Reviews

The John Report: WWE Hell in a Cell 2021 Review

Welcome to the WWE Hell in a Cell review on TJRWrestling. For the last 11 years, Hell in a Cell was an October pay-per-view (it also took place in September once), but this year WWE decided to move it up to June. It’s also the last pay-per-view in the ThunderDome setup because next month’s Money in the Bank PPV will be in front of the fans. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

As a reminder, I have a listing of every WWE PPV that I reviewed in order by year. Thank you for supporting us at TJRWrestling. We appreciate you. Let’s get to the show.

Kickoff Show Match

The Raw announce team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton were on hand to call the Kickoff Match between Natalya and Mandy Rose. Natalya is one half of the Women’s Tag Team Champions with Tamina.

Natalya (w/Tamina) vs. Mandy Rose (w/Dana Brooke)

Natalya and Rose took turns getting takedowns. Rose grabbed an armbar, then Natalya powered out of it and Rose got a sunset flip for two. Rose tied up Natalya’s legs on the mat, but Natalya got out of it with a side headlock. Rose did a dropdown, then a leapfrog and a rollup for two. It was a little bit sloppy in that exchange leading to the nearfall. Natalya went for an armbar, Rose went to the ropes and then Rose pulled on the arm so Natalya’s throat/neck went into the ropes. Rose with a punch and then she applied a body scissors around the waist. Mandy tried a guillotine submission, but Natalya powered out of it with a sitout body slam. Rose worked over Natalya with forearms to the back followed by Rose applying an abdominal stretch. Natalya got out of it with a hiptoss. Natalya avoided a corner charge, Rose hit the turnbuckle, Natalya with a suplex off the ropes, kick to the head and a low dropkick for two. Rose kicked Natalya down and Rose went up top with a missile dropkick for two. That looked pretty good. Rose got an inside cradle for two and then Natalya hit a discus clothesline for two. Rose got a backslide for two and then a jumping knee for two. There were more pin attempts by both women. Rose avoided an armbar by getting to the ropes. Rose did a jackknife pin attempt, then Natalya fought out of it and Natalya applied the Sharpshooter submission. Rose tapped out to give Natalya the win at 9:45.

Winner by submission: Natalya

Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match. Rose was given a lot of offense, she got plenty of nearfalls and I liked her aggressiveness. Natalya managed to take all of what Mandy had and the Sharpshooter was enough to get the win. These are two of the only women’s tag teams in WWE right now, so I can see Mandy/Dana still in the title picture. There just aren’t enough teams right now.

That was the only Kickoff Show match.

WWE Hell in a Cell
From WWE Thunderdome at Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida
June 20, 2021

There was an opening video package hyping up the big matches coming up on the show. It was a unique video featuring a woman that was like a radio DJ welcoming us to hell. She wanted to wish “all of us at the gates of hell good luck tonight, you’re gonna need it.” Then the woman laughed. That led to a video with the “Straight to Hell” song.

There was an impressive pyro display welcoming us to the show in the Thunderdome. As I said earlier, it’s the last PPV in the Thunderdome. The Smackdown announce team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee welcomed us to the show.

A video package aired to set up Bianca Belair defending the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Bayley. This is a rematch from WrestleMania Backlash. Bianca beat her clean, but they are having another match because Bayley continued to disrespect Belair by laughing at her. It wasn’t originally a Hell in a Cell match. It became that on this past Friday’s Smackdown when Belair challenged Bayley to a HIAC match. If Roman Reigns vs. Rey Mysterio was taking place at the HIAC PPV then I doubt this would be a HIAC match, but it makes sense to make this HIAC to end this rivalry.

Bayley made her entrance first. The red Hell in a Cell structure surrounded the ring. Bayley was in a Hell in a Cell match last October when she dropped the Smackdown Women’s Title to Sasha Banks. Bayley was confident saying the Hell in a Cell is “my world.” Bianca Belair was up next as the confident Smackdown Women’s Champion in Bianca’s first Hell in a Cell match.

Hell in a Cell Match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair vs. Bayley

Belair started with two body slams and a clothesline. Belair approached by ropes, Bayley drove her throat into the rope and Bayley got two chairs from under the ring. Bayley tried a chair attack, but Belair got a rollup and then another rollup. Belair drove Bayley into the turnbuckle followed by a dropkick. Belair with a shoulder into the turnbuckle. Belair jumped off the middle rope as they battled over a superplex, but then Bayley sent Belair into the ring post. Bayley sent Belair into another ring post and a running kick for two. Bayley drove Belair’s left arm/shoulder into the turnbuckle and wrenched on the arm against the bottom rope. Bayley wrenched on the left arm some more followed by a single arm takedown for a two count. Bayley brought the top half of the steel steps into the ring. Bayley with two elbow drops. Bayley stood on Belair’s long braided hair and then Belair tripped up Bayle yon the steps. Bayley came back with a running knee for two. Bayley tied the end of Belair’s hair to the bottom rope. Belair managed to avoid a charging Bayley, who went knee first into the steps. Belair untied herself. Belair threw the steps, but Bayley moved. Belair kicked Bayley into the cell. Bayley bit Belair’s left arm with Bianca screaming about it. McAfee: “What the hell was that?” It was a lot of biting. Bayley got two kendo sticks from under the ring and hit Belair in the ribs. Bayley did a sunset flip Powerbomb that sent Belair into the cell. Bayley set up multiple kendo sticks up against the cage. Cole reminded us that Bayley tried that last year at Hell in a Cell, Bayley told Cole to shut up because the fans know since they watched her. Belair ended up hitting Bayley with a spinebuster through the double kendo sticks. That got a two count in the ring.

Belair had the steel chair and she hit Bayley in the back. Belair charged with the chair with Bayley kicking the chair back in Belair’s face. Bayley trapped the left arm of Belair between the chair and wrenched on the arm. Belair tied Belair’s hair to the bottom of the steel chair and Bayley kicked Belair to keep her down. Bayley did her laughing routine again. Belair punched Bayley to knock her down. Belair had the chair and Bayley went running right into it with her right knee. Belair with a shoulder tackle to the knee. Belair used her hair to tie Bayley’s left arm and Belair did more shoulder tackles. They left the ring with Belair hitting Bayley with kendo sticks to the back. Belair drove Bayley into the cage. Belair whipped Bayley into the steel cage and kicked Bayley into the cell. Bayley grabbed a steel ladder from under the ring and hit Belair in the ribs. Bayley sent Belair into the ladder that was up against the turnbuckle. Bayley trapped Belair’s hair under the ladder and Bayley smashed the ladder onto Belair back. Bayley hit her Rose Plant finishing move into the mat, but Bayley’s right knee was hurting. Bayley managed to get a cover for a two count. They battled over nearfalls by the ropes. Belair picked up Bayley with a Glam Slam like move into the turnbuckle. Bayley placed the ladder on top of Bayley, Belair went up top and Belair jumped over when Bayley moved. Belair did a senton splash onto Bayley’s back on the ladder. Bayley was writhing in pain. Belair hit the KOD (Kiss of Death) slam onto the ladder for the pinfall win at 19:45.

Winner by pinfall: Bianca Belair

Analysis: ***3/4 This was a great match where they used a lot of weapons from under the ring and made it feel like a personal rivalry. They also utilized Belair’s hair a lot with Bayley tying it to the ropes, a chair, putting it under a ladder and so on. I think it was probably too much of the hair usage, but it was also done in a way to show that Bianca was ready for it and was able to overcome it. They worked well together with a lot of nearfalls. It would have been nice to see some submission attempts while working on some body parts as well, but it was more about using weapons. I liked the finish a lot with Belair hitting the KOD onto the ladder because it looked like a painful bump and also a decisive way to end the match. Bianca winning was the expected result here as a way to likely end this feud.

Post match, Belair posed over Bayley with the Smackdown Women’s Title while Bayley left the ring. Belair had a big smile on her face.

There were commercials for WWE on Draftkings and WWE wanting people to get vaccinated. There was also a SummerSlam commercial for August 21.

Bianca Belair was interviewed by Megan Morant. Belair said that Hell in a Cell is brutal, but she had enough to keep her title. Belair said that Bayley kicked her butt and she will never forgive her for that.

There was a video shown of Bobby Lashley and MVP in their private dressing room with some lovely ladies there as well. MVP told Lashley to get in the zone, so Lashley had a serious look on his face.

Alexa Bliss was on her playground set saying that Shayna Baszler should expect the unexpected.

A video package aired to set up the Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins match. Cesaro beat Seth at WrestleMania and then Seth attacked Cesaro at the end of WrestleMania Backlash. Seth also attacked Cesaro on Smackdown to set up this match.

Cesaro made his entrance, Seth Rollins attacked during the entrance and Cesaro was ready for him. They got into the ring to start the match.

Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro

Cesaro with a body slam, back body drop and a kick that sent Rollins off the apron to the barricade. Cesaro with a running uppercut to Rollins against the barricade. Back in the ring, Cesaro with a double axehandle. Cesaro sent Rollins into the top turnbuckle followed by uppercuts. Rollins came back with a neckbreaker that sent Cesaro into the middle turnbuckle. Rollins did an eye poke that the referee didn’t see and a punch. Rollins with a kick to the gut along with a DDT. Rollins drove his knee into the throat of Cesaro followed by Rollins punching him in the face. Rollins with running knee drives to the ribs. Cesaro powered out of a Rollins move with a suplex. They were out of the ring with Rollins hitting a jumping knee on Cesaro on the floor. Back in the ring, Rollins hit a springboard knee along with punches and Rollins grinding his right hand against Cesaro’s eye. Cesaro with an uppercut, Rollins with a punch, Cesaro uppercut, then Cesaro with more uppercuts and Cesaro lifted up Rollins into a slam. Rollins took off Seth’s glove on his right hand, then put it in Seth’s mouth and Cesaro hit a clothesline for two. Cesaro kicked Seth’s glove out of the ring. Cesaro with two running uppercuts, Rollins with a kick to the gut and Cesaro was able to come back with a powerslam for two. Rollins backed out of a Neutralizer attempt, Cesaro to the apron and Cesaro hit a headbutt to block a superplex attempt. Cesaro jumped off the top with a cross body block, but Rollins rolled on top for two. Rollins with a jumping kick to the head, then a forearm and Rollins hit a forearm to the back of the neck for two. Rollins stomped on Cesaro’s right arm and then applied an armbreaker, but Cesaro fought out of it. Rollins with a knee to the face and Rollins hit a Falcon Arrow slam for two. Rollins went for a knee, Cesaro ducked it and then Seth hit a back kick to knock him down.

Rollins worked over Cesaro with kicks to the body, but then Cesaro hit the discus clothesline for his buddy Brodie Lee/Harper. Cesaro got a hold of Rollins leading to the Cesaro Swing with about ten spins although I didn’t count it. Cesaro applied the Sharpshooter submission and then Cesaro turned it into a Crossface submission, but Rollins countered it into a two count. Cesaro went back to the Sharpshooter, Rollins fought out of it and Cesaro stomped on the right arm. Cesaro went for another Sharpshooter, but Rollins hooked him in an inside cradle for the pinfall win at 16:15. Cole said he thought Rollins got lucky while McAfee credited Rollins for it.

Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins

Analysis: ***3/4 It was a crafty heel win by Rollins getting an inside cradle in a match where neither guy was able to hit a finishing move. It went about five minutes more than their WrestleMania match, but I liked the WrestleMania match a bit more. Maybe the presence of the crowd helped. I liked the way that Rollins kept going after Cesaro’s eye (since Seth had the eye strategy against Rey Mysterio last year) as a cheap way to attack and then Cesaro ended up using his power a lot. The swing spot worked well as did the repeated Sharpshooter attempts. I assume they will do a rematch possibly as a main event on Smackdown soon because I’m not sure they need a PPV singles match again. I thought Cesaro might win to continue his positive momentum, but I guess WWE felt like Seth needed a win and that’s okay because Seth is awesome too.

Rollins left with a bit of a limp to sell the Sharpshooter that was used multiple times. Cesaro was frustrated in the ring.

There were commercials for WWE going back on the road in July and Peacock streaming service.

There was a commercial for the next PPV Money in the Bank on Sunday, July 18 in Fort Worth, Texas. That is four weeks away.

The Kickoff Show panel of Kayla Braxton, Jerry Lawler, John Bradshaw Layfield and Peter Rosenberg talked about the show. I don’t need to summarize comments.

There was a video about the weird rivalry between Alexa Bliss and Shayna Baszler.

Shayna Baszler was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber in the Gorilla Position behind the curtain. Shayna had Nia Jax and Reginald with her even though she doesn’t like Reginald. Baszler said that she will end this. Reginald tried to kiss her hand, but Shayna slapped him in the face. Alexa Bliss made her entrance wearing her unique attire with the black lipstick and the black around the eyes.

The Raw announce team of Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves were on hand to call the first Raw match of the PPV.

Shayna Baszler (w/Nia Jax & Reginald) vs. Alexa Bliss

Reginald was on the apron for a distraction leading to Baszler hitting a clothesline. Baszler stomped on Bliss to keep her down against the turnbuckle. Baszler went for a knee strike, Bliss moved and Bliss did some weird crawling leading to a big punch. Bliss with a double knee attack to the back against the ropes. Bliss with a flipping splash onto the ribs of Baszler for a two count. Reginald on the apron, then Bliss stared at him and Reginald was scared of her. Baszler hit Bliss in the back with forearms, kicks and a running knee. Bliss was laughing about it. Baszler hit a spinning gutwrench slam for two while Bliss was laughing about it. Bliss wrenched on the left arm of Bliss and Baszler stomped on the left elbow of Bliss, who was screaming until Bliss turned it into laughter. Baszler went for another move, but then Bliss yelled “look at me” and Baszler let go. Bliss with forearms, shoulder tackles and a Thesz Press followed by punches. Bliss hit a swinging DDT for two. Bliss with a running dropkick that sent Baszler out of the ring. Baszler stared at Jax, then they each lifted up their hands and Bliss made Jax slap Reginald. Bliss and Jax let out a yell at the same time. Bliss punched Baszler in the throat and Bliss hit a unique version of a DDT. Bliss went up top and hit Twisted Bliss on Baszler for the pinfall win at 6:50.

Winner by pinfall: Alexa Bliss

Analysis: ** It was nice to see them have a regular match or close to that at least. The spot where Bliss made Jax slap Reginald was ridiculous, but they have to do something like that to show Alexa’s ability to play mind games. That’s what her character is now. Bliss winning didn’t surprise me because they book her very strongly. I think Baszler is one of the worst booked women on either show because of how much she loses. She could be doing a lot more.

Drew McIntyre was shown getting ready for his match later in the show.

There was a commercial for WWE working with Draftkings. There was a commercial for a Boss Baby movie on Peacock. There was also a commercial for a WWE Undefeated game.

The announcers plugged the Best WWE Moment category for The ESPYs. You can vote now at ESPN.com/ESPYS with Pat McAfee talking about his attack on Adam Cole earning a nomination. That was great.

Sami Zayn was up next for the last Smackdown match of the night. They showed a replay from Smackdown when Zayn distracted Kevin Owens to cost KO in a tag team match against Commander Azeez and Apollo Crews. Owens asked for the match with Zayn. Kevin Owens was up next.

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

This match is another WrestleMania rematch with Owens beating Zayn in that match. Owens was aggressive as he whipped Zayn into the turnbuckle. Owens was coughing to sell the fact that he was hit in the throat with the Nigerian Nail on Smackdown. Owens with a high elbow and a senton splash. Zayn worked over Owens with punches while Owens was coughing as he continued to sell what happened on Smackdown. Cole talked about how Owens was clearly having problems breathing. Zayn with a clothesline. Owens was coughing more, so Zayn went for a choke and punched him in the head. Owens suplexed Zayn ribs first into the top rope. Owens with a cannonball splash against the turnbuckle as Owens continued to sell by coughing. Zayn grabbed Owens by the shirt and drove him throat first into the middle turnbuckle. Zayn jumped over the top with a somersault dive onto the left arm of Owens. Owens was favoring his left arm either by his shoulder or his wrist. Owens told the referee he was okay and Zayn hit a running kick. Zayn stomped on the left arm of Owens followed by punches. Owens left the ring favoring his left wrist. It could be the shoulder. Owens with punches and then a double leg takedown with more punches. Owens continued grabbing his left arm and met Zayn with a hard clothesline on the floor. Owens went for a senton bomb off the middle ropes to the floor, but Zayn got the knees up and blocked it. Back in the ring, Zayn hit the Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Owens continued to hold his left wrist. Zayn with punches, then Owens came back with punches and Owens was favoring his left arm some more. Owens went for a Stunner, but Zayn got a hold of him and hit an overhead release suplex with Owens landing hard on his head/neck. Owens continued to grab his left arm/wrist. Zayn kicked Owens out of the ring. Zayn was bleeding from the mouth, Owens was coughing while on the floor and favoring his left arm. Zayn left the ring and Owens hit a Stunner on the floor. Zayn barely beat the ten count to get back into the ring. Owens and Zayn got into a slugfest, then Owens with a huge forearm and he stomped on Zayn against the ropes. Owens continued to favor the left arm. Zayn wrenched the left arm of Owens against the ropes. Zayn with a kick to the back into the rope leading to KO’s throat hitting the rope. Zayn hit the Helluva Kick on Owens for the pinfall win at 12:46.

Winner by pinfall: Sami Zayn

Analysis: ***1/4 They had one of their typical good matches, but it wasn’t something that I’d call an extra special match between them. There’s no doubt that Kevin Owens hurting his left arm led to the match quality suffering a bit. You could tell Owens was limited a bit after Zayn hit that dive onto the floor because Owens was grabbing the left arm right away. Zayn needed the win, so I’m glad it happened although I didn’t expect it because WWE rarely books Zayn to win clean in PPV matches. I’m happy for Sami because it might mean he will win more matches in the future and with Money in the Bank coming up, he would be an awesome pick for a winner.

After the match, Sami Zayn went over to the announce table and talked trash to Michael Cole. Zayn said that as long as he is here, oppression will not stand. Owens was talking to the referee about how he hurt his shoulder.

Analysis: I hope Owens is okay. I don’t know how serious it is, but it looked like a legit injury rather than something that was just a work during a match.

There was a commercial for WWEShop and Credit One Bank. There was a commercial about Montez Ford being a dad and talking about fatherhood.

There was a video package about the Hell in a Cell match on Smackdown with Roman Reigns beating Rey Mysterio to retain the Universal Title.

Bobby Lashley and MVP were shown getting ready for Lashley’s main event match.

The video package aired for Rhea Ripley’s Raw Women’s Title match against Charlotte Flair.

Charlotte Flair made her entrance first as the challenger followed by Rhea Ripley as the Raw Women’s Champion. They stood in the ring for the championship introductions from Mike Rome. Both women looked very confident as usual.

Raw Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair

Charlotte got in a cheap shot during the introductions and told her it was a lesson. Charlotte with a rollup followed by a boot to the face that sent Ripley out of the ring. Ripley with an elbow. Charlotte got a hard whip into the turnbuckle and then Ripley hit a boot to the face. Ripley went up top, so Charlotte knocked her down and took control. Charlotte applied a tight headlock followed by a head whip that sent Ripley down to the mat. Charlotte with a clothesline sent Ripley over the top to the floor. Charlotte kicked Ripley into the barricade. Back in the ring, Charlotte got multiple two counts. Charlotte worked over Ripley with stomps and kicks to the left leg. Charlotte with a forearm to the face, but then Ripley avoided a knee stomp. Ripley with clotheslines, then a headbutt and a standing side kick with Ripley favoring the left knee injury. Charlotte got a hold of Ripley’s leg and twisted it against the rope. Ripley came back with a kick that knocked down Charlotte on the floor. Ripley sent Charlotte back in, then Ripley went up top and Ripley hit a missile dropkick for two. Ripley tied up Charlotte’s legs for a submission, but then Charlotte countered it by sending Ripley into the bottom turnbuckle. Charlotte hit the Natural Selection pin attempt for two. Charlotte went for a body slam, Ripley reversed, Charlotte with an elbow and then Ripley avoided a kick leading to Ripley hitting a German Suplex across the ring. Ripley charged, but Charlotte did a backbreaker and then sent Ripley into the middle turnbuckle. Charlotte went up top for a moonsault, Ripley moved out of the way and Charlotte hit a standing moonsault. That’s an Andrade spot that Charlotte picked up from her elite fiancé. Charlotte went for a Figure Four Leglock, but Ripley got an inside cradle. Charlotte went for a boot, Ripley avoided it and Charlotte hit a spinning elbow for two That’s another Andrade spot. I know that because Charlotte is the one that mentioned it on social media. Charlotte with a kick to the chest and then Charlotte did a slow climb up the turnbuckle, so Ripley was there to meet her with punches. They went up top with Ripley hitting a superplex off the top for two.

The match turned into a brawl as they exchanged punches. Charlotte delivered three hard chops, then a charge, Ripley moved and Charlotte hit the turnbuckle. Ripley hit the Riptide slam near the ropes and Charlotte got her foot on the bottom rope to kick out at two. It was obvious the rope kickout was coming because of where they were in the ring. Ripley left the ring, Charlotte kicked the left leg and Charlotte dropkicked the steel steps, so Ripley sold it like she got kicked in the knee. Back in the ring, Charlotte hit a Spear. Charlotte applied the Figure Four Leglock, but Ripley got to the bottom rope to break the hold. They were tied up so much that they went to the floor. Ripley was screaming in pain. Ripley pulled off the hood of the announce table and hit Charlotte in the head with it. The referee called for a DQ at 14:10. Wrestlers use the hood of the announce table all the time and it doesn’t lead to a DQ, but it did here.

Winner by disqualification: Charlotte Flair (Rhea Ripley remains the Raw Women’s Champion)

Analysis: ***1/2 I liked the story of the match, but I hated the finish. Charlotte was tremendous as the heel that worked over Ripley’s knee throughout the match, I liked how Ripley kept coming back for more and then they had the lame finish. There are a lot of matches where people use the top of the announce table as a weapon (Randy Orton does it all of the time) and it doesn’t lead to a DQ, but I guess because Ripley swung it in the face of Charlotte it was enough to get a DQ ending. It was just done that way to give Charlotte a win without doing a title change.

The action continued post match with Ripley sending Charlotte into the turnbuckle. Ripley hit the Riptide slam in the ring. Ripley left with her title while Charlotte told her she was learning. Ripley said she did to Charlotte what Charlotte would have done to her.

Analysis: The feud is going to continue likely with a stipulation match. I hope Rhea keeps the title when they have the rematch, but it wouldn’t shock me if Flair won the title just because WWE loves putting the title on Charlotte.

There was a commercial for Broken Skull Sessions with Mick Foley as Steve Austin’s guest. A SummerSlam commercial aired. There was also a commercial for Peacock.

There was another commercial for Money in the Bank on July 18.

A fan on a Thunderdome screen had a sign that said: “If Brock Returns We Riot.” Actually, you won’t do shit, but at least you spelled the words right on the sign.

There was a video package for the WWE Championship match with Bobby Lashley defending the title against Drew McIntyre.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance first as the challenger and a former two-time WWE Champion. The “All Mighty” WWE Champion Bobby Lashley made his entrance joined by his buddy MVP. The entrance of Lashley looks really cool from the opening graphics to the pyro in the ring. I like it a lot. It’s a superstar entrance. The wrestlers stood in the ring as ring announcer Mike Rome introduced the two wrestlers.

Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Drew McIntyre

The stipulation is that if McIntyre loses then he cannot challenge Lashley for the WWE Title again.

Lashley left the ring going for a weapon under the ring, but McIntyre followed him there and sent Lashley into the cell. McIntyre drove Lashley back first into the cell and McIntyre whipped Lashley into the cell. Lashley kicked McIntyre to stop an attempted attack with the steel steps. Lashley drove his knee into McIntyre’s face against the cell. McIntyre suplexed Lashley into the cell. Ouch. McIntyre hit Lashley in the head with the steel steps two times in a row. Lashley slipped out of a move to hit an elbow and then Drew got a kick to the face. McIntyre hit a belly to belly suplex across the ring. McIntyre hit Lashley in the back with a kendo stick and then McIntyre sent Lashley back first into the cell. MVP gave Lashley his cane, so Lashley hit McIntyre in the throat and in the ribs. McIntyre sold it by coughing. Lashley whipped McIntyre into the cell. Lashley slammed McIntyre into the cell. McIntyre shoved Lashley back first into the ring post and then Drew delivered a move like the White Noise onto the steel steps. Drew grabbed a table from under the ring and he set it up on the floor. McIntyre sent the back of Lashley’s head into the cell repeatedly. Lashley came back with another shot to the throat. Lashley sent McIntyre into the cage, but then McIntyre came back with a running clothesline. McIntyre sent Lashley into the steel steps. McIntyre tossed three steel chairs into the ring. McIntyre charged, Lashley with a back elbow, but then McIntyre hit an elbow. McIntyre hit a reverse Alabama Slam onto a steel chair for two. McIntyre hit a chair to the back. McIntyre went up top with a chair, he jumped off, Lashley moved and Bobby went for the Hurt Lock, but McIntyre slipped out of it and McIntyre hit a spinebuster for two. Drew hit a sitout Powerbomb for two. McIntyre kicked Lashley in the ribs to knock Lashley out of the ring. McIntyre hit Lashley with the steel steps, but then Lashley countered by driving the stairs into McIntyre’s head. Lashley came back with punches followed by some blatant choking.

Lashley used MVP’s help to trap McIntyre against a corner of the cell. Lashley beat on McIntyre with repeated punches to the body. McIntyre broke free, but then Lashley came back with a flatliner on the floor. Back in the ring, Lashley hit a flatliner into a chair that was opened in the ring. Lashley did it again. Lashley brought a kendo stick in the ring and beat on McIntyre’s upper body with it. McIntyre blocked a kendo stick shot and hit a headbutt. Lashley with a thumb to the eye, Drew swung the chair, Lashley ducked it and Lashley shoved McIntyre into referee Chad Patton, who bumped to the floor. McIntyre sent Lashley into a steel chair that was wedged against the turnbuckle and Lashley hit a Future Shock DDT. There was no referee. The second referee outside the cage opened the door. McIntyre got out of a Hurt Lock attempt, Drew hit a belly to belly suplex and Drew hit the Claymore Kick for one…two…and MVP pulled the new referee Eddie Orengo out of the ring to break up the pin. The door locked again, so Drew beat up MVP by tossing him into the cage. When MVP got up in the ring, McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick on MVP. You could see red scars on Drew’s back. McIntyre focused on MVP on the floor, so then Lashley applied the Hurt Lock submission on the floor. McIntyre got out of it by driving Lashley back first through a table that was up against the cell! That was crazy. They were over 20 minutes into the match at this point.

They were back in the ring with McIntyre beating on Lashley with repeated chair shots to the back. McIntyre set up for Claymore Kick, he charged, but Lashley ducked it and Drew hit the mat hard. Lashley drove McIntyre back first into the turnbuckle and Lashley gave McIntyre a Chokeslam off the apron through the table that was ringside. That was a huge bump that looked more impressive after they showed a replay. Lashley brought Lashley back into the ring. McIntyre crawled back up to his feet, Lashley charged and McIntyre sent Lashley into the turnbuckle. McIntyre with a backslide pin for two. McIntyre with the Glasgow Kiss headbutt and the Future Shock DDT with no pin attempt. McIntyre tried a Claymore Kick again, but MVP held onto his feet. Lashley did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! while pulling the tights and Lashley won to retain the title. The match went 25:45.

Winner by pinfall: Bobby Lashley

Analysis: **** I liked the match a lot, but the finish was overbooked in a way that hurt my enjoyment of the end. I just think it was too much with the referee bump, the second referee, MVP getting involved and then doing a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! finish is a bit lame. I would have preferred Lashley hitting a Spear or something else there because it would have been better than a simple rollup. With all of that said, they worked really hard and had a very entertaining match with plenty of weapons around the ring. I liked the table bumps. You could see the scars on the bodies of both guys as well, so you don’t need to sell the audience on it being a violent match because we could see it. McIntyre obviously has a legitimate gripe with how he got screwed out of the win, but he can’t get a WWE Title match due to the stipulation. I get why they booked it this way. I just think they could have picked a better way to end it.

The win by Lashley meant that McIntyre cannot challenge for the WWE Championship while Lashley is the champion.

Bobby Lashley celebrated with the WWE Title with MVP by his side. Drew McIntyre looked frustrated at ringside. MVP was waving “goodbye” at Drew. Lashley and MVP continued to celebrate while showing McIntyre again. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: It’s onto a new challenge for Lashley. Maybe Kofi Kingston is next. I’m not sure. As for Drew, it will be weird seeing him out of the title picture at least for now, so I hope there’s a good storyline in place for him.

This event had a runtime of 2:49:43 on WWE Network.

 

Five Stars of the Show

  1. Bobby Lashley
  2. Drew McIntyre
  3. Bayley
  4. Bianca Belair
  5. Seth Rollins/Cesaro

 

Final Thoughts

I’m going with a 7 out of 10 for this show.

A really good night for the heels. They got a lot of wins except for Bianca Belair beating Bayley, which was the most obvious result of the night. I think some of the finishes hurt some matches, but overall everybody worked hard. There were five matches that got 12 minutes or more and only one match over 20 minutes. I don’t think anything went too long or too short. I also don’t think there was any match that was so outstanding that you need to go out of your way to see.

Lashley/McIntyre was probably my favorite match, but with a finish that was tainted. I just think the guys worked very well together, came up with creative spots and you could see the scars on their bodies from how hard some of those weapon shots were. A ROLLUP OF DEATH~! ending to a 25-minute HIAC match is ridiculous, though. Bad finish. Belair and Bayley did a great job in the opener. I liked most of the other matches with Cesaro/Rollins getting more time than at WrestleMania, but I don’t think this match was better. Kevin Owens clearly got hurt during his match with Sami Zayn and kept on fighting, so respect to KO. It’s so rare to see a clean win for Sami. As for Bliss/Baszler, the best thing I can say is that at least it was kept short.

Hell in a Cell was a solid show because the matches got time. I just don’t think it was that memorable. I’m glad this was the last PPV without fans. I’m so ready for fans to be back.

Here’s my ranking of WWE PPVs in 2021 so far.

WrestleMania 37 (April 10 & 11) – 8

Royal Rumble (January 31) – 8

WrestleMania Backlash (May 16) – 7.75

Elimination Chamber (February 21) – 7.25

Hell in a Cell – 7

Fastlane – (March 21) 6.5

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