The show began with everyone’s favourite Mexican moneybags Alberto Del Rio taking on the Viper Randy Orton.
As show openers go this was pretty decent. The performances of both men were sound, as was the storyline. Del Rio, as is his custom, dominated much of the early going as he worked over Orton’s left arm in preparation for the cross arm breaker. Orton had his moments, but they were somewhat fleeting.
As the match progressed Orton found himself frustrated time and time again until he eventually came back into the match with his trademark moves. It didn’t last long though as Del Rio managed to synch in his arm breaker for the second time, only for Orton to counter with a roll-up, with Del Rio having to release the hold or be pinned.
Moments later it was all over. As the Mexican went for his running enziguri Orton countered with an RKO for the winning pin.
The first title match of the show saw Team Hell No, Daniel Bryan and Kane, defending the Tag Team titles against Team Rhodes Scholars, Cody Rhodes and Damian Sandow.
As the match began our esteemed announcers speculated about whether Kane and Bryan could get along. Well, they did, to start off with, as they doubled up on Rhodes to good effect. However, it wasn’t long before Rhodes and Sandow began to use Kane’s legs for target practice.
Although Kane managed to get back to his corner so Bryan could dish out some punishment it wasn’t long before the challengers began to use Bryan as their crash test dummy. If anything he took more punishment than his partner, and for quite a while it looked like the titles could change hands.
Then Bryan managed to get the tag to Kane, and the Big Red Machine began to take the opposition apart. But just when he was about to take Rhodes down with the choke slam Bryan tagged himself back into the match and took Rhodes out with a diving head butt.
It looked all over as Bryan made the cover, until Kane pulled Bryan away as the referee was about to finish the count. Thus began the arguing part of the contest, which got even worse when Bryan clobbered Kane with an inadvertent flying knee at ringside.
Back in the ring Rhodes took Bryan out with the Cross Rhodes, only for Kane to break up what looked like a title-winning pin. The masked man then went ape as he tore into Rhodes and Sandow, and when the referee couldn’t control him he called for the disqualification. This led to even more arguing and shoving between the champions before Bryan grabbed his title belt and stormed off in a huff.
The championship action continued with Kofi Kingston defending the Intercontinental title against the Miz.
Now this was a pretty decent encounter. Both guys went for their respective finishers early on before Miz took control. The action moved along nicely as Kingston made his comeback, but when Miz draped his man’s leg over his shoulder and dropped down to the mat the intensity was taken up a notch of two.
Miz began to work over Kingston’s bad wheel, stripping away the padding so he could do even greater damage, and when he went for a half Boston Kingston’s title reign looked in jeopardy.
But once again Kingston came back, and after a fast exchange of moves and pin attempts Kingston took Miz down with the Trouble in Paradise kick for the winning pin.
Yet more title action followed as Antonio Cesaro defended the United States title against Justin Gabriel.
In many ways this had similarities with the previous match, mainly with the heel going up against a high-flying opponent. It was also another decent encounter. Cesaro put in another fine performance, showing that he’s one of WWE’s best recruits from the Ring of Honor proving ground. Everything he did just looked so good. Mind you, you could say the same about Gabriel, one of the most talented guys on the roster, but one of the most under utilised as well.
So the two good performances here made for a very good match, and when Cesaro took Gabriel out with an uppercut as he flew over the top rope it was all over. Cesaro effortlessly lifted his man back into the ring so he could seal the deal with the Neutralizer.
Then it was back to non-title action as Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara took on the Prime Time Players, Darren Young and Titus O’Neil.
As tag team matches go this was a pretty enjoyable encounter, one that certainly ticked all the right boxes. The masked men looked pretty decent, as did the Players, and even though I’m not really a big fan of theirs I have to admit they put in a good stint here. They did a good job of controlling the action, especially when they used Cara as their crash test dummy.
Eventually Cara managed to shake off the cobwebs so he could get the tag to Mysterio, and after sending big O’Neil flying over the top rope, where he was neatly dispatched by Cara, Mysterio took Young out with his 619/top rope splash combination for the winning pin.
The Smackdown main event followed as Sheamus defended the World title against the Big Show.
What we had here was one of the simplest ways of telling a story you could get. It’s something that’s been done for decades, not just in the wrestling business but in films and television as well, and as simple as it may be it was also very effective.
You had the fighting champion in Sheamus going up against a seemingly unbeatable challenger in the Big Show, and even though it won’t go down in history as a technical classic it will be remembered as a great match.
This was a fight, pure and simple, with Sheamus throwing all of his powerful weapons at Show. But no matter what he did he just couldn’t put the big guy away. Show went on to dominate the proceedings. At times he threw the Irishman around like a stuffed toy, and at other times he beat the proverbial out of him. The champion, however, wouldn’t stay down, and as the match went on Show became frustrated with his inability to put Sheamus away.
Sheamus’ comebacks were somewhat fleeting, but when Show countered the Brogue Kick attempt with his big knockout punch it looked all over bar the shouting, but to the surprise of everyone Sheamus kicked out of the pin.
Moments later Sheamus finally managed to take show down with the Brogue Kick, and when the big man kicked out of the pin Sheamus was left to wonder what he had to do to put his challenger away.
Sheamus went for the kick again a few moments later, only for Show to connect with another knockout blow as he came running in. A three count later and Show had finally put Sheamus away to win the World title.
The ladies were up next as Eve Torres defended the Divas title against Layla and Kaitlyn.
The filler material wasn’t too bad this time around. It began with Layla and Kaitlyn doubling up on Eve, but that little alliance only lasted a couple of minutes until Layla tried to roll Kaitlyn up for the pin. The action moved along nicely as the two challengers put together a sequence which saw numerous pin attempts until Eve broke up the action.
In the end Kaitlyn put Layla away with a Powerslam, but when she went for the cover Eve came down from the top rope and broke up the pin with a senton. She then pushed Kaitlyn out of the way to take the title retaining pin.
The main event saw C.M. Punk, accompanied by Paul Heyman, defending the WWE title against Ryback in a Hell in a Cell match.
As for as storytelling goes this was perfect. You had the cowardly heel champion, scared out of his wits after trying to get out of the match all night, going up against the seemingly unstoppable and undefeated challenger, and everything they did made perfect sense.
It began with Punk heading to the proverbial hills as he tried to avoid Ryback at all costs. Eventually physical contact was made as Ryback tried to teat Punk apart. At first Punk seemed powerless against his challenger, but after a little help from a fire extinguisher the champion began to take control.
He couldn’t keep the big man down for long though as Ryback came back into the match. But just when he was about to put Punk away with his Shell Shocked finisher the referee stopped him before delivering a low blow. Punk then rolled Ryback up, and one very fast count later he had retained his title.
Needless to say that our challenger was none too pleased with the way things turned out. Punk, Heyman and the referee screamed at the outside official to unlock the cage, but it wasn’t long before the big man managed to get hold of the ref, taking him down with his meat hook clothesline before press slamming him from the ring and into the side of the cage.
With the cage door finally unlocked Ryback went after Punk, and as Heyman ran for cover Punk climbed the cage with Ryback in hot pursuit. The monster soon caught up with the champion as he finally took him out with the Shell Shock on top of the cage.
Only one extra on this release, with Matt Striker interviewing Sheamus backstage.
In conclusion - when I first reviewed this show last October I enjoyed it greatly, and my opinion hasn’t changed after this second viewing.
Hell in a Cell was another quality outing. There were quite a few good matches here, and even though there was only one cell match the action we saw in that particular encounter more than made up for that slight disappointment.
As for my match of the night I originally gave the no-prize to the Sheamus/Big Show encounter, and I see no reason to change that opinion. As for my overall conclusion I’m going to give this the big thumbs up once again.
With thanks to Fremantle Media for supplying a copy of this release. WWE Hell in a Cell 2012 is available to buy online at www.wwedvd.co.uk.