November 26, 2011
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

WWE: Hell in a Cell 2011
October 2, 2011
New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Arena

The current WWE champs were as follows:
WWE Champion: John Cena (9/18/2011)
WWE U.S. Champion: Dolph Ziggler (6/19/2011)
World Heavyweight Champion: Mark Henry (9/18/2011)
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Cody Rhodes (8/12/2011)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Air Boom (8/22/2011)
WWE Divas Champion: Kelly Kelly (6/20/2011)

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jim Ross, and Booker T.

Sheamus vs. Christian
The Miz and R-Truth were “future endeavored” by the COOHHH after what went down at Night of Champions, but now we see them in the audience because they have TICKETS~! The WWE Executive VP of Talent Relations Johnny Ace confronts them and orders for security to escort them out of the building. They go quietly – for now anyways. Sheamus uses his strength to control to start. Christian just can’t get anything going until he knocks Sheamus off the top rope to the floor below. He tries to wear down Sheamus in the ring, but he can’t follow up on anything major. Back and forth stuff follows. STRONG booking for Sheamus here. Christian gets a spear on the floor and one inside, but only gets two. Christian can’t hit the KILLSWITCH and Sheamus can’t deliver the CELTIC CROSS. However, the BROGUE KICK will do. Sheamus covers for the 1-2-3. (13:41) Like I said, strong booking for Sheamus as they need him to be the #2 babyface on Smackdown behind Orton, fella. He really looked good here too. **½

In the back, Matt Striker brings out the world champ Mark Henry. Tonight, Randy Orton is going to join the HALL OF PAIN~!

Sin Cara Azul vs. Sin Cara Negro
Yes, it’s blue versus black. They dim the lights with a yellow spotlight shining on the ring, which just reminds me of the days of Glacier. Lucha-style feeling out process to start. Headscissors and armdrags follow. Azul delivers a somersault plancha to the floor, but an Asai moonsault was supposed to hit knees. Back in, Negro hits a hilo for two. Big plancha on the floor by Negro. Back inside, Azul makes his comeback and takes Negro to the floor for a dive off the top. In the ring, Negro cuts off the comeback with a powerbomb. They meet up on top for a super armdrag. A variation of the sunset flip powerbomb gets the 1-2-3 for Azul. (9:45) Score one for the blue team. Too much of a lucha match and not enough psychology for me. These two need like a James Gibson to work with if you ask me. **

Elsewhere, David Otunga bothers CM Punk while he’s putting on the wrist tape. Too bad for Otunga. Punk hates lawyers.

WWE Tag Team Champions Air Boom vs. Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero)
Cole reminds us that Air Boom is our fault. He calls it the worst team name since Harlem Heat. SICK BURN ON BOOKA T~! Nevertheless, the story here is whether or not Swagger and Ziggler can keep it together long enough to secure the tag team belts tonight. Kingston and Swagger start us off. Double-teams galore from the tag champs. Bourne gets worked over for a while, but Kingston gets the hot tag only for Swagger to IMMEDIATELY cut him off by separating the top and middle ropes even further to cause Kingston to fly out to the floor. Ziggler and Swagger cut the ring in half for a bit doing all the usual hope spots. When Kofi tries to leap over Swagger for the tag and gets caught, he turns that around into a DDT. There we go. HOT TAG TO BOURNE! Headscissors and kicks! The flying double knees on Ziggler gets two. Swagger comes in and applies the ANKLELOCK, but Kingston saves with a flying bodypress. Oh, but there’s the ZIG ZAG on Kofi. However, only Ziggler and Bourne are legal. Bourne sneaks the small package, but there’s a delayed count that only gets him two. Ziggler sets up Bourne for the SUPERBOMB from Swagger, but Bourne counters that to a headscissors and gets the 1-2-3. (11:19) Not a bad formula tag and the finish was a little out of the ordinary. Vickie squawks at Swagger afterwards for losing. **¾

World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton – Hell in a Cell
And Mark Henry’s reign of terror continues. Orton starts off with a FIERY vengeance, but Henry stops the draping DDT and starts driving Orton into the cage wall and ringpost. Running powerslam gets two. If you think that’s bad, he then gives Orton one on the floor! With Randy up against the cage, Henry HEAVES half of the steps at him and of course misses. There’s some more cage violence and then Henry delivers a splash back inside for 1-2-NO! Backbreakers and bearhugs follow. Back to the floor, Henry wants the WORLD’S STRONGEST SLAM on the bottom half of the steps. Not gonna happen. Orton grabs onto the cage and pulls himself up to stomp Henry in the face a few times. DDT on the steps! He runs Henry into the ringpost a few times and we’re back inside with Orton’s comeback. Thesz press and punches lead to the draping DDT. RKO! Cover, 1-2-NO! Here comes the PUNT, but Henry has better plans. WORLD’S STRONGEST SLAM! (15:59) For the most part, I liked it. Randy Orton chasing the belt makes him more interesting and elevates Mark Henry as well. Since there’s two of these matches happening tonight, you didn’t want it to get too PG-violent where the main event couldn’t follow, so they did the right thing here. After the cage has been raised, Henry tries to PILLMANIZE Orton and fails to do so. Instead, Orton saves a little face for losing by beating Henry all the way backstage with the chair. Hmm, could have probably done without that. ***

Cody Rhodes makes the title belt nerds happy by bringing back the classic IC belt design with the white strap. Anyways, John Laurinaitis joins us to inform Rhodes that he has an impromptu title match with John Morrison right – NOW! Surprise! That’s unfair. He’s wearing a suit!

WWE Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes vs. John Morrison
Cole complains saying that Rhodes can’t do his classic maneuvers in street clothes. What, like the dropkick? Rhodes can’t handle Morrison and tries to leave, but he’s brought back to the ring. Being the first man inside, he gets the first shot on Morrison. He delivers a front suplex and grabs a chinlock. Cody gives Morrison the Hardcore Holly groin kick and then locks on the figure-four. Morrison makes the ropes and mounts a comeback. Standing Shiranui gets two. He can’t get STARSHIP PAIN, but nails the Pele Kick. Flying Chuck misses and Rhodes shoots the Oklahoma Roll for the 1-2-3. (7:20) Short, simple, a chance to put over Rhodes and to continue Morrison’s losing streak! **

In the back, John Laurinaitis finds COOHHH to tell him that the Miz and R-Truth are beating up WWE talent! Oh, it’s just Air Boom. Security handles Awesome Truth pretty easily and escorts them out of the locker room. HHH blames Johnny Ace for not having policemen around to keep them out. If this happens again, Johnny is outta here.

WWE Divas Champion Kelly Kelly (w/Eve) vs. Beth Phoenix (w/Natalya)
Perhaps tonight is the night for Beth. She stretches and bends KK in a bunch of different ways that I’m sure 13 year old boys are loving. Slingshot suplex gets two. Kelly attempts a comeback, but Beth WANTS THE GLAM SLAM. KK refuses and continues to mount her offense. Handspring back splash gets a little too close, but whatever. Flying bulldog gets two. Natalya protests on the apron, which gives her a chance to take out Eve in self-defense. Meanwhile, Beth avoids the K2 and kicks her right in the camel toe! She locks in the AMAZING NATALYA SURFBOARD and stretches Kelly real good all while Natalya gets on the mic and taunts Kelly to scream. AWESOME! Kelly makes the ropes and gets hit with the mic. That knocks her silly enough to make the GLAM SLAM quite an easy task. (8:30) Finally! Someone who can wrestle has the belt again. Will it matter much though since the only other person on the roster that can wrestle as well as she can is her ally? Probably not. That is until they split over some petty disagreement. Glad she finally got the belt. I just wish they stop jobbing people in their hometowns when the crowd was the hottest for her. *½

WWE Champion John Cena vs. CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriquez) – Hell in a Cell
Cena and Punk fight over who is going to lay in the most punches on ADR to start. Being the “smarter” of the two, Punk gets the rollup on Cena for two. Their rivalry continues as they try their finishers on each other. Del Rio attempts an enziguri and misses Punk as he flies out to the floor. Cena scoops him up for an AA, but Punk knocks them both into the cage with a suicide dive. Punk finds a chair and Cena intercepts. He whips Punk into the steps, but he leaps up onto them instead. Oh, but Punk forgets all about ADR and gets shoved off into the cage. So much for the chair, we’ve got Del Rio working over Cena with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. The chair gets wedged in the corner, but Cena fights back with the Protobomb and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Another exchange of finishers is attempted, but Punk runs in and stops the CROSS ARMBREAKER with a MUAY THAI KICK! Punk delivers a neckbreaker-DDT combo! Now comes the table. Punk sets it up at ringside and then gives Cena the running knee on the apron. Looks like he wanted to deliver the running bulldog off the apron through the table, but Cena shoves him off into the cage. Back in, ADR jabs Cena in the gut with the chair, followed by a back suplex onto the folded out chair! It completely collapses as ADR gets two. Tree of woe for Cena, but he sits up as ADR charges into the post. Cena sets up for the Flying Famouser, but here comes Punk to shake him off the top rope! Russian legsweep on ADR gets two. Falcon Arrow (!) gets two! While Del Rio applies a chinlock, Cena breaks it up with the Flying Famouser that he wanted earlier for 1-2-NO! He can’t pin Punk either. The AA gets countered to a Backcracker from ADR. Punk boots Del Rio out to the floor, but then eats a clothesline from Cena. Punk and Cena get into a BOO-YAY slugfest, which Punk wins and goes for the GTS! Here comes ADR to break that up with a chair and a swing to the back for both men. Now Del Rio lays the chair on Cena’s chest and puts Punk on top of the chair to make a CHAIR SANDWICH as he delivers the Flying Senton! Good idea in theory, but there’s no way he could actually pull it off well without killing Cena. It only gets two. Punk avoids the CROSS ARMBREAKER and backdrops Del Rio onto the steps. AA to Punk! Cover, 1-2-NO! ADR slides in for the save. He hits a running enziguri on Cena and tries for the CROSS ARMBREAKER, but Cena hooks his hands. Punk breaks that up with a Eddie Guerrero-style Hilo. GTS to Cena! Cover, 1-2-NO! ADR pulls Punk off the cover and throws him into the cage, followed by a toss into the steps. Cena receives the same fate. In the ring, Punk mounts a comeback and hits the Macho Elbow for 1-2-NO! Speaking of comebacks, here comes Cena. Protobomb, but the YOU CAN’T SEE ME gets kicked away. You’d think you’d learn, John. Could be the Macho Elbow on Cena, but ADR shoves him off crashing through the table. IRONY~! STF on ADR. Rodriquez breaks into the cage with a steel pipe in hand. Cena sees him coming a mile away and AA’s him out the door. Oh, but ADR knocks Cena out of the cage with the pipe and locks the door! As Cena desperately tries to get inside the cage, Punk tries to put away ADR. However, the pipe comes back into play when Punk tries for the GTS. One more shot to the neck and Del Rio pins Punk to regain the WWE title. (24:09) Good psychology as everyone pretty much knew exactly when picked their moments to strike and strike big. Plus, locking Cena out of the cell was pretty much brilliant in my opinion. Except for that (to be fair, that was a big part of the story of the match), this really would have been just as good had it been a standard triple-threat. Still, it’s my pick for match of the night. ***¼

As the cage rises, Cena goes after Del Rio. Next thing you know, Miz and R-Truth appear in black hoodies to attack everybody in the cell. COOHHH and John Laurinaitis head out to put a stop to this, but the cell has been lowered back to the floor! The locker room empties – heel and face alike – to stop this. Oh well. BOLT CUTTERS TO THE RESCUE! New Orleans Finest cuff Miz and Truth and carry them out. Before they get escorted to the back, COOHHH EXPLODES and lays a beating on them. What appears to be a twin security duo comes out to keep COOHHH off Awesome Truth. These two are way too small to the Harris twins, so I have no clue who they are. Unless someone in WWE is cloning Michael Chiklis for their security? Probably not a bad idea. The commentators are silent (because that’s how you know it’s a SHOOT~!) as we go off the air. Oh yeah, Alberto Del Rio has won back the WWE belt. Almost forgot.

Final Thoughts: This was like the first time I’d ever seen people react to Cody Rhodes in overwhelming fashion. No joke. I’m still not sold on him yet, but they should definitely make something out of that since the core WWE audience seems to care for him. Overall, another middle-of-the-road show where nothing sucked, but there’s nothing here to make me go crazy over. Glad to see Mark Henry wasn’t turned into another four week-long champion just to give WWE’s top shelf members another +1 to their number of world title reigns. The main event was fun too, but these gimmick PPVs devalue the gimmick matches themselves. I know I’m like two or three years behind making this argument, but feuds should naturally build to these type of gimmick matches. That’s what made Hell in a Cell special in the first place. Don’t just give us a cell match because it’s October. Obviously, the Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber are set in place to find the cream of the crop for WrestleMania. That makes sense. Just having a Hell in a Cell though with just another main event feud behind it is ridiculous and cheapens what has been done by the greats who made it special in the first place. I mean personally, Cena v. Punk would been the way to go. For some reason, they are hell bent on getting Del Rio over though. Anyways, strong thumbs in the middle for Hell in a Cell 2011.

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