WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 Kickoff Show
Live on the WWE Network and YouTube
San Antonio, Texas at AT&T Center
- Kickoff Show panelists are the Coach, Booker T, Paige, and Peter Rosenberg. We start off with a video package for Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch, as they begin to run down the card.
- Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Rollins acknowledged The Shield could hold all of the men’s gold on Raw by the end of the night. Rollins said they refer to themselves as the workhorses of Raw and tonight is another chance to prove it.
- David Otunga replaces Booker T on the panel, and we move on to a video package for Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton. Paige announces that Hardy vs. Orton will be the opening match on the match card. Next up is a video package for AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe.
- Alexa Bliss is interviewed by the panel backstage. She said Ronda Rousey has a massive ego and she actually believes she is the best at everything. Otunga went to ask a question, but Bliss blew him off by walking off the interview set. Good stuff.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: New Day (c) vs. Rusev Day
This was a good opening match. Lots of dramatic near falls on both sides and there was some miscommunications between Rusev and English which will no doubt further the story between these two. The end of the match saw English put Kingston in an Accolade. Rusev returned from being knocked down on the outside and caught Big E with a kick. Kingston fought out of the submission hold and hit Trouble in Paradise on English and pinned him.
New Day defeats Rusev and Aiden English in 8:55 to retain the Smackdown Tag Titles. (**1/2)
- Mike Rome interviewed Mick Foley backstage. Foley is wearing his homemade referee shirt of course. Baron Corbin showed up and asked Foley if he was up for the match. Foley offered him general manager advice, but Corbin cut him off and said he would let his performance speak for itself.
- They run a promo package for the Universal title match between Roman Reigns versus Braun Strowman which will be inside Hell in a Cell.
Tom Phillips welcomed viewers to the show and noted that there were 15,216 fans in the sold out venue.
Hell in a Cell Match: Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy
Orton won when Hardy climbed to the top of a ladder in the cell, grabbed the top of the cell and started swinging back and forth like he's on a set of monkey bars and fell down through a table when Orton moved. They are doing this like an injury angle. The ref screamed for EMTs while Orton demanded he count the pin, which he did. This was a violent match with Orton using a screwdriver to Hardy's ear and put it in the earlobe where his gauge would normally be and twisted it around. That was disturbing to witness. Orton also kicked out of a twist of fate and swanton on a chair. Orton was bleeding from the back from being whipped by Hardy's studded belt, and also from chair shots Orton was bleeding from both the thigh and the calf. This was a slow paced methodical match, all story telling. It was good in that way, went really long and by the end the crowd was into it. The crowd was chanting Hardy as he was taken out on a stretcher. Orton had used chair shots and whipped Hardy with Hardy's own belt earlier. Very much an old school style match that worked.
Randy Orton defeated Jeff Hardy in 25:00 via pinfall. (***)
- Backstage AJ Styles is doing an interview with Kayla Braxton. The crowd gave him a big reaction. Styles said he can't wait for the match to start because he's laser focused.
Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Becky Lynch
Lynch won the title clean when Charlotte hit the spear and she rolled through for the pin. The match was decent with Lynch working the left arm and Charlotte working the left leg. Lynch was the clear babyface to the crowd. The end saw Lynch apply a Disarmher. Charlotte reached the ropes. Lynch waited until the referee counted to four before breaking the count. Charlotte went for a spear and Lynch countered by rolling over onto Charlotte and scored the pin. The fans cheered loudly! Charlotte wanted to shake her hand and Lynch refused and said that Charlotte would not take her moment from her. I was really hoping for a double turn, but it looks like they are going forward with Becky playing the heel role.
Becky Lynch beat Charlotte Flair in 13:55 to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship. (***1/2)
- The broadcast team said Jeff Hardy was taken to a medical facility with severe abdominal pain. The broadcast team recapped New Day defeating Rusev Day to retain the Smackdown Tag Titles on the Kickoff Show.
- Big E and Xavier Woods celebrated their win backstage. Big E pulled out a bell and called for Bootyworth, who brought them champagne. Kramer Kingsman (Kofi Kingston) entered the room and asked them what’s next. Big E said they are going under and will defend the tag titles against The Bar. They poured a Gatorade jug filled with pancakes over the head of Bootyworth.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose
This was one hell of a match. Loads of near falls and it was clear that they tired to position McIntyre as a future top singles guy, and it worked. They kept getting heat on the different Shield guys over and over. Ambrose gave Ziggler a massive superplex before they went to the finish. Rollins and Ambrose did consecutive dives and Rollins missed a dive. Rollins gave Ziggler a falcon arrow but McIntyre hit Rollins with a Claymore kick and Ziggler pinned him in a magnificent sequence to end the match.
Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler defeated Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose in 22:50 to retain the Raw Tag Titles. (****)
- Backstage, Braun Strowman was watching and Mick Foley told him the cell would change him. He told him your life would change. He told Strowman to respect his authority. Strowman told him I promise you don't want a monster problem.
WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe
In what was another good match between these two. Styles' mouth was all busted up from a clothesline perhaps. Styles hit a Pele kick and went for the phenomenal forearm but Joe sidestepped him and turned it into a choke. Joe was holding the choke and Styles rolled on top of him for the pin whilst Styles tapped out. The commentators are trying to say that maybe Styles tapped before the three count and Joe was furious. Joe was screaming for Paige. They showed a slow motion angle and Styles definitely tapped before the three count so that's leading to a rematch. Post match saw Styles hit him with an enzuigiri.
AJ Styles defeated Samoa Joe in 19:00 to retain the WWE Championship. (***1/2)
- An ad aired for the Mick Foley “20 Years of Hell” special that will premiere after HIAC on WWE Network.
- A shot aired of Ronda Rousey preparing for her match.
- Charley Caruso interviewed The Miz and Maryse on the interview set. Maryse said Brie Bella put her hands on Miz twice because she knows he can’t do anything in response. She boasted that she can. Miz said they don’t call him and Maryse the hardest hitting couple in WWE for nothing. A video package set up the mixed match match.
Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse
Miz & Maryse won when Maryse pinned Brie using the ropes when reversing a rolling reverse cradle by Brie which looked horrible and kind of ruined the match for me. This was a really good match although it's three somewhat similar reverse cradle finishes in six matches with the Styles win and the Lynch win. Crowd was hot for Bryan who did more than he's done to date even missing a diving head-butt. Brie made a hot tag that the people were with since they kept Brie and Maryse out most of the way. Maryse wasn't very good but Brie looked good and got the crowd behind her. She threw a ton of punches on Miz when Miz tried to protect Maryse. Miz was bleeding from the side of the head from an errant punch.
The Miz and Maryse defeated Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella in 13:00. (**)
- The announce team claimed Jeff Hardy is throwing up blood so they are doing an injury angle with him.
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
Good match, although a little awkward at time, but much better than expected. Rousey spent much of the match selling her ribs and really at no point did she look green. Her facial selling was really good and her offense was strong. Mickie James and Alicia Fox interfered and at one point Natalya suplexed Fox on the floor. Rousey finally made her comeback with a spinning Samoan drop and armbar for the win.
Ronda Rousey defeated Alexa Bliss in 12:05 to retain the Raw Women’s Championship. (**)
Samoa Joe was furious because Styles tapped out. Paige says she would give him a rematch in Australia in three weeks. He said that's not soon enough. Joe demanded a no DQ no count out match and she agreed and evidently that's the Super Show-Down match in Australia. They also hyped Cena & Lashey vs. Owens & Elias, Underaker vs. HHH for the Australia special on October 6th live at the MCG.
Hell in a Cell Match for the Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Braun Strowman
This main event was all over the place. Reigns and Strowman went at it at a fast pace, with Reigns kicking out of a running powerslam and Strowman kicking out of many Superman punches and a spear through a table. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre came out which brought out Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. They all wound up on top of the cell with some wild brawling, including Ambrose using kendo stick shots. Ziggler and Rollins then both went to climb down. They were brawling and both fell from halfway down through two different announces tables. This led to Lesnar and Paul Heyman coming out to a big pop. Heyman wanted the key to the cage but the ref wouldn't let him have it. Lesnar kicked down the door and destroyed both Reigns and Strowman with broken parts of the table. They had both been selling on their back for about six minutes or more at this stage while everything else was going on on top of the cell. Eventually, Lesnar gave both men F-5s and left. The match was ruled a no contest when it was ruled neither man could continue, so obviously that builds a rematch in some form, possibly a triple threat with Lesnar included. The show then rushed off the air as the audience was upset about the non-finish.
Roman Reigns fought Braun Strowman to a no-contest in a Hell in a Cell match in 24:00. (**1/2)
Overall, the show was solid and entertaining. I enjoyed it for the most part, but the main event was slow and uneventful until the run-ins started and the cheap finish ended the night on a sour note.
Thanks for reading.