WWE Hell in a Cell 2019: Recap, results, analysis, grades

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Lacey Evans vs. Natalya

Chris Novak: This match kicked things off at the ripe hour of 5:20 on the Kickoff Show. Or, 3:20 local time, which is still crazy to think about even as they continuously run west coast shows all the time. This match ended with Nattie tapping Lacey Evans out. Nothing too otherworldly here but a decent matchup all things considered. Didn’t mind it. **3/4 for me.

Robert O’Neill: Yeah, no complaints here. That was a fine match. Didn’t really have a firm opinion either way. I’ll also go **¾.

Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks - Raw Women’s Championship HIAC Match

Chris Novak: Becky Lynch defeated Sasha Banks by making her tap out with the Dis-Arm-Her. That… was… not what I expected to type out here at all whatsoever. But nevertheless, Becky is still your Raw Women’s Champion. Lynch and Banks went absolutely all out in this match. It was creative, it was innovative, it was violent. There were fantastic spots all over the place. This was the best main roster women’s match of the year and probably the best women’s match of the entire year in general. ****¾ from your boy. I’m not sure what to make of the booking decision to have Sasha lose here yet because I don’t know where they’re taking this. 

Robert O’Neill: Holy cow what a match. One of the better HIAC matches in recent memory, and matching the violence of New Day/Usos, which I didn’t think was possible. The result was surprising, but it’s okay to be surprised by things! ****¾

Rowan and Harper vs. Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns

Chris Novak: Bryan and Roman defeated Rowan and Harper. This was a car crash in the best of ways. The added use of tornado tag rules REALLY assisted this match in the best of ways. There were some very fun spots here as well. Bryan and Roman looked like a great team together. I’d enjoy it if they won the tag titles to be honest. ****¼ for me. A very high one. 

Robert O’Neill: We need more tornado tag matches! That was fun, and Roman looked great like usual. Again, a little surprised at the result, but I guess they’re gonna keep things going here. Or they’ll just end it via the draft. Who knows! ****¼

Randy Orton vs. Ali

Robert O’Neill: This was added on the preshow, because Ali is excited for the new opportunities the draft will provide him. Randy asked why he wanted to wait, and said they could just have a match tonight. Orton got the win after a surprisingly long match with an RKO, but before that, Ali countered an RKO by doing a handstand, which was neat. *** 

Chris Novak: I’ll take Rob’s word for it here and give this a *** as well. I was out at the time. Perhaps I’ll go back and watch and correct. 

Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. The Kabuki Warriors - Women’s Tag Team Championships

Chris Novak: Holy… they not only turned Asuka and Kairi into villainesses, they won the Women’s Tag Team Championships! WOW! I was bullish on how this was all gonna work, but I’m here for this shit. I need this longterm. I need it allL! That was a super fun match. ***½ for me. 

Robert O’Neill: You didn’t mention that Asuka got the win because, after the referee was distracted, she hit Nikki with green mist! Shades of Tajiri! That was something. ***½

The Viking Raiders and Braun Strowman vs. The OC

Chris Novak: Braun Strowman was The Viking Raiders’ “mystery partner.” Kind of a boring choice if you ask me. But… at the same time, with his encounter with Tyson Fury looming, they had to showcase him somehow on this show. This was the spot to do it. This match ended in a DQ after The OC just started putting the boots to Braun. This match just kinda happened. **½ 

Robert O’Neill: Sometimes you just need a cool-down. It’s fine. I get why they did it. **

Baron Corbin vs. Chad Gable

Chris Novak: Chad Gable pulled off the win on Baron Corbin via the rollup. This was a pretty fun match, although I think it was a couple touches below their past few. ***½ for me here. I wasn’t “disappointed” or what have you. I just think they could’ve hit another gear or two. But, nonetheless, a big win for Gable. 

Robert O’Neill: It wasn’t as good as their KOTR final match on Raw, but it was fine. The four matches they added this afternoon have been kind of underwhelming tonight. ***½

Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair - SmackDown Women’s Championship

Robert O’Neill: Well, Charlotte winning is kind of surprising. But, it was a good, physical match. I really enjoyed it. Much like in the case of Becky, I’m very curious as to what comes next here. Gonna give this one ****

Chris Novak: I’m fine… I’m fine… I’m fine! 

This match was pretty good though, for real. Bayley and Charlotte worked super well together here. Lots of good heeling from Bayley in this match.. Good limb work as well. We’ll see where this goes. Char10tte is a reality right now, though. ***¾ for me. 

Seth Rollins vs. ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt - Universal Championship

Chris Novak: Not sure what to say or feel about this one. It was good until the ending. I think they straight up overthought it and booked themselves into a corner, which goes into why I thought this match was a mistake. Seth was “DQ’ed” in a HIAC match, which is kind of nonsense in itself. He hit Bray with a hammer in the face after damn near trying to kill him. So… yeah. Lots of discussion will happen about this one. Not sure what to think, so I’m gonna just give this **¾ and call it a day. 

Robert O’Neill: Lot to unpack here. I thought for most of the match it was very good and entertaining and unique but… that ending. Woof. Even doing something like having them go through the ring “to hell” or something would have worked better for me here. ***

FINAL THOUGHTS


Chris Novak: I don’t want to let a bad booking decision at the end of this show disqualify what was an all-around solid effort, if not a great one. There will be much written about that decision and a lot of it won’t be very good. Nevertheless, this is where we’re at now. Even when it’s deserved criticism, for what I think was a shitty finish, everything will be hyperly reacted to. That’s just the way it is. B+ for me here. 

Robert O’Neill: For the second straight year, Hell in a Cell was a very solid show that will be remembered for the ending, and that’s a shame. You know the worst part of it all? The hyperbole. We live in a society in which everything has to either be the best or worst thing of all time and we need to react INSTANTLY to it all. There’s no rational thought or letting things breathe anymore, just knee jerk reaction. That goes for wrestling, baseball, Joker, politics, ANYTHING. It’s really not a fun way for everyone to be, and I think we can all do better. B+