Monday Morning Backlash with WWE Hell in a Cell Report Card, John Cena vs. Wade Barrett, Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

The Monday morning after a WWE PPV means it’s time for that special time in a young man’s life… the report card… for WWE Hell in a Cell where we grade each performer with a letter and each match with a star rating. Let’s get started.

Daniel Bryan – B – Bryan came off as a star, again, getting the crowd involved and having a good match as the glue guy in a gimmick that didn’t make the world of sense. Still, three ways are Danielson’s worst kind of match and so this was just good rather than great.

John Morrison – B – Morrison was filler here and not needed, but still made the most of his opportunity via some really good selling and a few high spots that were important in getting the crowd involved in the show.

The Miz – A- – He was excellent at being an opportunist in the match to gain heat and his promo before the show set the tone for the night, getting the crowd involved. In fact, the only thing missing from Miz’ performance was bothering to look like he might win.

Daniel Bryan retains the US Title by making the Miz tap to the LaBelle Lock in a match that also featured John Morrison (***) – The beauty of this match is how everyone had their role to play and played it well. Danielson was the guy who could win at any time, Morrison excited the crowd, and Miz pissed them off. The match was good, but not so good it couldn’t be followed. Match quality may have only been ***, but in terms of what it was for the show, its an A+.

Sheamus – B+ – Sheamus is really a main event guy now, as he controlled much of the match, made it interesting, and seemed vicious. He can still use some work on selling during babyface comebacks, but his willingness to take big bumps made up for a lot in this area.

Randy Orton – A – Well, he has his face selling down, there’s no stopping him. Absolutely awesome comebacks and great selling, along with how over he already is, make Orton pretty clearly ready to be the top man in the company.

Randy Orton defeats Sheamus with an RKO on the steps (*** ¾). Arguably match of the night, this one featured excellent storytelling. Sheamus was working Randy’s ribs with no shame in utilizing weapons to get his advantage and put Orton away. Orton’s comebacks, meanwhile, involved those same weapons, as he is just as evil and devious as Sheamus and better at using the environment to his advantage. This one really didn’t need the cell and so is bumped down from ****, but was still a great match.

Alberto Del Rio – B – He had a big entrance, his speech got heat, but if you want to sell us that you might fight, wear some damn tights so it isn’t obvious when the next two guys come out wearing tights you won’t be involved.

Edge – D – Edge doesn’t work as a face and his war against all things “stupid” only works if fans can get behind him as a good guy, which he can’t. Saving him from failing is at least the stupid G-Mail GM is now a heel. His match was also terrible and killed the crowd. As veteran, it’s his job to prevent that.

Jack Swagger – C – He’s a good promo and does some impressive things in the ring, but something is still missing.

Edge defeated Jack Swagger (* 1/2) – A beat-down Edge still managed to beat Swagger after Edge made the match as dull as possible, having no hope spots and no babyface timing.

John Cena – A+ – However this plays out, it’s always risky for a #1 babyface to play this vulnerable of a role to the heels, let alone the heels who are so green. Cena made Barrett seem his equal here, before doing the job, taking on a new role, and managing to look heartbroken about it. This is one of Cena’s finest nights in the company and why it should be impossible for anyone who loves wrestling to really hate a guy who does the right thing this often.

Wade Barrett – A – Barrett was absolutely golden as the mastermind here, putting on a good match where he came off as the equal of the company’s ace and, equally important, held his own in the little things throughout the match. Barrett might not have enough “it” to be the #1 heel, but he’s damn close.

Wade Barrett defeats John Cena thanks to “fan” (Husky Harris and Michael McGuillicuty) interference (*** ½). Another very good match, this one was far more back and forth, with Barrett constantly fighting back against Cena and coming out ahead regularly, but Cena just had another gear Barrett couldn’t physically touch… so he utilized NXT season 2 rookies to win anyway. A+ storytelling and angle- this is just pure wrestling gold.

I’m not rating the divas, sorry. I had to use the bathroom and walked back into a big conversation, missing most of the match. From what I saw, both divas looked good before the weak finish.

Kane – F – He spent the match throwing punches, ended up looking incredibly weak, and, as usual, showed he has no business with the top title. He’s good, but not good enough for this program.

Undertaker – F – His timing is off and he’s still quite slow, despite that he now got his “magic” back. I think he’s done and, what’s more, I think he’s wildly over-rated. He’s incredibly inconsistent, usually good for 1 or so memorable match per-year. When you’ve been around this long, that leads to an impressive seeming resume. But really, his great matches were Bret, Kurt Angle, Mick Foley, and Shawn Michaels… oh and a prime of life Triple H. Couldn’t those guys, at that point, have had awesome matches with me? When he was expected to carry Brock, Brock got over, but Taker hurt the match due to messing up his hand selling badly. His mystique did the heavy lifting for him. Same for Jeff Hardy who nearly killed himself to end up looking good against Undertaker, and Edge who’s entire storyline was based around going nuts against Taker’s mystique as Taker did the exact same shtick he always does. He’s not bad, but goddamn is he overrated.

Kane defeats Undertaker when Paul Bearer turned on Undertaker and gave Kane the Urn (**). A slower version of every Undertaker Kane match ever with a finish everyone in the room figured out the second the match started, this was an utter waste of time and I can’t believe I’m going to be subjected to overrated but not really good up-to-par star vs. overrated “legend” once more. Wake me when this is done.

Okay, this show, besides the main event, was stellar. The Raw picture is really interesting, with Cena taking a huge risk by joining Nexus, Nexus’ new members, and Orton hopefully moving on from Sheamus to see where the show can go.. I also assume we’re getting Bryan vs. Morrison soon, which should be all kinds of awesome. Smackdown… well… Smackdown sucks… but, the show was still a huge success with three very good matches and tons of storyline movement. High recommendation to get this one and an A show.

Stay tuned tonight for the WWE Raw Report, and tomorrow for my thoughts on that show and it’s ratings slide in the Tuesday Morning Backlash, up live at 10am!

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