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SMARK COUNTRY: A Recap of Hell (In A Cell 2014)

I truly had to fight apathy to watch this pay-per-view. Two feuds that the WWE seems to be forcing down our throats, Brie vs. Nikki Bella and John Cena vs. Randy Orton, seem to have gotten so much of a push lately that I’ve become numb to even watching the product. But I shouldn’t let that affect my interest in the product as a whole. This event in particular had quite a few strong matches on the card.


CESARO vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (Best two out of three falls for the Intercontinental Championship): The first match on the card not only made me glad I didn’t skip it, but was probably one of the ten best pay-per-view matches of the year. Cesaro unleashed some devastating offense, including the best reversal out of a submission I’ve seen in ages (that top rope suplex was a thing of beauty). However, Ziggler’s speed, resilience and resourcefulness allowed him to walk away with the clean sweep (something we rarely see in WWE Best 2 Out Of 3 Falls Matches). Ziggler can only keep putting on the best match of the night for so long before the WWE is going to have to reconsider that glass ceiling they’ve placed over Ziggler’s head and bump him up to main event status. WINNER: DOLPH ZIGGLER

BRIE BELLA vs. NIKKI BELLA (Loser must serve as personal assistant to the winner for 30 days): This feud has been getting so much attention that it’s really been hurting the Divas division, that seems to be trying to focus more on the actual wrestlers and wrestling in general. But I have to admit, these two put their all into this match and the intensity they brought revealed better ring psychology then either have shown during their entire WWE tenure. In the end, it was obvious who would win, as WWE predictably never allows the babyface to win in these scenarios. WINNER: NIKKI BELLA

THE USOS vs. GOLDUST & STARDUST (Tag Team Championship): I really like the fairly new Stardust gimmick and have always been a fan of Goldust. But their championship reign is not being helped by the fact they’re fighting the Usos so often that it appears there are no other teams in the tag team division. The match here was solid, though nothing we’ve not seen from these athletes before. Perhaps if the tag division was as deep as it was in 2011-2012, or if there were singles matches to build up to the pay-per-view title match, this wouldn’t feel like the five hundredth time this match has occurred. WINNER: GOLDUST & STARDUST

JOHN CENA vs. RANDY ORTON (Hell in A Cell Number One Contender’s Match): This was quite an important match, as the winner would go on to face the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar, at a future date. I will say, my calling of this match has nothing to do with a dislike for these wrestlers. It has to do with the fact that this match really didn’t need to take place in the cell. The cell didn’t come into play much, feeling more like a standard street fight that we’ve seen on a random Raw episode. That’s not to say there weren’t some amazing moments. Randy Orton hitting one of the best RKOs out of nowhere that I’ve seen in a long time (which might make its way to the internet as part of the collection of RKO vines that are the hot thing right now) left the audience cheering, despite Orton being a heel. The match was far above average, just not worthy of Hell in a Cell. WINNER: JOHN CENA

THE MIZ vs. SHEAMUS (United States Championship): The best part about this Miz/Sheamus feud has been the fact that Miz’ ‘stunt double’, Damien Mizdow, has been getting a louder pop from the crowd than either of the competitors actually feuding. Miz’ matches have been better lately, but he still doesn’t seem to be competing at the level he was 3-4 years ago. Sheamus is doing what he can with this feud, as it doesn’t play to his strengths. But both men had a solid, if not amazing bout. Damien Sandow remains the punching bag of WWE creative, but he proves with each week of being given lemons by the writers, that he can make the best lemonade possible. WINNER: SHEAMUS

BIG SHOW vs. RUSEV: As remarkable an athlete as Rusev is, the gimmick is limited. And with his undefeated streak being such an important factor, I’d use him in a limited capacity, so as to not play out the gimmick. But here we go again, Big Show vs. Rusev for the third time. I like both athletes, and Show seems to be selling this feud on the mic better than any of Rusev’s prior opponents. Rusev had to put on his mat technician hat, because brute strength wasn’t going to win against the seven foot tall Big Show. Show has always been good at selling against smaller technical opponents and, despite Rusev being the obvious victor, Show made him look like a million bucks. Bonus points for WWE for not doing the obvious tonight and have Mark Henry go heel and turn on his friend, Big Show. WINNER: RUSEV

PAIGE vs. AJ LEE (Divas Championship): These women’s ring skills, ring psychology and mic skills are up there with some of the best in the WWE right now, male or female. Though this match has been done several times over the past few months, I could literally watch it twice as many times and still be entertained. They find a way to make each of their matches feel fresh and innovative. AJ could teach the rest of the WWE roster how to do a top rope Tornado DDT, because that was bar none, the best I’ve seen since Christian or Rob Van Dam were on the active roster. Though I’m not a fan of Alicia Fox being thrown into this feud as Paige’s new “Bestie”, she is not hampering the feud at all and has provided an interesting way for Paige to further be incensed by AJ. WINNER: AJ LEE

DEAN AMBROSE vs. SETH ROLLINS (Hell In A Cell Main Event): I think a tear came to my eye when I found out that this match, not the Cena/Orton match, was booked as the main event. It shows faith from WWE upper management in these two stars to deliver. And boy, did they ever deliver. The ‘lunatic fringe’ wasted no time in taking things to the next level, as Ambrose started the match by climbing to the top of the Cell. Rollins used his Authority henchmen, Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble, to pursue. The four men dished out intense punishment and both Rollins and Ambrose wound up falling through two tables, from halfway up the cage. This was all before the match even officially starting. The high impact moves, the weapons, the creative use of the cell, even the ring psychology all coalesced to a match that could easily have been one of the ten best Hell in a Cell matches of all time…Could have, if not for the interference in the end by a returned Bray Wyatt. I wouldn’t have minded the run in on a regular televised show, but in the final match of a pay-per-view, that is a no-no. WINNER: SETH ROLLINS

What were your thoughts on Hell in a Cell 2014?
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