WWE held its Hell in a Cell pay-per-view event on Sunday at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif.
On a night where four championships were on the line, two titles changed hands and the stage was set for the upcoming draft where Superstars will be selected for either “Monday Night Raw” or “Smackdown.”
Here are the five biggest takeaways from Sunday night’s action.
Welcome to Hell
Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks officially kicked off the event with the first of two Hell in a Cell matches.
Although Banks had competed in the only other women’s Hell in a Cell match in history — against Charlotte Flair in 2016 — she was unable to capture the Raw women’s championship against her rival and fellow Horsewoman Lynch.
Undeniably the match of the night, Lynch and Banks brutalized each other, psyching the crowd up with false finishes as well as huge and tastefully dangerous spots in the massive structure. The highlights of the match came when Banks landed a Meteora on Lynch, sending the champion into a ladder and when Lynch landed a dropkick on Banks, who was perched on a chair suspended in the cage.
Lynch would eventually force Banks to tap out after slapping on a Dis-Arm-Her following a Becksploder suplex onto a pile of steel chairs.
The victory seemingly locks Lynch — who remains among the company’s most popular stars — atop the women’s division on Raw, but with the potential for much larger viewership on Fox, she may wind up on the blue brand.
Asuka’s a champion again
One of the biggest complaints by hardcore WWE fans since the Japanese star debuted on Smackdown two years ago has been the way she has been booked.
After spending her entire NXT career undefeated and winning the first women’s Royal Rumble match, Asuka lost to Charlotte Flair in a Smackdown women’s championship match at WrestleMania 34 in 2018. Since then, Asuka has been stuck in the mid-card of the women’s division. Most recently, Asuka has teamed with fellow former NXT women’s champion Kairi Sane as part of the Kabuki Warriors tag team.
Sunday night the two former title holders recaptured glory, defeating Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross to win the women’s tag team championships.
While the match itself was somewhat standard, Michael Cole and Corey Graves did an excellent job of building up the two Japanese women, ultimately leading up to a heel turn. As Sane and Bliss battled outside of the ring, Asuka blinded Cross with green mist — a classic professional wrestling trope utilized by Japanese stars — to score the pin and win the titles.
It remains to be seen if the Kabuki Warriors will be afforded the time to help elevate the women’s tag team titles, but if they are, there is plenty of reason to be excited.
Bayley has no more buddies
A short time after fellow Horsewomen Banks and Lynch performed, Flair and Bayley took to the ring to settle a feud of their own.
Despite not having the Hell in a Cell structure to serve as a narrative instrument and inspire creativity in the match, Bayley and Flair capped off their months-long feud with a strong match.
Flair scored the victory over Bayley two days earlier on the debut on “Smackdown” on Fox, which proved to be foreshadowing for what would happen on Sunday.
Bayley’s early offense eventually led to Flair dominating for most of the match before ultimately winning her 10th championship by forcing Bayley to tap out to the Figure Eight leg lock. As Charlotte celebrated after the match, Bayley threw a tantrum, which the semi-hometown crowd bought into.
Bayley and Banks both leaving Sacramento without championships means the future is a bit unclear for them. While their respective championship feuds have seemingly wrapped, the Horsewomen are firmly entrenched atop the women’s division. The solution moving forward may be as simple and switching things up and having Bayley feud with Lynch and Banks with Flair.
Fiend-ing for more
The long-awaited appearance of Bray Wyatt’s “Fiend” character capped off the night, but it wasn’t what anyone expected.
Facing off against WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins, the Fiend was booked the same way he has been during the build-up to this match. Unable to mount any significant offense, Rollins worked underdog for the majority of the match. Rather than have all of this play out in the normal Hell in a Cell environment, the crowd was blacked out and the match was wrestled under a red light.
As the match reached its climax, Rollins landed countless finishers on the Fiend and utilized a chair, ladder, toolbox and ultimately a sledgehammer before being disqualified and retaining his title.
After the match, the Fiend attacked Rollins again and the show went off the air to a chorus of boos from the Sacramento crowd.
While the Fiend didn’t lose and ultimately was protected by this outcome, it’s hard to ignore just how displeased the fans were during the moments where Rollins was dominating and during the convoluted finish.
Although many expected a major title change tonight that didn’t happen, it’s still a matter of when, not if, Wyatt gets the universal championship.
Ushering in a new era
Hell in a Cell capped off a wild week for the professional wrestling industry.
WWE scored a potential major coup as it is in deep negotiations with former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and it changed one of its top-tier title holders. The fact that both of these moments happened on “Smackdown” and not on a pay-per-view that was happening just days later is important.
There may not have been as much upheaval as expected on Sunday night, but with new TV deals underway and an upstart competitor to go up against, a larger emphasis on the weekly programming is something that fans show benefit from moving forward.
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