WWE Hell in a Cell 2021 Results: Reviewing Top Highlights and Low Points
Going into WWE Hell in a Cell 2021, nothing on the card felt necessary. It was a series of rematches and lingering feuds, rather than exciting, fresh storylines or interesting twists and turns.
Even the biggest selling point—the cage itself—has lost its reputation over the years and is more of a disappointment than the fearsome stipulation it once was.
This was a steep hill to climb in order to convince viewers this pay-per-view was worth their time. However, given the level of talent on show, it wasn't impossible.
Now that the show is over, how did things turn out? Were there more positives or negatives? Which moments stood out as the best and worst of the night?
Presented in order of appearance, here is a breakdown of the biggest highlights and low points of Hell in a Cell 2021.
- Kickoff Show: Natalya defeated Mandy Rose by submission.
- Hell in a Cell match: Bianca Belair defeated Bayley by pinfall to retain the SmackDown Women's Championship.
- Seth Rollins defeated Cesaro by pinfall.
- Alexa Bliss defeated Shayna Baszler by pinfall.
- Sami Zayn defeated Kevin Owens by pinfall.
- Charlotte Flair defeated Rhea Ripley by disqualification, meaning Ripley retained the Raw Women's Championship by champion's advantage.
- Hell in a Cell match: Bobby Lashley defeated Drew McIntyre by pinfall to retain the WWE Championship.
Low Point: Issues with Peacock on Another Worthless Kickoff
After all these years, WWE still can't figure out how to make pre-shows worthwhile. That's even more frustrating when there are problems even watching what ultimately ends up being a waste of time.
An ongoing issue with the Kickoff is that it is self-defeating. If WWE wants everyone to watch the television episodes, it shouldn't break down recap material to reward those who didn't bother checking out Raw and SmackDown. But the fans who do watch those shows have to sit through an hour of recap footage they've already seen.
Then again, that's if they're even able to watch it. Peacock viewers are not only still several minutes behind other feeds—a problem that has to be corrected as soon as possible—but it also took nearly 15 minutes to load the Kickoff at all.
Instead of being able to tune in, anyone who clicked on it saw the message above about how the event had already finished.
All of these issues should have been sorted out before the switch. That arbitrary deadline of getting everything back to normal by SummerSlam is fast approaching, too.
But if you watched on YouTube, you got to see the gripping match that they waited until the last minute to announce: Mandy Rose against Natalya. That in itself presented other problems.
Low Point: Mandy Rose vs. Natalya
On such a weak card as this, why wasn't this at least a Women's Tag Team Championship match to give it something worth investing in?
Rose against Natalya is a match most people wouldn't pay much attention to on Raw, let alone go out of their way to check it out on a PPV.
Had Rose won, it would have felt like she made more of a case for herself and Dana Brooke to earn a title match down the line. By losing, though, it means nothing was accomplished other than proving the only women's tag team outside of the champions isn't worthy of fighting for the belts.
Highlight: SmackDown Women's Championship Hell in a Cell Match
Ideally, this would have had more heat going into it than just revolving around Bayley laughing and Bianca Belair being the one to ask for a rematch, but these two at least delivered well enough in the ring.
Of course, modern-day Hell in a Cell matches aren't as violent and brutal as they once were. It's not fair to judge this on the same level, as it would be underwhelming in comparison to The Undertaker vs. Mankind at King of the Ring 1998.
As far as this era is concerned, though, this was solid. Belair wanted to prove once more that she can beat Bayley and she accomplished just that, with a K.O.D. on top of a ladder.
The cage wasn't much of a factor, sadly. This was basically a regular No Disqualification match.
If you ignore that and view it within the bubble of Sunday night's contest alone, then it was entertaining.
Highlight: Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
Any time Cesaro and Seth Rollins step in the ring, we know it's going to be at least a decent match.
Again, it should be stated that this isn't a strong highlight in the grand scheme of things, but it's a positive for this particular event.
The more cynical approach would be to say this wasn't as good as their WrestleMania 37 match. But the more optimistic point of view is that this was a fun enough contest with two great Superstars. Also, since Rollins picked up the victory, that evened the score between the two men.
WWE loves to stretch things out—even if it doesn't call for it—but at least there's room for a rubber match to settle things for good. It's just a shame their third encounter wasn't inside Hell in a Cell, which would have made much more sense.
Low Point: Alexa Bliss vs. Shayna Baszler
One of the most laughably bad things on WWE television recently was the setup for the feud between Alexa Bliss and Shayna Baszler. Considering how awful most things have been lately, it says a lot that this stuff with Lilly the puppet was a standout bad storyline.
At least this would be WWE's last chance to play around with the ThunderDome special effects and go out with a bang, right?
Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Nothing that happened here couldn't have happened in any other environment.
The only interesting moment was Bliss hypnotizing Nia Jax and forcing her to slap Reginald, but that wasn't good enough to save this segment.
This could have had some interesting special effects, gone in an interesting direction or even seen the return of Bray Wyatt. However, if you were to describe this to someone, you'd be left wondering what to say other than "Bliss pinned Baszler."
Highlight: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
After too many matches to count, there isn't much Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens haven't done in the ring together, but they still manage to work so well that every performance is worth watching.
This storyline followed with the rest of the card in that it was weak heading into the show: a rematch with nothing on the line.
Still, they had a slugfest and kept things entertaining from start to finish. Basically, they were given nothing to work with and managed to get through it purely on the strength of their skills and chemistry.
After the win, Zayn is talking more about karma rather than his conspiracy theories. Is this a new direction for his character or just a one-off for this show?
It's at least something to be curious about for the next episode of SmackDown.
Highlight: Raw Women's Championship Match
Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair work very well together. Every time they've been in the ring, they've come across like true rivals who will soon be at the same level.
Like their other encounters, the story here was that The Queen is the more experienced and the craftier of the two, while The Nightmare has the strength advantage.
As that played out, there were several near-falls that were nail-biters. When you can convince the audience multiple times that the match is over, just for it not to be, that's a sign of a rock-solid contest.
The ending wasn't quite as fantastic. Ripley getting herself intentionally disqualified is not only a means to protect Flair—who doesn't need it—but also WWE's way of stretching this out even more.
Disqualifications shouldn't happen on pay-per-views. There are far too many on television as it is, and the special events should be an exception to that booking where there is more finality to everything.
Still, at least it's nice to know that when WWE does this yet again, it should be another good match.
Highlight: WWE Championship Hell in a Cell Match
This might not have been a main event that could save Sunday's pay-per-view, but it did at least tell a coherent enough story.
Drew McIntyre has more than proved himself worthy of a top spot in WWE, and Bobby Lashley has been equally dominant in his own right. The tale told here was that The Scottish Warrior needed to keep things one-on-one to reclaim the title.
In fact, McIntyre had the match won at one point. Had the referee not been taken out, he would have been crowned. However, the Scot's call for a new official also allowed MVP into the cage. That was a fatal error that allowed Lashley's associate the opportunity to interfere and cost McIntyre the win.
All in all, that aspect of the story was pretty good. It was good enough on an otherwise completely inconsequential show where practically nothing happened.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.