On Sunday October 25th in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, the WWE returned to feature their annual Hell in a Cell event. Whenever there is an event taking place in LA, not only do the celebrities come out, but something interesting usually takes place. This event had a number of different moments and matches that stood out. Each moment or match that took place wasn’t always a positive, but it certainly left fans talking, and that is part of what made this event as effective as it was. Unlike a typical review that will highlight who won and who lost, this article will approach the event in a number of different ways. It is less about whom won and lost, but rather what stood out and why.
Hell in a Cell 2015 was unquestionably an event that had people talking. With Halloween quickly approaching, the event could easily be a homage to a number of horror films that frighten the masses, with the amount of blood and brutality that took place in this year’s event. Fans were treated to everything from surprise returns to departures, culminating feuds and new beginnings. While the event didn’t necessarily hit the mark on all things, it unquestionably did do a number of things right, captivate an audience and put things in place for the future. If an event can achieve these things, then fans are left wanting more. What follows are the 10 most significant moments from the WWE’s Hell in a Cell 2015.
10. Kevin Owens Defeats Ryback Quickly and Decisively
Pitting the former champion against the current champ, this match was slotted right before the main event. There was little time given to it, and really the match could have appeared on a Raw with little reason to care about it. This match was Ryback’s opportunity to invoke his rematch clause against Owens and recapture the Intercontinental title. While there were attempts at having the match go back and forth, very little was done to have fans connect with the story, or care. Owens was on the receiving end of the offense for what appeared to be the majority of the match. However, when Owens did recover it was major.
He struck Ryback with a superkick while the big guy stood on the apron. Owens may have scratched Ryback in the eye, causing a distraction and setting up the pop-up power bomb, but commentary didn’t really pick up on that and emphasize it. I can’t remember a title match that was treated so indifferently. Credit does have to go to both contenders after having their match placed right before the main event. It isn’t an enviable spot to be in, so to try to put something together and make it interesting, in such a short time, is a challenge. It could be that the audience wasn’t feeling it because they knew what was still to come on the show. Owens retains the title and will likely begin a program with someone else.
9. Seth Rollins Retains The WWE World Heavyweight Title And Sheamus Doesn’t Cash In
The match began with a recount of Rollins and Kane’s history with one another. Upon entering the ring, Kane took the fight to Rollins. As the match went on, Rollins recovered and began to take the fight to Kane. Seth hit Kane with a somersault plancha over the top rope, and the commentary crew emphasized Rollins’ leg hitting Kane right over the head as he was coming down. While both men were battling outside on the floor, Rollins hit Kane with a powerbomb onto the Spanish announcers’ table; much to the dismay of Kane, the table didn’t break. Ringside doctors were checking on Kane where it appeared the base of Kane’s back hit the frame of the announce table. Rollins brought Kane back inside the ring and hit not one, but two thrust kicks on a kneeling Kane.
Once Kane was down, Rollins hit a frogsplash and attempted a pin only to have it broken up at two. We have to keep in mind that if ‘Demon’ Kane loses, then ‘Corporate’ Kane loses his position as Director of Operations. With this in mind, Seth pulled out all the stops and eventually hit Kane with the pedigree. Rollins pinned Kane and retained the WWE World Heavyweight title. The result of the match always seemed to lean in the direction of Rollins retaining, and there was no sign of Sheamus trying to cash in on the wounded winner like last month. This match results mean ‘Corporate’ Kane is now out of work. Well, that is until he is ultimately reinstated or reassigned a different role.
8. Charlotte And Nikki Put On A Solid Match For Divas Title
One of the criticisms about the Divas Revolution has been how it has managed to mash up all the women into different groups rather than allowing them to stand out on their own. This match takes that idea and throws it out the window. Both Nikki and Charlotte put on a solid match. They had the opportunity to story-tell, using a back injury to Charlotte to help dictate the match. Nikki was relentless throughout the contest. She would drive her knees to the back of Charlotte and slam her on her back, among other various strategies to target the area. It was great to see them showcase what they could do.
There were some incredible athletic spots and nasty bumps as well. During an attempted back suplex off the top rope, Charlotte managed to do a standing backflip and landed on her feet. She would attempt a figure eight only to have to stop because her back wouldn’t allow it with the abuse it had sustained. The nastiest bump of the match was unquestionably outside the ring; Nikki had Charlotte set to hit her with the Alabama slam, and fans may have anticipated that Charlotte’s head would hit the floor, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, the back of Charlotte’s head hit the ring apron. Chants of ‘Holy S***’ filled the arena. This match truly highlighted both women’s athleticism, and was unquestionably a good performance.
7. Six Former Champions Relegated to Pre-Show
That title almost reads like a death sentence, and in the case of Sheamus, Barrett, Rusev, Neville, Ziggler, and Cesaro, it might as well be. It’s incredible that everyone in the match, with the exception of Neville, has held a secondary title with the promotion, and even Neville is a former NXT champion. It screams complete misuse of talent because each one of these men had so much to offer and sadly are put in a match where they are competing for relatively nothing. Do Rusev and Ziggler have an issue with one another anymore? If Barrett and Neville have a gripe with one another, and Sheamus and Cesaro could potentially work a program together, then why not have them in a match on the main show?
If anything, to put the King of the Ring or Money In The Bank winner on the pre-show is like making a major musical act open for someone else of equivalent recognition. It just doesn’t make sense. Was the idea to splice together feuds so that fans know that they exist? If that was the case, then why wasn’t Stardust in the match and facing Cesaro, since that appears to be a feud in the making? Oh right, Barrett has issues with Stardust and knocked him out, so having them team with one another wouldn’t make much sense. Then again, neither did having these six start the show when they are capable of stealing the show.
6. The New Day and Unicorns = Ratings
Before the match even began, a picture tweeted by Xavier Woods was shown. While resting in his hospital bed with his ribs bandaged up, Xavier is shown with a sad face and a unicorn horn on his head. The intention is to bring unicorn magic and the power of positivity in support of his New Day teammates against the Dudleys.
These guys are easily the most original and entertaining act we’ve seen in the tag team division in some time. As Kofi and Big E come to the ring they are seen wearing memorial armbands around their biceps with the initials “XW” to represent their fallen brother. It was hilarious. And, though the Dudleys are known for a number of lines and catchphrases, the term “Caucasian Kamala” may soon be the name that Bubba Ray Dudley goes by.
Really, New Day could easily lose the titles and their status wouldn’t be hurt in the slightest. The Dudley Boyz came out and took the fight to New Day. As the match went on, The New Day cut the ring in half and focused their attention on D-Von. The match had a comical spot as Kofi threw the trombone into the hands of Bubba Ray and acted as though he was hit by it. Though he tried to convince the referee he was the victim of an illegal weapon, the ref wasn’t buying it. That was a tactic often used by the late Eddie Guerrero in the past, but wasn’t successful here. Eventually the trombone was used in favour of the New Day, and they retained their title. Is there anything the New Day can’t do? At this point it seems like nothing can cause them to lose momentum.
5. Alberto Del Rio Returns to Capture the United States Championship And Defeats John Cena In Less Than Ten Minutes
Zeb Colter makes his return to the scene on a scooter. Whether or not this is storyline related or legitimate is another story. Fans last saw Colter when his ankle was broken as part of the storyline between Jack Swagger and Rusev. His return was very well done, however. He came out and talked about the difference between the different cultures that represent the United States, and wanting to unify them. It was a very different approach from the very anti-diversity stance that he previously took. It was at this time that he announced who would be challenging Cena for the United States Championship. Much to everyone’s surprise, Alberto Del Rio returned to challenge Cena.
Del Rio was in exceptional shape, and had an interesting match. The match went about nine minutes and Cena went down rather quickly. Del Rio struck Cena with a back stabber and finished him off with a thrust kick to the head. It didn’t take nearly as long as one would have thought it would, considering Cena is involved. That aside, Del Rio’s return also answered questions as to whether or not he was going to return to Lucha Underground for the upcoming season. His return to the WWE also aids the promotion’s intention to have Latin representation that could draw in Hispanic fans, and brought back a notable name from the past.
4. Announced 25 Years of The Undertaker at Survivor Series
A commercial was used a couple of times to showcase the upcoming Survivor Series, and it also highlighted that this is the 25th anniversary of The Undertaker‘s debut. In 1990, The Undertaker was accompanied to the ring by Brother Love and announced as the mystery partner on Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Team. It’s incredible how 25 years have passed since his initial debut. As the video highlighted The Undertaker’s career, it also highlighted his evolution through the years. The Undertaker has always managed to reinvent himself not only for the fans, but against his opponents. That mystique has always been synonymous with The Undertaker.
A Survivor Series appearance is rare as at this point in his career, and it isn’t clear as to what his role will be during this major event. It has been a number of years since The Undertaker competed at a Survivor Series, but fans will want to see it no matter what his role. Unquestionably, popular interest in his past battles leading up to this evening’s match against Brock Lesnar show the Undertaker’s star power. With the reported short-term loss of John Cena, and Daniel Bryan being on the sidelines, the argument to have The Undertaker as a part of this event strong.
3. Roman Reigns And Bray Wyatt End Their Feud in Epic Fashion
Both men exchanged punches and kicks early and often in the match. Reigns hit a number of his signature moves, like his ‘Drive-By’ dropkick outside the ring, and managed to get the upper hand early on Wyatt. Once Wyatt was able to recover, he began to use a kendo stick and beat Reigns with it repeatedly. He then followed that up by bringing a chair out and sitting on it while tapping Reigns with the kendo stick. It was certainly building the sadistic nature of Wyatt. Then, the kendo stick was set up outside the ring, placed in a corner where it rested between the cage openings. After slamming Reigns back first into the kendo stick, the crack and splintered fragments of the stick crackled through the air.
If there was one thing that was a constant with both men, it was their resiliency. These two hit each other with chairs, kendo sticks and tables. In fact, three tables were used during the match. While Reigns went through one and Wyatt went through another, both men went collectively through a third, though Wyatt got the worst of the spear through the table spot. Ultimately, the result of the match wasn’t that important. It was simply the culmination of the story that these two told while in there. Both would stop at nothing to do in the other. And, the back and forth action between these two future main event stars solidified the match.
2. The Wyatt Family Pay Their Disrespects To The Undertaker
After a chorus of ‘Thank you Taker’ rang out, and Undertaker attempted a show of respect to the fans, a familiar face appeared; Bray Wyatt and The Wyatt Family came to the ring. They surrounded the now desperately outmatched Undertaker, with Braun Strowman, Erick Rowan, Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt each taking a side. They attacked a bloody, battered and beaten Undertaker, and made sure that he would not walk out of that ring under his own power. These four monsters came out to serve a purpose.
As The Undertaker’s lifeless body was left lying, the Wyatt Family members carried him out of the ring, almost like a sacrifice. These actions by Bray certainly answer a few questions, and the ‘25 Years of the Undertaker’ promotion makes all the more sense. It is fair to speculate that this will lead to some form of match at Survivor Series. While a traditional team versus team makes the most sense, does that truly celebrate the legacy of The Undertaker? Would a gimmick match like a buried alive or casket match best represent the ending of one era and the beginning of another? Wyatt and The Undertaker faced one another at this past year’s WrestleMania, so while they are no strangers to one another, does this mean Bray is out to ensure he is THE face of fear?
1. Brock Defeats The Undertaker In The Hell In A Cell Ending Their Rivalry
As advertised, this was to end of the feud between the two. Upon beginning the match, The Undertaker immediately took the fight to Brock. Early in the match The Undertaker blocked attempts at suplexes by Brock. When the match spilled out to the floor, Brock attempted an F5 in the close quarters of the enclosed area. While outside the ring, Lesnar was busted open. The crimson mask of blood ran from the top of his head to his eyes. The match itself was brutal, with Brock using a steel chair to beat down the Dead Man.
On multiple occasions there were stoppages by the referee and a doctor at ringside in order to stop the bleeding by both men. But that didn’t stop Lesnar from continuing to punish The Undertaker. At one point during the match, Taker took a steel chair and drove it into the throat of Lesnar. It was also at this time that we saw The Undertaker was also bleeding. Eventually, a weakened Undertaker was hit with consecutive suplexes at the hands of Brock Lesnar. Lesnar hit an F5, only for Undertaker to kick out at two.
As the closing moments of the match drew near, it didn’t look good for Lesnar as Undertaker had the Hell‘s Gate submission locked in on him, but The Beast recovered and continued to use a ground and pound barrage on the Dead Man. It was at this point where Lesnar ripped the ring surface to reveal the exposed 2 x 8 pieces of wood that are used as the base of the ring. Taker hit a tombstone on Lesnar on what was supposed to be the exposed wood, though his aim was a bit off. In comparison, Lesnar hit Undertaker on the exposed wood with an F5 for the cover and the win. An epic and brutal battle had reached its conclusion.