REVIEW: WWE Hell in a Cell 2015 on WWE Network

October 26, 2015 by Jon Potter

WWE Hell in a Cell - Logo

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015 (WATCH)

Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

Commentators: Michael Cole, John “Bradshaw” Layfield, Jerry “The King” Lawler

 

WWE United States Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena (c)

Nobody saw that coming, huh? The one guy who just put his hand up is lying. All joking aside, the return of Alberto Del Rio was a true surprise. There’s a fair debate to be had on whether he was the right guy to finally truly topple Cena, but there’s no denying that the crowd cared. If the crowd is invested, you’ve already won half of the battle.

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015 - Alberto Del Rio

Now for the match itself. It was fun and energetic. There is a case to be made that it didn’t live up to the epic duels of past open challenges, but I think the argument can also hold true that Cena was both mentally unprepared for such a shocking challenger and physically worn out by such a gruelling slate of defences. As I see it, not every Cena match has to behave like a video game with an unlimited finishers cheat enabled. It was a solid contest that the audience reacted to and that made Del Rio look strong on his return. How often is Cena beaten completely cleanly? It may be more common than hen’s teeth now, but it’s still a big deal.

Finally, I’m happy to see Zeb Colter back. I hope he and Del Rio can make a good package. I also want his scooter.

Result: Alberto Del Rio via pinfall (Kneeling superkick)

Rating: Good

 

Hell in a Cell: Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns

At this point, I really cannot support the Roman Reigns hate bandwagon any more. In the past, I’ve taken a fairly neutral stance. I’ve always felt some of the hatred was overblown, but I could accept that he wasn’t the polished article that he needed to be for the position he was shoe-horned into. Well, I feel like this match was a true breakout moment for Reigns. Along with Wyatt, we were treated to a chaotic, fun brawl. They were creative and hard-hitting and some of the counters displayed were pleasingly crisp. A lot of people like to compare Roman Reigns to John Cena. That’s understandable. However, I feel like this match is a good example of why Reigns is different.

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015 - Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns

When Cena is in Superman mode, he tends to absorb punishment for 20 minutes, before getting the victory in 2. In contrast, Reigns always feels like he’s scrapping to fight back, and as iffy as his mic work is, Roman really knows how to take a beating in a convincing manner, yet still have some realistic impact in his comebacks.

So, what about Bray Wyatt? Well, he played his role perfectly here. He beat on Reigns mercilessly and was twisted enough in his offence to fit his character. This wasn’t his moment though. This was a showcase for Roman Reigns to finally overcome the thorn in his side and that was achieved in a very memorable way.

Result: Roman Reigns via pinfall (Spear)

Rating: Very Good

 

WWE Tag Team Championship: The Dudley Boyz vs. The New Day (c)

Well, I didn’t see that result coming. Everything seemed geared towards a 10th Dudley Boyz reign, especially once Xavier Woods was taken out of the picture. He seemed to be the one thing stopping a title change. The match even seemed to be heading that way too, as none of the tricks New Day tried were paying off. Even some Guerrero-style DQ baiting couldn’t stop the momentum building to the seemingly inevitable crescendo. The crowd knew it too, they were ready to cheer. They were ready to see those Damn Dudleyz break their own record. Then somebody flipped the script and Kofi helped his team retain with Trouble in Paradise.

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015 - The Dudley Boyz

You may think that I didn’t like this outcome. I should be saying that the fans deserved a payoff. I’m not going to though. The New Day is hot right now. They should keep the belts either until their momentum wanes or a better option presents itself. I will say though that Woods’ presence was sorely missed and it would have likely added an extra spark to the proceedings. Also, there was a bad double team botch by The Dudleyz which stalled things for a little while.

All things considered, it was a solid contest where the right team won.

Result: The New day retains via pinfall (Trouble in Paradise)

Rating: Above Average

 

WWE Divas Championship: Nikki Bella vs. Charlotte (c)

While this still had some rough edges, I will happily state that this was the best main roster women’s match in a decade. I insisted on sitting back and waiting when it came to the “Divas Revolution”. It’s easy to condemn something when results aren’t immediate. Especially when NXT effortlessly flaunts what could be possible. However, I could see glimmers of change and undeniable effort. Finally, tonight was the first signs of true progress. Surprisingly, it wasn’t all down to Charlotte.

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015 - Nikki Bella vs. Charlotte

There are many reasons to be dismissive of Nikki Bella. However, taking tonight as evidence, I don’t think claiming she’s unable to put together a good match is a fair criticism. For the company’s part, plenty of time was given. On the part of the performers, they told a coherent story and really pushed their aggression up a few notches. The crowd even ended up caring. Yes, the selling was briefly patchy and the big highspot went very wrong (even if it was still very hard-hitting and memorable) but I can honestly say that hours after watching, this is the first main roster women’s match in years that I can clearly remember highlights from. It definitely deserves props for that alone.

Result: Charlotte Retains via submission (Figure-eight)

Rating: Very Good

 

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Kane vs. Seth Rollins (c)

This match was never meant to steal the show. WWE doesn’t put a WWE Championship match third from the bottom of the card if they expect it to set the world on fire. Honestly, I don’t feel like this match was bad. It was just there. Rollins continues to be the MVP of the company as he squeezed every last drop out of the situation that he could. I also feel like Kane was trying his best, but age has seriously diminished his skills at this point. It just dragged a little.

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015 - Kane vs. Seth Rollins

On the positive side, Rollins got another solid victory with zero interference. While this will never go down as one of the most dominant reigns in history, a combination of amazing in-ring work and a steady increase in straight forward match finishes means he’s risen well above Rey Mysterio levels. While I can’t recommend this match, it wasn’t offensive either.

Result: Seth Rollins retains via pinfall (Pedigree)

Rating: Average

 

WWE Intercontinental Championship: Ryback vs. Kevin Owens (c)

Put simply, Ryback and Kevin Owens have not clicked. It’s a shame really. While I never expected any classics, I do think they have the potential for something solid. Maybe if Owens used a bit more power offense. Unfortunately, what we got was very pedestrian and a step down from last month. It was very paint-by-numbers and was short enough where it wouldn’t feel out of place on a RAW. It lacked any of the energy of the rest of the card.  It also followed the same basic story of Owens doing anything he could to survive Ryback’s onslaught before using (slightly unclear) heel tacticts to set up a weak looking Pop-up Powerbomb.

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015 - Ryback vs. Kevin Owens

While I’m not sure where Ryback goes from here, I hope Owens gets an opponent who can help show how awesome he can be again. I still think this title reign has very good potential.

Result: Kevin Owens retains via pinfall (Pop-up Powerbomb)

Rating: Below Average

 

Hell in a Cell: Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker

I watched this show live while discussing on-going events through instant messaging with a fellow WDN writer. We both admitted to feeling a real buzz about this match heading into the show. While neither of us could really put our fingers on why, we just felt like something magical was on the horizon. We both just assumed we were setting ourselves up for disappointment.

Boy, were we wrong…

Here we sit in the PG era. Hell in a Cell is bemoaned as a pointless shell of its former self by many. Why create an image of brutality when everything is sterilised for the kids? Because, when you least expect it and everything is just right, that brutality can return. Like all absences, that return is even more potent. We got blood. We got steel stairs literally bouncing off skulls and the kind of low blow that would have you choking on your own gonads for a month. Everything was gritty. Every punch felt pushed to the edge of realism. It felt like a street fight in a cell.

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015 - Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker

However, more importantly, it told an epic story. It was about a beast who wanted to finish a job he started 18 months ago and a Phenom not ready to admit defeat just yet. I get how people say Lesnar should be able to destroy Undertaker easily, but all I can tell you is in that moment, I believed in them as equals. In that moment, you could have told me I’d travelled back to 2002 and I would believe you. Whenever people count out the Phenom, he reminds us why he is just that.

However, there were some blemishes. The initial blood stoppages were awkward and a poor choice of camera angles exposed the fact that Lesnar’s head was far clear of the exposed ring boards during a Tombstone Piledriver. However, the use of the doctors later led to a homage to the first ever Hell in a Cell and the attack of non-wrestlers, so it balances out.

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015 - Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker

All told, this is a minor classic that uses all the past encounters between the two men to weave a modern masterpiece of psychology in professional wrestling.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the post-match angle involving the Wyatt Family and the apparent abduction of The Undertaker. Truthfully, the whole deal seemed intentionally vague, so I can’t theorize too much. At the very least however, it was a good example of ending a “special event” on a cliffhanger. It may even help RAW’s viewership numbers this week.

Result: Brock Lesnar via pinfall (F5)

Rating: Excellent

 

Final Rating: Very Good

I have no hesitation in recommending this show. We had a huge surprise return in the opener and two very good Cell matches that still managed to be very distinct from each other. Add in a surprisingly impressive Divas Championship match and I’ve already praised over half of the card. Even the “bad” content is unlikely to really offend. However, if you really must limit your pro wrestling time, you owe it to yourself to watch the main event.

 
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13 Comments left on this article...

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  1. Anan says:

    For a non-top PPV, seems to have been good based on the reviews I have read so I guess I will see the show on The Network some point this week. Going by the reviews I read, the clear match of the night in many people’s opinions is the HIAC main event between Taker and Lesnar. I’m happy that it is not as disturbing as their 2002 HIAC match. Usually not a fan of finisher kick outs, but in matches like these, it works. Just wish multiple finisher kick outs were nonexistent as it devalues the finisher since they are designed to finish matches. The Tombstone has put away just about every big in WWE, yet when done on the exposed board, Lesnar still kicked out. The F5 has been very successfully for Lesnar as it got him every Title he’s won and put aay names like Hogan, Taker. Yet Taker kicked out twice. I mean he’s a Deadman character that can absorb punishment like no other so it fits him. But still….

    Aside from that, no issues based on what I read.

  2. 2Feet says:

    I thought it was really great PPV, WWE have been really putting on great PPVs since the Network has existed and this year there really hasnt been a bad or medicore PPV, just like Night of Champions 2015 the only dud match for me was Owens vs Ryback as they both have no chemistry so hoepfully thats the end of there fued..Everything else was spot on, main event was pretty epic and the best of Undertaker vs Lesnar so far in there fued between 2014-15, i just feel they need to put better effort on RAW as that just seems tedious and drawn out and the feeling of seen that before, there is really no suprise or anticpation when watching RAW and with like everything in life the appeal wears out and loses it aurer and it just doesnt feel the same anymore like 5-10 years back, i am all for nostalgia but you need fresh ideas to keep the interest going and sadly i dont see RAW improving anytime soon other than that WWE has been fantastic with its PPV ands Specials like Beast in the East, NXT/NXT Specials and of course the Network with its original series and retro/vault content!!

    • Jeff Copeland says:

      if you don’t count the specials then 2015 has been a good year for ppvs The Only like meh i guess were fastlane but danny b vs roman is only reason for that show cena rusev is ok, elimination chamber only worth for cena owens and ambrose seth, and payback was ehh

      the rest of the ppvs were really good this year only dud i would say is royal rumble not even the triple threat match saved that show.

      i would say my top 5 ppvs this year= summerslam wm 31 money in the bank extreme rules and hell in a cell

      • Anan says:

        I thought Fastlane’s opening match was one of the best PPV openers in WWE. As an added bonus, crowd erupted when Orton returned. The Sting/HHH confrontation, while maybe longer than it should have been was effective. Just the fact that Fastlane was Sting’s second WWE appearance was enough to get people interested in watching because no one knew when the segment would be placed on the show.

  3. attitude.era.4life says:

    “Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker bring back Blood and Brutality..” – take a look at their No Mercy 2002 Cell match and then compare it with last nights…

    I actually would have liked last nights match much more, if it was not happening in the Cell..

    also, I missed an amazing spot like the middle finger gesture from Lesnar at Summerslam, to have that magic little touch to the story.. Brock peeling the ring canvas was great, but still not on the magic detail level that for me makes a good match upgrade to great or even excellent.

    Rest of card did’nt have my interest and nothing last night that happend changed that for me.

    • Jon Potter says:

      I actually watched their 2002 version right before the show. It’s also a very good match. There may have been more blood in 2002, but a crimson mask is not always better. For my money, the violence felt more realistic in 2015, so it resonated with me more.

      It’s all just opinion though. I appreciate your honesty and thanks for reading.

      • attitude.era.4life says:

        you’re welcome.. I enjoy reading articles in here,wheather it’s on physical media releases and rumors, or about the Network..and combined with commentaries in here from other wrestling fans makes this site a great platform to exchange discussions an picking brains on each other.

        I can partly see what you mean bout the violence felt more realistic than in 2002…and that’s why I think a gimmick like the Cell..and for that matter a steel cage and the Chamber should be eliminated by WWE as gimmick match…cos, what’s the point??

        The spots that were great at HIAC had hardly anything to do with the Cell.. it sure did, back in 2002.

        The “Real” thing these past years and ongoing is actually making me sick.. I really do not need to know how things work in the back, how the performers become “Superstars” (always hated that term). For me, the more “realistic” WWE try to be, the more boring and lifeless the performers and performances seem to me.

        And I support and back up every effort to try stop the horrible thing that cancer is..but, please… HIAC with pink and white robes shoved down our throats yet again.. I really wish WWE could seperate their fantastic support for trying to solve world problems from their wrestling entertainment product..

        I always compare it to walking in to see a magician: “you are dying to know how he/she did it..but, would’nt it ruin the excitement and fascination of what you are looking at, if you really did get to know the tricks!?”

        Kayfabe had it’s silly moments for sure..but it was more entertaining, and I believe, gave the performers much more edge and room to develop their charachters.

        • Jon Potter says:

          In theory, you’re right. Sunday’s main event didn’t need the Cell. However, the Cell still has an atmosphere and legacy that can enhance a fun brawl into an epic dogfight. I think we saw some of that magic here. Plus, outright using the Cell as a weapon was pretty much played out by 2002, let alone 2015.

          Interesting insight though.

          • attitude.era.4life says:

            All boils down to, what each are entertained by, which of course is different from person to person.. over all, we all in here love wrestling: Then, Now, Forever..I’m more a Then-guy, but I have’nt given up on the Forever part.. 😉

  4. Nick says:

    Any idea if the match between Taker & Lesnar will be censored or edited on the DVD release? I’d absolutely hate that as it was the best Cell match as far as gimmick credibility in probably the last 6 years.

    • Straightedge47 says:

      I doubt it will be, Randy Orton bled quite a bit at money in the bank last year and they left that in the DVD

      • Jeff Copeland says:

        as far blood they don’t really edit it,only edit i can remember is on the shield bluray dvd ambrose vs regal is goes to black and white but thats really it. even in 09 christian vs benjamin at tlc 09 for ecw title ladder match christian got busted open and they stopped the match but its on the dvd full

  5. Brock Allen says:

    Stellar review, man. Keep up the good work!

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