Retro Reviews: WWE Hell In A Cell 2015

October is a month where WWE has traditionally held their Hell in a Cell PPV. With that in mind, here is my review of WWE Hell in a Cell from 2015. I wrote it live when it took place and the review remains untouched.

WWE Hell in a Cell
Los Angeles, California
October 25, 2015

The opening video package focused on the major matches on the show with the main focus on Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker ending their rivalry “in hell” because it’s a Hell in a Cell match.

John Cena entered first with the US Title. He was dancing as the crowd sang “John Cena sucks” for the entrance. There’s a “Push John Cena” sign in the crowd. Maybe one day, kids. Maybe. They showed actors Joe Manganiello and his fiancée Sofia Vergara (she’s gorgeous – I’m a big Modern Family fan) at ringside.

Cena said that the United States Open Challenge starts right now.

The challenge was answered by…Zeb Colter in a cart. So it’s not him. I missed that theme music. He said that some people like Cena and some people don’t. He said that it’s time for Cena to lose the US Title to…Alberto Del Rio! Huge crowd reaction for the former WWE and World Champion.

Analysis: Wow. I didn’t expect that. I know there were questions about Del Rio possibly not going back to Lucha Underground and here he is back in WWE. I’ve always liked the guy even though he got stale towards the end of his run, but I’m glad he’s back because he’s always been a good worker.

United States Championship: John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/Zeb Colter)

The crowd was chanting “welcome back” for Del Rio. The crowd is hot for this match since Del Rio has been out of WWE since August 2014. He looked sharp as he hit some signature moves like a spinning backbreaker. Del Rio was in control for the first few minutes of the match and then Cena nailed a suplex to counter him. With Cena on the top, Del Rio hit a running enziguiri for a two count. Del Rio fired up the crowd with the “si” chants going for the armbreaker, but Cena nailed him with a clothesline to take him down. Cena hit the spinning suplex and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. When Cena wanted the Attitude Adjustment, Del Rio slipped out of it with a Backstabber and then hit a standing side kick to the head. Del Rio covered for the pinfall win after about eight minutes.

Winner and New United States Champion: Alberto Del Rio

Analysis: **1/2 The match quality was just okay. The Cena loss isn’t surprising for us because we know he’s taking two months off, but for viewers that don’t read about wrestling online they are probably shocked by it. I’m a bit surprised that Cena would be pinned clean like that since it’s so rare. However, that puts over Del Rio huge and also puts over the point of the open challenge because they said for months that anybody could win at any time and we just saw it happen. I’ve seen them wrestle so many times, but it was a cool moment to see Del Rio back. John Cena losing clean in under ten minutes in the first match on a PPV? So rare, but I like it.

Post match, Del Rio had the US Title in his hand and shook the hand of Colter.

The Authority’s Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were in their office. Seth Rollins was there to talk about things when Kane showed up in his suit. Rollins said everybody knows that Corporate Kane and Demon Kane are the same person. Hunter said this is a “private meeting” and that Kane’s presence isn’t required. Kane looked at Seth: “Good luck. You’re going to need it.” Kane left.

Analysis: I love private meetings held on camera. Oh well. Maybe that part was after the camera left.

The Reigns/Wyatt match is up next and here’s a video package for it.

Bray Wyatt entered first all alone. Roman Reigns received a nice reaction.

Hell in a Cell: Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns

Reigns dominated early on by hitting his Drive By kick on the apron and tossing Wyatt into the cell a few times as well. Wyatt nailed Reigns with a kendo stick shot to the arm. He grabbed it from under the ring. Wyatt nailed Reigns with the kendo stick a few times. They did a spot where Reigns was seated on the top rope by the turnbuckle, Wyatt hit him with the kendo stick and Reigns bumped to the floor. Wyatt grabbed a chair from under the ring. He sat in the chair and hit Reigns with the kendo stick some more with Reigns selling the injured ribs. Wyatt wedged the chair against the cell and also wedged the kendo stick against another part of the cell. Wyatt sent Reigns into the kendo stick. Reigns sent Wyatt into the chair that was against the cell. Reigns had two kendo sticks and attacked Wyatt at the same time with both of them. Reigns brought in a table. Then he said “one ain’t enough” and he got another table. Another Drive By dropkick by Reigns. They set up a table outside the ring and they battled on the apron. Wyatt countered Reigns and Wyatt did a one armed slam where he tossed Reigns through the table. Fans were chanting “this is awesome” for that. It earned a two count for Wyatt.

After Wyatt tried to win via pinfall, Reigns was up against the cage and Wyatt charged into him to crush him into it. Fans were doing the “Let’s go Roman/Roman sucks” chant that is usually done for Cena. There was a table set up in the ring. Reigns did a big counter with a Powerbomb out of the corner for a two count. Good nearfall. Wyatt wanted Sister Abigail, but Reigns rolled him up for a nearfall. Reigns came back with a Superman Punch for a two count. He didn’t do a good cover, so Wyatt kicking out made sense. Plus, it’s not Roman’s finisher anyway. They battled on the apron again with Reigns hitting a Spear on Wyatt through the table. Huge spot! Looked great. More “this is awesome” chants from the crowd.

They went back in the ring where Wyatt got a boot up to counter a Spear. Wyatt hit Sister Abigail for a two count. Wyatt was laughing so Lawler was mad about it wondering what he was laughing at. Wyatt attacked with kendo sticks again. Wyatt set up two kendo sticks against the top and middle ropes. Reigns fought out of the attack and tossed Wyatt into the end of the kendo stick. Reigns followed up with a Spear for the win after 22 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns

Analysis: **** An excellent match that gets just over four stars out of five from me because it was the physical encounter they promised it would be. They broke tables, they used chairs, they used kendo sticks and they had some entertaining nearfalls as well. In addition to that, they were given over 20 minutes to tell a story and it led to the selling to be more realistic as well. Reigns was selling the ribs a lot and then he made that big comeback with the Spear off the apron through the table. I picked Wyatt to win because I thought there would be interference from his “family” and I got that wrong. Reigns getting the win ends the rivalry although I’m not sure who Reigns would feud with next.

There was a commercial for Survivor Series saying “25 Years of Undertaker” on it. I assume that means he will be a part of it, as he should be.

A commercial for the movie The Condemned 2 aired. It stars Randy Orton.

They showed celebrities in the card: Mark Wahlberg with his daughter and Billy from ZZ Top as well.

In talking about the Tag Team Title match, the announcers said that Xavier Woods isn’t at Hell in a Cell because he was put through a table last week.

The New Day duo of Big E and Kofi Kingston entered with E holding the trombone of Woods. They got the cheap heat by having Big E mentioned how sad the LA Lakers have become. He said that the trombone is all they have left of Woods and that trombone players are mourning his loss. They joked about how they would play the drums on the Dudley Boyz with a Kamala reference (they even said Caucausian Kamala) thrown in. That was cool.

Tag Team Championship: The New Day’s Big E & Kofi Kingston vs. The Dudley Boyz

The reason Woods isn’t there? He got married on the weekend, so they wrote him out. That was mentioned by Dave Meltzer on so thanks to him for that. There was a bit of a botch by the Dudleys on Kofi, but I didn’t catch the whole thing live so apologies for that. Sometimes writing live and trying to see everything leads to me missing some things once in a while. The champs isolated Devon in their corner. Big E hit a running splash on Devon. The New Day teased the Wassup Drop, but Devon kicked out of it and hot tag to Bubba against Kingston. Bubba with a back body drop on Kingston, then his punch/elbow combo and a body slam on Big E. Bubba did some hip shaking and Devon hit the Wassup Drop headbutt to the groin. Kingston came out of nowhere with a missile dropkick off the top rope. Kingston tossed the trombone to Bubba while the ref was looking away and then Kingston acted like he was hit with it. The ref almost rang the bell, but he stopped. It’s the old Eddie Guerrero tease. Bubba broke the trombone. Dudleys hit a double neckbreaker for a two count. They signaled for the 3D, but E hit Bubba with a piece of the trombone. Devon sent E out of the ring. Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise on Bubba for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.

Winners: The New Day

Analysis: **1/2 It was a cheap win for the heel champs, which is perfectly fine because that’s what heels should do. They didn’t have enough time to really have a classic match, but it was good for the time given. I hope the New Day holds the titles for a year or more. They are the best team in WWE and are better when they are holding gold, so just keep it on them. I’m fine with the Dudleys continuing to chase or going back to the line because it will build up to that 10th tag title win for them next year or whenever it is. I predicted The New Day to retain and I’m glad they did.

A commercial aired for the WWE 2K16 video game. The announcers said that the video game is on sale on Tuesday. I’m not a gamer, so have no opinion either way. For those that play it, I hope it doesn’t suck.

A video package aired for the Divas Title match.

Divas Championship: Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella

There’s nobody at ringside for either lady because their allies are banned from ringside based on stipulations from the Kickoff show. Both women are in different gear from their usual. Nikki nailed a forearm shot, then Charlotte nailed a forearm of her own and Nikki tossed Charlotte into the barricade at ringside. Nikki nailed a move where she slammed Charlotte’s face into Nikki’s knee for a two count. Nikki applied a half crab to work on the left leg of Charlotte. It didn’t slow down Charlotte enough because Charlotte nailed a boot to the face. When Charlotte went for a suplex, her back gave out and Nikki took control again. Spinebuster by Nikki for two. Hard chops by Charlotte, but Nikki hit an elbow and then Nikki missed a jumping kick off the ropes. It looks like Charlotte is bleeding by the bridge of her nose, but it’s not a lot. Nikki was selling her left leg as well. Charlotte went up top with her back facing the ring. Nikki went up to follow, then Charlotte backflipped into the ring and Nikki bumped on her back. Charlotte nailed a Spear. Charlotte applied the Figure Eight, but she wasn’t able to bridge into it and Nikki got to the ropes. Nice psychology there with Charlotte being unable to win with her finisher.

Outside the ring, Nikki did an Alabama Slam that sent Charlotte’s back into the side of the ring. Nikki went for the Rack attack, but Charlotte countered it and Charlotte applied the Figure Eight. Nikki tapped out to give Charlotte the submission win after 11 minutes.

Winner by submission: Charlotte

Analysis: ***1/4 Great effort by the ladies again. Give them time and they can put on an entertaining match just like the men. I liked the power moves used by Nikki throughout the match especially that Alabama Slam against the apron. It’s similar to when Kevin Owens does the Powerbomb against the apron, but seeing it by a woman with that move is pretty rare. I have a minor gripe because Charlotte really didn’t sell the knee injury enough after Nikki spent a few minutes working on it. I know that Charlotte didn’t successfully apply the Figure Eight on first try, but it could have been more selling than that. Sorry for being picky, but it was pretty noticeable. I like how the finish was set up. Charlotte winning was my pick and was no surprise since this was the rematch for the title.

Post match, Paige and Becky Lynch ran out to celebrate with Charlotte. No sign of a turn from Paige even though she was already a heel…or so we thought.

Another commercial for Survivor Series and celebrating 25 years of The Undertaker.

Roman Reigns was in the locker room. Dean Ambrose showed up to say that it’s done. Reigns said he loved every minute of it. Ambrose said tonight they celebrate. Reigns told him he’ll see him in a little bit.

Analysis: I think it sucks that Ambrose isn’t in a match.

More celebrities in the crowd: Bill Simmons with his son, Seth Green and I think that was Max Landis behind him.

Seth Rollins vs. Demon Kane is up next. Here’s a video package.

Rollins entered first. Here’s where I complain about having the champion come out first. It should be last in all cases, but especially for the WWE Champion. Demon Kane got a decent reaction. When Lilian Garcia announced them, she announced Rollins last so I guess that’s a positive.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Kane

Kane was the aggressor early and cleared off the Spanish announce table although he didn’t use it. The announcers keep talking about Corporate Kane and Demon Kane as if they were separate people because they are awful. With Kane outside the ring, Rollins hit a somersault plancha over the top to take him out. Rollins had control after that. Rollins went off the top rope, but Kane nailed an uppercut. Kane missed a big boot, so Rollins splashed him in the corner. The number one Twitter trend in the world is #HIAC so Cole mentioned that of course. Rollins hit another splash in the corner while telling Kane he’s just a man. Rollins kicked Kane in the knee to stun the big man, but Kane nailed another uppercut punch. Kane nailed a superplex while he was on the middle rope. Kane got a two count following a boot to the face. Rollins tried to suplex Kane off the top, but Kane shoved him off and hit his patented clothesline off the top. Rollins fought out of a Chokeslam, Rollins hit a kick to the head, Kane fought out of the Pedigree and Kane nailed a Chokeslam for a two count. Rollins slipped out of Tombstone and went outside the ring. Kane gave Rollins a side slam onto the English announce table although he didn’t break it. Kane cleared off that table. Kane tossed Rollins over the announce table. It’s been well over ten seconds, but I don’t think the ref counted. Kane was going to put Rollins through the announce table. Rollins slipped out of it and nailed a Powerbomb on the Spanish table. The table didn’t break as Kane’s back hit a part of the table and then bounced to the floor. The referee finally counted and Kane rolled back before the count of ten.

Rollins nailed a kick to the head, then a flying knee off the top rope and another flying knee off the top rope. Rollins kicked him in the head two times. Rollins hit a Frog Splash for a two count. That could have been it, but Kane kicked out to stay alive. Fans chanted “Eddie” for that move that Eddie helped to make famous. Rollins kicked Kane in the gut to fight out of a Chokeslam and Rollins nailed the Pedigree for the win after 15 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins

Rollins celebrated the win while Cole mentioned that Corporate Kane is no longer Director of Operations. They cut away pretty quickly without showing any replays, which is weird for a WWE Title match.

Analysis: **1/4 It felt pretty average for a WWE Title match. With all due respect to Kane, I hope he’s not in the WWE Title picture again. He’s almost 50 and just doesn’t put on exciting matches. It’s not hate for the man. I just want others to be in that kind of position. I think Rollins is as good as anybody in WWE, but even he couldn’t get the match to that next level to make it great. I’m glad that Rollins won clean because he should have. Now I just hope they book him stronger in TV matches. Hopefully the feud is over because it was pretty silly for the most part.

A video aired for WWE’s work with breast cancer awareness.

The Kickoff Panel of Renee Young, Booker T, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves talked about the show so far.

Highlights were shown of the Kickoff Match with Neville hitting the Red Arrow to win.

Intercontinental Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Ryback

There was a vertical suplex by Ryback early on and then a powerslam. Running body attack by Ryback knocked Owens off the apron. Owens took control with a running senton in the middle of the ring. Owens wanted his cannonball in the corner, but Ryback hit a spinebuster. The crowd doesn’t seem to care about him although they did start a weak “Feed Me More” chant. Ryback hit a Powerbomb for a two count. With Ryback on the apron, Owens nailed a superkick to send him to the floor. Owens got two with a rollup, wanted the Popup Powerbomb and Ryback came back with a clothesline. Ryback went for Shellshock, but Owens got to the ropes. Owens was on the apron, he kicked Ryback in the face while the ref was trying to keep Ryback away and that stunned Ryback. Owens nailed a Popup Powerbomb for the win after seven minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens

Analysis: ** That was the shortest match so far and also the most predictable match on the show. Owens is a great IC Champ, but it’s time to move on from Ryback. You could tell from the crowd reaction that Ryback isn’t getting big reactions anymore. Owens needs a new challenger. Sami Zayn is still a couple of months away, so hopefully Owens holds it until at least he comes back.

A commercial for WWE’s new reality series Breaking Ground aired. I look forward to watching that show because it’s about WWE’s Performance Center and NXT wrestlers.

They showed a clip of Del Rio beating Cena for the US Title.

The Hell in a Cell structure lowered leading to the video package to set up Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker for the “last time ever” or so they say. I believe it’s the “last time ever” for this match too.

Hell in a Cell: Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. The Undertaker

It’s starting at 10:26pmET so they should go around 20 minutes. Undertaker did the throat slash gesture early on. The crowd was chanting “Undertaker” and “Suplex City” at the same time. They did a spot early on where Undertaker threw Lesnar into the steel post. Lesnar was bleeding a lot from the head. It was similar to Lesnar doing the same spot at WrestleMania and he came up bleeding. The ref put the white gloves on and then the doctor went into the ring to check on him. Lesnar had a steel chair and hit Undertaker in the back with it. Outside the ring, Lesnar hit Undertaker with another chair shot that looked like it was on the arm. Lesnar took off one of his gloves and unloaded some punches. Undertaker hit a vertical suplex on the floor. Undertaker is bleeding and the camera zoomed in on him. Lesnar hit two German Suplex and said “Suplex City, bitch.” There’s a third German Suplex for Lesnar. Lesnar hit the F5 and Undertaker kicked out. The doctor was in the ring again. Lesnar sent him out of the ring and Lesnar hit another F5. Undertaker kicked out at two. Lesnar brought in the steel steps, hit Undertaker in the face with them and that got a two count.

Lesnar went for another attack with the steps, but Undertaker rolled out of the way. Undertaker kicked the steps and they fell on top of Lesnar. That didn’t look like a great spot. Undertaker applied the Hell’s Gate submission. Lesnar got out of it and then unloaded on Undertaker with a barrage of fists. Lesnar ripped apart part of the ring to take off some of the mat and expose wood in the ring. Undertaker sat up and nailed a Chokeslam on the exposed wood. Fans are chanting “this is awesome” as Lesnar stumbles around. Undertaker picked him up and hit the Tombstone Piledriver for a two count. They tried to say it was on the exposed wood, but if you have eyes…well no. Anyway, that got a two count as Lesnar kicked out. There’s the patented Undertaker shocked face that is always a classic.

Undertaker was stalking over Lesnar and Lesnar nailed a low blow similar to what Undertaker did to him at SummerSlam. It was treated like a big move that drew a big reaction. Lesnar hit the F5 onto the exposed wood and covered for the one…two…three after 18 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Brock Lesnar

Post match, Lesnar stumbled out of the ring with Paul Heyman helping him to the back. Undertaker had this look on his face while pointing at Lesnar as if to say “you got me” there. Lesnar walked to the back.

Analysis: ****1/4 That was a great battle worthy of the Hell in a Cell match and the right guy won in the end. It was a lot of fun and I loved watching it. I’m not sure how many more Undertaker matches there are going to be left, but that’s a match he should really be proud of. The blood by both guys was a nice touch. I know that WWE will say it wasn’t intentional because of corporate sponsors leading to blood being planned, but I think they did spots with the idea of getting busted open. It was the same Lesnar spot that they did at WrestleMania too. Lesnar punching him above the eye is an old school way of drawing blood too. Anyway, the match was a lot of fun and I liked the ending with Lesnar exposing the wood because it’s different from what we usually see. Taker kicked out of two finishers and Lesnar kicked out of one, so that’s fine. Lesnar won in part due to the low blow, which is okay for a face just because it fits their story. I thought Lesnar was going to win and I’m sure that most people did as well. That just makes a lot of sense since he’s the younger guy. The match was better than their WM30 and SummerSlam 2015 matches as well.

After Lesnar went to the back, The Undertaker took a couple of tries to sit back up like he has done so many times. The fans were chanting “Thank You Taker” for him. He slowly took his time to get back to his feet and really looked like he was appreciating the crowd appreciating him that way.

Analysis: That was very cool. He deserves that respect as much as anybody in wrestling history.

The Wyatt Family’s music started up with Bray Wyatt walking out along with Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman. They slowly surrounded Undertaker and took him down with punches. The three big guys held up Undertaker while Wyatt punched him some more. Wyatt did a throat slash gesture. The Wyatt Family carried him off.

Analysis: I was waiting for some babyfaces like Reigns and Ambrose to come out for the save, but I guess the story is they weren’t there because they were celebrating from earlier. The save can come at another time. It will likely set up a Survivor Series match with Undertaker, Reigns, Ambrose and probably Kane against the Wyatt Family. It makes sense at least.

The show ended with Undertaker getting carried away at about 10:54pmET. Nobody helped him because they are all assholes in the back. Kidding. Relax.

Five Stars of the Show

1. Brock Lesnar

2. The Undertaker

3. Roman Reigns

4. Bray Wyatt

5. Alberto Del Rio

Final Thoughts

It gets a 7.5 out of 10 from me.

Second best PPV of the year. I didn’t expect it to be that good, so give them credit for exceeding expectations.

Both HIAC matches were outstanding. When you build a show around two major matches and they both hit the four star level that’s a successful event to me.

I was genuinely shocked by Del Rio’s return. I don’t know that he’s going to set the world on fire or really excite fans, but I’m glad he’s back. It was so weird to see Cena lose clean in less than ten minutes. As I said earlier, that’s a good thing.

The ending leaves us with something to look forward to for Survivor Series, so that’s another aspect that deserves praise because it gets people talking.

Enjoy your break, John Cena. You deserve it.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton –

Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and on Facebook