This was written on the day after the PPV and the review is untouched.
The John Report: WWE Hell in a Cell 2011 Recap
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport
This is not going to be full play by play recap of the show although at times I can’t help myself. I watched the replay of the show. I will assume you have read a recap elsewhere and what you’ll get here are my thoughts on everything that happened.
WWE Hell in a Cell
October 2, 2011
New Orleans, Louisiana
They aired a video package highlighting the participants in the Hell in a Cell matches.
The announcers for the show are Michael Cole, Booker T. & Jim Ross. Lawler is still out selling the anal bleeding. I’m fine with it because Ross is much better these days. They did not say anal bleeding on this show. Sorry to all the AB fans out there.
As Christian walked out for his opening match, they showed The Miz & R-Truth walking to ringside. They showed us that they had tickets. John Laurinaitis confronted them with security, but they showed him that they bought tickets. Security escorted them out…or so we thought. That’s a good way to keep them in the minds of the fans.
Sheamus d. Christian
Christian came out first. Sheamus was second and he got a face pop. The Spanish table is in the house. When is the “best of the Spanish table” DVD coming out? The crowd wasn’t popping for these guys as loudly as I would have liked. They are near main eventers, but I guess being presented as the opening match hurts their status a bit. The announcers did a good job of pointing out that it was about Sheamus’ power vs. Christian’s speed. Nobody really believed Christian was going to win, though, so it was hurt a bit because of that. Sheamus showed great fire with a strong babyface comeback, which woke up the crowd and they were very much behind him. Christian hit a spear on the floor to get the momentum on his side. Back in the ring, Christian hit another spear for the best nearfall of the match to that point. Sheamus made the comeback, Christian went face first into the middle turnbuckle, Sheamus ran into the ropes to get speed and hit the Brogue Kick for the win after 14 minutes
Analysis: ***1/4 It went as I expected with Sheamus winning. Christian only got that one nearfall with the spear with the idea being that Sheamus kept coming back because he was simply too strong for him. They built up to the finish really well. I had higher expectations for it, but understand why they may have saved some things since this was the opener.
The World Champion Mark Henry was interviewed by Matt Striker. He said Orton would join the Hall of Pain during their match. He already beat him clean once. Doesn’t that count? I guess taking the guy out by “breaking their leg” is how you join.
Sin Cara (Blue) d. Sin Cara (Black)
The original Sin Cara came out in blue. He had the normal music. The imposter Sin Cara wore black and he had altered music. They did the same trampoline entrance. The ominous blue & gold lights covered the ring as usual. The announcers were confused about who was who with Booker thinking the one dressed in black was the original. Way to confuse the viewers. The crowd was pretty quiet for it until the original SC hit a great dive onto the imposter SC on the floor. Then Sin Cara Two – the name the announcers used mostly – slowed it down following a nice senton back in the ring. Sin Cara Two dominated after that although the crowd was losing interest, chanting “boring” on multiple occasions. The announcers referred to them as Sin Cara Azul (Spanish for blue) and Sin Cara Negro (Spanish for black) at one point too. Nice comeback by the original Sin Cara with an impressive crossbody on the floor, which led to a two count. SC2 came back with a good nearfall. SC1 hit a nice armdrag off the top, followed by a kick to the head. He missed a top rope Senton, but won with a sunset flip into a powerbomb at the 9 minute mark.
Analysis: *1/2 Match was okay, but the crowd wasn”t into the story enough to care about the whole match. They did enjoy the offense by Sin Cara, but otherwise this was not the crowd to put on a lucha wrestling show. Perhaps if it was in Texas or California the crowd would have cared more, but New Orleans didn’t love it, hence the “boring” chant. After the match, Cole basically said that this proves that the blue Sin Cara is the original one. Is this the end of the second Sin Cara? Not sure. That appears to be the case, though.
Backstage, CM Punk was getting ready for his match as the lawyer David Otunga volunteered to help him with his law skills. Punk said he didn’t like lawyers and he told him to leave. Are we allowed to remember that they were in the New Nexus together? I have already forgotten.
Tag Titles: Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston d. Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler
Cole said Air Boom was the worst nickname for a team since Harlem Heat. I don’t like the Air Boom name, but Harlem Heat was a great name. Vickie introduced her new client Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. Is it “Swiggler” or “Ziggwagger” for the team name? How about neither? This match wasn’t advertised, but based on what happened on Smackdown I assumed it would be on the show. The heels dominated Kingston to build to the hot tag spot to Bourne. I love how Booker calls Jack only “Swag” most of the time. That’s great. During the beatdown on Kofi, Cole was complaining about Triple H doing a poor job managing the company while Booker said all these guys had to do was take care of business inside the ring. The crowd was hot for the beatdown sequence, chanting for Kofi to come back and being pissed off every time the heels cheated. Following a great DDT, Kofi made the hot tag to Bourne. He got a great nearfall on Ziggler, Swag put Bourne in the ankle lock, Kofi took out Swag and Ziggler hit the Zig Zag on Kofi followed by a hard clothesline on Bourne. Lots of action there! Swagger went for a top rope powerbomb, so Bourne countered with a beautiful top rope hurricanrana for the pin while Kofi pulled Dolph out of the ring. The match went 11 minutes. Post match, Guerrero was yelling at Swagger while Cole pointed out that he needs to get used to it because she gets angry when she loses.
Analysis: *** It was what I expected although too short to earn a higher rating. It was a fine tag match featuring four very good young wrestlers who have worked together plenty of times in the past although not in a tag team format. I didn’t think there would be a title change. Air Boom is the more permanent team while “Swiggler” likely will not be a long term duo.
They aired a commercial for Triple H’s movie Inside Out, now on DVD.
The Hell in a Cell lowered as they went to a video package highlighting the Orton/Henry feud.
World Title – Hell in a Cell: Mark Henry d. Randy Orton
Henry came out first, which I disagree with because the champ should come out last. They like to make the fans wait to do the babyface pop, though. Cole mentioned Orton is 2-1 in Hell in a Cell matches, second only to Triple H in terms of win percentage. When they announced them by name they did mention Henry second, so that’s good at least. They did not mention that Henry was the #1 cause of anal bleeding however, so that’s a shame. Early on, Orton used the cell as a weapon while the announcers put over his cell experience. Then Henry caught him, rammed him into the cage twice and into the ringpost leading to an “OH MY GOODNESS” from Booker. They did a spot where Orton was against the cell, Henry had the steel steps and threw them at him except Orton moved. The announcers bullshitted about how heavy the stairs are. It was cool how they shot it from outside the cage so that it looked like the stairs were crashing right into the camera.
After brawling on the floor the first portion of the match, they went back to the center of the ring where Henry continued to dominate. He slowed down the already slow match with a bearhug as the crowd chanted for Orton. Super Randy made a comeback, dominating him outside the ring and running him into all the ringposts. Cole said “there’s a reason Orton is a nine time World Champion.” His reason is that he’s resourceful while my reason is because they love booking short title reigns. Orton put down Henry with a dropkick as the crowd woke up and Booker delivered the “YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME” line. Orton hit the DDT off the middle ropes, which looks a lot less athletic on Henry. Orton hit the RKO. Henry kicked out at two. Wow. You don’t see too many people kick out of the RKO as Cole claimed that could mean that he can’t beat Henry. The crowd went nuts as Orton set up for the punt, but Mark popped up and hit the World’s Strongest Slam for the win at the 16 minute mark.
Post match, the cage went up as Henry attacked Orton again. This is the induction to the Hall of Pain, we assume. Henry grabbed the steel chair, put it on the ankle, went for the Vader Bomb, but Orton moved. He picked up the chair, hit him in the gut with it and then hit him in the back with it. He followed him up the aisle with a chairshot to the back as well as another to the chest. Then he hit another shot to the back as Henry collapsed. Despite two clean finishes, this likely means another match between them.
Analysis: **1/4 It’s hard to get a good match out of Mark Henry, so I can’t say I expected much more than this. Orton has been booked really strong during his babyface run, so seeing him lose clean for two straight PPVs is definitely newsworthy. They are really doing a great job of putting Henry over. The post match angle obviously means that the feud will continue likely at Vengeance although I can see them adding Sheamus to the mix to make it a triple threat for the World Title too. There are also the returns of Kane & Big Show to think about as future opponents. It’s crazy to expect a long title reign for anybody in 2011 WWE, but it might happen for the Kool-Aid man.
Backstage, Josh Mathews talked to Alberto Del Rio. He says that once he gets into the cell you’ll see another side of him that you haven’t seen before.
They aired a commercial with Rey Mysterio for some toy gun called the Light Strike.
It’s promo time with Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes as well as his bagging assistants. He was wearing a suit. He said that the IC title deserved to be euthanized, so he brought out the old IC title that had the white background on it. He mentioned Ricky Steamboat, Bret Hart, the late Randy Savage and even “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. He said that he would wear the title with more pride and dignity than any of them. Then he put the title on. He said he’d defend the title all the time. He was interrupted by John Laurinaitis, who told us he was the Executive VP of Talent Relations (massive heat for when he mentions what he does) and that Cody would defend the title right now. Against who? John Morrison.
Intercontinental Title: Cody Rhodes d. John Morrison
I guess Morrison earned a title shot by losing nearly every match he’s had since he returned from neck injury. Cole was bitching about how this isn’t fair by Triple H because Rhodes doesn’t even have his gear on. Rhodes was wrestling in his dress shirt, dress pants and dress shoes. Rhodes took the shirt off. He kept running away, trying to get counted out. At one point he held onto the ringpost while asking the ref to count him out. Cole kept complaining about how unfair this was, just like the battle royal on Raw where he had to defend the title. Rhodes put Morrison in the Figure Four leglock as the crowd chanted “Woo” in honor of Ric Flair. What’s interesting is that during New Orleans Hornets NBA games – the same building as this PPV – they often play the Flair “Woo” in the arena when the team gets on a roll. It’s annoying as hell. Morrison came back with a uranage into a moonsault for two. The announcers barely put it over until the replay. Morrison hit a Pele Kick, then missed the Flying Chuck kick and Rhodes pinned him after an Oklahoma Roll to win at the 7 minute mark.
Analysis: ** This was more like a TV match rather than a PPV one because it had no build. I don’t think anybody believed Morrison could win because he’s been poorly used for months now. I wrote in the roster evaluation that Rhodes has a good gimmick as an old school type of wrestler and this match, as well as the new “old” IC title, are good examples of that.
They aired the “Be A Star” anti-bullying commercial. Don’t be a bully, but shoot your friend with those Light Strike toy guns. That’s okay.
Backstage, Hunter was on the phone as Laurinaitis interrupted him. Hunter told him not to book matches anymore. Laurinaitis told him that Bourne & Kingston were attacked by Miz & Truth. They ran to the locker room where security guys were pulling Miz & Truth off Bourne & Kingston, who were laid out. Hunter yelled at Laurinaitis, saying he told him to get the cops. Alex Riley & Ezekiel Jackson were the random babyfaces to check on Bourne & Kingston. They were both in their ring gear for some reason. I guess wrestlers wear their ring gear when they aren’t wrestling? I didn’t need to know that.
Divas Title: Beth Phoenix d. Kelly Kelly
Beth’s out first with Natalya while Eve is with Kelly. Kelly worked a fast pace early, but Beth powered her down to take control and guide the match. It would be nice if Kelly could sell a move without yelling at the top of her lungs, but I guess that’s how she has earned the Yelly Yelly name I’ve given her. They did a couple of good nearfalls with Kelly using counters to get nearfalls. That’s how the last two matches ended, so smart idea for spots. Kelly even busted out a top rope bulldog that was pretty impressive. She was about to YELLY UP~! Natalya jumped on the apron, Booker busted out a “WHAT DA HAYELL!” and then she threw Eve into the barricade. Beth used Natalya’s new submission move as Natalya got on the microphone telling Kelly to scream some more. Kelly reached the ropes, the ref pulled Beth back and Natalya hit her with the microphone while the ref missed it. Beth hit the Glam Slam for the win after 9 minutes.
Analysis: *1/2 It’s her first time holding the Divas Championship because previously she had only held the Women’s Championship. The match was pretty solid and the story was that Beth had to cheat to beat her, which puts over how good of a champion Kelly was. I still would have had Beth win at Night of Champions in her hometown of Buffalo. I guess the thought was if they did this finish at that PPV she might get cheered in her hometown and they don’t want a heel getting cheered after such a cheap finish. Natalya was great in her role too. I’m hoping for a long championship reign for the Divas of Doom.
They had a promo for the Vengeance PPV in three weeks with Mark Henry saying “vengeance is mine.” I believe that at Vengeance there will be vengeance. I think these PPVs are too close to eachother. With The Rock announced for November’s Survivor Series in MSG, I doubt Vengeance is going to do very well in terms of drawing interest. A lot of people are going to be looking ahead.
They showed the streets of New Orleans. I need to visit there someday.
WWE Title – Hell in a Cell: Alberto Del Rio d. John Cena & CM Punk
The former champion Alberto Del Rio came out first, then Punk and then Cena. Then they did the in-ring intros. The Fighting Fruity Pebble known as John Cena got mostly cheers early on. The match started with about 45 minutes left in the show, so you knew it was going to get a lot of time. Cool spot early on with Cena having Del Rio on his shoulders while on the floor and Punk dove on both guys, crashing them into the cell. Punk goes under the ring to get a steel chair, which is a nice way to differentiate this match by using weapons. They did a lot of cool spots with Cena taking control of Del Rio. Punk ended up coming back. He set up a table between the apron and the cell. Cena threw him into the cell to counter him and Del Rio used the chair to attack Cena. Back suplex by Del Rio on Cena, who crashed onto the seated chair. Nice spot. There are some dueling Cena chants although in this case it sounded like “Let’s Go Cena – CM Punk” rather than “Cena sucks” for the second part. Cole did a “he got him no he didn’t get him” after a Punk nearfall. Exactly like McMahon used to do. Now you know why Cole is never going away. With Del Rio, holding Punk in a headlock center ring, Cena hit a top rope legdrop out of nowhere as Booker busted out a “WHAT DA HAYELL!” as Cena got nearfalls. Then they all hit eachother with successive big moves. Del Rio used the chair to beatdown both guys, then hit a senton for two on each guy while the chair was in between them. It didn’t look as good as he intended, I think.
The momentum changed again as Punk backdropped Del Rio over the top rope where his head crashed into the steel steps. Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on Punk, but ADR broke it up. Cena fought out of the Cross Armbreaker with Punk breaking it up. Punk hit the Go To Sleep on Cena, but Del Rio pulled him out of the ring and whipped him into the cage as well as the steel steps. Back in the ring, Cena got a cradle for a nearfall on Del Rio. Del Rio dominated Cena, throwing him into the cage face first and putting him down with a chairshot. Punk came back at Del Rio with a variety of offense including a great Randy Savage-like elbow. Punk ended up going through the table. Cena put Del Rio in the STF, so Ricardo Rodriguez attacked the ref, got the key from his pocket and gave a pipe to Del Rio. Cena gave Rodriguez the AA on the floor. Del Rio hit Cena with the pipe, then locked the cage while Cena was out of the floor outside the cell. The key was in Del Rio’s possession so Cena was locked out.
The match moved to its third act with Del Rio wrestling Punk one on one. They did a slow build to Cena realizing he was locked out of the cage and with the key in Del Rio’s possession there was no way for him to get in. Punk avoided Del Rio’s Cross Armbreaker. He went on offense. Del Rio went to the floor, grabbed the pipe, Punk leaned over and Del Rio smacked him in the head with the pipe. He taunted Cena, who was locked out of the cage. Punk went for the GTS, Del Rio hit him in the ribs with the pipe and followed that with another pipe shot to the head. He covered for the three count after 25 minutes.
Analysis: ***3/4 A really good match with great nearfalls by all three guys. Nobody was dominant through the match except Del Rio for the finish. It was booked in a balanced way, which is what they should have done. I liked the use of weapons like the chair, the table and the steel pipe because it differentiated it from the Orton/Henry match that was mostly weapon free. The conclusion put over how smart Del Rio was by having Rodriguez take out the ref when he needed it and use a weapon like a pipe to win the match. I don’t understand why they needed to take the title off Del Rio in the first place. I guess the reason is so they can say he won the title this time without defeating Cena, who was locked out of the cell, which will lead to another match between them I’m sure. This also allows Del Rio to walk into the Mexican Raw tapings in two weeks as the WWE Champion. That’s why I thought he would keep it after Night of Champions.
Post match, the cell raised up, Cena ran back in and also running in were The Miz & R-Truth wearing hoods. The announcers picked up on who they were immediately as did the fans. The cage lowered again, locking them all in. The mystery was who lowered the cage in that situation to allow the beatdown? They beat up Del Rio, Punk & Cena as well as refs Scott Armstrong & Mike Chioda. Truth attacked the camera guys too. I really loved the beatdown. It was old school in its ways with Jim Ross yelling at the top of his lungs, which only added to the greatness of it. Everybody came down to ringside including Triple H, John Laurinaitis and the entire locker room. They couldn’t get inside the cell, so it was a situation where they were helpless. Finally, the cops made their way to ringside, a dude with a bolt cutter came out and Miz & Truth surrendered in the ring with everybody else down around them. The two cops escorted Truth & Miz out of the ring with handcuffs. As they walked down the aisle to huge heat, Triple H attacked both of them with fists to the head. The crowd loved that. It was a wild situation. Laurinaitis tried to break it up, but Hunter shoved him down. Two goons pulled off Triple H as the show ended with Miz & Truth getting taken away.
Analysis: That was a great ending to the show. It was pure chaos. Miz & Truth did a phenomenal job of acting like a couple of guys that were legitimately angry with how things were in the company. It made up for a lot of the things that happened earlier in the show that maybe weren’t as exciting. It will make people tune into Raw to see where things are going next. Jim Ross was tremendous here as he did a great job of putting over how serious this was. It reminded of the Four Horsemen beating on a babyface in the cage until everybody else was able to get in and then they bailed. I have seen clips of that in the past so many times. This had that very old school feel to it, minus the blood. I found it interesting that they willingly gave themselves up to the cops. Perhaps the same person that lowered the cage is the same person that will “bail them out” of jail.
I give the PPV a 6 out of 10.
It was a predictable show for the most part. The only match I got wrong was the main event because I was stupid enough to think that they would give John Cena a title reign longer than two weeks. The main event was an exciting match with a slow finish although I like the story that was told with Del Rio outsmarting the other two. I am a bit worried that CM Punk’s momentum has been hurt, but it will hopefully lead to some babyface support for him too.
The Henry/Orton match was very slow for the most part although the finish was well done with Orton hitting his signature spots to get the crowd back into it. I’m not really in favor of another singles match between them although as I wrote earlier they could always involve some other babyfaces.
Good wins for Sheamus and the tag champs that continue to make all of them look good. The Rhodes story of being screwed by management was built up well too. I’m interested to see where they go with him from here. I was very happy to see Beth Phoenix end the Yelly Yelly reign of terror.
I don’t think this was a “can’t miss” PPV for anything except the post main event angle. They did a phenomenal job of getting heat on Miz & Truth while making viewers wonder where things will go from here. The question of who lowered the cage with Miz & Truth in it is the big mystery. My guess is that it will lead to Vince McMahon’s return because he wants to make Hunter’s life a living hell due to Hunter being the one that replaced him. That seems to be the obvious route.
Thanks for reading.