The smoke has now cleared from the latest edition of Hell In A Cell and it was at the very most a middle of the road affair, a B-level pay-per-view more akin to a decent episode of Raw with some solid action along the way. Rather than go into all of the matches on the card, let’s take a look at the fallout from the three things that left the most lasting impressions on the night.
#1 Kicking off the pay-per-view was John Cena’s Open Challenge match for the United States Championship, the first time it has not been done on Raw. While there have been a few surprises in regards to the Open Challenges, this one ranks at the top for shock value. Zeb Colter, who had not been since December, came out to announce the challenger for the U.S. title. It would be none other than a returning Alberto Del Rio, who was released from WWE in August last year. In an age of too many spoiler alerts, this was a swerve that no one saw coming, since Del Rio looked to be entrenched in a comfortable living with Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA), his former stomping grounds before joining WWE for the first time in 2010, and also in Lucha Underground. The match itself, though relatively short, was a nice little battle and it would be Del Rio coming away as the champion in his first match back with a superkick for the 1-2-3. Let us hope this leads to a more fulfilling and successful second coming for Del Rio. As for Cena, his losing the title was no complete shock, since he will be taking time off for “personal reasons” and holding the belt would have been pointless and left undefended. Perhaps his absence can lead to him coming back recharged and perhaps with a tweak to his character that has not changed for the best part of a decade? We’ll see!
#2 Unsurprisingly, the main event was the match everyone had been waiting for: the final battle between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker. It was as brutal as to be expected in the PG Era as both men went all out The only slight hindrance came in the form of several stoppages due to the doctors coming out on several occasions to clean up the blood off both competitors, giving the feeling of a match having to restart multiple times over. Thankfully, this angered Lesnar enough to shove one of the doctors away to get on with proceedings. The flow of the match was not hurt too much and in an epic ending, Lesnar would deliver a low-blow (payback from SummerSlam) followed by an F-5 to Undertaker on the exposed wooden boards. It was a match that had just the right amount of violence, was the best match of the night, and their second best match together, just behind their classic previous match in the cell at No Mercy 2002. After the cell had been lifted and Lesnar had left the arena, Undertaker slowly made it back to his feet where he got a much deserved standing ovation, with chants of “Thank you Taker” for yet another age-defying performance. However, before he could fully bask in the adulation, one more wrench was thrown into the works.
#3 The closing moments of the show saw all four members of The Wyatt Family (Braun Strowman, the newest addition, joining in August) come out to surround the ring and it did not take long before they attacked a fatigued Undertaker, who could barely stand after going through eighteen minutes of hell (pun intended). After a beat down that lasted for a good five minutes, the Wyatt’s picked up the lifeless body of Undertaker and carried him away, crucifixion style, as the show went off air on that eerie note.
Next month’s Survivor Series is on the horizon, and it promises to be a grand occasion since the November 22 event will mark The Undertaker’s 25th anniversary since his WWE debut at the same event in 1990. WWE prefers to put all of its energy and focus into the “Big Four” pay-per-views, the others being WrestleMania, Royal Rumble and SummerSlam, and the general build up, particularly in light of the events at Hell In A Cell, will no doubt make for compelling television, just the way it should be.