Originally published at WWE Hell in a Cell 2021 Report: Lashley, Belair retain inside HIAC
Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of WWE Hell in a Cell featuring two HIAC matches for the promotion’s final pay-per-view of the ThunderDome era.
Wai Ting and I will be live immediately after the show with our Hell in a Cell POST Show that is accessible for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café.
Our coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET
*Hell in a Cell for the WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (champion) def. Drew McIntyre in 25:44
*Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair def. Rhea Ripley (champion) by Disqualification in 14:11
*Sami Zayn def. Kevin Owens in 12:40
*Alexa Bliss def. Shayna Baszler in 6:56
*Seth Rollins def. Cesaro in 16:14
*Hell in a Cell for the SmackDown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (champion) def. Bayley in 19:44
*Kickoff Show: Natalya def. Mandy Rose in 9:40
The kickoff panel featured Kayla Braxton, Jerry Lawler, JBL, and Peter Rosenberg.
NATALYA VS MANDY ROSE
Tamina and Dana Brooke were in the respective corners.
Natalya worked for control of Rose’s left arm. Rose snapped Natalya’s throat into the rope by yanking her arm.
From the guard, Rose tried for a guillotine and was slammed by Natalya. The two continually reversed abdominal stretches.
Rose landed a missile dropkick, she applied double underhooks and Natalya blocked the move. Rose drilled her with a knee strike for a two-count.
After bridging out of a jackknife cover, Natalya applied the sharpshooter for the win.
WINNER: Natalya in 9 minutes and 40 seconds
This was a really nice match between the two and had a lot of grappling sequences and played out like a chess match with Natalya finally gaining checkmate with the sharpshooter. Well-wrestled match.
The pay-per-view portion began with a video including a mysterious female voice artist “wishing all of you at the gates of hell, good luck” before transitioning into Ozzy Osbourne’s “Straight to Hell”.
The WWE credit card is the title sponsor, Yes, it’s a real thing.
Michael Cole then opened the show promoting that next month’s Money in the Bank will have live fans. Tonight? Not so much.
BIANCA BELAIR VS BAYLEY IN A HELL IN A CELL MATCH FOR THE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Belair came out in a red, white, and gold outfit with flames.
It was a really entertaining match built around several weapons with chairs, ladders, and braids (if only Mick Foley thought of that in 2000). Belair’s left shoulder was driven into the post and was the target of Bayley.
They utilized Belair’s braid several times with Bayley tying it to the bottom rope and later, to the chair. Belair got free and eventually, tied her braid to Bayley’s wrist to allow for several ripcord clotheslines and kept Bayley close to hit her with kendo sticks.
Two kendo sticks were stuck through the cell and the ring apron, but Bayley’s plan was thwarted and she was put through the kendo sticks.
Bayley injured her knee running it into a chair and later, hitting a Rose Plant and further injuring it. The ladder was introduced and culminated with Belair hitting a senton to Bayley, who was on top of the weapon. Belair extended the legs of the ladder and hit the KOD to Bayley on the ladder for the win.
WINNER: Bianca Belair in 19 minutes and 44 seconds to retain the SmackDown Women’s Championship
It was a very exciting match and a lot of creativity, which was similar to Bayley’s HIAC match with Sasha Banks, although I wouldn’t put this at that level. The Belair spots with her braid are unique but I don’t want to see them overdo it and they go close in this match. It ended very strong with Bayley’s knee compromised and a simple yet effective end with a KOD on the ladder. These two had a very good match.
Belair was interviewed backstage and called the Hell in a Cell “brutal” and will never forgive Bayley for what she put her through.
Bobby Lashley was shown with MVP and the ladies in his suite preparing for the match tonight.
Alexa Bliss said Lilly is still serving a “time out”. Shayna Baszler brought all this negativity upon herself and Bliss cannot be blamed tonight.
SETH ROLLINS VS CESARO
It was a very good match between the two but the finish certainly cooled Cesaro.
Rollins jumped Cesaro during his entrance and they brawled on the floor. Cesaro was on fire (not literally, that’s probably reserved for Shayna Baszler) until Rollins cut him off with a DDT. Cesaro returned with a flurry of uppercuts and ripcord clotheslines.
Cesaro did the unthinkable and removed Rollins’ GLOVE! Then, he kicked the glove into the sea of non-fans.
Rollins got the advantage again and struck him in the neck with a shot similar to what Karrion Kross has been using. Cesaro made a comeback and hit the Cesaro Swing, went for the sharpshooter, and transitioned to the crossface and back to the sharpshooter after a cradle attempt by Rollins.
The end came when Cesaro stomped on Rollins’ arm three times and then, Rollins used an inside cradle including hooking the leg with the injured arm and pinned Cesaro.
WINNER: Seth Rollins at 16 minutes and 14 seconds
I didn’t like the finish as the stomps to the arm seemed silly when Rollins needed his arm to catch Cesaro, so either the stomps had no effect or Rollins is Wolverine.
It was a deflating loss for Cesaro after being attacked and making his triumphant return for revenge. On the booking front, I can see the argument that Rollins is the higher priority and he’s already lost twice by Cesaro but this took Cesaro down a peg after flirting with a higher position on the roster.
ALEXA BLISS VS SHAYNA BASZLER
Surprisingly, this didn’t feature any pre-taped elements although it still had plenty to shake your head at.
Reginald and Nia Jax were at ringside and both fell under Bliss’ trance during the match.
Bliss was unaffected by Baszler’s strikes and kept laughing. Baszler tried to bend her arm and I thought they were trying to do the spot where Bliss’ arm was out of position because of the trick she can do, but they didn’t get there.
The match ended when Jax and Bliss locked eyes and screamed uncontrollably in stereo. Jax slapped Reginald while in this trance while Bliss escaped the Kirifuda Clutch, hit Sister Abigail, and Twisted Bliss to win.
WINNER: Alexa Bliss in 6 minutes and 56 seconds
I was all set for WWE’s version of ‘Annabelle’, so this was mild compared to expectations. As a viewer, I found it very relatable as I too have gone through the process of watching this story play out and withstanding great levels of pain, falling into a hypnotic state, shaking myself back to reality, and ultimately, screaming at the top of my lungs wishing it was all over.
KEVIN OWENS VS SAMI ZAYN
This was a really great performance especially from Kevin Owens, who had to sell the effects of the Nigerian Nail and an arm injury.
Owens was struggling to breathe from the attack on Friday, so they are keeping the focus on Commander Azeez with Owens.
The match featured Zayn hitting a tope con giro and Owens immediately grabbing his arm and going to the timekeeper’s area and really trying to play it off as legit. For the rest of the match, Owens didn’t use the arm and it was outstanding selling that made this unique from their past matches and completely different from the sprint they had at WrestleMania.
Owens fought back using one arm, he tried for the stunner and was countered with a half-and-half suplex. Zayn’s mouth was bleeding towards the end. Owens finally hit the stunner on the floor but Zayn got into the ring at the count of nine.
Zayn snapped the injured arm on the top rope, drilled Owens with a knee that sent Owens throat first onto the bottom rope and Zayn won with the Helluva kick.
WINNER: Sami Zayn in 12 minutes and 40 seconds
I really enjoyed this because it was a totally different type of match and the selling by Owens made it. He’s a very gifted babyface and brings a special quality to a match that many people take for granted because it’s been done so many times with Zayn and yet, this one was distinct from past versions. Both did a great job and I’d say this was above what were already high expectations for the match.
RHEA RIPLEY VS CHARLOTTE FLAIR FOR THE RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Flair attacked Ripley before the bell rang and then went after Ripley’s knee, which was a factor throughout the match.
Ripley sold the knee but would fight back with a missile dropkick. Flair hit the Andrade double moonsault combo missing off the top but hitting the standing version along with hitting a spinning elbow.
Ripley hit the Riptide but Flair got her foot on the bottom rope. Flair continued to attack the knee and Ripley was screaming at the top of her lungs on the floor. Inside the ring, Flair applied the Figure 8 and Ripley made it to the rope and they rolled to the floor. It appeared they were trying to keep the hold applied as they reached the floor, but their legs were freed.
Ripley took the panel on the announcer’s desk and hit Flair with it and she was disqualified.
WINNER: Charlotte Flair by DQ in 14:11
It was an extremely weak finish and not all that creative to book your way out of the match. The way it came off was like Ripley found a way out of the match, which was not the intention but it’s how it came off. The match was fine but didn’t hit the next gear and I found Ripley’s selling of the knee to be way over the top and it was hard to take it seriously especially after seeing the effectiveness Owens had in the previous match.
BOBBY LASHLEY VS DREW McINTYRE IN A HELL IN A CELL MATCH FOR THE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP
It was a super physical and hard-hitting match with a finish that is going to raise some groans given the Hell in a Cell stipulation.
McIntyre escaped the Hurt Lock early on and we had a procession of weapons with kendo sticks, tables, and chairs.
MVP was able to pass his cane into the cell area and Lashley nailed McIntyre in the throat. They trapped McIntyre against the cell using a kendo stick between the chain-link.
McIntyre fights back with kendo stick shots and had a chair, Lashley poked him in the eye and shoved McIntyre into the referee, who was nailed with the chair. McIntyre hit the Future Shock, but the referee was out. The alternate referee unlocked the cage door to enter and thus, allowed MVP to get involved. MVP was locked inside the cell and McIntyre attacked him and hit Claymore.
McIntyre’s back was a mess from all the weapon shots and will look horrifying on Monday.
Lashley ducked a Claymore and caught McIntyre on the apron with a chokeslam through a table on the floor. Lashley missed a spear inside the ring and McIntyre hit the Glasgow Kiss, Future Shock, and prepared for the Claymore when MVP grabbed McIntyre’s leg and Lashley rolled him up for the win.
WINNER: Bobby Lashley in 25 minutes and 44 seconds
This was billed as McIntyre’s last shot at the WWE Championship as long as Lashley is champion. The match was extremely physical and lived up to that billing but the finish does continue to cheapen the novelty of the Hell in a Cell, which isn’t taken half as seriously as it once was when it was a major drawing stipulation match.