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New Orleans Arena – New Orleans, Louisiana – October 2, 2011
Michael Cole, Hall of Famer Jim Ross, and Booker T are on commentary. Recently fired superstars The Miz and R-Truth show up in the audience with their tickets and look ready to watch the show. Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis comes out and makes security escort them out of the building. I forgot how hot of an angle this was.
MATCH #1: Sheamus vs. Christian
Sheamus is aggressive in the early going so Christian tries to avoid him. They continue with this dynamic for the opening minutes until Christian gets froggy and slaps Sheamus across the face. That just angers the Great White and he clubs Christian repeatedly across the chest. Sheamus goes up top and Christian knocks him down to the floor. Christian goes to work now, trying to wear Sheamus down. He attempts a sleeper hold and Sheamus breaks it pretty quickly by squashing Christian. Back on their feet Christian reclaims control as Sheamus is looking worse for wear. The resilient Sheamus makes the comeback with a variety of power moves. Sheamus hits the Irish Curse for a near-fall. Christian fires up with right hands and goes up top. He kicks Sheamus in the face and hits a tornado DDT for one. Momentum continues to shift but changes most drastically when Sheamus hits a shoulder block from the top rope. Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick but Christian avoids it. The fight spills to the floor and Christian delivers a Spear! Back in the ring Christian hits another Spear but Sheamus kicks out! Christian goes up top and misses a diving headbutt. A series of counters ends with Sheamus hitting the Brogue Kick and that’s enough to get the pin at 13:41. Christian was just money around this time and Sheamus was doing underrated work. They have good chemistry and made for a highly entertaining opener.
MATCH #2: Sin Cara vs. Sin Cara
The two Sin Caras differentiate themselves by wearing blue (Azul) or black (Negro). They wrestle on the mat to start, with the mood lighting bathing the ring. The lucha styleings start to take effect and both men are flying around the ring, matching each other move for move. Azul sends Negro to the floor and follows him out with a dive. He baseball slides him back to the floor and goes for an Asai Moonsault but Negro moves out of the way. Back in the ring Negro hits a slingshot senton for a two-count. Negro dictates the pace, slowing it down and then sending Azul to the floor and wiping him out with a dive. He continues to wear Azul down and the crowd could not care less. Michael Cole is also bored on commentary so he starts making fun of JR. Azul fights back and sends Negro to the floor, and then wipes him out with a top rope dive. Back in the ring Negro catches Azul with a big powerbomb for two. They fight up on the top rope and Azul armdrags Negro down. A series of reversals ends with Azul hitting the Code Red to get the pin at 9:45. The crowd popped nicely for the finish, so they weren’t totally dead. For the most part though it was a Lucha match, which didn’t impress the corwd much.
MATCH #3: WWE Tag Team Championship Match – Air Boom (Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne) vs. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger
Air Boom have been the Champions since 8.22.11, and this is their third defense. Ziggler is the current United States Champion. Kofi and Swagger start the match and Kofi takes control. The Champions, in their spiffy matching gear, double-team Swagger briefly. Swagger makes the tag and the momentum continues to shift. The challengers isolate Bourne and wear him down in their half of the ring. Kofi gets a hot tag but Swagger holdsl the ropes open and Kofi doesn’t realize it so he runs himself right to the floor. Ziggler and Swagger are right back in control, this time focusing on Kofi. Swagger tries the Ankle Lock but Kofi slips out and hits a big DDT. Tags are made and Bourne is flying all over the ring. Ziggler cuts Bourne off with a big clothesline. He lifts Bourne up for a super powerbomb by Swagger, but Bourne counters with a hurricanrana with a cradle and Kofi holds Ziggler back so Bourne can get the pin at 11:18. Put four talented guys in the ring and let them do tag team formula and you’re going to get a really good match almost every time.
MATCH #4: Hell in a Cell Match for the World Heavyweight Championship – Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton
This is the twenty-third Hell in a Cell match; Henry is making his first appearance in the Cell and Orton is entering for the fourth time with a record of 2-1. Henry has been the Champion since 9.18.11, and this is his second defense. Orton attacks right away and they quickly spill to the floor. The challenger is able to use the Cell to his advantage and he’s keeping the gargantuan Champion on his back. Henry uses his superior power to catch Orton and slam him into the cage and the ring post. Back in the ring Henry hits a huge powerslam for a two-count. Orton rolls to the floor but Henry follows him out and powerslams him on the floor. Henry rearranges the ring steps and hurls them at Orton, who luckily moves out of the way. The Champ lawn darts Orton into the Cell. Back in the ring Orton tries fighting back but Henry squashes him in the corner. Henry hits a big splash but it only gets two. The Champion has been absolutely dominant here. Henry uses a bearhug to wear Orton down. They go back to the floor and Henry tries a World’s Strongest Slam on the steel steps but Orton is able to use the cage wall to escape and kick his way out of it. Orton then hits a DDT on the steps! Back in the ring Orton hits a Thesz Press and a dropkick. He follows with the elevated DDT. Orton then hits the RKO and the crowd goes wild but Henry kicks out! A desperate Orton sets up for the Punt but Henry catches him coming in with the World’s Strongest Slam to get the pin at 15:58. This was another shockingly good match between these two, who had chemistry from out of nowhere. Henry just kept using his power and Orton kept fighting back with everything he had but Henry was just too much for him. Classic, easy stuff.
After the match Henry grabs a chair. Henry goes in the ring and hits another World’s Strongest Slam. He tries to Pillmanize Orton’s ankle but Orton moves out of the way. Orton then uses the chair to exact some revenge all the way up the aisle.
The Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes comes out in a suit and he mocks the crowd. Rhodes decides that the current Intercontinental Title belt should be retired, and he brings out the belt with the old design. The crowd pops big for that. Rhodes promises to be a fighting Champion. John Laurinaitis comes out and tells Rhodes that he does have a title defense tonight, and it’s against John Morrison!
MATCH #5: Intercontinental Championship Match – Cody Rhodes vs. John Morrison
Rhodes has been the Champion since 8.12.11, and this is his fifth defense. The challenger obviously has the upper hand in the opening moments, as Rhodes is actually wrestling in his street clothes. Morrison alternates between flying around and keeping Rhodes grounded with a headlock to keep the Champion guessing. Rhodes takes a breather on the floor and removes his shirt. Morrison dropkicks Rhodes and drags the Champ back to the ring when he tries to bail. Rhodes actually tries to get counted out by hanging on to the ring post. That’s cute. Back in the ring Rhodes is finally able to cut Morrison off and get some offense in. Rhodes goes for the Alabama Slam but Morrison avoids it. Morrison tries to pick it up but Rhodes slices him down with a clothesline. Rhodes uses the Figure-Four Leglock to wear Morrison’s legs down, which should keep him from high-flying. Morrison fights up and lays in a series of strikes. He this a standing Flux Capacitor for a two-count. Morrison goes for Starship Pain but Rhodes blocks it. A series of reversals ends with Morrison hitting a swank Pele Kick. Morrison goes for a slingshot spin kick but Rhodes avoids it and rolls Morrison up for the pin at 7:21. I like both of these guys but they just didn’t click here. The impromptu nature of the match also made it feel not so important.
Triple H is in the locker room when John Laurinaitis comes to tell him about an altercation in the locker room. The Miz and R-Truth had busted in and beat up Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne. Cops drag them out while HHH yells at Laurinaitis for sucking at his job.
MATCH #6: Divas Championship Match – Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix
Kelly has been the Champion since 6.20.11, and this is her fourth defense. Beth is accompanied by Natalya, and they both look super hot tonight. Speaking of hot Kelly is accompanued by Eve Torres. Beth tries to intimidate Kelly early on but the plucky challenger won’t have it. Kelly has beaten Beth at the last two pay-per-views, so she has reason to be somewhat confident. Beth’s power allows her to take control and start wearing down the Champion. She focuses on the back, and even throws in a few spanks just to humiliate the Champion. Kelly fights back with a hurricanrana for two, but can’t quite follow up. Moments later she avoids a charge in the ropes and hits a neckbreaker. The momentum continues to shift as both women are trying to put the other away. Kelly hits the handspring back elbow and a super bulldog. Beth kicks out at two! Natalya gets up on the apron and Eve goes over to pull her down and instigate a brawl, which Natalya wins. Kelly goes for the K2 but Beth avoids it. Beth locks on a brutal looking submission hold while Natalya taunts her on the mic. Kelly reaches the ropes and Beth distracts the referee long enough for Natalya to hit Kelly with the microphone. Beth hits the Glam Slam to get the pin at 8:30 to win the Divas Title for the first time. This was shockingly good, as I frequently forget that Kelly Kelly worked hard to become decent in the ring, and Beth was her usual dependable self. I don’t get why Beth needed help to win, but aside from that I really enjoyed this.
MATCH #7: Triple Threat Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship – John Cena vs. CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio
This is the twenty-fourth Hell in a Cell match; Cena is making his third appearance with an 1-1 record, Punk is also making his third appearance with an 0-2 record, and Del Rio is making his second appearance with an 0-1 record. Cena has been the Champion since 9.18.11, and this is his first defense. This is the first-ever triple threat Hell in a Cell match. Punk and Cena both go after Del Rio in the early going, which is bad news for the Mexican Aristocrat. They take him out and then aren’t shy about taking it to each other. Punk takes Cena and Del Rio out with a dive into the cage wall. Back in the ring Punk takes control. They go back outside and Del Rio shoves Punk off the stairs and into the wall. Cena and Del Rio fight in the ring now, and Cena starts hitting some of the moves of Doom, including the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He can’t hit the Attitude Adjustment though, and Punk makes his way back to the ring to take out both men. Punk sets up a table at ringside but nothing happens with it yet, but I would remember that it’s there. Momentum continues to shift amongst all three men. Cena hits Del Rio with the Cena Slice, and then he and Punk take it to each other. Del Rio makes his way back in and unloads on both of his opponents with a steel chair. Punk is able to backdrop Del Rio to the floor but then turns around right into an Attitude Adjustment. Del Rio breaks up that cover. It continues with no one being able to sustain an advantage for any length of time. Remember when Punk set up the table earlier? Del Rio pushes Punk off the top rope and Punk crashes through said table. #Irony. Cena locks Del Rio in the STF. Ricardo Rodriguez takes they key from the outside referee and gets into the cell with a lead pipe. Cena stops him and hits an Attitude Adjustment on the floor (ouch) but then turns around and Del Rio hits him with the pipe. Del Rio then locks Cena outsice the cell! That’s pretty cool. Punk and Del Rio go at it now. Del Rio controls a bit but Punk cuts him off. Punk hits the Bulldog as Cena gets up and realizes that he’s locked out. Del Rio slides to the floor and grabs the pipe, and smacks Punk between the eyes with it. He taunts Cena and goes back in the ring to blast Punk with the pipe again to get the pin and win the WWE Title for the second time at 24:07. The action in this was non stop and they found clever ways to make all three guys look good. Punk and Cena obviously had the crowd loving life when they were involved with each other. I think the finish was extremely clever too and builds to logical rematches for Del Rio with both Cena and Punk. Great stuff here.
The cell starts to rise and Cena gets in the ring to attack the new Champion. Then R-Truth and The Miz come out and start assaulting everybody. Triple H, Joan Laurinaitis, and the entire roster come out to try and get in the Cell to stop Miz and R-Truth. Police officers come down and the door is opened. Miz and Truth give themselves up to the po-po because they know they’ll be protected. Big babyface Triple H attacks two men who have their hands cuffed behind their backs.