As expected, the night kicked off with the first cell match of the so-called ‘triple main event’ as Roman Reigns defended the US Title against Rusev. This has been a storyline that I’ve not been enamoured with, simply because I felt like I watched them have a very similar confrontation every week. Both guys should have bright futures, but this has not worked as well I’d hoped in term of a programme and after what was a solid and physical match where they didn’t overuse the structure, hopefully they will move in different directions now.
Next was a nice little promo from Kevin Owens – reminding us of just what he’s about, before we moved on to Bayley taking on Dana Brooke. This was a decent match and showed how Dana has improved her in-ring work. Bayley was a popular winner, but I do wonder how she will progress from here, storyline wise.
It was interesting to see Gallows and Anderson gain a victory over Enzo and Cass in a relatively short (the pre-match promo was longer), but decent match. I think this is a feud that still has legs and, if handled correctly, could be good for both teams.
With the Universal Title match next, it was clear that the Women’s title was going to be on last – a smart move in my opinion. So attention focused on Universal Champion Kevin Owens and challenger Seth Rollins inside the cell. Owens made a point of selling the significance of the cell, even in his entrance – nuances not utilised enough by so many others. The match itself got off to a great pace, with good back and forth action until a uniquely creative situation to allow Chris Jericho into the cell. Rollins has not had a natural transition into a babyface role, but this match really helped Rollins fit into it more comfortably with his working style. They set up a big spot that was both eye-catching and eye watering, as Rollins managed to powerbomb Owens through a table to the outside. Excitement and fighting against 2 men helped the crowd really get behind Rollins and feel for him as the odds became too much. Owens keeping the title makes sense and the way the win was executed not only kept Rollins strong, but also developed his face turn.
I’ve spoken at length at my disappointment of how the cruiserweights have been handled since moving to Raw and that led to the malaise that was the Cruiserweight Title match between TJ Perkins and Brian Kendrick. The build-up was too much about lame backstage segments, that led to an extended disconnect from the crowd for what was a good match between the two. The finish was creative, but sadly predictable from the moment Kendrick feigned injury. Perhaps a heel champion might liven up the division a little.
So, Tag Team Titles were next, which included another awful hokey backstage segment between Sheamus and Cesaro. New Day had their usual pre-match promo that again made we want to see them lose the belts, just to freshen their act up a bit. This match got off to a decent start and after a couple of botches from Xavier Woods, it really picked up with Big E in, hitting some impressive suplexes. They built it well to a finish that was well executed for Kofi Kingston to get New Day disqualified as Woods was tapping out. I suspect Seamus and Cesaro will soon resume their feud, but I hope not.
That just left us with THE main event of the evening, the Women’s Title inside Hell In A Cell, as hometown favourite Sasha Banks defended in this historic match against former champion Charlotte. WWE egging up their entrances was a nice touch that just to add to the occasion and the reaction of the crowd fully vindicated the placing on the card of this match. The start was different and certainly got the crowd even further engaged, although I think Charlotte overdid power-bombing Sasha through the announce desk. It was great to hear the crowd so amped and into the action, just as they should be by the main event of the night. Sasha and Charlotte have had some good matches this year, but I’ve always felt there was more to come from them and they certainly delivered that here in an impressively physical match built around the story of Sasha’s back injury. The finish somewhat disappointed me as that’s twice now that Sasha has won the belt on Raw, only to lose it weeks later on a PPV. I understand Charlotte has been a great heel champion, but Sasha twice losing the title so soon after winning it could damage her; as mad as that may sound to some. On a positive, it was a really good contest and worthy of being the main event of a pretty decent show.