Winners: Natalya, Becky Lynch, Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, The Kabuki Warriors, The Viking Raiders and Braun Strowman, Chad Gable, Charlotte Flair, Bray Wyatt.
So the WWE decided to add the bulk of the matches to this card literally hours before the pay-per-view aired, which is pretty lazy and short-sighted on their part, especially for an event built around the idea of blood feuds coming to an end inside their most dangerous structure. The first of these new matches was yet another contest between Lacey Evans and Natalya; in a change of pace, Natalya got the victory here after forcing Lacey to tap out to the Sharpshooter. I can’t say I really agree with that outcome, however, as Nattie didn’t really need to win and it essentially makes their last few matches irrelevant as Lacey couldn’t get the job done when it all came down to it.
Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks then fought over the Raw Women’s Championship inside the red Hell in a Cell; I’m still not entirely sure why the WWE paints the cell red these days but it does kind of obstruct the in-ring action a bit. Maybe if the wire-mesh walls weren’t so…meshed together. Anyway, it looks as if Sasha’s title run will have to wait a little longer as Becky successfully retained after hitting a top-ripe Bexploder and locking in the Dis-Arm-Her; this after Sasha had worked over Becky’s arm for the majority of the match, putting her at a severe disadvantage, and they’d traded shots with tables, ladders, chairs and more throughout. Again, though, it’s really hard to justify Sasha getting another shot as Becky has resoundingly defeated her and it doesn’t seem smart given how vicious Sasha was portrayed here.
Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan then teamed up to take on Bryan’s former protégé, Erick Rowan, and Luke Harper in a tornado tag team match; that was a nice additional wrinkle to the match and I literally cannot remember the last time we got a tornado tag team match in the WWE. This was anarchy right from the word “Go!” as Harper and Rowan worked to neutralise Reigns so they could focus on Bryan, ripping apart the barricades in the process, which ended up with Rowan being Speared through an announce table. With Harper left alone, it didn’t take long for Bryan and Reigns to unload their stored finishers and get the victory; Reigns and Bryan shook hands and hugged afterwards, so I guess all’s well that ends well…I will even venture to say that Harper and Rowan looked decent enough even in defeat as they were portrayed as maniacs here. The key will be continuing that momentum going forward, which they most likely will not.
Another match randomly thrown on to the card was Ali vs. Randy Orton, which came about because…well, there was that time that….so the basic idea is that Randy….nope. I got nothing. Orton took the win after hitting an RKO out of nowhere, despite Ali putting in a decent effort and showing some good energy; I can’t say that I’m to surprised with that result as Ali randomly upsetting Orton in such a throwaway match isn’t as good a story as him overcoming the odds and taking Orton out in decisive fashion at a later date, but that all depends on the WWE actually building a feud between these two.
Also randomly tossed together for the night, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross put the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships on the line against Asuka and Kairi Sane; when the Kabuki Warriors earned a title shot, and exactly how, escapes me (largely because it didn’t happen) but the result swayed way in their favour as Asuka and Kairi dipped their toes into a little bit of heel action to isolate Alexa, then weathered the storm of Nikki’s hot tag and got the win, and the belts in the process. I guess the idea will be to have the Horsewomen face off against slightly tougher Women’s Tag Team Champions but it kind sucks for Alexa and Nikki to just randomly lose like that, without any real story or build. I’m sure they’ll splinter apart in the coming weeks, too, as we’ve gone too long without Alexa as a smarmy heel.
Braun Strowman then joined forces with the Viking Raiders to take on the entire O.C.; I think there was some kind of altercation between these guys recently but I honestly can’t even remember what happened yesterday so I could be wrong. Weird how this match and the Reigns/Bryan/Harper/Rowan match didn’t swap places, though. Anyway, Erick played face-in-peril and, again, if eel I have to point out how weird it is to see a massive monster of a man get isolated and beaten down in a tag team match but whatever. It was a mute point, in the end, as Strowman made the hot tag and started throwing bodies everywhere. The O.C. ended up getting desperate as a result and the match was thrown out; Strowman and the Raiders took out the O.C. afterwards, however, once again really neutering any effectiveness this three-man team has as a credible stable.
King Corbin and Chad Gable went at it again afterwards; Gable absorbed some early (and ongoing) punishment from Corbin and looked to be in trouble after taking a Chokeslam on to the ring apron. When Corbin went for his sceptre, however, Gable was able to roll him up and get the win, meaning that this feud will no doubt continue for at least another week.
Bayley, Charlotte Flair, and the Smack Down Women’s Championship were up next; unfortunately the WWE apparently realised that they haven’t put any gold around Charlotte’s waist for a while and decided to have her completely cut out Bayley’s legs from under her by having her lock in the Figure Eight and win the championship after what was beginning to look like a semi-decent match. I guess we won’t be seeing Bayley and Sasha as double-co-champions any time soon then, or maybe we’ll still get that match but Bayley will have to win back her title in it, allowing her another reign while adding yet another notch on Charlotte’s belt. Seriously, I don’t get why the WWE has to rush their new pet projects into ten-plus title reigns within three to five years; it’s just too much, too fast, too soon.
The lacklustre night ended with the Hell in a Cell match between Seth Rollins and the Fiend, Bray Wyatt, for the Universal Championship; the Fiend’s opening salvo drove Rollins to grab a kendo stick to try and even the odds, but Wyatt simply shrugged it off and slammed him into the cell walls. Rollins tried to use a table and ate a Sister Abigail into the mesh; Wyatt wouldn’t stay down for the Frog Splash or the Stomp and scored a close two count with another Sister Abigail. When Wyatt went for a sledgehammer, Rollins finally started to get his win, hitting three consecutive Stomps (which the crowd hated) and the Pedigree before landing another Stomp…for a one count. Okay, well, I kinda got it when Strowman powered out of that salvo but it’s kind of rendering Seth’s repertoire a bit ineffective now; his finishers are becoming about as useful as John Cena’s! anyway, Seth went mental with a steel chair, buried Wyatt under some ladders, smashed Wyatt with a toolbox, and finally went to finish the job with the sledgehammer…and got disqualified as a result. The fans descended into a riot, chanting for refunds and AEW, as Wyatt attacked to look strong (I guess…?) After the match, apparently, the WWE was going for “referee stoppage” due to Rollins going “too far” but that’s not really what happened, making this a really weak finish. The only plus side is that Wyatt didn’t eat a pin and, while he did look strong to keep coming after Seth’s offense, it doesn’t seem like the best idea to have everyone no-sell Seth’s finishers like this…
There was no time for anything this week on Raw as the show opened to the sight of Randy Orton and King Corbin putting a beating on Rusev. Bobby Lashley and Lana then popped up on the TitanTron to make fun of Rusev (apparently, Lana ran off with all their money; what the hell is going on?). Anyway, that was enough to piss Rusev off so bad that he was able to turn the tables on Orton and Corbin.
Natalya and Lacey Evans went at it…again…this time in a last woman standing match. This time, Nattie came out on top after Powerbombing Lacey off the stage and through a table, hopefully bringing all this crap to an end. Like, where is Ruby Riott these days?
The Viking Raiders then managed to get the better of Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode in a non-title match; the finish saw Erik counter out of the Glorious DDT and he and Ivar hitting Thor’s Hammer to, presumably, set themselves up for a title shot later down the line.
Tired of not getting any competition on Smack Down, Aleister Black showed up on Raw to take on…the Singh Brothers. He destroyed them both in seconds, which I guess is better than feuding with Cesaro in a meaningful program?
After that, the O.C. managed to claw back a bit of momentum by defeating the Lucha House Party but there’s the rub…the lucha boys got a fair amount of time to shine and this wasn’t the straight-up squash it really should have been. They won, though, and then beat them down after the match but I still have little hopes for the O.C. long-term future.
Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair were on Miz TV this week to set up a champion vs. champion match (which obviously needed Charlotte involved because she’s the only capable woman the WWE have, apparently…) which led to a tag team match against the Kabuki Warriors when Asuka and Kairi Sane decided to get involved in the action. Interestingly, the Kabuki Warriors managed to get the win after Asuka busted out the Poison Mist and then attacked some more after the match until Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross made the save so I guess the Kabuki Warriors are full-on heels now?
Apollo Crews also randomly showed on Raw this week to lose to Ricochet in what can best be described as a “competitive sprint” before the night finished with a showdown between Braun Strowman and Tyson Fury. They exchanged words, things got heated, and then a big brawl broke out.
This week’s Smack Down kicked off with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns randomly fighting for no real reason and with absolutely no build; also, Seth is drafted to Raw so I don’t get why he keeps showing up on Smack Down. Anyway, Seth must have pissed in someone’s coffee cup backstage as, rather than deliver a decisive finish to make up for the bullshit at Hell in a Cell, the Fiend, Bray Wyatt, attacked Seth and dragged him under the ring, which was later announced as a disqualification victory for Rollins.
King Corbin once again locked horns with Chad Gable, who is now, depressingly, officially billed as “Shorty Gable”. I don’t even understand that as a concept as there are shorter guys than Gable on the main roster and I thought he was supposed to be getting a push because he was liked backstage? How is being humiliated and treated like a joke a “push”? It didn’t help that Gable lost this match, so you can’t even say that he’s “overcoming the odds” or anything like that. Maybe he should just be shipped to 205 Live or NXT so we can move on.
That FOX money is clearly paying off as Brock Lesnar once again graced us with his presence this week; he, of course, stood around like a moron while Paul Heyman hyped him up before Rey Mysterio showed up with Cain Velasquez so they could build more hype to their match at Crown Jewel (which, as far as I can tell, is not actually going to be for the WWE Championship, rendering Lesnar’s decimation of Kofi Kingston largely pointless).
Speaking of which, Kofi didn’t seem particularly bothered about is loss last week as he was back laughing and joking with the rest of the New Day and relegated to six-man tag team matches like he never even had the belt. Wow, what a glorious waste of time that was. As if to make it better, the New Day got a win over the O.C., but guess what: that doesn’t make it better as a) the O.C. should be winning matches and b) Kofi should be trying to get his rematch!
Ugh, whatever. Charlotte Flair and Bayley then had a rematch for the Smack Down Women’s Championship (see? Rematch!) that saw Bayley fully embrace her heel turn by destroying her wacky inflatable men, using heel tactics throughout the match, actually winning the belt back, and then talking shit to the audience. So…what was the point of the title change then!?
The Viking Raiders
The Street Profits
The Fiend, Bray Wyatt
Lucha House Party