Here are my final thoughts on Raw and SmackDown’s Hell in a Cell 2021!
Natalya (with Tamina) vs. Mandy Rose (with Dana Brooke)
Reactions: E for effort, ladies. Shout out to y’all for doing your best. But I gotta keep it a stack with you, Natalya and Mandy Rose – your match wasn’t that good. It felt like it moved in slow motion at times (due in part to Rose ’cause she still looks uncomfortable and awkward in the ring) and I couldn’t find it in me to care about anything both ladies did. The sad state of the main roster women’s division has pushed me to not be invested in anything happening between most of the women at this point. Due to the lackluster effort between Natalya and Rose here, that’s sadly going to stay the same.
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley (Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)
Reactions: Since Roman Reigns vs. Rey Mysterio took place on the last episode of Smackdown instead of being featured on this show, this match took its place instead. And after watching it unfold, I wished WWE didn’t make that puzzling decision. Bianca Belair vs. Bayley wasn’t that good at the last PPV and it sadly wasn’t that great here, either. Everything that went on during this match felt like it could have easily been done without having it take place inside the HIAC.
The spots that were featured here were just your usual run-of-the-mill hardcore match spots and the cell itself barely came into the picture. The only spot that got a pop out of me was the finish that saw Bianca plant Bayley with a K.O.D. on a ladder. Other than that, this HIAC match felt unnecessary and didn’t have a whole lot of life to it. Man, these Bianca and Bayley PPV matches haven’t really been hittin’. And judging by the rest of the SD women’s division, it looks like Bianca won’t really have any worthy contenders to work with at the next show.
Rating: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
Reactions: No one’s surprised that this WrestleMania 37 rematch finally breathed some much-needed life into this show, right? While it wasn’t as good as that previous meeting between the two, Cesaro and Seth Rollins still deserve some credit for putting on an intense performance that got a lot of time to build into something meaningful. The hot start made all the sense in the world considering the high level of hatred between the two and it continued crescendoing into a back & forth brawl.
There were a few moments littered throughout it that made it come off a bit slow and sloppy in parts, but it still delivered overall. I must admit, though – the way Cesaro took the L here was pretty lame. That small package from Rollins didn’t even look like it was tight enough to truly keep Cesaro tied up for the full three count. That ending is probably setting up a rematch down the road, so at least there’s that to look forward to I guess.
Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Alexa Bliss vs. Shayna Baszler
Reactions: Moment of silence for Shayna Baszler’s career…okay, now let’s get to the match. It wasn’t good. The beginning of it started out solid enough, but then it all went to hell once Alexa Bliss’ supernatural horse manure came into play. WWE better be bad this match didn’t take place in front of a live crowd cause they would have crapped all over Bliss’ hokey possession bit with Nia Jax. Shayna took the loss here and all that told me was that the amazing NXT version I enjoyed so much of her’s is dead and gone…
Rating: 1 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
Reactions: Once again, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn put their working boots on and did a good job of keeping a disappointing PPV from being a complete wash. But just like the Cesaro vs. Rollins rematch before it, this ‘Mania 37 run-back didn’t really measure up to the great quality of the one before it. The one thing that slowed this match down a bit too much for my tastes was the focus on Owens’ injured arm.
Sami’s work on the weakened limb ran a little too long and took a bit of life out of the match the longer it went on. But once Owens got back on offense, this never-ending war between both men became a bit more interesting again. At this point, you just gotta expect Owens and Sami to always deliver a good to amazing in-ring performance. Now if there’s one match on this card that really deserved to be inside the HIAC, it was this one.
Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair (WWE Raw Women’s Championship)
Reactions: I might not be the biggest fan of Charlotte Flair these days, but I can’t knock her strong fashion sense. Her all-purple everything drip was pretty heat, no lie. As for the actual quality of this ‘Mania 36 runback, it was meh at best. There was nothing all that extraordinary about it and it really seemed like Rhea Ripley was made to look weaker than Charlotte here. Miss Flair got most of the offense and the lame ending played up the fact that Rhea just couldn’t hang with her.
Rhea decided to clock Charlotte with a piece of the commentator’s table, which brought this disappointing Raw Women’s title match to a close via a disqualification. This was most definitely the biggest letdown of this entire PPV. I guess this is going down at again next month’s PPV with some sort of hardcore stipulation attached to it. Let’s all hope it’s at least better than this one.
Rating: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Bobby Lashley (c) (with MVP) vs. Drew McIntyre (Last Chance Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship)
Reactions: In what was easily the best match of the night, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre put on a banger that was well deserving of the “hellish” match stipulation it was granted. This main event was brutality personified – the champ and challenger tore into each other from the word go outside the ring and used a nice variety of weapons to magnify their offense. Bobby got faceplanted into a steel chair, Drew got smashed in the face with the steel steps while he was shoved into the cell, and both men went crashing through some tables.
Even MVP got caught up in all the mayhem as he got locked into the cell and finally got his comeuppance from Drew. This one went long, but both men made the most of their time and filled it with an excellent feud ender. But you know what kept it from being a lot higher on the overall quality scale? Drew lost to a super lame roll-up pin. Really, fam? WWE could have at least have Drew lose in a devastating fashion instead of falling to a banana peel slip-like finish. That sucked, but the match itself was damn good!
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Match of the Night
Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre!
If it wasn’t for Cesaro/Rollins, Owens/Zayn, and Lashley/McIntyre, this year’s Hell in a Cell PPV would have gone down as an early contender for worst wrestling show of the year. The Kickoff Show match was a complete afterthought, Belair/Bayley was nothing special, Baszler/Bliss was pure garbage, and Ripley/Charlotte did everything to make the champ look like a bum & it produced a horrid finish.
The three matches that saved this show from being a complete waste of time are worth going out of your way to see, especially the main event. While that aforementioned main event delivered a god-awful finish, it was still an enjoyable HIAC matchup. Overall though, this wasn’t a completely terrible PPV. But it certainly wasn’t a must-see PPV, either. Thumbs right in the middle for this one.
Final Score: 3 out of 5 Stars