By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Hell in a Cell
Aired live on June 20, 2021 on Peacock and pay-per-view
Tampa, Florida at Yuengling Center
WWE Hell in a Cell Kickoff Show result: Natalya beat Mandy Rose in 9:45.
The main card opening with a video package featuring a female deejay talking about Hell in a Cell and then clips aired of the various feuds while Ozzy Osbourne’s “Straight To Hell” played… Pyro shot off around the venue…
Michael Cole welcomed viewers to the final WWE pay-per-view from the ThunderDome (thank God!). Cole was joined on commentary by Pat McAfee. The cage started to lower while the duo spoke at ringside… A video package spotlighted the Smackdown Women’s Championship match…
1. Bianca Belair vs. Bayley in a Hell in a Cell match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Cole and McAfee called the match. Bayley tied Belair’s braid to the ropes, but Belair freed herself and went on the offensive. Belair raked Bayley’s face against the cage at ringside. Bayley bit Belair’s arm to free herself. McAfee freaked out on commentary while Cole casually conceded that Bayley bit Belair.
Bayley pulled out a double kendo stick and hit Belair with it, then performed a sunset bomb that drove Belair into the cage. Bayley took kendo sticks and wedged them between the cage and under the apron. Belair ended up performing a spinebuster that resulted in Bayley breaking the sticks. Belair took Bayley inside the ring and covered her for a near fall.
Belair worked over Bayley with a chair. Bayley caught Belair’s arm between the chair and then wrenched it. Bayley slammed her knee onto the chair accidentally. Belair clipped the bad knee. Belair wrapped her braid around the wrist of Bayley and then performed multiple shoulder blocks and flipped Bayley to the ground.
Belair took Bayley to ringside and worked her over with a kendo stick. Belair ran Bayley into the cage and then threw shoulders to her abdomen before freeing her wrist from the braid. Bayley pleased with the referee outside the cage to free her. Belair slammed Bayley’s head into the cage a few times and then laughed.
Bayley pulled a ladder out from underneath the ring and then jabbed Belair in the gut with it. In the ring, Belair and Bayley ended up on opposite sides of the ladder. Belair used her power to drive Bayley toward the corner, but Bayley moved out of the way, causing Belair to drive the ladder into the post and hurt herself in the process.
Bayley opened the ladder on the mat and placed Belair inside of it. Bayley slammed the ladder onto Belair twice. Bayley sold knee pain the second time. Bayley covered Belair for a two count. Bayley continued to sell her bad knee. Belair rolled up Bayley, who countered. Bayley used the ropes for leverage, which Cole pointed out was legal, yet it only resulted in a two count. McAfee acted like he was unaware that it was legal.
Belair picked up Bayley in Glam Slam position and drove her face first into a turnbuckle. Belair placed a ladder on top of Bayley and went for a double stomp, but Bayley rolled out of the way. Belair rolled through and performed a senton on Bayley, who was on top of the ladder. Belair performed a KOD onto the ladder and scored the pin…
Bianca Belair defeated Bayley in 19:45 in a Hell in a Cell match to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: A good match. I’m not big on all of the weapons being used inside the HIAC structure, but it’s become the norm. And as down as I am on the overuse of kendo sticks, they found a creative way to use them. McAfee was really over the top with his commentary at points during the match. He was distracting while going crazy about Bayley biting Belair. That said, I’ll take that over Cole just casually acknowledging the bite and flippantly saying that it’s legal in an HIAC match.
Ads aired along with the WWE vaccination PSA…
Belair was interviewed by Megan Morant briefly on the Gorilla Position set. She said she would never forgive Bayley…
Bobby Lashley and MVP were shown hanging out with their lady friends. Lashley made a mean face (or he needs to use the facilities)…
Alexa Bliss checked in from the Alexa’s Playground set. She said to expect the unexpected… A video package set up the Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro match…
2. Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro. Cole and McAfee called the match. Cole and McAfee called the match. Rollins attacked Cesaro from behind during the entrances. Once they were apart inside the ring, the referee called for the opening bell. Later, Rollins backdropped Cesaro from the apron to the floor. Rollins hit Cesaro with a running knee from the apron.
Back inside the ring, Cesaro came back with a series of uppercuts. Cesaro ripped the black glove off the right hand of Rollins and then shoved it inside his mouth. Cesaro performed a short-arm clothesline and Rollins spat out the glove. Cesaro covered Rollins for a two count. Cesaro punted the black glove out of the ring.
Cesaro performed a power slam for a two count. Cesaro followed up a short time later with a cross body block from the ropes. Rollins rolled through and got a near fall. Rollins caught Cesaro with an enzuigiri and a spinning forearm. Rollins punched the back of Cesaro’s neck and then covered him for another near fall.
Rollins started jawing Cesaro thinking he’s better than him and how he hasn’t earned something. Rollins applied a Kimura lock. Cesaro powered out of it, but Rollins put him down with a falcon arrow for a two count. Rollins threw a kick to the back of Cesaro’s head and covered him for another two count.
Cesaro dropped a charging Rollins with a lariat, which left both men down temporarily. Rollins got up first, but Cesaro took him right down and performed The Swing. Cesaro stopped it and then applied a Sharpshooter. Rollins reached for the ropes, so Cesaro released the hold and applied a Crossface. Rollins rolled Cesaro into a pin to break the hold.
Cesaro reapplied the Sharpshooter. Rollins reached for the ropes. Cesaro grabbed his arm and then stomped it three times. Rollins countered in an inside cradle and scored the pin. The broadcast team debated whether Rollins stole the match or earned the win.
Seth Rollins pinned Cesaro in 16:15.
Afterward, Rollins gloated as he headed up the ramp and said everything is even…
Powell’s POV: A really well worked match. I like the way the finish occurred out of nowhere rather than the match concluding with a finishing move. With Rollins mentioning that things are even, one can only assume that we’ll be getting a tiebreaker match.
An ad aired for WWE going back on the road… A Peacock ad aired… An ad aired for the WWE Money in the Bank pay-per-view that will be held on Sunday, July 18…
Cole and McAfee spoke at ringside. McAfee played up MITB taking place in front of fans. Cole hyped the event for Fort Worth, Texas, then turned things over to the Kickoff Show hosts. Kayla Braxton, Jerry Lawler, JBL, and Peter Rosenberg spoke from their desk… A video package set up Alexa Bliss vs. Shayna Baszler match…
Baszler, Nia Jax, and Reginald were interviewed by Morant in the backstage area. Baszler told Morant to never mention the stupid doll’s name again. Baszler ended up slapping Reginald…
3. Alexa Bliss vs. Shayna Baszler (w/Nia Jax, Reginald). The Raw broadcast team of Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton called the match. Bliss didn’t bring the stupid doll to the ring with her, so apparently it’s still on timeout. Reginald climbed onto the apron and distracted Bliss, allowing Baszler to go on the offensive briefly. A short time later, Reginald covered his eyes to avoid looking at Bliss.
Bliss ended up hypnotizing Jax. Reginald waved his hand in front of Jax’s face. She slapped him. Bliss yelled and then Jax did the same. Baszler tried to put her finisher on Bliss, who quickly avoided it and then put Baszler down with a DDT. Jax seemed back to normal at ringside. Bliss went up top and hit Twisted Bliss and scored the pin…
Alexa Bliss beat Shayna Baszler in 7:00.
Powell’s POV: I wish Bliss would hypnotize me so that I could stop hating my job whenever I have to cover her matches and segments. It will be very interesting to get a feel for what the fans will think of her Female Fiend schtick once WWE goes back on the road. It’s not for me, but neither was The Fiend and a lot of fans were into his hocus pocus nonsense.
Drew McIntyre was shown backstage… After various ads, Cole and McAfee touted WWE being up for ESPY Awards. McAfee encouraged viewers to vote for him…
4. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn. Cole and McAfee called the match. Owens sold a throat injury caused by Commander Azeez’s Nigerian Nail finishing move from the Smackdown tag team match. Owens was on the offensive early, but he coughed and gagged multiple times.
Zayn came back briefly, but Owens picked him up in suplex position and dropped him over the top rope. Owens hit Zayn with a clothesline in the corner and then coughed. Owens followed up with a cannonball in the corner and then covered Zayn for a two count. Owens went right back to selling his throat.
Zayn regrouped and performed a flip dive onto Owens at ringside. Owens got up and held his wrist. Owens returned to the ring. The referee prevented Zayn from going after Owens, who was holding his arm at his side. Zayn broke through and put the boots to Owens.
Cole played up the idea that the referee may need to stop the match due to Owens’ various issues. Owens threw punches at Zayn, took him down, and fired away with more punches. Cole pointed out that Owens was only able to use his right arm. Zayn rolled to the floor. Owens sold his left arm injury, then rolled to ringside and clotheslined Zayn.
Owens returned to the ring to break the count. Owens performed a senton off the apron, but Zayn put his knees up. Back inside the ring, Zayn hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall. Zayn fired away with punches at Owens in the corner. Owens fired back with punches and chops with his right hand. Owens went for a Stunner, but Zayn countered into a wicked suplex that led to another near fall.
Zayn had a bloody mouth. The referee put gloves on. Owens went to ringside. Zayn followed. Owens kicked Zayn and then dropped him with a Stunner on the floor. Owens went back to the ring. Zayn barely beat the referee’s count.
Owens dropped Zayn with a forearm. Zayn came right back by wrenching the arm of Owens over the ropes. Zayn kicked Owens, whose throat hit the bottom rope. Owens got up and then Zayn hit him with a Helluva Kick and scored the pin.
Sami Zayn defeated Kevin Owens in 12:40.
Afterward, Zayn laughed while talking about karma. Zayn approached the broadcast table and taunted Cole while claiming that Cole didn’t want him to win. Zayn appeared to spit some blood on a page of Cole’s notes that Zayn held in his hand. Cole got up and backed away from the broadcast table…
Powell’s POV: The usual strong match from these two. Owens had the throat injury and the arm injury as outs, so you had to assume that Zayn was going over. Karma!
Some ads aired followed by Montez Ford talking about fatherhood… Cole and McAfee set up a video package that recapped Roman Reigns defeating Rey Mysterio in an HIAC match to retain the WWE Universal Championship on Friday’s Smackdown…
5. Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair for the Raw Women’s Championship. Smith, Graves, and Saxton called the match. Mike Rome delivered ring entrances from the floor once both women were inside the ring. WWE piped in boos for Flair and kind of a mixed reaction for Ripley. The referee held up the title belt. Flair ripped it away from him, threw it at Ripley, and then hit her. The referee checked on Ripley and then called for the bell to start the match.
Flair dominated the opening minutes of the match and picked up several two counts. Flair targeted the left leg of Ripley, who eventually caught Flair with a kick. Ripley let out a primal scream. She went to the top rope and threw a good missile dropkick that resulted in a two count. Ripley put Flair in a standing leg lock. Flair powered out in a way that sent Ripley face first into a turnbuckle. Flair hit the Natural Selection. Flair went for the cover and put her foot on the ropes, but Ripley kicked out and the ref caught Flair cheating.
A short time later, Flair performed a moonsault. Ripley rolled out of the way, but Flair landed on her feet and performed a standing moonsault, which led to another near fall. Cool spot. Flair went for a figure four, but Ripley caught her in an inside cradle for a two count. Flair dropped Ripley with an elbow and covered her for another near fall. Flair smiled. Flair went back to targeting the knee. Flair went for the figure four, but Ripley kicked her away. Flair caught Ripley with a boot, then went up top. Ripley cut her off. Ripley superplexed Flair and covered her for a near fall.
Both women got to their feet and traded shots. Flair got the better of it and fired away with a series of chops. Ripley avoided a charging Flair in the corner and put her down with her Riptide finisher. Ripley covered Flair, who put her foot on the bottom rope to break the pin. Flair rolled to ringside. Ripley screamed to sell her frustration over not getting the pin. Ripley went to ringside and limped as she approached Flair, who kicked her and then sent her knee first into the ring steps. Both wrestlers returned to the ring to beat the referee’s count.
Flair speared Ripley and then applied a figure four. Flair bridged slightly, but Ripley rolled over and grabbed the ropes. Both women rolled to the floor. Ripley cried out in agony to sell her injury. Flair approached Ripley, who pulled the top of the broadcast table off and hit Flair with it. The referee called for the bell and then informed Ripley that she was disqualified.
Charlotte Flair defeated Rhea Ripley by DQ in 14:10 in a Raw Women’s Championship match.
Afterward, Ripley and Flair returned to the ring and fought. Ripley put Flair down with her Riptide finisher. Ripley limped to ringside and got her title belt. As Ripley headed up the stage, she turned and told Flair that she was only doing what Flair did to her…
Powell’s POV: I don’t mind a DQ finish at this point in their feud, but the plastic top of broadcast table was a really weak way to do it. Of course, having Nikki Cross get the better of both women in flukey two minute challenges and other matches didn’t exactly set the table well either. Here’s hoping the company gets it right with Ripley and Flair going forward, as it really should be a big feud and they worked well together. Unfortunately, I don’t even think they know whether they want Ripley to be a babyface or a heel yet.
Following some ads, a video package set up the main event…
6. Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Drew McIntyre in a Hell in a Cell match for the WWE Championship. McIntyre can’t challenge Lashley for the title again if he loses. Smith, Graves, and Saxton called the match. Lashley rolled to ringside to grab weapons when the bell rang. McIntyre followed him to the floor and raked his face across the cage. McIntyre dominated the opening minutes and hit Lashley with a piece of the ring steps twice.
Back inside the ring, McIntyre went for a Future Shock DDT, but Lashley avoided it and delivered an elbow to the head. McIntyre knocked Lashley down with a kick and then performed an overhead belly to belly suplex. They went back to ringside where McIntyre hit Lashley with a kendo stick and then used it to perform a Russian leg sweep that sent Lashley into the cage. McIntyre pulled out a table and leaned it against the side of the cage. MVP slid his cane to Lashley, who hit McIntyre in the throat with it. Lashley slammed the cane over McIntyre’s head.
Lashley worked over McIntyre at ringside and then set up for a brainbuster on the ring steps, but McIntyre shoved him into the ring post. McIntyre hoisted up Lashley and fell backwards onto the ring steps with a version of White Noise. McIntyre pulled another table out from underneath the ring and set it up on the floor. McIntyre grabbed Lashley and pushed the back of his head into the cage several times. McIntyre brought Lashley to the ring steps, but Lashley hit him with a shot to the throat. Lashley ran McIntyre into the cage, but McIntyre bounced off dropped Lashley with a clothesline.
McIntyre tossed three chairs inside the ring. He wedged one of them in a corner. McIntyre charged Lashley, who caught him with an elbow. McIntyre came right back with an elbow and a reverse Alabama Slam onto one of the chairs. McIntyre covered Lashley for a two count. McIntyre went up top and wanted to come down on Lashley with a chair, but Lashley stuffed it. Lashley went for the Hurt Lock, but McIntyre fought him off and performed a spinebuster for a two count. McIntyre followed up with a powerbomb for another two count. Graves pointed out that MVP looked concerned and called it an unfamiliar sight.
The fight went to ringside where McIntyre picked up a piece of the ring steps. Lashley ended up shoving the steps into McIntyre’s head and drove it against the cage. Lashley hit the ring steps multiple times and took offensive control. MVP jawed at McIntyre through the cage and told him that he asked for his. Lashley slipped the kendo stick to MVP, who then placed it in front of McIntyre to pin him in the corner of the cage. Lashley fired away with body shots. McIntyre freed himself and ran toward Lashley, who put him down again before rolling him back inside the ring. Lashley set up a chair and then performed a pair of Flatliners onto it.
Lashley grabbed a kendo stick and beat McIntyre with it repeatedly. McIntyre started to no-sell the shots and got to his feet. Lashley swung the stick, but McIntyre caught it and then hit Lashley with a Glasgow Kiss headbutt. Lashley thumbed McIntyre’s eye and then shoved him into the referee, who fell to ringside. REF BUMP!!! McIntyre ended up hitting a Future Shock DDT and had the pin, but the referee was down. McIntyre told the ringside referee to replace the original ref. Lashley went for the Hurt Lock, but McIntyre escaped. McIntyre hit Lashley with the chair a couple of times and then hit him with a Claymore kick. The second referee made the count, but MVP was in the cage and pulled the referee to the floor.
McIntyre glared at MVP, who tried to leave, but the cage door was locked. McIntyre roughed up MVP at ringside and then rolled him inside the ring. McIntyre hit his Claymore Kick finisher on MVP. McIntyre had nasty welts on his back and on the side of his arm. McIntyre went to ringside to go after MVP. Lashley showed up and put McIntyre in the Hurt Lock. McIntyre tried to break it by backing into the cage, but it didn’t work. McIntyre backed Lashley into the table that was propped up against a side of the cage and both men went through it, causing Lashley to release his finishing hold.
McIntyre brought Lashley back inside the ring. McIntyre slammed a chair over Lashley’s back repeatedly. McIntyre went for a Claymore Kick, but Lashley dropped down and avoided it, causing McIntyre to crash and burn. Lashley got up and shoved McIntyre back-first into the ring post, then slammed him off the apron and through a table that was set up on the floor. Lashley rolled McIntyre back inside the ring and then went to the corner for a spear. McIntyre avoided the spear and then put Lashley in a backslide for a two count. McIntyre dropped Lashley with another Glasgow Kiss. McIntyre performed a Future Shock DDT. McIntyre went to the corner and set up for his finisher, but MVP grabbed his foot. Lashley rolled up McIntyre and pinned him…
Bobby Lashley defeated Drew McIntyre in 25:45 in a Hell in a Cell match to retain the WWE Championship.
Powell’s POV: A fantastic match. It was super physical and highly suspenseful. They did a great job with the momentum shifts and I really wasn’t sure which way it would go. There were several times when I thought they were going to the finish and the match just kept going and became more intriguing as it did. McIntyre was protected via MVP’s interference. It will be interesting to see if they go back on the stipulation that this was McIntyre’s final shot given the way that Lashley won or if they will end up on opposite brands coming out of the rumored post SummerSlam draft.
Overall, a solid show that was made by the final match. Aside from the main event, the matches felt either predictable or somewhat trivial, yet most were well worked and entertaining. The ThunderDome certainly served a purpose and made things better during the pandemic, but I am so anxious to see it replaced by in-person fans next month. Hopefully WWE has some big things planned to freshen things up on the Raw side. I will be teaming up with Jake Barnett for Dot Net Members’ exclusive Hell in a Cell audio review coming up shortly. Let us know what you thought of the show by grading it and voting for the best match below.
Pro Wrestling Boom Live returns on Monday at 3CT/4ET with Jonny Fairplay and Jason Powell taking your calls at PWAudio.net.