Mick Foley returns to confront WWE Champion CM Punk.
Strong opening segment featuring WWE Champion CM Punk and Mick Foley. Punk's promo was basically what you'd expect from him, and he sold the injuries he sustained from Hell in a Cell well. Foley received a nice pop and his mic work was also pretty good. Not as strong as it was a month ago, but it didn't need to be. It set up the ending segment nicely and offered a sense of suspense for something to look forward to throughout the show.
Typical squash match with Ryback dominating JTG. The commentator explained how Ryback's frustrations over being screwed at Hell in a Cell made him more vicious here, but it wasn't anything different than usual. It was a nice rebound win after losing to Punk, and his promo was pretty standard as well. His mic skills are fantastic, but at least it's a start.
Good match between Randy Orton and Wade Barrett. While the action was solid, I didn't enjoy the finish. Sure, it makes sense for Orton to avenge his loss to Barrett from last Friday night, but what does it do for Orton? He already won at Hell in a Cell, and Barrett could use all the momentum he could get at the moment. As good as this match was, it hardly benefited anyone involved.
Decent tag team match with WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No defeating Prime Time Players. Of course, Daniel Bryan and Kane displayed tension as always, but what did this match accomplish outside of that? This match could've better used for a later date or at least a cheap victory for the Prime Time Players, who could very well be inserted back into the title picture.
Strange segment featuring Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero and John Cena. Vickie's proof was extremely weak and hardly did anything to further the story-line. Maybe the PG rating is disallowing them from showing any incriminating footage, but Vickie's evidence was nothing to build off of. I had hope in this story-line last week, but this segment slowly killed my interest. Dolph Ziggler could've been better utilized here, as it seems they're setting up a potential Cena-Ziggler match for Survivor Series.
Fine match between United States Champion Antonio Cesaro and Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston. Given the fact it was a Champion vs. Champion match, it should've felt more meaningful than it did, but the action was still fine for what it was. I'm glad it ended in a disqualification, as it effectively furthers the feud between The Miz and Kingston. Also, it triggers a rivalry between Cesaro and R-Truth, who looks to be entering the United States title picture.
Ryback delivers a Shell Shock to CM Punk atop the cell.
Basic pre-show segment featuring John Cena, Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler. The questions that Cena answered were pretty lame, as were his answers, but it was exactly what you'd expect. Nothing more was furthered in the Cena-AJ angle, but they managed to hype it for tomorrow's Raw. I figured Ziggler's attack on Cena would lead to a match later in the night, but I'm glad they're saving that money matchup for a later date.
Excellent match between Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio. As uninteresting as their feud has been for some people, they have excellent chemistry in the ring. There was one botched spot from Del Rio towards the end that came off awkward, but it was quickly forgotten about with the very cool finish of Orton hitting an RKO on Del Rio as he missed his running kick in the corner. The win doesn't do much to Orton, but it made sense since the commentators stressed throughout the match that Orton might've lost his edge.
Good match Team Hell No successfully defending their WWE Tag Team Championships against Rhodes Scholars. All four guys are great workers, but the dead crowd dragged down the match's excitement. There were some good spots, but the finish with Kane getting disqualified was weak. As long as it means that the feud between the two tandems continues, then I'm content.
Great match with Kofi Kingston defeating The Miz to successfully retain his Intercontinental Championship. Aside from the dead crowd, one major reason I didn't care much for this match was the fact that the feud has been so rushed over the last two weeks. That being said, the action was pretty good, but not as good as their match from Main Event last week. Even still, it's a nice win for Kingston and the post-match promo helped make his victory feel important.
Flat match between United States Champion Antonio Cesaro and Justin Gabriel. It was expected to be booking following Gabriel's non-title victory over Cesaro on last week's Raw, but the crowd couldn't care less for this match. Don't get me wrong, the action was fine for what it was, but the only thing that excited anyone watching was the uppercut from Cesaro at ringside. However, I appreciate the effort in expanding the feud to pay-per-view and allowing both foreigners to work for a substantial amount of time, despite it mostly being utilized for filler.
Wade Barrett strategically dissects Randy Orton.
Decent opener involving Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio. Orton's promo wasn't anything special, but at least he didn't start it off with the usual "Hi, my name is Randy Orton" line. Del Rio was fine here as well, and at least it was fresh to see a feud kick off the show that hasn't been highlighted all that much in recent weeks. Barrett's attack on Orton was also effective and help set up the match between the two later in the night.
Brief match with WWE Tag Team Champion Kane defeating Cody Rhodes. The match was decent while it lasted, but it was too short to mean anything. It was a standard match that was enhanced by Daniel Bryan and Damien Sandow on commentary. If nothing else, it helped further the tag team title feud going into Hell in a Cell.
Basic squash match with The Miz defeating Yoshi Tatsu. It was long enough for Miz to score enough offense on Tatsu to come off as aggressive. Of course, it's too little too late to start making Miz look like a threat at this point, but I appreciate the effort in attempting to make him look somewhat credible as he invokes his rematch clause for the Intercontinental Championship on Sunday.
Solid match between Wade Barrett and Randy Orton. It involved some nice back and forth action that brought out the best in both competitors. They provided an entertaining match as always which received great time. Smart booking with Barrett going over here, as it helps further Del Rio's feud with Orton while Barrett scores a major victory.
The following piece was contributed by avid wrestling fan and analyst JR. Follow him on Twitter at @StarNinja99.
Possible filler matches
This card is pretty stacked right now, so I wouldn't expect too many additional matches on this year's Hell In A Cell card, but I beleive there are only two possible options right now.
After Justin Gabriel's pinfall on the United States Champion Antonio Cesaro Monday night on Raw, I would not be surprised to see this match make it to Hell In A Cell. However, if it were to make it on the card, I have a bit of a left field prediction for the match.
Justin Gabriel will gain the United States Championship.
If my predictions are correct, by the end of this pay-per-view there won't be much choice left but to strap the belt too someone new, someone who is a face. Now, this is by far the most out there prediction I'll put here on this card, but hey, sometimes you've just got too go with your gut. I like Cesaro, despite a couple of problems I've had with a few of his wrestling moves going back as far as his debut in Ring of Honor, but the fact is his championship reign has been rather flat, and perhaps putting him on the chase could do more for him than simply spout off words in five different languages.
There is also an off chance of John Cena's adress to the WWE Universe regarding the controversy surrounding his involvement with the "firing" of AJ Lee may lead to a match with Dolph Ziggler, who is currently off of the card, but this would relegate Cena and Ziggler to the pre-show, so unless its an announcement for later in the night, I don't see it happening. If it does happen, I see Cena winning to prove he's fully healed up, but again, I thin Ziggler will be relegated for later in the card.
Other than these two matches, the only other thing I can even slightly see here is a possible Wade Barrett match ala what we say with Brodus Clay and Ryback in previous months, but honestly, I do not think there will be any time alloted for this.
Lumberjacks surround the ring as Sheamus battles CM Punk.
Great match with Rhodes Scholars defeating Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara to win the WWE Tag Team Championship tournament. It's been over two months since we've seen a match kick off Raw, so it was certainly a refreshing change of pace. It put further emphasis on the growing tag team division and all four guys worked hard to produce an entertaining contest. Rhodes Scholars going over clean and advancing to Hell in a Cell was logical booking, but was the best choice. Team Hell No appearing on the Titantron following the bout was also a nice touch.
Brief match with Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston defeating Michael McGillicutty. It was strange to see McGillicutty work as a heel here since he worked as babyface at a Raw live event I attended, but it was still nice exposure for him on Raw. The crowd's "Mr. Perfect" chant was easily the highlight of this match. We saw the same match on Main Event last week, and McGillicutty losing so quickly doesn't give me hope he won't he won't be used as a legitimate mid-carder anytime soon. The Miz tried his best on commentary to build his title match with Kingston at Hell in a Cell, but the feud has been so rushed that it's hard to get invested in it. Still, props to WWE for at least trying to hype their title encounter on Sunday.
Strong segment featuring John Cena and WWE Champion CM Punk. Cena is always his best on the mic when he's serious, and there was no exception to that here. He and Punk had a great verbal exchange per usual and even helped build the WWE title match on Sunday despite Ryback not appearing in this segment (which he didn't need to). Cena must get involved at Hell in a Cell somehow in order to increase pay-per-view buys, so I'm intrigued as to what his role might be at the event.
Good match between United States Champion Antonio Cesaro and Justin Gabriel. As I said last week, these two could make for a good feud if given a story-line, and that's exactly what we got here. Cesaro has been built up strongly in recent weeks, so that made Gabriel's shocking upset victory over the U.S. Champ all the more exciting. The crowd popped nicely for Gabriel's win, so this gives me hope they're starting to get behind his character. This was a brilliant move on WWE's part, as this is a rivalry I can certainly get excited about with the great matches between the two that we're bound to see.
Strange segment that featured AJ's resignation as Raw General Manager. We knew it was bound to happen at some point with all the foreshadowing they've done in recent months and the fact that her resignation was vastly overdue, but did it need to happen on the go-home show? Why not next week on the road to Survivor Series? AJ's promo was well done, but announcing Vickie Guerrero as her replacement for the time being is a questionable move in my book. Sure, she still garners tons of heat and this might very well slowly split her from Dolph Ziggler, but we've seen her in charge one too many times before. I was looking for a fresh face to take over, but apparently that wasn't the case. I'd love to think this is all building towards something huge, but the fact Vickie's new title is "Managing Supervisor" isn't reassuring.
Basic squash match with Ryback destroying The Miz. I was surprised at how little offense Miz scored on Ryback, but I guess it makes sense to have Ryback looking strong going into his pending WWE Championship match. However, Miz also has a title match coming up, and this match obviously did him no favors. It never ceases to amaze me why they continue to waste the talents of the Awesome One, but there's always the chance that he reclaims the Intercontinental Championship on Sunday after being booked so terribly as of late.
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