Hell in a Cell’s wild ending clearly to protect both Reigns and Strowman

Image result for wwe hell in a cell 2018 roman reigns vs braun strowman

…If you missed it, don’t just read the recap. You have to see the footage of not just the match’s ending but what happened just before the match ended.

McIntyre, Ziggler, Rollins and Ambrose showing up when they did was expected. The Beast Incarnate pulling a ’97 Kane was not.

Here’s that moment for reference:

Lesnar stormed down to the ring and kicked down the door before delivering an F5 to both Reigns and Strowman. Reigns and Strowman were having a mostly lukewarm match and I assume much of it was because of how the earlier Hell in a Cell Match on the card suddenly ended. Vince clearly didn’t want to take ANY chances and kudos to him for keeping Brock Lesnar–now clearly growing a beard–being there a closely guarded secret.

Before Lesnar came out, the four aforementioned superstars randomly showed up and started fighting each other outside, on top of and in the case of Rollins and Ziggler while hanging from the side of the cell. As soon as they came out, attention shifted away from Reigns and Strowman, who were laid out inside the cell. Until Lesnar came out, you almost forgot there was a match going on inside the cell because of the shift in focus.

The match ended in a No Contest but it doesn’t change the fact Strowman joins Baron Corbin, John Cena and Damien Sandow (Aron Rex in ROH) on the list of Superstars who failed to cash in the briefcase. We will find out tonight if this was a one-off from Lesnar or if he will be around to help put Reigns and Strowman over (again). It was obvious Strowman’s Heel turn was sloppy and rushed so…yeah.

As for other matches on the card:

  • Rollins and Ambrose vs. ZIggler and McIntyre stole the show and as mentioned before, all four participants showed up during the main event. A rematch for the RAW Tag Team Championships is clearly coming sooner than later.
  • Rousey retaining makes sense and is likely setting up for Nia Jaxx getting her obligatory rematch, likely at Evolution vs. Rousey. The rib injury was obviously kayfabe to make Alexa look good and make Rousey look beatable. It was nicely done.
  • AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe should’ve been a HIAC Match. The outcome is why I say that. The finish was shades of Taker and Lesnar’s HIAC Match back in 2015 only this time a title is on the line.
  • The New Day retained vs. Rusev Day but they will face The Bar next. It was a good match overall.
  • Becky Lynch upsetting Charlotte didn’t surprise me. Smackdown’s Women’s Division doesn’t have any strong Top Heels other than Carmella so Becky’s Heel turn was well timed. She could feud with not just Charlotte but Naomi, Brie Bella and Asuka as well.

 

The next two PPV events are the Super Show-Down in Australia and the female-only Evolution, both in October. Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia and Survivor Series are in November while TLC is in December. The Road to Wrestlemania begins again in January’s Royal Rumble.

 

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Hell in a Cell’s wild ending clearly to protect both Reigns and Strowman

Breaking: Jeff Hardy takes nasty fall inside Hell in a Cell match with Randy Orton

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Unsurprisingly, the opening Hell in a Cell Match came to a dramatic end. Also unsurprisingly, the Face left the match on a stretcher. The difference is this time it happened inside the ring, not outside of it.

After setting up Randy Orton on a table inside the ring, Jeff Hardy crashed and burned hard after swinging from the top of the cell from the inside. Orton getting out of the way at the last minute was obviously planned. What Hardy clearly misjudged and tried to improvise was the finish and that was obviously botched. He appeared to land on his face and throat, exploding through the table.

An obvious hush came over the arena at that point. Orton, who had a nasty laceration on his left thigh made the right call staying in character and sceaming at the ref to make the three-count and officially end the match. He was clearly disturbed by what had just happened but had the presence of mind to stay in character long enough to make sure the match didn’t end as a No Contest.

I will update this post once more info on Jeff Hardy’s condition is made available. The good news is he was conscious and alert as he was taken from the ring on a stretcher. Just yesterday, his brother Matt Hardy officially retired. The irony.

Breaking: Jeff Hardy takes nasty fall inside Hell in a Cell match with Randy Orton

The Undertaker and Mankind reflect on their legendary 1998 Hell in a Cell Match 20 years later

Image result for WWE Hell in a Cell 1998

Before I begin, here is the match in full (Warning: Bad Quality):

Both superstars involved share their thoughts on the legendary match here: https://www.wwe.com/videos/undertaker-and-mick-foley-relive-their-infamous-hell-in-a-cell-match

It can’t be embedded so you’ll have to go there to see it. The video is 15 minutes long.

 

You hear The Undertaker speaking out of character, which is something WWE rarely allowed him to do until in recent years. In two documentaries on WWE Network–one or RAW 1000, the other on Wrestlemania 33–you see ‘Taker out of costume and street clothes just being casual. This is aside from pictures of The Phenom at social gatherings and private events being shared on Twitter.

Anyway, the documenary is pretty cool as you get to hear what both superstars were thinking before, during and after the match. You also hear commentary from Referee Tim White, who officiated the match as well as Sargeant Slaughter (WWE Commissioner at the time) and Jim Ross, who called the match alongside Jerry “The King” Lawler.

At the very least, you gain a greater appreciation for Mick Foley literally risking his life to make what is now considered the most shocking moment in WWE history. Speaking of, Mick Foley will feature in a special pre-recorded presentation after the HIAC PPV.

The Undertaker and Mankind reflect on their legendary 1998 Hell in a Cell Match 20 years later

WWE announces Mixed Match Challenge Season 2!

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It’s back!

Team Awe-Suka–The Miz and Asuka-won the inaugural Mixed Match Challenge earlier this year. They were on RAW at the time but are both now on Smackdown. They will be back along with 3 other teams from the first season: Jimmy Uso + Naomi (Married), Rusev + Lana (Married) and Alexa Bliss + Braun Strowman (no surprise).

We know of six other teams that will be joining them:

Image result for WWE Mixed Match Challenge

The first Season had 12 teams to start. The other two teams have not be revealed as of yet but as you can see, it will air live on Facebook Watch immediately after Smackdown just like before. Episodes will be available on WWE Network a few days later, usually by Friday morning.

You can see from the poster that this time, they show the teams already paired off as well as by brand. Kevin Owens returning this week on RAW is likely mostly to help promote the Mixed Match Challenge with his partner Natalya. R-Truth has already been promoting it with his promos involving Carmella.

That reminds me. The MMC is independent of existing Raw or Smackdown storylines. It’s just a little something for the fans to see some of their favorite superstars in action. It’s fine if they are out of character as well since it has no bearing on existing storylines they may be involved in.

Roman Reigns and Nia Jaxx announced on Twitter that they will be paired for the MMC, noting their being included was omitted from the initial announcement. It’s unconfirmed but Cien Almas and Zelena Vega will likely be one of the other remaining teams. The word is Vince has been very impressed with Cien Almas since he came to the main roster so far so…yeah.

Like before, the winning team gets $100,000 for the charity of their choice while the losing teams get $10,000 for the charity of their choice. Let’s be real, The Miz + Asuka won Season 1 to protect Asuka’s undefeated streak at the time. Her win streak ended at Wrestlemania so this year, anyone could win.

The rumor mill is abuzz Team Little Big might be getting serious with each other and more so given their Road Trip Segments. Adam Scherr (Braun Strowman) and Lexi Kaufman (Alexa Bliss) are both Heels but The Monster Among Men is Over with the WWE Universe. Little Miss Bliss being a Vegetarian could be a problem for Strowman, who is big on eating meat himself. Even if they don’t get serious, just teasing it is good for now and they both know it.

AJ styles and Charlotte both currently have the top Smackdown titles so their pairing makes a bit of sense. AJ Styles is not expected to drop the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell and is likely a reward for showing up for work every week. Charlotte may drop the title to Becky Lynch or Carmella though the latter feels like the most likely if she drops the title.

Why?

Because WWE plans to book a Four Horsewomen vs. Four Horsewomen Match at Survivor Series. Everyone knows about Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Bayley from their NXT days. They carried the Women’s Division in NXT and all four won titles when they went to the main roster.

Charlotte was the first Superstar period to win a title on both brands (first on RAW, then on Smackdown) as well as the first RAW Women’s Champion and the last Divas Champion. She is a 5-time Champion as well (which Booker T conveniently omitted during his promo with The New Day two weeks ago). Sasha Banks is a 2-time RAW Women’s Champion, winning both times vs. Charlotte. Becky Lynch is Smackdown’s first Women’s Champion while Bayley had a title run on RAW herself two years ago.

On the other side you have former UFC athletes RAW Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey and NXT’s Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler (won the NXT Women’s Title and held it for a while) along with Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke. Shafir and Duke are both training at WWE’s Performance Center and the Survivor Series match could be used to showcase both of them. Shayna Baszler could be moved to the main roster by then, likely Smackdown since RAW has too many top names in the Women’s Division.

Anywho, the two teams of four facing off was teased during the Mae Young Classic when seven of them were involved in that now imfamous awkwardly done promo. Now WWE is clearly laying the groundwork for them to clash at Survivor Series. Duke and Shafir could both bypass NXT but I think at least one of them will be in NXT.

Moving on.

It’s easy to understand why most don’t think a real match between male and female wrestlers can be done. Their match highlighted some of the obvious challenges. The closest we have to that now are mixed tag matches. The match involving Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Triple H and Steph at Wrestlemania gave some ideas on how it could be done while making both participants look strong.

A few ideas:

  • Less Strike Moves, More Grappling: Let’s be honest, Rousey and Nia are probably the only two female superstars who could seriously get in the ring with Brock Lesnar, Samoa Joe or Braun Strowman. Rousey has the experience and Nia has the raw power to put on a decient match with one of them. That aside, cross-gender matches would focus less on strike moves and more on showcasing pure mat skills.
  • Matching Styles: Both competators would have to adjust to compliment the other’s style of wrestling. Both Becky Lynch and Dean Ambrose are brawlers and could probably go all out against each other. AJ Styles is a mostly technical superstar. It would match up pretty well with Asuka, who is also a mostly technical superstar.
  • Modified or different Finishers: Obviously, Seth Rollins can’t use his recently returned Curb Stomp (even as a Heel). Finn Balor can’t use the Coup de Grace either. Neither could Samoa Joe use his sleeper hold. It would just look really bad in a mixed gender match no matter who is involved. Bray Wyatt can use Sister Abigail normally as can The Miz use the Skull-Crushing Finale.

…Steph took a Spear from Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 32 and sold it well. Steph also sold an RKO from Randy Orton on RAW years ago well, too. Who can forget the time Linda McMahon botched talking a Stone Cold Stunner?

Mind you, there are some women not named Ronda Rousey or Charlotte Flair who can hold their own against most of the top male superstars, let alone the midcard male superstars as well. Asuka, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Bayley, Nia Jaxx, Naomi and maybe Alexa Bliss and Ember Moon immediately come to mind. Not just raw mat skills but can make the contest look good for both of them.

WWE will figure out a way to make it work. No one else is interested in even trying so…yeah.

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WWE announces Mixed Match Challenge Season 2!

The Stephanie McMahon Collection added to WWE Network this week!

Image result for Stephanie McMahon WWE Network

…And man, the Family Feud storyline I forgot she was involved in. Not the one involving Shane McMahon from a few years ago or the first one involving Shane, Vince, The Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin. I mean the one involving her, Vince, Sable and her mother Linda McMahon.

At the time, Steph was the General Manager of Smackdown (remember that?). From what I remember, the idea was to build Steph as a credible in-ring competator. Mind you, this was some 15 years before the Women’s Revolution swept across WWE. The only real way to make her credible was to make it a mixed match against a male competator. No surprise, Vince would be the male competator. Remember, this was back when he was still regularly competing in matches.

The build for their match had all the absurdity you would expect (and some say would later kill Linda McMahon’s two failed Senate campaigns). The angle was Vince is revealed to have been having an affair with Sable (she would marry Brock Lesnar a few years later), Steph, who was mega popular as the Smackdown GM fell out of favor as GM with Vince because she was so popular.

So, he decided to make an I Quit Match (With No DQ and No Holds Barred obviously) with her to teach her a lesson. Linda obviously had a problem with the idea and then the “affair” with Sable was revealed. As for the match itself, obviously Vince carried it. When he’s against male superstars, they do the carrying but in this case he had to mainly because he was putting her Over.

Storyline absurdity aside, he made her look good in the ring. You almost forgot it wasn’t a real match per se and everything was carefully scripted to protect both of the McMahons (Linda and Sable were both ringside during the match). Plus they used a lead pipe on each other. Not gonna lie, even though it was obviously carefully choreographed it was pretty hard to watch.

The rest of the collection highlights her biggest on-screen matches and moments. Yes, that includes her one Women’s title win vs. Jacqueline which was literally handed to her (she was a Heel at the time). All she did was pin after her opponent was planted by Torrie Wilson. It marked the first time a couple held both top titles at the same time (Triple H was the WWE Champion at the time).

Steph’s match at Wrestlemania 34 was actually her first time in the ring since she clashed with Brie Bella several years earlier. Clearly she will be getting back in the ring at least once before the year is over. I will be very surprised if she isn’t booked in a match at Evolution. As for who, that’s the question.

Steph is now the face of WWE at the corporate level (along with her husband Triple H). This collection is a long time coming!

 

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The Stephanie McMahon Collection added to WWE Network this week!

Hell in a Cell has a few matches nicely set up already

Image result for WWE Hell in a Cell 2018

…More so given Lesnar will likely not be around for the rest of the year. Kudos to WWE for having the sense to bring in Braun Strowman for Reigns/Lesnar at Summer Slam. Folks heading for the exits probably ran back to their seats as soon as his music hit. LOL. It was obvious when Lesnar threw the Briefcase up the ramp Strowman was only there to keep the house crowd from leaving before the finish. It wasn’t like everyone didn’t know Reigns was booked to win so…yeah.

Strowman is actually supposed to be a Heel but he is so Over with the WWE Universe right now, Reigns/Strowman would hurt Reigns alot. So, what’s likely gonna have to happen first is Reigns is gonna drop the belt to someone, who is then cashed in on by Strowman. It would have to be indirect to protect both of their characters…or that’s what I would say if not for what happened at Summer Slam. I would not be surprised if all bets are off now.

Moving on.

I see at least four Hell in a Cell Matches that can or should be done:

 

  • Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch: Becky’s Heel turn prettymuch set it up. Carmella could be added to make it a Triple Threat but it would make much more sense for it to be one on one.
  • AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe: The finish at Summer Slam more or less demands we get a HIAC Match to settle things. Oh, the sweet destruction they would unleash on each other in that kind of setting.
  • Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jaxx: Alexa Bliss would be damned if she got in HIAC but Rousey/Jaxx would work and work well. Plus, Nia hasn’t had her obligatory rematch yet anyway so…yeah. Speaking of, Nia was noticably absent from RAW tonight.
  • Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman: Confirmed on the August 27 Edition of RAW ironically. Strowman will cash in the briefcase for that match. Clearly he is being built as the Heel (which he always was despite being cheered for) even if temporarily.

…Yes, I do see at least two of the HIAC matches involving women. It didn’t happen last year because the chemistry wasn’t there first and Hell in a Cell was Smackdown-exclusive second. The New Day vs. The Usos stole the show last year though.

The Shield reuniting at the end of the August 20 Edition of RAW permanently squashed speculation of a Dean Ambrose Heel turn. Ziggler vs. Rollins for the IC title seems pretty obvious and as a bonus, we could see Ambrose vs. McIntyre.

D-Bry vs. The Miz in a HIAC Match would have been EPIC but what we got instead–D-Bry + Brie vs. The Miz + Maryse is all kinds of awesome sauce. As a reminder, John Cena and Nikki Bella faced The “It” Couple at Wrestlemania 33 last year. Like back then, this matchup was YEARS in the making. The interesting thing is both couples racently had a baby. We do know their daughters have watched their fathers compete in PPVs. Could we one day see the their daughters continue the family feud in 20 years?!

Speaking of the Bellas. So, we know Brie is back and on Smackdown. Nikki is another story though. They were both ringside for Rousey/Bliss to keep fans in the dark about Brie’s return to in-ring action. We don’t yet know what Nikki Bella will be doing but I would not be surprised if she’s booked for a match at Hell in a Cell too.

WWE’s figured out how to keep storylines from being leaked online despite the internet, which is great. The biggest is just not telling the superstars themselves until either the day of or just before the match happens. Another is just subtle stuff like having the Bellas on the August 20 Edition of RAW. No one expected Brie to pop up on Smackdown until she actually did. There are the rumors Ronda Rousey could be set up to face Nikki but the question is when. I think Carmella or Alexa Bliss should face her at Hell in a Cell. Some breadcrumbs for either feud are already there.

This is to say nothing of the two big PPVs coming up that are not the Survivor Series or The Royal Rumble:  Evolution and The Super Show-Down. I’ll go over matches confirmed so far for both events in a separate post.

 

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Hell in a Cell has a few matches nicely set up already

Stephanie McMahon and Triple H are now the face of WWE at the Corporate Level

Image result for WWE Triple H and Stephanie McMahon

There is a pretty simple reason Vince McMahon rarely appears onscreen these days: He looks his age. The soon to be 74 year old Chairman and Principal Owner of WWE no longer looks how he did when he got in the ring with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and he was in his early 50s at that time. Rank and file WWE Employees have candidly described Vince’s intense early morning exercise regiment that continued long after his last in-ring appearance.

These days, Vince exclusively works backstage and out of the spotlight making sure Raw, Smackdown and PPVs run smoothly. He sometimes works one on one with talent when not too busy as well. He last appeared on screen earlier this year during the build for Reigns vs. Lesnar Wrestlemania match. Before that, he put over Kevin Owens last year in the build to KO vs. Shane McMahon at last year’s Hell in a Cell (You can clearly see Vince tell KO to deck him hard). Vince will likely make an appearance at Smackdown’s 1000th Episode like he did for RAW’s 25th Anniversary and RAW 1000.

For promotions and public appearances outside TV, Triple H and/or Stephanie McMahon are there to represent the company. Steph and Triple H are the heirs to the company presumably when Vince is no longer able to do the job. Shane McMahon’s sudden return a few years ago caused a stir as Triple H and Steph had concerns Shane was legit back at the corporate level.

Clearly that wasn’t the case. Shane confirmed himself two years ago he doesn’t have a role outside his on-screen character so…yeah. Speaking of, Shane is taking some time off and that’s why he hasn’t been seen since he appointed Paige as the new Smackdown GM. He is expected to return to TV “soon” and likely to help build for Smackdown’s 1000th episode in October.

Triple H runs NXT aside from his role as the Vice CEO of WWE. Stephanie McMahon is the Executive President of Talent aside from her on-screen role as the RAW Commissioner. We do know Triple H has been booked in a match with the Undertaker at an event in Australia later this year (Will be carried by WWE Network). Triple H last competed against John Cena at The Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia. I would be very surprised if Stephanie does not compete at Evolution. She last competed alongside Triple H at Wrestlemania 34 against Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle in a mixed tag match.

 

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Stephanie McMahon and Triple H are now the face of WWE at the Corporate Level