By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Hell in a Cell Kickoff Show
Aired live on October 6, 2019 on WWE Network and social media
Sacramento, California at Golden 1 Center
-The Kickoff Show was hosted by Jonathan Coachman, Charly Caruso, Booker T, and Sam Roberts. The red Hell in a Cell structure was shown hanging above the ring. Booker noted that he never “performed” inside the HIAC structure and said that was by design.
-A video package recapped the Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks feud heading into their HIAC match for the Raw Women’s Championship. Caruso announced that the match would kick off the pay-per-view event.
-The focus shifted to the WWE Women’s Tag Title match between Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. The Kabuki Warriors. Bliss and Cross were interviewed from backstage. Bliss said she was surprised when the match was announced. She said she doesn’t know what Kairi Sane and Asuka have done to earn a title shot aside from Sane walking around dressed like a pirate. Booker defended the challengers. Bliss said the accomplishments Booker listed were all singles wrestler accomplishments. Cross ran through Bliss’s accomplishments as a singles wrestler.
-Kayla Braxton interviewed Charlotte Flair in a backstage area about challenging Bayley for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Flair noted that she made Bayley “bow down” on the premiere of Smackdown. She said Bayley’s tough girl act is just an act and she will become a 10-time women’s champion. Flair let out a woooo to end the interview.
1. Lacey Evans vs. Natalya. The Raw broadcast team of Vic Joseph, Dio Maddin, and Jerry Lawler were on commentary, and Mike Rome was the ring announcer. At 3:10, Natalya went for the Sharpshooter, but Evans reached the ropes and rolled to ringside. Natalya followed only to take a kick and then be run into the ring steps.
They cut to a split screen break while Evans worked over Natalya’s right knee (both ads were for Hell in a Cell, which the entire Kickoff Show promotes anyway). Evans was the aggressor coming out of the break and Natalya continued to sell a bad knee. Evans set up for the Sharpshooter, but Natalya reached up and slapped her, which knocked Evans to the mat.
Evans got up and went after the knee again and went for the Sharpshooter, but Natalya kicked her off and Evans tumbled through the ropes to ringside. Evans returned to the ring and attacked Natalya in a corner of the ring. Evans went for her handstand on the turnbuckle into a kick spot, but Natalya kicked her away. Natalya got up and went after Evans, who cut her off with a clothesline. Evans went for a moonsault and Natalya moved out of the way (mostly). Natalya quickly applied a Sharpshooter and got a submission win.
Natalya defeated Lacey Evans in 9:25.
After the match, the referee raised the arm of Natalya. As Evans got to her feet, Natalya punched her back down and then went to the stage to celebrate…
Powell’s POV: A solid opener with a crowd pleasing result. I thought the feud might be over when Evans beat Natalya on Raw, but the parity booking continues. That said, this could be the blowoff with the draft starting on Friday.
-After some advertising, Coachman set up a recap of the Friday Night Smackdown on Fox premiere. Coachman and the panel spoke about show. Roberts said people loved how big the premiere was, but they melted down over Brock Lesnar beating Kofi Kingston. Coachman noted that he was at the first WWE Smackdown and he met Vince McMahon for the first time that night. He said to think back to where it was and see where it is now is pretty cool.
-Backstage, Ali was interviewed by Sarah Schreiber, who asked how he will bounce back from some recent setbacks. He said it’s beyond frustrating and he feels like he takes one step forward and two steps back. He said he won’t be kept down. Randy Orton interrupted the promo. Orton said he remembers when Ali had momentum and said he’s the one who stopped it. Ali challenged Orton to a match. “You’re on,” Orton said.
-The panel discussed the Orton vs. Ali match. Coachman spoke about what a career changing moment it would be if Ali beat Orton. Roberts and Booker both mocked the idea of Ali beating Orton.
-A video package focused on the Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan vs. Erick Rowan and Luke Harper tornado tag match.
-Roberts said Bryan’s career highlights have come when he’s bucked the system and fought the top guy, so teaming with Reigns may not be right for him. Booker said something that made Booker laugh.
-Cole set up footage from Smackdown of the Braun Strowman and Tyson Fury angle. Booker named it his Shucky Ducky Quack Quack moment of the night (we’ll all sleep better knowing this). Booker said there’s a lot of green involved. He said that when someone like Fury shows up it means there’s a lot of money involved (yes, likely Saudi money).
-A video package showcased the Seth Rollins and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt feud. The panel discussed the WWE Universal Championship match to close out the Kickoff Show.
Join me for my live review of the WWE Hell in a Cell main card in a separate post on the main page.