WWE went rolling right on through the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, last night (Sun., Oct. 28, 2012) with Hell in a Cell, its annual Halloween time pay-per-view extravaganza.
And it delivered in a way I never expected it could. Click here to check out the live blog.
Let's not waste time with pleasantries and get right to reactions to the show.:
- Ryback did not have the breakout performance I mentioned was a possibility. He was never going to, not with the amount of time his match against CM Punk was given. It was obvious the powers that be at WWE felt they couldn't trust him to work any sort of epic match and after watching it, I'm not entirely sure why. No, it wasn't a classic and Ryback wasn't exactly perfect but he made a believer out of me. His timing was on point, he was in the right spots when he was supposed to be and he did well to protect Punk and Brad Maddox, despite the nature of the match itself. If we're handing out individual grades here, Ryback gets an "A" from me because he did everything asked of him, maybe more. Color me impressed.
- Color me scared, too, when Punk started climbing up the cage and Ryback, a mammoth of a man, followed. The cage they use is significantly bigger than it used to be and speaking as a fan whose memories are shaped by Mick Foley and Shawn Michaels, I was scared to death there was some weird plan in place to have Punk take a bump off the cage. Looking back on it, that's an irrational thought but it shows the last impact of Foley's match with Undertaker from King of the Ring all the way back in 1998. As it were, I was hoping beyond hope the cage wouldn't break when Ryback hit Shell Shock on Punk. Thankfully it didn't, and the finish ended up being executed rather well. High impact, which I'll expand on in a separate post later.
- Speaking of Punk on top of the cage, reports from those on site say he sold being hurt on top of the cage until nearly everyone was cleared out of the arena. That's dedication to one's craft, folks. I dig it.
- While we're coloring me so much, add shocked at the fact Big Show is the new world heavyweight champion and the pasty faced golden boy Sheamus is strapless and selling injury. They played up that he was hurt so much I wondered briefly if there was a legitimate injury going into the evening and they had to take the belt off him to give him time away but it doesn't look like that's the direction things are going as of right now. That could change of course but why have him lose the belt now and why have him lose it to Big Show, especially if Dolph Ziggler wasn't going to be cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase? This booking baffled me.
- Booking aside, and I'm not even saying it was bad, it's more whatever, the match itself was amazing. Best of the night. HOSS FIGHT!!!
- Good to see the ladies know how to have a solid stock triple threat match. Eve is clearly the most talented of the bunch outside the ring and in backstage segments, so she gets the push. Makes sense.
- I missed Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio but June told me it was "an awesome match and I don't usually like either of these guys. That was good." So there you go.
- I don't like the disqualification finish in the Team Hell No vs. Rhodes Scholars match. I get why it was necessary in the Punk vs. Ryback match but what was the point of having the Rhodes Scholars win a tag team title tournament just to get to the PPV and lose because Kane "snapped" after Bryan upset him. Sure, you advance that plot point but the Rhodes Scholars look no better than they did coming in and that entire tournament just looks pointless in hindsight. Gotta fill up those three hour Raws, though, right?
- Kofi Kingston is a "wildcat" now? Cool.
- Antonio Cesaro hitting that bolo uppercut is just a thing of beauty, especially because he's finding opponents like Justin Gabriel willing to try new and interesting ways of letting him deliver it. The crowd was dead for their match but it was good. Cesaro's not getting anywhere in his current form but I really have no clue how WWE can change that. It's a weird situation. You can see the potential but what's the answer?
This was a good show, much better than I was expecting it to be. Smoz finishes are a part of the business and last night gave us a lesson in how to do it right (Punk-Ryback) and how to do it wrong (Team Hell No-Rhodes Scholars).
Either way, a solid event well worth the time.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on the show the morning after. What was your grade?