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Women make history at Hell in a Cell

For The Baltimore Sun
Who won the main event at Hell in a Cell?

Coming into Hell in a Cell, we knew some history would be made, as two women would step into the structure for the first time. However, what we didn't know for sure was that for the first time ever, two women would be the main event of a WWE pay-per-view. And, once again, the women lived up to the billing.

It had been rumored that Sasha Banks and Charlotte might close out Hell in a Cell, and once Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens stepped into the cell around 9:15, it was confirmed for the world. And they made it a big deal. Both got special entrances, with Charlotte being carried out on a throne, and Sasha getting driven in. They were given special introductions, before the cell lowered. And then, after the intros, they stood there, looking up, as the cell lowered around them.

From there, the two went on to have a hell of a match (no pun intended). The match actually started on the outside, as the two started to brawl before the cell structure had finished lowering to the floor. They spilled outside and, after briefly brawling into the crowd, they came back to the cell, where the first major spot of the night took place. Both women started scaling the cell, and while they didn't reach the top, Charlotte dropped down, and then would powerbomb Sasha through an announce table.

This is where the story in the match really started. Playing up her past back injuries, Sasha would have trouble getting up, and as she started to move around the cell, she collapsed several times. Finally, a stretcher would be brought out, in an homage to the Mankind/Undertaker Hell in a Cell match. Just as the announcement was being made that the match would be called, Sasha made her way off the cell, and finally got in as the fight got under way. The two pulled out all the stops, flying through the cell, using the structure in creative ways, and incorporating tables along the way. And finally, when the dust cleared, Sasha couldn't overcome the back injury, and Charlotte was able to hit Natural Selection for the win, becoming a three-time champion in the process.

For what it's worth, I thought it was a correct choice to put this match on last, and not just for the obvious reasons. Yes, if there was ever a time to put a women's match on last, this was the time. And yes, this was a personal feud that belonged in the cell. And yes, the match quality lived up to a main-event billing.

But just from a match-structure standpoint, it made sense. Much like when Brock Lesnar beat The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30, the crowd was stunned by the finish. It seemed certain that Sasha would win, after all, she had just won the title back a few weeks ago. And with the hometown crowd firmly behind her, the win by Charlotte completely sucked the air out of the building. If they had put that on in the middle of the show, the show would not have recovered. So if for no other reason than that, the match should have gone last. Throw in all of the other factors? It's a no-brainer.

As far as why Charlotte won, that's a bit more of a head-scratcher. For Sasha to get two reigns that each lasted less than four weeks so quickly seems odd. The only thing that I can think of is that the initial plan was for Sasha to hold the belt from her initial title win in late-July until now. Charlotte was always supposed to win the belt back at Hell in a Cell. The initial Sasha injury derailed that, and they felt that they still wanted Charlotte to specifically win the belt back at this show. So, in a bit of twisted logic, they had to have Sasha win it again. It's not perfectly logical, but if that's the case, you can see where they were going. 

The “Divas Revolution” promised history last summer. Over a year later, that promise was fulfilled. The only question now is, “What's next?”

 The Rest of Hell in a Cell:

 -While the show will be remembered for the women's match, and for good reason, it would be wrong to overlook the Universal Title match between Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins. So many of the recent Hell in a Cell matches haven't figured out how to use the structure itself in a match. It either becomes a basic match or, more frequently, it just becomes a hardcore match, that just so happens to take place in the cell. Owens and Rollins found that balance, and used the cell in many creative ways to enhance the match. Even Chris Jericho's run-in, which was obvious, was done in a pretty creative way, as a ref had to be helped out, and Jericho used that moment to slip in to the cage. And eventually, it would be Jericho who made the difference, as Kevin Owens would retain his title.

-In the other Hell in a Cell match (which went on first), Roman Reigns successfully defended his U.S. title against Rusev. This match became a bit weapon-heavy, as stairs, a kendo stick, and a chain came into play. That's not necessarily a knock against the match, as it helped differentiate it from the other matches. Both wrestlers did a good job in this match, but it doesn't help that the match was built much like the Cena matches so many got sick of. Rusev had a chain-assisted Accolade locked on Reigns at the end of a grueling match, and that should have ended it. But instead, Reigns fights out, hits a Samoan drop on the stairs, hits a Spear, and that's it. It was a solid match, but the ending certainly soured many on it if social media response is to be taken into account.

-The women's title wasn't the only title to change hands at Hell in a Cell. Brian Kendrick won the Cruiserweight title, winning his first singles title 13 years after first debuting in WWE. He used some heel tactics to win it, faking an injury and then catching TJ Perkins off-guard to catch him with the Captain's Hook. It's hard to call it a surprising win based on the way the two were booked on Monday, but overall it's a little bit surprising for the Cruiserweight Classic winner to lose the belt this quickly. However, with so many of the top Cruiserweights who are signed, like Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander and Lince Dorado, being faces, this might open the division up a bit.

-The New Day successfully defended their titles, but not without a little bit of controversy. It looked like Sheamus and Cesaro might actually be on the same page, and on the verge of winning when Cesaro had Xavier Woods locked into the Sharpshooter. On the outside, with the ref focusing on the in-ring action, Sheamus grabbed the trombone, and hit Big E with it to make sure that he wouldn't break the hold. Kofi was able to get it away from Sheamus, and then hit Sheamus with it, and the ref saw that and called for the bell. So Sheamus and Cesaro won by DQ, though The New Day retained. This is perfectly fine booking, as I do think that Cesaro and Sheamus could end up being something, but they didn't need to win the titles here.

-The Club finally was able to get a win on pay-per-view, as they beat Enzo and Cass. There wasn't anything too fancy about this one, and The Club got a clean win, which was much-needed for them if they were ever going to be a real threat in the tag division.

-Bayley beat Dana Brooke cleanly and decisively.

Questions? Thoughts? Leave them in the comment section here, email me, or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster. You can also hear my podcast, Jobbing Out, at https://soundcloud.com/jobbingout

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