WWE Hell in a Cell was the best pay-per-view all year? Really?
That’s probably what most of you thought when you saw the headline of this article, and as a result, you likely stopped reading or are continuing to read only to lay into me in the comments section. But that’s OK, because I stand by my claim that this Sunday’s pay-per-view was the best one that the WWE has put together all year.
Sure, there have been multiple PPVs that were better than Hell in a Cell wrestling-wise—Money in the Bank and SummerSlam immediately come to mind—and there have been some that received a lot more hype and publicity, like WrestleMania.
But none, I repeat, none of them have changed the WWE landscape like Hell in a Cell.
Before we take a look at the No. 1 reason why HIAC is at the top of the PPV hierarchy for 2011, though, let’s revisit five “bonus” moments from the pay-per-view that made it so special.
Moment 1: Air Boom Defeats Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler to Retain the WWE Tag Team Championships
Is this not exactly what we asked for? We wanted an improved tag team division, and in this bout, we got to see four of the WWE’s best young wrestlers go at it in a 10-minute match for the tag team titles.
You can count on one hand how many WWE Tag Team Championship matches you’ve cared about in the last few years, and this was one of them.
Moment 2: Randy Orton Loses Clean for the 2nd Consecutive Pay-Per-View
Over the past two or three years, I’ve read something along these lines maybe 1,357 times: “Freakin’ Randy Orton never loses clean. He’s just like John Cena.”
Well, guess what? Orton lost to Henry again at Hell in a Cell, his second consecutive clean PPV loss to the World’s Strongest Man.
Not only did the victory do wonders for Henry’s character, but it was also amazing to see Orton get a watchable match out of someone who’s had plenty of stinkers over the years.
Moment 3: Cody Rhodes Re-Introduces the Retro Intercontinental Championship
Another complaint wrestling fans have had over the last three or four years is that the “Intercontinental Championship” doesn’t matter.
Well, Cody Rhodes changed that at Hell in a Cell.
Rhodes re-introduced the old school, all-white Intercontinental title that was used in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and he vowed to defend it as much as possible to bring back some of the prestige the belt had when it was held by the likes of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
Looks like someone in the WWE has been reading the Internet…
Moment 4: Beth Phoenix Wins Her 1st-Ever Divas Championship
Beth Phoenix is the best overall women’s wrestler in all of the WWE, yet she had never held the Diva’s Championship until she beat Kelly Kelly at Hell in a Cell.
We all know how great Beth can be when given the spotlight in the Divas division, so having her win the strap was undoubtedly the right decision.
Perhaps this is a sign that the Divas are headed in the right direction.
Moment 5: Alberto Del Rio Wins the WWE Championship in the 1st Triple Threat HIAC Match
Alberto Del Rio cashed in his Money in the Bank contract at SummerSlam to win his first WWE Championship, but he had an incredibly forgettable title run that ended only five weeks after it started.
The creative team apparently decided on a “redo,” though, and had Del Rio win the title back on Sunday in what was a very good Hell in a Cell match, one that I would rate around four stars or so.
It was nice to see ADR get another shot at holding the WWE title again, and hopefully, he’ll hang onto it a lot longer this time around.
The Moments We’ll Never Forget: R-Truth and The Miz Cause Chaos
The WWE did a fine job of booking all of the matches at the pay-per-view, as I really can’t complain about the outcome of any bouts on the card.
But it wasn’t the matches that made Hell in a Cell so special—it was anything involving The Miz, R-Truth and Triple H.
After R-Truth and The Miz invaded the arena at the start of the show and were subsequently kicked out, most of us had this gut feeling that they’d be back later in the PPV. Indeed they were. They returned to the building and laid out both Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston before being ejected once again.
They weren’t done, though. Truth and Miz showed up yet again after the Triple Threat WWE Championship match between CM Punk, Cena and Del Rio, and started wreaking absolute havoc on those three as they were locked inside the cell (which was conveniently lowered by someone, although we don’t know who).
The entire WWE roster rushed to ringside to try to break into the cell, bolt cutters were used to eventually get inside, and Miz and Truth were arrested and led out of the building, only to be attacked by Triple H.
Now, I don’t know about you, but the entire segment at the end of Hell in a Cell had me on the edge of my seat. It was one of the best PPV endings I’ve ever seen, and it’s led to one of the most interesting storylines we’ve seen in the WWE in quite some time, with the company seemingly having its own version of a “lockout” (a la the NBA and the NFL).
Who lowered the cell to allow Truth and Miz to attack Cena, Punk and Del Rio? Is someone attempting to sabotage Triple H’s reign as COO?
With wrestlers “walking out” on Raw, what’s going to happen this Monday? Will Vince McMahon return to feud with Triple H for control of the company?
We don’t know the answers to any of those questions as of yet, but without Hell in a Cell, we wouldn’t even be asking them.
The Truth/Miz/Triple H debacle was the catalyst for everything that has happened on WWE TV since then and will happen for the foreseeable future, and that’s precisely why Hell in a Cell was the best PPV of the year.