The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
Hell in a Cell: Recap & Analysis!
The Kingfish Arnie reports the happenings at
Hell in a Cell and delves into what it all might mean.
Hell in a Cell had two major title changes inside the Cell, a first, and a lot of the rest made for good viewing. As expected, it settled very little if anything, though the show delivered a fairly entertaining three hours.
Let’s look at the scheduled matches one by one and analyze the ramification of what took place in Newark, NJ..
The Pre-Show, as usual hosted by Jack Korpella, mentioned all the matches, but gave the lion’s share of the time to the ones to be contested in the Cell.
An extended clip of the four-on-four match on the 10/2 Smackdown added a lot for those who don’t follow that program.
The Kingfish comments: The pre-show concentrated on the gimmick theme and merely mentioned the other matches. That worked well, because all of the important, top-of-the=card contests took place in the gigantic structure.
After a perfunctory opening, the show went to the World Championship contest.
The Undertaker d. CM Punk
Hell in a Cell Rules
The Story: The Undertaker has risen, again! He plans to seize control and make CM Punk pay for his pretentiousness.
My Prediction: It’s about time for CM Punk to drop the title and the Undertaker is a fairly logical choice. I expected him to start a championship run, though I thought it would begin later in the year. If Taker wins here, I don’t think he will keep it straight through to WrestleMania, but it could crate some intriguing match-ups.
Predicted Grade: A
The Actual Match: Undertaker used the cage walls and some deadly striking to dominate the match until Punk kicked the ring steps into him and turned the area between the ring and the cage into his own personal killing field.
CM Punk hit the target with an out-of-ring Missile Dropkick, but he sustained about as much damage as the victim! Taker soon tried to capitalize with a Legdrop, but the champion kicked out with time to spare.
After each escaped the other’s finisher, CM got a chair from beneath the ring. The Dead Man absorbed a fearsome shot, but he refused to be pinned.
Punk’s cross-ring charge misfired and Taker executed a Last Ride. Undaunted, Punk again charged across the ring, this time with a chair, only to have it kicked right back in his face. Undertaker rocked the ring with a Chokeslam and then won with a Tombstone Piledriver.
Actual Grade: A-
The Kingfish comments: The placement of this match at the top of the card is even more controversial than the decision to put the title on Undertaker at this point. One point in favor of putting this match first is that the pay per view really did need to start with a match that exemplified the theme. This one sure got things off to a strong start.
It’s hard to see how Undertaker can reign for long until he increases his work schedule. Area sows are already a weak enough market without taking the champ off the top of many, if not most, of the live shows. It seems more likely to me that Undertaker will take a few more dates in the short run and, after disposing of rematches with Punk, will do a program with Batista.
John Morrison d. Dolph Ziggler
The Story: After chasing Rey Mysterio, Ziggler had to redirect his quest for the title toward Morrison. Here he’ll get a crack at the man whom he feels “stole” the title out from under his nose.
My Prediction: It doesn’t seem possible that Dolph Ziggler can lose an IC title match yet again, but that’s probably what WWE plans to do. He’ll look good and the announcers will grudgingly praise his work, but John Morrison will get the decision. If I were booking, I would have Ziggler win and then drop the strap to Mysterio. That would set up a three-way fight at a convenient pay per view.
Predicted Grade: B
The Actual Match: Morrison finally broke the mat wrestling logjam at the start f the match with a Dropkick to a Legdrop. A pin was out of the question at that stage.
Ziggler came back with a Powerslam and some effective stomping. It didn’t bring him much closer to victory, though. Neither did Morrison’s flashy Standing Shooting Star Press. Later, the challenger reversed Starship Pain and came within one slap of the canvas of an upset win.
The champion leveled Ziggler with a kick to the head and then uncorked Starship Pain to seal the deal and retain the title.
Actual Grade: A-
The Kingfish comments: Morrison and Ziggler did a good job, which is encouraging news for WWE. They are likely to be very important to the company over the next five years or so.
Ziggler’s loss was a little surprising. If he’d become champion, WWE would have a natural program for him against Mysterio – and then Morrison could get back into the title picture against the winner.
Josh Matthews asked Batista and Rey Mysterio whether the team could return to the heights of championship gold it experienced in 2005. They expressed confidence. Mysterio also reminded fans that he wants revenge on Jericho for “trying” to remove his mask.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise is 25 years old. Think about it.
Mickie James d. Alicia Fox
The Story: Gail Kim’s title shot never materialized, because Fox beat her for the designation as the number-one contender for Mickie James’ belt. Fox has seemed to get the better of the champion in skirmishes, but she’ll have to defeat Mickie in the ring if she wants to wear the Divas Championship belt.
My Prediction: When WWE books its women’s division, it often seems like they toss the time-tested principles of booking a wrestling show out the window. Plot support is minimal and he quality of the ring work appears to get very little consideration.
Viewed in that light, there’s no reason why company favorite Alicia Fox shouldn’t take the title. Mickie James is a likely candidate for surgery and may need recuperation time. Fox is an interim champion who could pass it to another babyface or even a tweener like Beth Phoenix or Michelle McCool.
Predicted Grade: C+
The Actual Match: Mickie James connected with a Low-Altitude Dropkick and then a Neckbreaker. Fox still had too much strength to allow her self to be pinned.
Alicia Fox might’ve taken the title with a Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker. She wasted time preening, which killed her chance at a winning cover.
When Fox missed her Scissors Kick, Mickie James responded with a DTT and the necessary cover.
Actual Grade: B-
The Kingfish comments: Apparently, WWE did evaluate Alicia Fox using criteria similar to what they’d have employed to judge the fitness of a male potential champion. She has a world of potential, but she is still tentative in the ring and not much of a talker.
Working with Mickie James helped Fox deliver a good performance, but she is not ready to carry a match against someone who isn’t nearly as good as Ms. James.
Chris Jericho & Big Show d. Batista & Rey Mysterio
Unified Tag Team Championship
The Story: The Masked Marvel has returned and Batista has come to Smackdown from RAW.Together, they will try to conquer one of the most powerful tag combinations of all time.
My Prediction: This match might kickoff a couple of one-on-one feud, which would be a better use of these four performers. There’s no reason for the champs to surrender their belts, even though they are not a particularly exciting team to watch. The faces will have to look very good, to say the least. A strong possibility is that something will take Batista out of the action, leaving Big Show to finish Rey Mysterio.
Predicted Grade: B
The Actual Match: Rey Mysterio got to show off his flying moves during the early going against Jericho. His 619 didn’t hit solidly, so his West Coast Pop wasn’t enough to get the pin.
Batista over-powered Chris Jericho. He ended up trapped in the babyfaces’ corner and took some wicked shots, including Mysterio’s Low-Altitude Dropkick.
Mysterio made the foolhardy decision to stay in the ring when Big Show replaced his teammate. Although the Masked Marvel landed a couple of kicks, the World’s Biggest Athlete had a field day with the diminutive Mysterio.
Batista shook Jericho with a Spear and then hurled him at Big Show! Lionheart kicked out of a Batista Spinebuster. Batista got involved with Big Show but when he turned back toward his other foe, Jericho stunned him with the Codebreaker!
Mysterio, finding himself isolated in the ring with Big Show, hit the 619. When he tried the West Coast Pop, though, Big Show punched out his lights and covered for the pin.
Actual Grade: B
The Kingfish comments: The oddly assorted sizes of the combatants made this a very unusual match. Batista and Mysterio have other programs in their immediate futures, so it wouldn’t have made sense to give them the title.
John Cena vs. Randy Orton
Hell in a Cell
The Story: This is the big rematch. Neither man will give an inch as the battle for the gold.
My Prediction: This could well be the night’s premier match. John Cena gets the decision, but both men will be battered and bloody by the time it ends.
Predicted Grade: A
The Actual Match: John Cena took a lot of punishment early in the match. He mounted a brief comeback, but Randy Orton quickly got things going his way, again.
Orton was first to use the cage as a weapon, but Cena eventually made him back for the bruises and contusions the third-generation wrestler inflicted.
Randy fetched the ring steps and, once positioned in the ring, tried to use them for a DDT. Cena evaded the maneuver and heaved the challenger out of the ring to a painful crash against the cage.
The champ tried, unsuccessfully, to throw the ring steps at his foe. Orton returned to the ring and subjected Cena to his signature Backbreaker.
After scoring with a pair of Running Forearm Smashes and a Plant, Cena did the You Can’t See Me to the Five-Knuckle Shuffle. When he tried for the Attitude Adjustment, The Viper slithered free.
Cena blocked an RKO and went right for the Attitude Adjustment. He hit the move, but Randy kicked out in time!
Cena tried for an Attitude Adjustment from the middle rope, but Orton anticipated the move and countered. Orton got Cena on his shoulders and thumped him to the canvas with an Electric Chair!
Orton dealt the champion a couple of crushing chairshots, including an edge-on strike to Cena’s surgically repaired neck. He did some stomping, but it didn’t generate a pin.
Cena established an STF in the center of the ring. Orton crawled to the ropes, but that rule wasn’t in effect within the Cell. The challenger got free, but ran right into the referee. When Cena clamped on the STF again, Orton would have tapped out if the official had been awake to see it. When Cena tried to help the ref, Orton seized the opportunity to bring him down with an RKO. The champ kicked out before the final count.
Orton tangled Cena’s arms in the top and middle ropes. He went top work in earnest, ripping the champ’s face and then trying to put him out with a Chokehold. The ref released him, but fans could see evidence of considerable physical damage.
Cena fell limply to the mat. Orton lined up his shot and Punted his hated foe into ex-champion status.
Actual Grade: B+
The Kingfish comments: Randy Orton’s victory makes sense because a Cena win at this point would’ve ended the program. As things stand, they can get at least one more pay per view matches out of this – and quite possibly two or more.
Though the match was good, Cena and Orton are capable of far better performances. Maybe they held back a little on this one to leave room to out-do it with their next confrontation.
WWE added R-Truth vs. Drew McIntyre/ Truth had a lot to say in the interview with Josh Matthews, but McIntyre’s Double Underhook DDT spoke louder during the actual match. The match graded about a C+.
Randy Orton derided Legacy for celebrating in advance. He warned them that, win or lose, they would suffer in the Cell.
Kofi Kingston d. The Miz & Jack Swagger
United States Championship
The Story: Once again, the Jumpin’ Jamaican must pt his title on the line against multiple challengers. He’ll be the smallest man in the ring, but Kofi has the biggest heart. Fans must wonder: will it be enough?
My Prediction: This could touch off a feud between Swagger and The Miz, because neither of them will pin Kingston due to each other’s repeated disruptions. Kofi will inject the high spots at appropriate intervals and eventually catch The Miz after Swagger gets temporarily disabled.
Predicted Grade: B+
The Actual Match: The two heels worked together during the first half of the match, so Kofi absorbed a lot of punishment. The Miz finally betrayed Jack Swagger, but his sneak attack fell short of a pin.
Kingston might have lost the belt, except that neitherrulebreaker would let the other score the necessary one-two-three. Swagger destroyed The Miz with the Gut Wrench Powerbomb, but Kingston blitzed the All-American American with the Trouble in Paradise and pinned The Miz to retain the title.
Actual Grade: B
The Kingfish comments: This could lead to a Miz-Swagger feud, but not unless WWE turns one of them face. Neither appears to be a good candidate for that, though The Miz might work better than Swagger in that role.
Triple H & Shawn Michaels d. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase
Hell in a Cell
The Story: The war continues between Legacy and DX. With the four of them inside the steel prison, this Grudge Match will be bloody and brutal.
My Prediction: This is the event’s toughest call. This seems like a bad place to end the feud, which would probably be the consequence of a DX victory, yet Triple H and HBK have looked bad in encounters with Legacy, both in and out of the ring. This state of affairs suggests a screw job ending or a post-match attack. I’ll go with the latter; DX winds, but takes a whuppin’ at the end.
Predicted Grade: A
The Actual Match: Legacy attacked DX as Hunter and Shawn promenaded to the ring. As a result, the four men battled allover the ringside area and into the seats before the match officially started.
When the action finally moved into the steel structure, Legacy and Shawn Michaels were inside, but Triple H was lying, unconscious, in the ringside area outside the Cell.
Legacy beat Michaels until Triple H revived – and then beat HBK unmercifully in front of his partner. Triple H left the arena as the brutality continued.
Triple H returned with blot cutters that made it possible for him to enter the cage and rescue his buddy. They turned the tables so completely, in fact, that they were able to lock DiBiase out of the Cell while they finished off Rhodes to gain a hard-fought victory over Legacy.
Actual Grade: A
The Kingfish comments: The booking made the match a bit more interesting than if it had been simply a straight fight between the two teams. Triple H may’ve held back too long before coming back with the bolt cutters, but the overall effect was pretty good.
Blood is not a huge thing for me, but I was surprised that this match didn’t have any, just for the sake of realism. The beatdown of Shawn Michaels, which went on for a very long time, would’ve looked a lot better with a touch of crimson.
Predicted Grade for Hell in a Cell: B+
Actual Grade for Hell in a Cell: B+
That’s it for today. I’ll be back on Monday with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I’ll have the recap and analysis of Hell in a Cell and you’ll be able to laugh at my predictions.
— Arnie Katz