Ronda Rousey Beats Alexa Bliss, Retains Raw Women's Title at WWE Hell in a Cell

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2018

Photo credit: WWE.com.

In her first title defense since winning the Raw Women's Championship, Ronda Rousey beat Alexa Bliss at Hell in a Cell on Sunday to retain.

Bliss attempted to slow down the champion by attacking her ribs. For the most part, the strategy was successful as the former UFC star was clearly favoring her ribs throughout the match.

However, Rousey was still able to lock on the armbar, after which Bliss tapped out almost immediately.

Bleacher Report's Kevin Berge found positives and negatives in the match:

Like Berge, CBSSports.com's Adam Silverstein thought Rousey has shown big strides in the ring:

Sunday's bout was a rematch from SummerSlam at which Rousey easily beat Bliss to become Raw women's champion for the first time.

That victory was payback for the UFC Hall of Famer after Bliss interrupted her title match against Nia Jax at Money in the Bank by cashing in the contract she had won earlier in the night to claim the Raw Women's Championship.

Bliss went to great lengths to get inside Rousey's head in an effort to get the upper hand entering SummerSlam, but it wasn't enough to prevent The Baddest Woman on the Planet's inevitable coronation.

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Since SummerSlam, The Goddess has employed strength in numbers, with Mickie James and Alicia Fox flanking her on a weekly basis.

Rousey has had help from Natalya, but Bliss' scheming went a long way toward making her look like a viable challenger at Hell in a Cell despite the massive size and strength disadvantage she gave up to the champion.

After beating Nattie on an episode of Raw a couple of weeks ago, Bliss successfully used James and Fox as decoys in order to clip Rousey in the knee and throw her into the steel steps.

While Rousey recovered and chased her off, it was clear Bliss would need to employ more of the same in order to beat the titleholder and become a six-time women's champion.

There was also an intriguing wrinkle surrounding the match since it was already announced that Bliss would face Hall of Famer Trish Stratus at the Evolution pay-per-view on October 28.

That added stakes to Sunday's match in terms of making Bliss vs. Stratus a title match if she could find a way to take the strap back from Rousey.

Knowing about the Stratus bout ahead of time may have been a kiss of death for Bliss, as it potentially took some of the focus away from the task at hand at Hell in a Cell.

Regardless of why she fell short, Bliss was unable to take back the Raw Women's Championship, which means she can now fully commit her efforts to the Evolution dream match against Stratus. 

As for Rousey, the build can now start toward her possibly main-eventing Evolution as the Raw women's champion as well.

            

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