Here are my final thoughts on Raw and SmackDown Live’s Hell in a Cell 2020!
R-Truth (c) vs. Drew Gulak (WWE 24/7 Championship)
Reactions: Can we kill this championship already? And I appreciate R-Truth, but I’m over his usual brand of comedy too. The invisible Lil’ Jimmy antics at the beginning just made me roll my eyes in complete apathy, honestly. This match was just a waste of time and really didn’t need to take up any time on the Kickoff Show. Drew Gulak’s an amazing athlete and quality in-ring competitor – he deserves so much better than the hokey 24/7 Championship BS he’s being saddled with these days. Start 2021 off on a good note and quietly bury your worst title, WWE!
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars
Roman Reigns (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. Jey Uso (Hell in a Cell “I Quit” Match for the WWE Universal Championship; If Jey Uso Loses, He and Jimmy Uso Will Have to Take Orders and Acknowledge Reigns as The Tribal Chief)
Reactions: So this wasn’t even a cinematic match, but it totally felt like I was sitting through the climactic battle of a blockbuster film. Roman Reigns and Jey Uso tugged at my heartstrings with all the drama that unfolded between them – once Jimmy Uso ran out to aid his brother, that’s when this bout truly began to wet my eyes up a little. Right up until that point, both men revisited the ish talking template set by their Clash of Champions meeting. Speaking of that match, I actually preferred that match over this whole ordeal. My expectations for this rematch went through the roof considering how good the last one was and the fact that it was taking place inside the Hell in a Cell.
But the steel structure barely played any part in this bout whatsoever. This clash between family members would have been perfectly fine without the HIAC and played out in a much better fashion, in my opinion. The action that was delivered here wasn’t anything special – there were just too many repeated uses of finishers and basic fisticuffs to truly care about. Roman’s running apron dropkick into the steel steps on Jey was the only cool moment worth speaking of here. What was produced here was slightly above average, but that shouldn’t have been the case – this match should have been an instant classic. All in all, it was just a passable follow-up to a far more interesting first meeting between Roman and Jey. This one definitely disappointed me (still made me shed a tear or two, though).
Rating: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Jeff Hardy vs. Elias
Reactions: WWE and their love for disqualification endings on PPV reared its ugly head here. Based on how this match wrapped up, it’s clearly evident that Jeff Hardy and Elias are being set up for a future matchup on Raw with relaxed rules. And considering the by-the-numbers performance put on during this match, it would have been better served taking place on an episode of Raw. I figured this match would have been better than average, but it ended up being basic and a complete waste of time due to the DQ finish.
Rating: Didn’t even get a clean finish…
Otis (MITB Holder) (with Tucker) vs. The Miz (with John Morrison) (Winner Gets Money in the Bank Contract)
Reactions: SAY IT AIN’T SO! Forget what happened between the ropes – we gotta talk about what happened outside of it. Tucker really did the unthinkable and turned on his man’s! WOW! That one moment alone was way more substantial than the forgettable bout that played out between Otis and Thie Miz. So here’s my main question – how is WWE going to let this feud unfold between two superstars from different brands? WWE doesn’t seem to take their own Brand Split seriously, so I’m sure they’ll introduce some random storyline loophole to let this new beef exist. Damn you, Tucker!
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks (Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)
Reactions: Is anyone surprised by the fact that Bayley and Sasha Banks ended up having a great HIAC match? No? I thought so. Kudos definitely has to go out to both women for going as hard as possible and producing the type of matchup that matched the energy of their months-long brewing feud. Bayley and Banks brutalized each other with Kendo Sticks, steel chairs, and tables. And unlike the first HIAC match that took place on this show, they made sure to incorporate the structure they were locked inside of.
And what made this match so worthwhile was the fact that it got a whole lot of time to crescendo into what it was. The match was built up well as both women got to the more hardcore spots in a natural way. The bigger spots happened sensibly and were that much more impactful when they finally happened. Sasha’s steel chair-assisted Frog Splash onto Bayley was so damn satisfying during this match’s climax. Both ladies worked their asses off and brought out the best in each other (no surprise, there). This was a long and eventful HIAC match that matched the high expectations I had for it going in.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Bobby Lashley vs. SLAPJACK
Reactions: Another whatever match. And it did a bang-up job of furthering the continued burial of Retribution. I figured WWE did an awesome job of doing that on the last episode of Raw, but it seems like they wanted to deepen the stable’s grave even more on this show. It would have been so much better to build up The Hurt Business and Retribution’s stable warfare into something far more substantial at Survivor Series, but they’ve burnt through it pretty fast already. RIP, Retribution…
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Randy Orton (Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship)
Reactions: WHOA! we got another shocker on this PPV! Randy Orton really pulled it off! I totally expected Drew McIntyre to retain the title again and move onto his next challenger. But Randy’s bad luck has finally come to a close. As for the match itself, it was cool. Not bad by any means, but not incredible either. Its quality sits right in the middle as far as I’m concerned. The spots that were delivered here were of the norm I’m used to seeing in HIAC matches.
They climbed up the cell, got into your usual generic brawl, climbed down to the side, and did the usual big table bump. This match was your usual HIAC bout with one too many tired spots strewn throughout it. What followed after the table crash spot happened to be the best parts of this match, honestly. Randy pulling off the win here was pretty insane, though! Just wish the match that led to that big win was a bit more extraordinary.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Match of the Night
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks!
The fact that this year’s Hell in a Cell had only five matches booked for it going in should have clued me into how it would turn out. My gut told me it wasn’t going to be anything to write home about and I ended up being right. Out of the announced matches and impromptu ones, only one of them ended up being PPV worthy.
The Reigns/Uso match didn’t have a lot going for it except for its storytelling and the McIntyre/Orton HIAC was pretty basic until the out of nowhere finish. This show was filled with way too much filler and a few crappy finishes to boot. If Bayley/Banks wasn’t on here, my final score for this show would have been even lower. HIAC 2020 was pretty much a one-match show.
Final Score: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars