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The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Hell in a Cell 2019


It's been more than 24 hours. The dust has more than settled, we've gotten the perfunctory post-PPV RAW out of the way. Yes, it's true: Hell in a Cell 2019 did happen. That main event, that finish did happen.

For those who haven't seen the whole show yet, only getting an idea of the whole thing from Wrestling Internet's collective reaction, this is why I'm here—to watch a show so you don't have to. And the final verdict is that, yes, there was a Story being told. I understood that story, and I understood what they were trying to go for. It's just that that moment ruined the whole thing.

The story was basic: to defeat the Fiend, Seth Rollins needed to go to a deeper, darker place, a place where even the best-meaning referees dare not allow him to tread. Because, in the referee's own words, "this wasn't [Seth]." That much was clear. The only problem is that the way it all went down forced everyone to think it was a disqualification, which just doesn't make sense in a match where everything did go.

The official ruling, according to WWE.com, was a referee stoppage—which makes a lot more sense. It really just didn't look that way.


What should've happened was the referee calling for the bell moments after the hit, after checking the Fiend and concluding that he couldn't continue. Or, no—actually, the Fiend should've won. There was really no other acceptable outcome, especially with such a strong build. I mean, you already had him sit up after the loss, why not just put the championship on him?

Despite that, though, it wasn't the real reason why crowds were turning on the company at the show. It was one of the reasons, but in reality, it was because the company was yet again ignoring the ridiculously loud clamor that we heard the entire match: nobody wanted Seth Rollins to win, and everyone wanted the Fiend. That's way before the terrible ending, all you had to do was listen to how everyone was reacting. That the finish looked like a DQ was merely a straw that ended up breaking the back that was the crowd's complete adoration of the Fiend.

Imagine—if the roles were reversed, if Wyatt caused a strange stoppage inside the cell and won the title, there would still be some sort of uproar over the finish; but I imagine one not as terrible as what we heard. 

The biggest problem it (and the RAW Women's Championship match) highlighted was the fact that once again, WWE insists on not listening to their crowds, especially when they've got stars on their hands. Yes, the fans could be fickle. They could be toxic. But at the end of the day, you're still relying on them to sustain your business, and you can only string them along so far with trolling. 

Had things been just a little bit different, this could've been slightly less worse. But all it took was one misfire to expose the company's glaring problems, and now they're paying for it.

Hell in a Cell 2019 Final Grade: B-

Match of the Night



I wish the Bludgeon Brothers won here because Reigns and Bryan didn't really need the win just yet, but it still might have been the most exciting match on the card, and not because it was promoted beforehand. These four have got some awesome chemistry, simply because everyone plays their part really well, and they were allowed to just let loose and give us a fun match.

Other observations

  • I don't know if it's just me, but I'm just not a huge fan of Hell in a Cell matches, especially in this era. That said, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks did a good job of starting the evening out strong, and their match was pretty solid. You could, however, sense the weariness people have with Becky retaining. Everyone's ready for another Sasha reign, and this decision might just be what started the crowd off on the wrong foot that night.
  • While the rest of the show was wrestled well—as is par for the course for WWE—I just wish they didn't stock the card with strange house show matchups just because they were too busy with Premiere Week to actually build the PPV up. Orton/Ali was nice, the six-man tag was nice, the Women's Tag Team Championship was great, but either put matches and segments that make sense (like, say, a Kofi/Lesnar rematch or a Cain Velasquez and Rey Mysterio segment) or actually do the work and fucking promote. I also wanted to see if they could actually control themselves and run a PPV with only four or five long matches, but I guess they couldn't resist.
  • On that note, while Corbin/Gable did actually make sense to have, we've seen this matchup on TV too many times at this point since the King of the Ring finals. Clearly, the point was to both build Gable up and officially rebrand him as Shorty Gable (another terrible idea, despite the crowd's support).
Photo from WWE


*****

Romeo Moran (@roiswar) is the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul. He likes taking your wrestling questions over on his CuriousCat account.

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