By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 Kickoff Show
Aired live on September 16, 2018 on WWE Network and social media
San Antonio, Texas at AT&T Center
-The Kickoff Show was hosted by Jonathan Coachman and they showed off the new read Hell in a Cell cage that looks like something out of a play set. The panel featured Paige, Booker T, and Peter Rosenberg.
-The panel discussed the Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch feud and a video package also showcased it. They moved on to discussing the Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse feud.
-Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. She asked how the balance of power would change if they captured the tag titles. Ambrose said nothing would change because Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler would realize they never had the power to begin with. Rollins acknowledged The Shield could hold all of the men’s gold on Raw by the end of the night. Rollins said they refer to themselves as the workhorses of Raw and tonight is another chance to prove it.
-A video package highlighted the Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton feud. Their Hell in a Cell match will open the main card.
-The focus shifted to the WWE Championship match involving AJ Styles and Samoa Joe. They replayed the storybook video from Smackdown.
-Up next was the Raw Women’s Championship match. Alexa Bliss was interviewed from backstage. She said Ronda Rousey has a massive ego and she actually believes she is the best at everything. Bliss said those who think she doesn’t stand a chance are basing their opinions on SummerSlam and this event isn’t SummerSlam. She said the headlines will read that Ronda Rousey failed in her first title defense. Otunga went to ask a question, but Bliss blew him off by walking off the interview set.
-New Day made their entrance delivered a pre-match promo. Kofi Kingston fired up the crowd for pumpkin spice latte season. They teased doing a song and were interrupted by Aiden English, who cleared his throat. English sang a song that concluded with the usual Rusev Day line…
1. “New Day” Big E and Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Rusev and Aiden English (w/Lana) for the Smackdown Tag Titles. The Smackdown broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton called the match. They cut to a split-screen HIAC commercial early in the match.
Big E checked into the match and worked over English with suplexes and a splash. Rusev tagged in and put E down with a couple of clotheslines and a kick. Rusev threw another kick at E and covered him for a two count. There was a loud “Rusev Day” chant as Rusev set up for his finisher. E avoided it. Rusev countered into an Accolade attempt, which E also avoided.
Rusev tagged out and was speared off the apron by E. English dove onto E and brought him back to the ring where he got a two count. Kingston tagged in and hit a double stomp off the top rope while E held up English, which led to a two count.
A short time later, E launched Kingston over the top and right into a kick from Rusev. English took out E. Rusev brought Kingston back to the ring. English tagged himself in and there was some discussion between him and Rusev. Rusev missed a diving headbutt. English connected with a splash for a two count. English went to tag Rusev, who was down on the floor. English put Kingston in an Accolade. Rusev returned and caught E with a kick. Kingston fought out of the hold and hit Trouble in Paradise on English and pinned him…
New Day defeated Rusev and Aiden English in 8:55 to retain the Smackdown Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: A nice opening tag match. They did a good job of creating some dramatic near falls for both sides. The miscommunication between Rusev and English will be something to watch going forward, as it seems like they may finally be pulling the trigger on their split.
-The panel discussed the tag title match and previewed the remainder of the show.
-Mike Rome interviewed Mick Foley backstage. Foley had his homemade referee shirt on. Rome asked him how emotional it was to be back at Hell in a Cell. Foley said it is emotional and shifted the focus by saying it’s about Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman. He said he just happens to have the best seat in the house. Baron Corbin showed up and asked Foley if he was up for the match. Foley offered him general manager advice, but Corbin cut him off and said he would let his performance speak for itself.
-A video package focused on the Reigns vs. Strowman match. The panel offered their closing thoughts on HIAC to end the Kickoff Show.
Join me at the top of the hour for live coverage of WWE Hell in a Cell in a separate story on the main page.
The Best of The Boom features Tony Schiavone joining Jason Powell in this May 30, 2018 discussion in which he looks back on when he went to Ric Flair's house for his first pro wrestling assignment, his year with WWE, his one appearance for TNA Impact Wrestling, and more...