WWE Hell in a Cell 2014
October 26, 2014
Dallas, Texas

It didn’t look good on paper but WWE Hell in a Cell 2014 ended up being (in my opinion) one of the WWE’s best PPVs of 2014. The ending of the main event left a lot to be desired for but the in-ring top-to-bottom was solid. Let’s not waste any time, if you’re a frequent Voices of Wrestling reader you’ll know three of our reviewers: Rich Kraetsch (aka, me, the co-owner of this very site), Bryan Rose (former Raw reviewer, frequent NJPW contributor and author of the “Depth of Mania” series) and Warren Taylor (Ring of Honor TV reviewer). Our special guest this month is Josh Engelman. Josh (@JoshEngleman) is someone whose name you will forget 15 minutes after you read this review, he periodically writes about sports at JoshEngleman.com.

WWE Intercontinental Championship 2-out-of-3 falls
Dolph Ziggler © def. Cesaro

Rich Kraetsch: I don’t have an encyclopedia of 2-out-of-3 falls matches but I’d love to know how many end with a clean sweep and don’t go to the third fall. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen one, or at the very least, don’t remember the last time. Not a complaint, just an observation because this was pretty awesome and exactly what you want out of an opener. I would’ve given them maybe 10 minutes or more because I really believe PPV matches should be significantly longer than Raw matches, but this was great. The offense from Cesaro and Ziggler was super innovate and while there was some sloppiness related to the speed, it was the perfect way to kick off a PPV. If I’m WWE, I really make the IC Title a workrate title and have it open every PPV from here on out, give them some time, let the guys just work their ass off and you’ll have something people will look forward to.***1/2

Bryan Rose: Pretty great match. Both were red hot from the start, exchanged a ton of great and creative offense (that superplex spot from Cesaro was particularly noteworthy). Ziggler winning two in a row is interesting. I think they’ve lost interest again in Cesaro considering a few months ago they didn’t want him in midcard title programs, and now he’s lost this one. Not expecting a lot of him in the future. Which is terrible, but that’s how WWE books. This was a pretty hot opener that people got into pretty quickly, though, and you have to give props to both for having a great match. ****

Warren Taylor: These two worked a lot slower than I expected them to with a good deal of chain wrestling and counter pins. I enjoyed that portion of the match more than I usually do, especially since it is rare in the E’. Ziggler won the first fall with a flash pin. The match picked up the pace in the second fall where Cesaro kept trying to finish Dolph with power moves only for him to kick reversing or kicking it. There were some very creative moves in this match including the Swiss Superman bringing out a dead lift superplex. What really surprised me was Ziggler getting a clean 2-0 victory in the match. I’m not sure where Cesaro is going from here but seems to be poised to continue being a jobber to the stars for the time being. ***¼

Josh Engleman: You know it’s bad when Dolph Ziggler gets both falls in the 2-out-of-3 falls match against you. I figured I’d be talking about how the 2nd fall was pretty awesome, and the 3rd fall wasn’t as entertaining. Turns out, there is no 3rd fall. I was pretty in to Ziggler just taking a beating, but he got too little offense to take both falls. The suplex spot was epic. Unfortunately, those elbows near the end from Cesaro were from the worst angle possible. Good, hot opener. I feel bad for Cesaro. ***¼

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Nikki Bella def. Brie Bella

Rich Kraetsch: I can’t…even…this was REALLY good. Okay, maybe not REALLY good but this was a lot of fun. There was an aggression to this match that added a lot and made sense in the story. They both played their roles to perfection and despite some sloppyness here and there, by and large it was well worked. Brie hit a tope that nearly killed both her and Nikki but other than that, good effort by these two. Now get ready for some awful television! **3/4

Bryan Rose: This wasn’t a bad match. And people got into it with the nearfalls. But eh. It’s going to lead to weeks of dumb skits. And Brie Bella sure is such a great babyface, losing every big match she’s been in clean as a sheet. Isolating it to just this match, though, it was actually pretty alright. The whole storyline and the fallout of it feels flat to me, though.**1/4

Warren Taylor: I don’t buy Brie Bella as the bad bitch character she is trying to bell off. Which is a shame because she has the offense to pull it off. I really liked the hair pull into a Widow’s Peak position, it really plays in well with her character. Brie played the overwhelmed baby face rather well, even though she did attempt a dive that was short and looked like it banged her knee up a bit. This was actually an enjoyable match and both ladies showed they may be underrated in the ring. This feud may suck but the ring work in it is solid folks **¾

Josh Engleman: That actually wasn’t terrible. I have absolutely no idea what Brie was thinking doing the dive through ropes. That was very, very close to a disaster ending. She should never do that again. I can’t say anything bad about the match, though. The storyline is beyond boring, but this was completely fine. Seeing more of this on Raw for the next few weeks will be brutal, though. **¾

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WWE Tag Team Championship
Gold and Stardust © def. The Usos

Rich Kraetsch: We’ve been saying it for awhile around these parts for months but these WWE tag matches are starting to blend into one another these days especially with The Usos. Every Usos match eventually turns into the same thing and ends up feeling familiar, regardless of the opponent. This was solid, it was the standard *** WWE tag match that isn’t bad, but you’ll remember absolutely nothing from it. ***

Bryan Rose: It was every Stardust and Goldust vs. The Usos match you’ve ever seen. With that said, it was pretty good and there were some fun spots. Just move on from here, though. I don’t even care if the Ascension comes in and have crappy matches. At least it’s, gasp, SOMETHING NEW in this division. ***1/4

Warren Taylor: These two teams had a fun match last month at Night of Champions. At this point I feel like The Usos are becoming a poor man’s version of The Young Bucks. They love to throw super kicks and fly through the air with a variety of splashes. Too bad they don’t have Nick and Matt Jackson’s tongue in cheek “over” gimmick or their boundless charisma. I was very surprised at how dominant The Usos looked in this match and it did not do much for the champs. Especially, since the Brothers Rhodes won after Cody hit one of the Usos in their bum knee which allowed Goldust to hit a swinging suplex for the win. I don’t mean to come across as overly harsh, this was a good match with plenty of action but I know that both teams are capable putting on a better match. **¾

Josh Engleman: I am really not into Stardust. I thought his selling early was terrible. His gimmick is weird, not mysterious, and it’s just becoming awkward. The hot tag to Uso #2 was so deflating, and the missed dive didn’t make it any better. Crowd didn’t really care and I don’t blame them. I didn’t care either. I had much higher expectations for this one. I’d rather watch the Nikki/Brie match again. **1/2

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Hell in a Cell #1 Contenders Match
John Cena def. Randy Orton

Rich Kraetsch: This feud needs a legendary match to become what WWE wants it to be, this wasn’t it but this was good. This may have been their best yet, at the very least, this was light years better than their 2009 Hell in a Cell match. Orton using multiple RKOs out of nowhere was a good touch and should bode well for his future face run. What more can you say? Good on both of them for having an exciting match and good on WWE for not putting this on last. ***1/2

Bryan Rose: This was a good match. I don’t really know how to elaborate more. Well, ok, I can. They had a good match where I called every spot they did, including the DANGEROUS table and chairs spots because I’ve seen them wrestle eleventy billion times and will see it again pretty soon, no doubt. Nothing fancy, nothing new here. But they worked hard and had a good match. Can’t be more descriptive beyond that. ***1/2

Warren Taylor: Why was this match in the Cell? Orton vs. Cena has not been a blood feud since my freshmen year of college and them being in the best feud ending match in recent history dilutes the mystique of the match in my humble opinion. Anyways, sorry for the rant folks. For as much flack as these two and their rivalry get this match was solid. Orton was methodical and used the cage to inflict maximum damage. Cena made his usual comeback and even ate an RKO while attempting a shoulder block which I thought was a nice nod to how well these two men know each other’s styles in kayfabe. As the match went on the story became your typical Cena match as Orton threw everything he had, including a nice cache of weapons, at Cena, including a nifty RKO out of an AA, to no avail. The finish was predictable but made for a nice visual none the less. ***½

Josh Engleman: The shoulder block/RKO spot was awesome. I can’t talk about anything else before I say that. I actually enjoyed that match. The middle section of Orton destroying Cena was good. It didn’t get as slow as Orton stuff normally gets. I could have done without the slow-moving, finisher trading at the end, but that was really the only way this match was going to end. I’d be surprised if anyone hated this. It wasn’t anything new, but it worked for what it was. ***3/4

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WWE United States Championship
Sheamus © def. The Miz

Rich Kraetsch: Fun is a good word for this match. Good is not one of them.The stunt double thing was fun until it got hit by ye olde WWE subtly hammer. This was hard to really pay attention to because so much attention was directed to laughing at Sandow. *3/4

Bryan Rose: Such a dull match. Nothing wrong with it, just flat. I’m sounding like a broken record, but it’s true. It’s a testament to the five weeks of the most shallow, uninteresting booking maybe of all time, and that’s without hyperbole. The only entertaining part was Sandow’s antics. The bit after the match was way better than whatever they did in the ring. **

Warren Taylor: If you looked this match up in a guidebook it would say “mostly harmless”. It was short, fun and gave us an awesome segment at the end that I refuse to spoil. Seek it out, you will laugh. **1/2

Josh Engleman: Was there a match? I was too busy watching Damien Sandow steal the show. Sheamus is beyond boring as a face. Miz is Miz. Again, nothing was bad. It was just there. **

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Rusev def. Big Show

Rich Kraetsch: Slower paced than the ideal Rusev match but there was only so much you can do with pace when you’re in there with Big Show. Regardless, this was a good big man match and exactly the type of match Rusev needs to be having at this stage. If they so choose, they have a star on their hands. **1/2

Bryan Rose: A decent match, which was more than I was expecting going in. Nothing fancy, but it was basic and worked well here. Not much more to say beyond that. Rusev can deliver in big match situations. I wonder who’s in the pipeline next to face Rusev? Oh what do I know, they’ll probably just do Big Show and Rusev again next month with this kind of booking. **1/2

Warren Taylor: I just want to hear Rusev say “I must break you” just once. That and a montage of him and his opponent training to the tune of “Hearts on Fire”. Alright, all kidding aside the match was pretty good. Rusev has a really good habit of targeting a particular body part in most of his major matches. The big guy really does have some fantastic fundamentals in the ring. Show sold alright until the end of the match when he began sprinting around the ring. But, to be fair Show has never been known for his in-ring psychology. **¾

Josh Engleman: I was enjoying this match up until Mark Henry coming out. The leg work from Rusev was good, even though Big Show just gave up on selling it in the 2nd half of the match. I am not the biggest Rusev fan in the world, but this worked for me. Just get him in there with someone else. I’m not sure who that should be right now, but I really don’t care as long as it isn’t Show or Henry. **1/2

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WWE Divas Championship
AJ Lee © def. Paige

Rich Kraetsch: Welp, lets hope their match next month is better. These two are just oil and water and for whatever reason they can’t work together. It will be best for both of them to move onto new feuds and regain their momentum. *3/4

Bryan Rose: It was a match. Move on. **

Warren Taylor: I was pretty fascinated by how many Thesz Presses AJ hit in this match. I seemed to like this one much more than the rest of the crew. They spent too much time on the floor for my taste but the match was good in the closing minutes and both ladies broke out some offense you don’t seem from them all that often. The finish has me thinking these two will be locking up at Survivor Series. **½

Josh Engleman: Aside from the early swing into the barricade, this match was useless. I did enjoy the guy in the crowd telling Paige to “See some sunlight for once!” I preferred the Bellas to this. **

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Hell in a Cell
Seth Rollins def. Dean Ambrose

Rich Kraetsch: I’m having trouble formulating this match into rating, this wasn’t a match but more of a prolonged story. The match started of course with the top of the cage spots which were a lot of fun but made me more nervous that someone was going to get seriously hurt. Then we had the standard fake stretcher trope, then a bunch of weapons and other stuff and then whatever in god’s name the ending was. Look, from a storyline standpoint, I get it, that’s the way to go and I’m looking forward to the feud but that is a god awful way to end a PPV. Also the continued death of the Cell gimmick as most of the match was spent either on the top, outside or with other people coming in. Oh well, it’s WWE guys, this is what we get. Anyway, I enjoyed the match a lot, it was fun and felt like a big match between two budding stars. It was filled with toys and weapons which made sense for this feud and was a lot of fun. I wish we saw a decisive finish. ***1/2

Bryan Rose: Another great match that tells me never to get emotionally invested in this product again. The match itself (said this a bunch of times through this awesome PPV) was pretty good. I enjoyed the back and forth brawl, all the fun cage spots, the spots on top of the cell were cool too. This felt way more athletic and important than the other cell match. But then that fucking finish. I don’t care if Ambrose lost. I don’t care if Seth Rollins won. I don’t care VICE VERSA. You build a match for this long all those weeks and you have a bullshit finish like this. Weeks of DQ finish main events. Weeks of build leading to THIS MATCH, THE HELL IN A CELL, WHERE THERE IS SUPPOSED TO BE A DECISIVE VICTORY WITH NO BULLSHIT.So in their infinite wisdom, because I guess neither can get a clean win ever, especially in a WWE main event in the fall of 2014, Bray Wyatt comes in with his hocus pocus shit and lays out Dean Ambrose (I don’t even think with his finish) and Rollins gets a cheap win. I don’t care. I don’t care if Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose have a feud of the year series. This was the match that made me never get emotionally invested ever. This is not hyperbole. This was one of the most fucking ludicrous finishes I’ve ever seen. Fuck this company. ***1/2

Warren Taylor: As soon as Ambrose started climbing the Cell during his entrance I got chills. Something told me that as a fan I would witness something special. My hunch proved to be correct. I loved the callback to previous cell matches. From the homage to Foley with Ambrose wanting to start the match on the cage to the dual recreation of Shawn Michaels’ infamous fall from the first Cell match. I marked out again when Ambrose fought out of his gurney to continue the match just as Mick Foley did in 1998. Once the former Shield members were locked inside Ambrose looked like a man possessed. He wanted Rollins to pay and the way for Rollins to repent of his sins was to take a chair in the back, the exact same way Rollins betrayed his former brother in arms. The poetic justice was about to be complete when the lights went out to reveal a lantern and then the returning Bray Wyatt. A Sister Abigail would end the match in favor of Rollins. I normally don’t rant but that finish epitomizes the current WWE. You have a hot angle and are finally making the right booking decisions and then they get cute and go in an insane direction. The end of the match is an insult to the fans and one that should make a lot of us think long and hard about who gets our money. Besides the finish that match was a tribute to everything that makes HITC great. Still, that finish bro. ****¾, should have been *****

Josh Engleman: How do you rate something like that? The opening build on top of cage was great. It nearly scared me to death because I find heights to be terrifying, but I loved it. The double bump through the announce tables worked perfectly. Everything in the cell was great. You can truly believe that these guys hate each other. This was shaping up as an easy ****+ event. Then, out of nowhere, the screen cuts to black and the 2Pac hologram is in the ring. Rollins/Ambrose both deserved way more than this finish. You could hear the crowd groaning. These two guys are doing fresh and innovative things, but unfortunately, this company just can’t get out of their own way. It really is a shame. ****½ until the finish. DUD for the finish. Call it ***, I guess.

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