On “Raw” over the past few weeks, it had seemed that internal logic and consistency had taken a back seat to what would be more entertaining in the moment. The show took so many weird turns, particularly in the main-event picture, that didn't seem to make sense, and yet the show seemed to revel in the chaos. And that seemed to be the approach WWE took with the main event of the night.
The match seemed to be proceeding as expected, a hard-hitting competition involving liberal use of the Cell structure and weapons. However, things took a turn when Reigns speared Strowman through a propped-up table. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre came out to try to get in the Cell, which brought out Rollins and Ambrose. The four brawled around the Cell, and then went up to the top, where they continued to fight. While nobody flew off the top, Rollins and Ziggler climbed down halfway before taking a simultaneous tumble through an announcing table. Despite this going on for nearly 10 minutes, Reigns and Strowman stayed motionless in the ring.
That wouldn't be the case for long, though, as soon after Rollins and Ziggler took their tumble, Brock Lesnar's music hit, and he came out with Paul Heyman. Lesnar ripped the door off the Cell before going in to attack both Reigns and Strowman. Heyman took care of any officials who tried to stop the assault, including spraying mace into the eyes of referee Mick Foley. Lesnar eventually finished his assault, left the ring, and a ref came in to call for the bell, ruling the match a no-contest.
Now, did any of this really make sense? No. The last 10 minutes of the match had nothing to do with Lesnar or Reigns in what should have been the next step of a true blood feud between the two. How was there a no-contest in a “Hell in a Cell” match? Even when Kane showed up in the first match, the match continued. With all that being said, does it really matter? Even the people who didn't particularly like the ending, for these reasons and more, seemed to be entertained by the whirlwind of chaos that descended on the pay-per-view. This isn't something that can continue long-term. We've seen what can happen with a long stretch of nonsensical booking with Vince Russo in WCW (or TNA). Fans stop accepting the fun if it comes at the expense of any logic. However, for one stretch, it's doable, and WWE is certainly testing the limits of how far they can go.
The rest of ‘Hell in a Cell’
» AJ Styles successfully retained the WWE title against Samoa Joe, but not without controversy. Joe had the Coquina Clutch locked in, and had Styles in the middle of the ring. Styles flipped over, pinning Joe's shoulders to the mat, and got the three count. However, after Joe complained, another angle was shown where Styles clearly tapped out before the three count. Paige acknowledged the mistake was made, but said the ref's decision would be final. However, Joe will get another rematch.
» Becky Lynch won the “SmackDown” women's title from Charlotte Flair. This was a great match from the two that featured Lynch working on Flair’s arm and shoulder for most of the match and Flair fighting back when she could. Finally, Flair got a head of steam, and looked as if she could win as she was hitting a spear. However, it was reversed into a pin, and Lynch got the three count. As she was celebrating her title win to the adulation of the crowd, Flair tried to shake her hand, but Lynch was having none of it. She said she wasn't letting Flair steal her moment, and backed up the ramp with the title in hand.
» The Miz and Maryse beat Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella as Maryse reversed a roll-up from Bella into a pin of her own. While it was the women who factored into the fall, it is interesting that they would have Miz beat Bryan twice in a row, with another match between the two looming in Australia next month.
» Ronda Rousey beat Alexa Bliss to retain her title. Alexa gave much more a fight than she did at “SummerSlam” However, Rousey eventually overpowered Bliss and forced her to tap out to the armbar.
» In what was perhaps the match of the night, Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler retained their titles against Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. In a night that had all sorts of crazy weapon use in the Cell matches, and crazy finishes, this was a straightforward tag match, but one that was just performed excellently. At the end of the match, Drew McIntyre was able to hit the Claymore on Rollins as Rollins was about to hit Ziggler with the Falcon Arrow following the Superplex. Ziggler fell on Rollins for the pin.
» Randy Orton beat Jeff Hardy in the first Hell in a Cell match of the night. This was a brutal match with a lot of weapon usage. At one point, Orton stuck a screwdriver through Hardy's earlobe. The finish came when Hardy put Orton on a table, and tried to swing from the top of the cage onto the table. Orton moved, and Hardy went through. The ref tried to stop the match immediately, but Orton demanded that the ref count the pin.
» The New Day beat Rusev Day on the pre-show to retain their titles.
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