Wednesday, 7 October 2009

WWE Hell in a Cell on Sky Box Office - TV Review

It’s gimmick match overload time again, but this time it’s World Wrestling Entertainment’s turn, as their two biggest titles are on the line in Hell in a Cell, shown live here in Britain in the early hours of Monday morning on Sky Box Office.

The broadcast began with the first Hell in a Cell match, and C.M. Punk defending his World title against the Undertaker. A relatively short match to begin the show with saw some good action, and some early use of the cage as a weapon. Once again the protagonists had some good exchanges of blows, before the Undertaker countered Punk’s attempted chair shot by booting said weapon to the champion’s face. Seconds later Punk fell to the tombstone, with the Undertaker getting the title winning pin. A nice way to start the show, and an enjoyable match, but at a shade over ten minutes long it felt ten minutes too short.

Next up was John Morrison defending the Intercontinental title against perennial number one contender Dolph Ziggler. Mr. Ziggles continues to impress, improving each and every time I see him, while Morrison just impresses the hell out of me anyway. The shaman of sexy or whatever the hell he’s called was the best thing in this match, and Ziggler wasn’t far behind, but I’m left to wonder just how many more chances he’ll get at this title, because he came up short once again, with Morrison getting the pin after taking him out with the starship pain thing.

The title action continued with Alicia Fox challenging Mickie James for the Divas title. This was okay in parts, but there were times where Miss Fox looked way out of her depth, and she almost messed up Mickie’s finishing DDT. Mickie needs some more seasoned challengers. In other words, where’s Gail Kim when you need her.

Then it was on to what was, for me, the best match on the show, with Batista and Rey Mysterio challenging Chris Jericho and the Big Show for the Unified Tag Team Championship. This match was just perfect. It played to everyone’s strengths, and it just made sense, and for some odd reason I just loved the David versus Goliath exchanges between Mysterio and the Big Show. As far as no frills, no gimmick action was concerned, you couldn’t get much better than this, with the hated heel champions retaining their titles after the big guy knocked the little guy out as he came off the top rope.

The second Hell in a Cell match followed, with John Cena defending his title against Randy Orton. And before you ask, no, I didn’t see Cena dropping his razor blade, but as far as the match is concerned this wasn’t too bad, certainly the best effort these two have put in in their latest feud. The cell, of course, played a major part in that, giving us something we haven’t seen from these two before. Cena looked like he was going to retain the title at one point as Orton tapped to the STF, but sadly for him the referee was taking a snooze. The viper came back strongly though, and despite Cena having injured his right knee, Orton punted Cena before getting the title winning pin. The punt wasn’t as severe as the previous efforts though, as Cena was able to get back to his feet afterwards.

My fellow Brit made his pay-per-view debut next, as Drew McIntyre took on R-Truth. You know, I remember recommending this guy to a certain wrestling promoter a few years ago, although he’ll deny that this ever took place. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. A short and sweet match, with the former Mr. Galloway putting on a good performance en route to getting the win with his under hook DDT. Nice one.

Triple threat action followed, with Kofi Kingston defending the United States title against the Miz and Jack Swagger. One thing that surprised me was that Kingston was introduced as being from Ghana, especially after all the trouble they went to before, making out he was West Indian. Although this was another of those nice little encounters, it was kind of predictable in a way, with the heels teaming up against Kingston, before they inevitably disagreed and started beating the hell out of each other. The Jamaica…I mean African guy again looked impressive, getting the pin after taking Swagger out with that brilliant kick of his, before getting the pin on the Miz, who had just fallen to Swagger’s brilliant power bomb.

The final match of the show was definitely the most dramatic, with D-Generation X facing Legacy in the third and final Hell in a Cell encounter. This one started long before the teams got to the cage, with Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase attacking Shawn Michaels and Triple H during their entrance. We then had a brief fight through the crowd (insert TNA reference here), before the Game got taken out on the stage, and the Heartbreak Kid was dragged into the cage for a prolonged spot of two on one action. Triple H was unable to jump to his partner’s rescue though, because the cage had been locked by Rhodes and Dibiase, which made me wonder what happened to the key that the other referees had been using all evening. But hey, this is the professional wrestling business we’re talking about here, which means that logic often flies out of the window. Eventually, Triple H left the arena, returning some time later with a pair of bolt cutters. It was then that another official arrived on the scene with a second chain, which Triple H used to clobber Dibiase, leaving him outside the cage while DX doubled up on Rhodes. It wasn’t long before they took him out with a combined sledgehammer shot/sweet chin music to get the winning pin. As the cell was raised after the match, Dibiase jumped into the ring to check on his partner, only to be super kicked by Michaels for his troubles, ending what was a great encounter.

In conclusion - although this show had it’s slightly iffy and often predictable moments, it was nonetheless enjoyable, even though one particular match did seem a tad too short, and the match order did seem a little arse backwards. But then again, I guess that’s what happens when you don’t adhere to the company’s dress code.

As I said before, the match of the night for me was the Unified Tag Team title match, with the DX/Legacy match not far behind. I must admit that I did have my doubts about this kind of concept, but in the end it was well executed. Kudos to the WWE creatives for giving us something new.