Hell In A Cell 2021
Date: June 20, 2021
Location: Yuengling Center, Tampa, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee, Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, Corey Grave
It’s time for another big theme show with the event focusing on the match we saw two days ago. This time we have a pair of matches inside the Cell, as Bianca Belair defends the Smackdown Women’s Title against Bayley and Drew McIntyre challenges Bobby Lashley for the WWE Title. Let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: Mandy Rose vs. Natalya
Dana Brooke and Tamina are here too. Natalya grabs a headlock takeover as commentary talks about Natalya complaining about Mandy’s looks. Mandy grabs a wristlock so Natalya spins out, only to get sunset flipped for two. They flip around each other a lot without making much contact until Natalya gets dropped throat first across the top rope. Some stomping in the corner keeps Natalya down, setting up the bodyscissors.
Natalya powers up to hit a slam but Mandy hammers her down with forearms to the back. An abdominal stretch goes on, with Mandy hooking the toe to make Gorilla Monsoon proud. Natalya reverses into one of her own (no toe hooking) as commentary goes back to Mandy being a fitness model.
That’s broken up so Mandy tries a bulldog, only to get dropped down instead. Natalya’s step over basement dropkick gets two but Mandy pops up for a middle rope version. A rollup gives Mandy two and Natalya blasts her with the discus lariat. Mandy is right back with a knee to the face for two and Mandy can’t believe the kickout. The grappling goes to Natalya, who pulls her into the Sharpshooter for the tap at 9:43.
Rating: C-. So to recap, Natalya complained about Mandy only being there for her looks and then beat her in a match. I’m not sure what kind of a future that offers for the women’s division but at least the match got a bit of time. Mandy did a little better than usual on the mat and you can tell that she has gained a lot with experience.
The opening video features a woman talking into a radio microphone on the radio station in h***. It’s ok to be scared when you’re standing at the gates, which moves us into the traditional look at the matches on the card.
The Cell is lowered.
We recap Bianca Belair vs. Bayley. Belair won the title at Wrestlemania but Bayley has laughed at her ever since. That’s too far for Belair, who has dealt with disrespect since she was three feet tall. Therefore, Belair challenged her to a match but after Bayley kept laughing, Belair wanted to put it inside the Cell. For some reason this included every screen in the Thunderdome being changed to a shot of Bayley laughing or holding up the title. Twice.
Smackdown Women’s Title: Bianca Belair vs. Bayley
Belair is defending inside the Cell and slams Bayley down a few times to start. A clothesline puts Bayley on the floor and it’s time for an early breather. That lets Bayley snap Belair’s throat across the middle rope and it’s time for some chairs. Bayley’s big swing is countered into a rollup for two and Belair sends her hard into the corner to take over. A superplex is loaded up so Bayley tries to punch her down, only to have Belair backflip down onto her feet. Of course she can do that.
Belair is sent shoulder first into the post though and Bayley adds a boot for two. The bad arm is sent into the corner and something like a Downward Spiral on the arm keeps Belair down. Bayley brings the steps in but stops to tie Belair’s hair around the bottom rope. A running kick just winds up tripping Bayley onto the steps and Belair unties herself (McAfee: “I can’t untie my shoes sometimes!”) to send Bayley into the Cell.
Bayley bites her to escape and Belair seems to be in shock. A kendo stick shot (with two sticks taped together this time) rocks Belair again and a sunset bomb into the Cell makes it even worse. Bayley pulls out two more a pair of kendo sticks taped together to make them longer (as in four total between two sticks) but spends too much time telling Cole to shut up. The delay lets Belair spinebust her through the sticks for two back inside.
Belair grabs a chair but Bayley kicks it back into her face and then wraps the bad arm into said chair. Things get even more creative/painful as Bayley ties Belair’s hair to the chair. That takes too long though and Belair sends the steps into Bayley’s knees. Now it’s Belair tying her hair around Bayley’s wrist and beating her with the kendo sticks. Bayley tries to get out the door but can’t get around that pesky padlock.
And now, since we haven’t had enough stuff thrown in there, it’s time for a ladder. Belair is sent into said ladder and Bayley crushes her inside of it, setting up the Rose Plant. Bayley bangs up her knee in the process though and it’s a delayed cover for two. Back up and Belair hits a Glam Slam into the corner (with the shoulder giving out a bit so it doesn’t have full impact). Bayley is laid on the ladder for a backsplash and the KOD onto the open ladder retains the title at 19:45.
Rating: B. This is one of those matches where your standards may vary. As a Cell match, it wasn’t much as the Cell played a very small role in the whole thing. Granted that has been the case with the Cell for far too long now so it is kind of hard to make that much of a criticism. In other words, it was a weapons match which happened to be wrapped in a Cell, and it worked well in that regard. Good match, with Belair rising to the occasion and Bayley doing her thing as always.
Post Summerslam ads, Belair says that was tough but she will never forgive Bayley.
Bobby Lashley, with his female companions, is ready.
Alexa Bliss says that was a rough night for Bayley, but she is glad we’re here. Lily is still in time out (there is hope for this show) but tonight, Shayna Baszler needs to learn two lessons: expect the unexpected and be careful what you wish for, because you never know what might answer.
We recap Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins. Cesaro beat Rollins at Wrestlemania so Rollins came back to jump him soon thereafter. That put Cesaro on the shelf for a few weeks but he came back on Bayley’s talk show and jumped Rollins for a change. They had a sitdown interview where Cesaro shoved Rollins’ chair over while announcing the match.
Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
Rollins jumps him during the entrance again and the brawl is on before the bell. Cesaro goes with the power to start and drives Rollins into the corner for an early two. Some uppercuts in the corner rock Rollins again but he pulls Cesaro face first into the buckle. A rake to the eyes lets Rollins choke with a boot but Cesaro muscles him up for a suplex and a breather. Rollins backdrops him out to the floor though and the running knee off the apron drops Cesaro again.
Back in and Rollins stays on the eye but Cesaro slugs away with the uppercuts to put Rollins down. The black glove is taken off and Cesaro kicks it out of the for a moment that might not be as symbolic as WWE was hoping it to be. A powerslam gives Cesaro two but the Neutralizer is countered with a backdrop to the apron. Cesaro’s superplex attempt is broken up so he goes with a high crossbody for two instead. Rollins is back with a forearm to the back of the head for two of his own and the kickout has him frustrated.
After shouting that Cesaro has not earned anything, Rollins grabs an armbar before hitting the Falcon Arrow for two. The Stomp misses and Cesaro is back up with a discus lariat for a double knockdown. Cesaro plants him down to set up the Swing (not as long as usual), followed by the Sharpshooter. With that not working, Cesaro switches into a Crossface but Rollins rolls him up for two. The Sharpshooter goes on again but Cesaro lets it go to stomp on the arm a few times. Rollins counters another Sharpshooter attempt into a small package for the clean pin at 16:15.
Rating: B. I was worried about this one for Cesaro but I can understand why they went with Rollins here. Rollins is one of the handful of truly established stars that WWE has and it makes sense to have him get a win back here. I’m not sure what this means for Cesaro, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up for his future. The match itself was the usual good back and forth WWE style match, with the ending being a bit of a surprise. Was anyone expecting these two to not work well though?
Money in the Bank is coming on July 18. Time for people to have random matches against each other and call it building momentum, even though pins and submissions have nothing to do with winning a ladder match!
We recap Shayna Baszler vs. Alexa Bliss. Baszler doesn’t like Lily because she’s a doll, but it turns out that Lily is evil and has used her fire powers to try and kill Baszler a few times. Now Lily is in time out so it’s time for a match. Yeah it hasn’t been any better off of paper either.
Shayna Baszler doesn’t like hearing about Lily and calls Alexa Bliss a lunatic. Bliss has fun playing with dolls, but Baszler has fun hurting people. Nia Jax and Reginald come in to offer support so Baszler slaps Reginald in the face.
Alexa Bliss vs. Shayna Baszler
Reginald and Nia Jax are here too. Bliss stands still at the bell so Reginald offers a distraction, allowing Baszler to hammer away in the corner. Baszler’s knee suddenly gives out so Bliss crawls over to her and starts kicking at the knee. Some kicks put Bliss in the corner for a running knee but she just laughs. Graves wants to know when you give up and call the Winchester brothers as Baszler suplexes her down. Some standing on the head sets up the big stomp on the arm to put Bliss in trouble.
That lasts all of a few seconds as Bliss starts laughing and glares at her as Baszler cranks on the arm. The evil face goes on and Baszler lets go, allowing Bliss to forearm her in the face. A Thesz press into some right hands set up a DDT to give Bliss two. With Baszler down, Bliss stares at Nia Jax, who goes into a trance and slaps Reginald down. They scream at each other so Baszler grabs the Kirifuda Clutch, which Bliss escapes in a hurry. The wind up DDT sets up Twisted Bliss for the pin at 6:55 as Nia snaps out of it.
Rating: D+. You know, Bliss having mind control powers and putting Nia in a trance is a heck of a lot better than I would have expected here. Throw in Reginald getting hurt and the match was actually a refreshing change. Of course it wasn’t very good or anything, but that’s not why you watch a match like this one. The lack of Lily has made this a good bit more bearable, though I’m almost scared to see where they go next with the thing.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
Sami has laughed at and attacked Owens after Commander Azeez hurt Owens a few times. Owens unloads on him to start and hits the big chop in the corner. You can hear Owens coughing and he might be coughing up blood as he elbows Sami down. There’s the backsplash but Owens can’t breathe again. Sami uses the break to get in a few shots, only to have Owens chop the skin off of his chest. With the direct approach not working, Sami goes for the throat and puts on a quick chinlock to keep Owens down.
Owens drops him on the top rope and hits the Cannonball but the breathing catches up with him again. Zayn sends it outside and hits the big flip dive, leaving Owens holding his wrist. That’s not cool with Zayn, who kicks him outside where Owens can’t breathe again. Back in and Owens sweeps the legs to hammer away, followed by another trip to the floor. Owens hits a clothesline but the Swanton off the apron hits knees to put them both down again.
Back in and the Blue Thunder Bomb gives Zayn two but Owens gets in a few shots of his own. The Stunner is countered into a half and half suplex so Zayn can stomp away. Owens rolls outside and coughs a lot more but Owens manages a Stunner. Zayn barely beats the count so they slug it out from their knees with Owens getting the better of things. Now it’s Owens stomping away like Zayn did to him but the bad arm is snapped across the top rope. A running knee sends Owens’ throat into the rope and the Helluva Kick gives Zayn the pin at 12:38.
Rating: C+. This had a different story to it, though I’m curious to see more about Owens’ arm injury. If that was legit, points to Owens for grinding through a pretty good match. If it wasn’t, points to Owens for making me think it was. Zayn needed this win a lot more than Owens and when you consider the breathing deal, there was no real reason to have Zayn lose. Makes sense, and good stuff because they know each other so well.
Zayn is VERY pleased with his win and calls it karmic justice. He even yells at commentary about what happened.
We look at Roman Reigns retaining the Universal Title over Rey Mysterio in the Cell on Smackdown. Jimmy Uso congratulated Reigns on his win.
We recap Charlotte vs. Rhea Ripley for the Raw Women’s Title. Ripley won the title at Wrestlemania and Charlotte wants it back. They have gone at it multiple times since then, with Ripley wanting to retain the title and avenge her loss at Wrestlemania last year.
Raw Women’s Title: Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte
Ripley is defending and we get the Big Match Intros. With those out of the way, Charlotte kicks her in the face before the bell and gets a very quick two as a result. Ripley is back up with a big boot of her own but Charlotte takes her straight into the corner. The chinlock goes on for a bit but they head outside, with Charlotte kicking her into the barricade. Back in and Charlotte shouts a lot until Ripley rocks her with a headbutt. A superkick puts Charlotte down again but she ties the legs up in the ropes to slow Ripley right back down.
Ripley is fine enough to hit a running shot to put Charlotte down on the floor, setting up the Prism Trap back inside. That’s reversed with a roll into the buckle and Natural Selection, with a foot on the rope, gets two. Ripley grabs a quick suplex but the knee is too banged up, allowing Charlotte to hit a backbreaker into a Downward Spiral into the buckle. A moonsault (with Charlotte having to land on her feet and then hit a standing version) gets two but Ripley catches her on top.
That means a superplex can give Ripley two and they’re both down. The brawl is on with Ripley grabbing a quick Riptide for two and they head outside again. This time Charlotte dropkicks the steps next to Ripley’s knee (the camera angle really hurt that) and they head back inside for the Figure Four. Ripley manages to roll over and get to the floor for the break, complete with a lot of screaming. With nothing else working, Ripley tears off the top of the announcers’ table to hit Charlotte in the face for the DQ at 14:11.
Rating: C. So Charlotte mostly dominated the match and then wins by DQ in the end, setting up another title match down the line. There are a lot of criticisms of Charlotte being presented as far too strong and…..well this was kind of a good example. Ripley looked like she had to escape here and for the life of me I do not get why she is not being presented as an equal. She has all of the skills and talent you could want, but she has been treated as secondary to Charlotte every time they have been paired together. Charlotte is the most decorated woman in WWE history. Putting Ripley over once is not going to destroy her career.
Post match Ripley hits another Riptide and insists that she be named as the winner. Ripley leaves, with Charlotte saying “you’re learning b****.”
We recap Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Lashley for the WWE Title. McIntyre beat Kofi Kingston to become #1 contender for the third straight pay per view, so Lashley wants it to be his last shot. That’s fine with Drew, who wants it in the Cell, and then broke a table with a sword.
WWE Title: Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Lashley
Lashley is defending with MVP in his corner. They stare each other down for a bit before Lashley heads outside to grab some weapons. That’s fine with Drew, who sends him face first into the Cell to take over. Lashley is right back with a hard ram into the Cell so McIntyre suplexes him into the steel as well. A shot with the steps puts Lashley down again and McIntyre takes it back inside for the overhead belly to belly. McIntyre sets up a table against the Cell but MVP slips Lashley the cane.
That goes into McIntyre’s throat to cut him off but he counters a suplex into the post. An Air Raid Crash plants Lashley onto the steps so he goes to the throat to cut McIntyre off again. McIntyre bounces off of the Cell and comes right back with a clothesline to drop Lashley. They head inside with a rather stoic McIntyre hitting him in the back with a chair but a top rope chair shot is countered into a failed Hurt Lock attempt.
McIntyre’s spinebuster gets two and Lashley is dumped hard to the floor. McIntyre picks up the steps but Lashley drives him straight into the Cell and goes nuts as he pounds McIntyre down. With some help from MVP, Lashley pins McIntyre in the corner of the Cell with a kendo stick and unloads on him again. Back in and the Downward Spiral sends McIntyre face first into an open chair for a nasty landing.
Lashley unloads on him with kendo stick shots but McIntyre blocks a swing and hits a headbutt. McIntyre grabs the chair so Lashley pokes him in the eye. The referee gets bumped and Lashley is sent into the chair in the corner, meaning the Futureshock gets no count. McIntyre counters the Hurt Lock and hits the Claymore as the second referee comes in, only to be pulled out by MVP. That earns him a beating including a Claymore but Lashley is right back with the Hurt Lock on the floor.
That’s broken up with McIntyre driving him through the table in the corner and they’re both down again. Back in and McIntyre (whose back is all cut and banged up) unloads with some chair shots but the Claymore misses. Lashley sends him to the apron for a release Rock Bottom through a table. Back in and the spear is sent into the corner, allowing McIntyre to grab a backslide for two. The Futureshock connects but MVP grabs McIntyre’s leg, allowing Lashley to roll him up with trunks for the pin to retain at 25:49.
Rating: B+. This felt like a match with some weight behind it and the violence helped a lot as well. These are two big guys who can beat each other up with power moves and that is all you need a lot of the time. It also had the right ending, as there was no reason to take the title off of Lashley yet. Two guys hitting each other over and over again for a long time with a title on the line. That’s a pretty good formula for a main event and it worked rather well.
Lashley and MVP pose while McIntyre looks devastated to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. They kept this to the point and had three out of the six matches be rather good with only Bliss vs. Baszler not being so great. You might not be pleased with Charlotte vs. Ripley, but the rest of the show ranged from pretty good to very good. The main criticism here is that the show did not feel like it mattered in the slightest, with more than one feud feeling like it is just going to continue. Odds are that is the case with Money in the Bank and then Summerslam on the horizon, but at least they had a good show on the way there.
Bianca Belair b. Bayley – KOD onto a ladder
Seth Rollins b. Cesaro – Small package
Alexa Bliss b. Shayna Baszler – Twisted Bliss
Sami Zayn b. Kevin Owens – Helluva Kick
Charlotte b. Rhea Ripley via DQ when Charlotte used part of the announcers’ table
Bobby Lashley b. Drew McIntyre – Rollup with trunks
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