipping reverse DDT when his head hit the mat hard. It didn’t look like the fault of anybody, but I’m sure Sin Cara haters (I’m not one of them) will blame him. Injuries happen in wrestling. The good news is that he was able to get to his feet and salute the fans along with Mysterio, so hopefully he’s okay.

Analysis: **1/4 It followed the tag formula well. They worked on Sin Cara, who got the tag to Mysterio and his offense was tremendous. The crowd really picked up with Mysterio in there. I’m a fan of the Primetime Players. Their chemistry is good, they have good offensive maneuvers and if they’re in a hot storyline the crowd will care about their work. It’s just that this match was added at the last minute and there wasn’t that much of a story here. I would assume that Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio have a feud with Team Rhodes Scholars when they win the tag titles in the near future.

WWE is producing a Rolling Stones PPV on December 15. They want you to buy it.

A video package aired highlighting the feud between Sheamus and Big Show in anticipation of their World Heavyweight Championship match. Following the video packages, they made their separate entrance with Sheamus entering first.

World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus vs. Big Show

Show dominated with power moves early. Sheamus slowed him down with a shoulder block to the knee of Show, which sent Show outside the ring for a breather. Back in the ring, Sheamus gave Show a shoulderblock into the ribs. Show said enough of this (not literally) and threw him over the top rope to the floor. Show whipped Sheamus back first into the security wall. In the ring, Show got a sidewalk slam for two. Show hit his big chop to the chest of Sheamus. JR got his usual line about the size of Big Show’s shoe – size 22 in case you haven’t heard over the last 13 years. Show controlled the action with a knee to the face as well as more clubbing blows to the chest. Show pulled Sheamus outside the ring and threw him over the announce table. They went back into the ring where Show hit the Final Cut (or as Cole called it “ooohhh”) for a two count. Sheamus tried to fight back with punches, but Show just threw him outside the ring again. After Sheamus went back into the ring, Show knocked him down with a side kick to the face. Knee strike to the face by Big Show. JBL worked in his “Hardbody Ref” reference for referee Scott Armstrong. He always finds a way to work that in. Sheamus attacked Show with punches, but then Big Show gave him a bear hug. Sheamus got out of the bear hug. His offense didn’t last because Show overpowered him and hit a Vader Bomb-like splash off the middle turnbuckle for two.

Show signaled for the Chokeslam. Sheamus countered it into a DDT. Show powered out of it by pressing Sheamus off his chest and sending him to the floor. Sheamus gave Show his clubbing blows to the chest while he was up against the turnbuckle. Show fought out after a few blows. Sheamus went for a top rope attack, but Show avoided it and hit the Chokeslam for two. The crowd thought that was it. It was not. Show went for the Colossal Clutch, but Sheamus elbowed out of it. Sheamus went for a Cloverleaf. That didn’t work because Show shoved him out of the ring using only his legs. They fought outside the ring where Sheamus took control by throwing Show into the ring post and then hitting a shoulder block while Show was up against the post. They went back into the ring where Sheamus hit a couple of shots with running forearms. Sheamus hit White Noise on Big Show for two. That was an impressive move. The crowd cheered for it. Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick. Big Show caught the boot of Sheamus. Show knocked Sheamus down with the Knockout Punch. One…two…no. Wow. Sheamus kicked out of the KO Punch. The crowd really popped loudly for that one. Show went for the KO Punch again. Sheamus ducked it. Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick. One…two…no. I thought that was it. The crowd did too. Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick. Show sidestepped it and connected with the KO Punch to the head of Sheamus. The match went 21 minutes.

Winner and New World Heavyweight Champion: Big Show

Analysis: ***1/2 That wasn’t the outcome I was expecting. You can tell that WWE is very pleased with Show’s heel run if they put the World Title on him. They worked a twenty minute match, which is longer than a lot of Big Show matches, yet it didn’t seem like it went too long. The pace was really slow early on and thankfully it picked up. As the pace picked up, the crowd got more into it and that was a good thing because they were so dead for it early on. It was booked in a way that really put over Show as a dominant monster. Sheamus was put over well by the announcers, who talked about how tough he was throughout the match. The story was about the dominance of Big Show. He really worked his ass off and gave a great performance. Both guys did well, but I was especially impressed by Big Show. I really liked the finish of the match. Sheamus missed the Brogue Kick for a second time, which led to the KO Punch once more. It made sense. Credit to both guys for this entertaining “Hoss Fight” as my pal Andrew Johnson might say.

If you’re wondering, no sign of Dolph Ziggler even though he said he would cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase at this event. What can I say? Heels lie.

Backstage, Eve wanted to talk to Booker T. He said he had to go check on Sheamus. Teddy Long walked up to her. He said that Kaitlyn & Layla would get revenge on her. Zack Ryder showed up dressed as a witch. He said he was dressed as Eve. Eve asked if they thought she was a witch. Teddy said they were one letter off. They mean “bitch” for those that can’t figure out the creative writing. Santino walked in. He was dressed up as Lady Gaga. Ron Simmons showed up. He assessed the situation and said the word that was on his t-shirt: “DAMN!”

Analysis: That one word almost made that trainwreck segment worth it. Almost.

Vince McMahon was in his office. CM Punk showed up asking McMahon to call the match off. McMahon wondered if Punk was scared of Ryback. Punk said no. McMahon encouraged Punk to prove to everybody that he was the best in the world. Punk was frustrated, so he just left.

Analysis: That’s the third segment dedicated to Heyman or Punk trying to get out of the WWE Title match.

Divas Championship: Eve vs. Layla vs. Kaitlyn

Layla and Kaitlyn have awful theme songs, for the record. Eve’s song is okay. They aired some clips about the story going in, which isn’t that great to be honest. Eve tried to run away. Kaitlyn nailed her with a clothesline. They took turns attacking her. Layla gave Kaitlyn a rollup, which led to Kaitlyn arguing with her. They covered Eve at the same time. Kaitlyn and Layla changed pinfall sequences for one and two counts at various points. Eve hit a neckbreaker on Layla. Eve went after the left ankle injury of Kaitlyn. She applied a submission move on the ankle, which was smart because she has Gracie Jiu Jitsu training, so it’s wise to use those skills in a wrestling match. Layla went after Eve with a series of kicks. Layla hit a crossbody block off the middle ropes. They did a spot where Eve and Layla each did the splits, so Kaitlyn gave them the double noggin knocker (RIP Gorilla Monsoon). Kaitlyn gave Layla a snap suplex. Then Kaitlyn applied an armbar. The crowd is completely dead for this match too. It’s a recurring theme for this crowd. Kaitlyn gave Layla a modified gutbuster. That was impressive. Layla came back with a hard kick to the face for two. Eve broke it up. Kaitlyn came back with a roll up on Eve for two. Kaitlyn hit a Stratusfaction on Eve. Announcers didn’t call it that. But that’s what it was. When JBL called them ladies, Cole corrected them by saying they were divas. That’s why Vince loves Cole, my friends. He’s fluent in WWE terminology. Kaitlyn gave Layla a powerslam near the ropes. As she was pinning her, Eve came off the top with a Senton Bomb that barely connected and then she covered Layla to win the match. The match went about seven minutes.

Winner: Eve

Analysis: *1/2 I think a three way match was a better idea than singles because it led to more pinfall opportunities and created a bit more excitement than there would have been in a singles match. I give all three women credit for working hard and for Kaitlyn doing a good job in a big match for her. Eve has improved so much in the last year. With that said, can we move on from this feud now? It’s the second straight PPV where the crowd didn’t care about it.

Backstage, Josh Mathews talked to Big Show, who said he has reached the top of the mountain. Isn’t the WWE Title the top of the mountain? Oh well. Near the top. He said everybody’s worse nightmare has come true. He dared anybody in the locker room to try to take it from him.

Backstage, Sheamus was getting tended to by doctors. Matt Striker was standing outside the room. JBL with the line of the night: “Matt Striker is as bad as my commentary was on that divas match.” Hilarious! And true. JBL barely spoke during the divas match. Either he’s not a fan of women’s wrestling or he was not caught up on the storyline.

Survivor Series is November 18 in Indianapolis. Hopefully the crowd is better than the Atlanta crowd.

The video package aired for the CM Punk vs. Ryback main event. The ominous music started to play as the Hell in a Cell lowered.

CM Punk made his entrance first along with Paul Heyman. As I said earlier, champions are entering the ring first for all the matches. I don’t agree with that, but it’s not that big of a deal. Prior to getting into the cage, Heyman gave Punk a hug. That was a nice touch. They are such a great combination. Ryback entered to a good ovation from the crowd.

Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Ryback

The referee for the match is Brad Maddox, which should have sounded the alarms for some people. Referee Mike Chioda locked the cell, which surrounded the ring. Punk went outside the ring as a way to create some space. Heyman, who was outside the cage, encouraged the WWE Champion. Ryback hit a big boot to the chest of Punk. The crowd was louder for this, so that’s good. Punk went for a DDT, but Ryback fought him off and hit a clothesline that sent Punk over the top to the floor. Punk tried to get out of the cage, but he couldn’t open the door. Ryback whipped Punk back first into the cage two times. There was a “Goldberg” chant that the announcers didn’t acknowledge while Heyman yelled at Ryback. Punk went under the ring and then he sprayed Ryback in the face with a fire extinguisher. Punk grabbed a chair from under the ring. Ryback kicked the chair into Punk’s face. Crowd loved that. Ryback press slammed Punk back into the ring. Gorilla press slam in the ring. The crowd chanted “feed me more” for Ryback. Punk avoided a Ryback charge and then took him down with a springboard clothesline. Punk hit Ryback with two double axehandles. He went for a third, but Ryback caught him and drove him into the turnbuckle. Punk came back with a jumping side kick to the face. Punk hit a dive between the middle and top rope that sent Ryback into the cage. Neckbreaker by Punk on the floor. There’s some blood on Punk’s back. Ryback charged, Punk moved out of the way and Ryback hit the steel steps outside the ring. I like how a lot of Punk’s offense is getting out of the way of Ryback’s attacks. It works.

Back in the ring, Ryback powered out of a reverse chinlock with a neckbreaker variation. Ryback missed another corner charge. Punk hit the high running knee in the corner followed by a clothesline. To the top, Punk hit a Flying Elbow to the chest of Ryback. Punk went under the ring for a kendo stick. Punk attacked Ryback with kendo stick shots to the chest and back. Ryback got back into his feet, no selling the kendo stick shots. Ryback with two clotheslines and then a back body drop. Spinebuster by Ryback. Heyman looked worried at ringside while more “feed me more” chants started up from the crowd. Ryback connected with the Meat Hook Clothesline. I guess that’s the official name for it. Ryback put Punk on his shoulders for his finisher, but the referee Brad Maddox got in his way and then gave Ryback a low blow with his left hand. The crowd let out a big “ohhhh” at that. Punk rolled up Ryback and Maddox did a fast count to give Punk the victory. The match went ten minutes.

Winner: CM Punk

Analysis: **1/4 It was a good match considering we haven’t seen Ryback have long matches before this. Punk really worked his ass off and I’m sure he did a lot of work in terms of piecing the match together. I don’t think people will remember the match since they will most likely remember the angle involved with the referee costing Ryback the WWE Title. I thought Ryback did a good job in his first big match as a top guy and I think Punk put together a good blueprint of how to put together a match with him. The evil ref finish was one of the ways to keep the title on Punk without making Ryback look weak. Even though it was Ryback’s first loss, he’s still a very strong character and Punk is able to leave as the WWE Champion, which is the right move.

Post match, Punk and Maddox wanted Mike Chioda to unlock the cage. He was too slow to do it. Never have Mike Chioda help you steal a car. Ryback got up. Punk shoved Maddox into Ryback. Ryback decked Maddox and then he threw Punk into the side of the cage. The door was finally open. Ryback whipped Maddox back first into the cage. In the ring, Ryback hit the Meat Hook Clothesline. Ryback gave Maddox a press slam from inside the ring into the side of the cage. Wow. Great bump. Maddox is a trained wrestler, so he’s skilled enough to take that bump even though it was dangerous.

Ryback went after Punk outside the ring. Heyman was dragging Punk out of the cage, but Punk was too hurt to get up. Heyman ran away. Punk climbed up the cage and Ryback followed him up the cage. The crowd was cheering loudly. Ryback put Punk on his shoulders and gave him the Shellshocked on the top of the cage. It’s a good thing it didn’t break there. Ryback led the crowd in “feed me more” chants as Punk was feeling the effects of the move.

The announcers went over replays of Maddox costing Ryback the WWE Title. They replayed the bump Ryback throwing Maddox into the side of the cage. Then a replay of Ryback’s Shellshocked on Punk. Cole mentioned that Punk promised he would leave as WWE Champion and that’s what happened. The PPV ended with Ryback standing over Punk on the top of the cage.

Analysis: Ryback didn’t win, which I expected, but he delivered an ass kicking to end the show that allowed the fans to leave happily. I expected that too. That’s just how PPVs typically end. Those were some huge bumps that Maddox took into the cage. Again, he’s a wrestler, but that one into the side of the cage was still impressive. I think Ryback giving Punk his finisher on top of the cell left us with one of those images we won’t forget for a long time, so that was a good idea. Of course there’s some risk with all that weight on the cell. Obviously they tested it beforehand. I wish it was that strong in 1998 when Undertaker slammed Mick Foley through the top of the cage.

Five Stars of the Show

1. Big Show – Really worked hard and was very convincing as the new World Champion.

2. Sheamus – Took an ass kicking. Showed a lot of heart as a champion even in defeat.

3. CM Punk – Worked hard to make Ryback look like a star. It worked.

4. Ryback – He did well. Deserves some respect for that.

5. Spanish announce table – It was there and it didn’t break. Badass.

Honestly it was hard to think of anybody after the first three. Don’t take the stars thing too seriously, my friends.

Final Thoughts

I give Hell in a Cell a rating of 5 out of 10. As you’ll see below, that means the tenth pay-per-view of the year in WWE is also the worst. The best match, in my opinion, was Big Show vs. Sheamus. It was a match I gave a rating of ***1/2 out of five, so when the best match gets a rating like that then you know it’s not a great show. It was an average show.

As I predicted (and many others as well), CM Punk is still the WWE Champion. It’s the right move. The money match is Punk vs. Rock at Royal Rumble. They are going to keep the title on him until then. At that point I’d expect Punk to lose it, but not before that.

It was a hard show to book. Too soon to take the tag titles off Bryan/Kane, so they did the DQ finish. The main event was difficult because you couldn’t book a DQ finish with the HIAC stipulation. They went with the evil referee angle, which isn’t done very often and has some freshness to it. I know that based on feedback I’m seeing a lot of the complaints are about the booking. I don’t think any of the booking was that bad. I just think it was a tough event to book and that a lot of stories will continue heading to Survivor Series.

If you missed the event I would say there’s really nothing worth checking out except for Big Show vs. Sheamus because it was a good match between two big guys. The ending to Punk vs. Ryback is worth a look too, but I would imagine they will go over it a lot on Raw in the coming weeks.

The crowd wasn’t very good. Sorry to anybody that was there that takes offense to that, but it was a quiet crowd all night except for a few wrestlers.