WWE Hell in a Cell 2013 Results: 10 Parallels to Last Year's Event
This past Sunday night, WWE presented its fifth annual Hell in a Cell pay-per-view live from the America Airlines Arena in Miami. Similar to Night of Champions and Battleground, some would say that it was a mediocre show at best in that it was extremely predictable.
Although two new champions were crowned throughout the night, I couldn't help but feel that a bad taste was left in my mouth following the show's conclusion. With Randy Orton and John Cena holding world championships yet again, it appears WWE has reverted back to its skull-crushing status quo, which is rather unfortunate.
However, the pay-per-view wasn't all bad, as the opening tag team title match kicked things off with a bang and made for an excellent opener. Kane's return was also noteworthy and provided a suspenseful cliffhanger going into the subsequent edition of Raw.
However, while watching the show, I came across numerous parallels to last year's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. If they were done on purpose is beyond me, but they seem more like coincidences than anything else.
For those of you who are aware of my useless wrestling knowledge, I present you with 10 similarities I found that made this year's event no different from last year's. In doing so, I'll prove to you why history does indeed repeat itself.
Damien Sandow Emerges Victorious
Since arriving on the WWE scene in April 2012, Damien Sandow's main goal has been to enlighten the WWE Universe and cure them of their "ignorance". He took a step closer to achieving this goal when he outlasted seven other vindictive villains to capture the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank contract this past July.
Unfortunately, Sandow hasn't won many matches since becoming Mr. Money in the Bank, racking up losses against the likes of Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth and even Santino Marella. He was placed on the Hell in a Cell pre-show in a match with Kofi Kingston, who he soundly defeated.
With this win, Sandow goes 2-0 at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, having defeated Team Hell No via disqualification at last year's event.
Cody Rhodes Wins a Tag Team Match
Over the course of his career in WWE, Cody Rhodes has had a handful of tag team partners. From Hardcore Holly to Ted DiBiase Jr. to even Drew McIntyre, Rhodes has won tag team title gold with a number of individuals in the last six years.
His latest tag team title victory came on the October 14 edition on Raw, where he and Goldust defeated Seth Rollins and Romain Reigns to capture the championships. Their first title defense was announced for the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, where they put gold up for grabs against Rollins and Reigns as well as The Usos in a Triple Threat tag team match.
Despite being against all odds, the Rhodes brothers still managed to escape "hell" with their titles intact after Cody nailed a Cross Rhodes on Rollins. This would mark the second consecutive year that Cody has won in tag team action at Hell in a Cell, and his fourth tag team bout at the event since 2009.
It is worth noting that Goldust and Cody were on opposing teams in a six-man tag dark match at 2010's event, only to put their differences aside and form a partnership three years later.
WWE Tag Team Championships Are Successfully Defended
For the better part of the last year, the WWE tag team division has been more important and exciting than it has been in years. After Daniel Bryan and Kane defeated Kofi Kingston and R-Truth for the WWE Tag Team Championships at 2012's Night of Champions event, the titles have meant more in the eyes of the fans and a lot of the titles' lost prestige has since been restored.
After winning a tag team tournament to become the No. 1 contenders to the bronze belts, Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow received their title shot at last year's Hell in a Cell event. Although they emerged victorious via disqualification, the tag titles remained with Team Hell No.
As previously mentioned, Rhodes was involved in the tag titles picture both last year and this year, except he was among the defenders this time around. Regardless, it didn't matter, as Rhodes and his brother Goldust were successful in retaining their straps against the likes of The Shield and The Usos this past Sunday night.
United States Championship Is Successfully Defended
Since the initial installment of Hell in a Cell in 2009, the United States Championship has been defended a total of four times. Interestingly enough, of the four times it has been defended, it never changed hands on the pay-per-view.
In 2009, Kofi Kingston emerged victorious in a Triple Threat match against The Miz and Jack Swagger to retain his U.S. title. Another Triple Threat match was held for the the star-spangled strap the following year at Hell in a Cell, where Daniel Bryan escaped with his title intact.
Although the gold wasn't up for grabs at 2011's installment the then-U.S. champ was involved in tag team match that night, it was successfully defended by Antonio Cesaro against Justin Gabriel last year. Of course, Dean Ambrose carried on the tradition by maintaining possession of the prestigious prize this past Sunday.
CM Punk Overcomes Ryback
At last year's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, CM Punk put his WWE Championship on the line against Ryback's undefeated streak in singles competition. Furthermore, the match was held inside Hell in a Cell, thus ensuring there was no way out for Punk.
Despite that, referee Brad Maddox cost Ryback the matchup after hitting him with a low-blow and making a fast count for Punk, helping "The Voice of the Voiceless" retain his WWE title. After the bout concluded, Ryback and Punk scurried up Satan's structure, where Ryback laid Punk out with a Shell Shocked.
Fast forward one year later and the rivalry between the two had since reignited. This time, however, the roles were reversed with Punk as the babyface and Ryback as the heel.
Regardless, the ending outcome was no different, as Punk soundly defeated "The Human Wrecking Ball" with ease. It was not Punk but Paul Heyman taking a beating atop the cell this year, being on the receiving end of a GTS from the Straightedge Superstar.
Punk and Ryback also became the first two Superstars in history to step inside the cell against one another two years in a row.
Luchadors Go over in Non-Title Tag Team Match
OK, this one may be a bit of a stretch, but it is still a similarity between the two events, nonetheless.
At 2012's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara vs. The Prime Time Players was added to the card at the last minute in an attempt to kill time. The two teams had been feuding for weeks on end, so pitting them against each other in a match on the pay-per-view was only logical.
In what was one of the more exciting matches of the night, Mysterio and Cara defeated The Prime Time Players to emerge victorious.
Mere days before this year's Hell in a Cell event, Los Matadores vs. The Real Americans was added to the card. As expected, Los Matadores picked up the win to keep their undefeated streak intact.
World Heavyweight Championship Changes Hands
Going into 2012's Hell in a Cell event, not many people expected Big Show to dethrone Sheamus as the World Heavyweight champion. Despite the size difference between the two, Sheamus had taken on all comers as champion for over six months, so he surely wasn't going down without a fight.
In what was undoubtedly the match of the night (and one of the most pleasantly surprising matches of the year), Big Show and Sheamus took each other to the absolute limit and tore the house down in Atlanta. Shockingly enough, Show knocked out "The Celtic Warrior" cold with a vicious right hand to capture his second World Heavyweight Championship.
The exact opposite was the case with this year's world title match, as it was blatantly obvious John Cena would win in his first match back against Alberto Del Rio to capture the gold. Sure enough, the leader of the Cenation did just that, pinning Del Rio for the three count and causing the prestigious prize to change hands at Hell in a Cell for the second consecutive year.
Alberto Del Rio Comes Up Short
After headlining 2011's Hell in a Cell event for the WWE Championship (and winning), Alberto Del Rio was relegated to opening the show the following year. He met Randy Orton in a grueling one-on-one match, which was won by "The Viper".
Del Rio walked into this year's event as the World Heavyweight Champion, but didn't walk out with the title still around his waist. This was due to the returning John Cena defeating him to win the gold at the pay-per-view.
After losing at Hell in a Cell in 2009, 2010 and 2011, this mark Cena's first ever win at the event. Likewise, this marked Del Rio first pin-fall loss on pay-per-view since last year's installment.
Divas Championship Is Successfully Defended
AJ Lee has brought back an incredible amount of prestige to the Divas Championship since winning it at June's Payback pay-per-view. Her latest successful title defense came at Hell in a Cell on Sunday over Brie Bella, but it wouldn't be the first time that title has been on the line at the event.
At the inaugural Hell in a Cell event in 2009, Alicia Fox challenged Mickie James for the Divas title, but came up short. While Natalya managed to defeat Michelle McCool in a title match in 2010, it was by disqualification, meaning McCool retained the title.
In 2012, Eve survived a Triple Threat match against Layla and Kaitlyn to maintain possession of the butterfly belt. This championship is amongst the few (the two world titles being the other two) championships to have been defended at every installment of Hell in a Cell since 2009.
Referee Gets Involved in Main Event Match
Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the whole point of a Hell in a Cell match to prevent interference from occurring? OK, with that settled, let's discuss the absurdity of the main events at the Hell in a Cell for the last two years.
Headlining 2012's Hell in a Cell event was CM Punk defending his WWE Championship against Ryback inside Satan's structure. While Punk was embarking on one of the longest WWE title reigns in years, Ryback was undefeated in singles competition, and with no disqualifications in a Hell in a Cell match, it was hard for fans to predict a winner.
Regardless, just as Ryback was about to close in on the prestigious prize, referee Brad Maddox shockingly delivered a low-blow to The Human Wrecking Ball, causing Punk to capitalize and hand him his first loss in one-on-one action. This was an excusable way of making Ryback look strong in defeat, but to have the referee get involved in the action for two straight years is rather ridiculous.
Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan met in the main event of this year's Hell in a Cell event for the vacant WWE Championship with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee. Fans expected this to be the match were Bryan would finally overcome Orton without the use of shenanigans to capture the title, but it apparently wasn't meant to be.
After knocking out both Orton and Triple H with a devastating running knee, Bryan was betrayed by Michaels, who nailed him with a Sweet Chin Music. Naturally, Orton picked up the pinfall victory to win back the championship.
Come Hell in a Cell next year, WWE should really look into appointing a referee for the main event match that they know won't affect the outcome. Speaking of such, is Mike Chioda available?
By the end of the night, I really felt I had reordered last year's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view as opposed to watching the one I originally bought. While some of the competitors may have altered, the results and the sense of deja vu certainly didn't.
Were WWE's intentions to cause this year's event to be such a rehash? Or are my keen detective skills and memory just too much for them to handle?
Thanks for reading, and make sure to drop a comment regarding your thoughts on this past Sunday's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view and its similarities to last year. If you feel any corrections need to be made, feel free to drop a comment below with the accurate information.
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Graham Mirmina, a.k.a. Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.