Now Streaming… WWE Hell In A Cell 2018 (Roman Reigns battles Braun Strowman & AJ Styles defends against Samoa Joe)

{Now Streaming… is a “stream of consciousness” -style of column. – MJH}


WWE Hell in a Cell 2018

September 16, 2018
San Antonio, Texas
AT&T Center
  • -6:20 pm- They just announced Hardy/Orton will kick off the PPV. Nice way to hook people into continuing to watch. Hardy versus Orton in the Cell is intriguing enough even though they didn’t have the strongest build.
  • -6:30 pm- My daughter Emily’s very first impression of Alexa Bliss (she’ll be 5 in two weeks): “That girl is mean!” For the TV-PG crowd at least, Alexa Bliss is over.
  • -6:34 pm- Interesting that the SDL tag titles are on the kickoff show and RAW’s are focal points of the main event programs. When did that shift happen?
  • -6:38 pm- That was a strange prematch segment. The crowd was truly torn on who to cheer for. That’s not good for either team actually.
  • -6:46 pm- These 4 picked up steam quick in this match and where did English’s athleticism come from?!
  • -6:49 pm- If you’re a fan of Rusev and want to see him in a prominent spot on the card, this was the best outcome for him. Now turn English and feud.
  • -7:11 pm- This match scares me. When Jeff Hardy says he wants to cross this match off of his bucket list, that means he doesn’t expect to do another one. This is the man who was speared while hanging from a DOME! I’m afraid he won’t walk away from tonight.
  • -7:17 pm- Even that superplex felt like they were pushing their luck. Just don’t let Hardy out of the Cell, please.
  • -7:23 pm- I’m very surprised by the pace of this match. I expected a quick, epic Hardy car crash and that’s it. I don’t know which is better that this moment.
  • -7:27 pm- The one moment that makes men, women, parents and kids all squirm… Jeff Hardy’s gauged ears.
  • -7:31 pm- Did you see how the chair broke on the Swanton Bomb? Both Orton and Hardy may be the luckiest men in that building right now.
  • -7:35 pm- That was probably the safest, sickest looking spot everyone could agree on. Hardy’s forearms took most of the bump but damn… I’m just really glad everyone seems to be relatively ok.
  • -7:49 pm- Becky Lynch’s character development the last month or so has been better than anyone in the business. The edge and attitude appeared out of nowhere but it still made sense. It’s time for her to shine.
  • -8:03 pm- If the point of this program is to build a babyface Charlotte for Ronda Rousey, its failing. As good as Charlotte is as a babyface, her bread and butter is the cocky heel and she is being hindered in her current role. Make her a “Flair” and watch the magic with the sympathetic Rousey.
  • -8:04 pm- If the point is to now achieve a double turn with Becky and Charlotte, then “bravo”. WWE needs a female “Austin” and Rousey is too nice. Becky has just the right chip on her shoulder to shatter the Austin comparison and create the first “Lynch”.
  • -8:22 pm- As much as I like all four of these guys, I wasn’t really sold on another Ambrose/Rollins versus Ziggler/McIntyre match. I did enjoy how the commentary focused on the possibility of either stable (Shield or DoW) walking out of the PPV with most of RAW’s gold.
  • -8:28 pm- Does anyone else find it insane that Dolph Ziggler has only held a tag team title one other time and that was with the Spirit Squad? His tag team match knowledge is incredible.
  • -8:31 pm- Does anyone else like how Ambrose and Rollins are subtlety playing these characters differently from their Shield versions? It’s the little things that keep me interested.
  • -8:33 pm- “Nope.” – Corey Graves
  • -8:35 pm- After that sequence of near falls, I take back everything I said about not wanting to see this match.
  • -8:38 pm- Did you all hear the crowd “OoOoOoOoh” when McIntyre kipped up? More displays like that will put a World title on McIntyre.
  • -8:39 pm- Another incredible closing sequence. This match may be one of the best tag team matches of 2018.
  • -8:46 pm- This is a program I am in love with on SmackDown Live. Although AJ Styles has only been in the WWE for 2.5 years, he needed a new wrinkle as a babyface and Samoa Joe was the perfect person to introduce this side of AJ. For those of us who know their history, it makes sense. And for those fans who only know these two versions of Styles and Joe, it still works. Great booking.
  • -8:52 pm- This match is already quicker and more vicious than SummerSlam. I knew SS felt a half a step off or so. This is the Styles/Joe I expected.
  • -9:05 pm- It intriguing to watch this match after recently rewatching their Unbreakable classic with Christopher Daniels. The pace is slower but the emotion and physicality is stronger.
  • -9:13 pm- I like that Samoa Joe is the first one to put a blemish on the Phenomenal One’s record. He’s the first to get into Styles’ head and now he’s the first one (this title reign) to beat AJ one-on-one. This is where Joe snaps and AJ’s record championship reign is in serious jepordy.
  • -9:14 pm- Ronda must have gotten the same notes I had for her after seeing her “warm up”  on RAW. She looked like a badass while Nattie looked like a doofus rolling her shoulders around. Tonight, Ronda is casually throwing punches while chatting with Nattie. These are the little things that Rousey slowly will need to pick up since she skipped somewhere like NXT.
  • -9:20 pm- I was in the arena for a few of the very first episodes of NXT featuring Daniel Bryan and his “pro”, The Miz. It pissed off every single person who had ever heard of the famed “American Dragon.” And that’s exactly why it worked. 8 years later and these two men are still linked, now with their significant others and CHILDREN involved! This is, in some very odd way, our version of Flair/Steamboat.
  • -9:38 pm- That match was fine but nothing we haven’t seen before between these two pairs. I expected a little more development. Hey imagine if they’re building to the first-ever Mixed Survivor Series Tag Team match featuring the Danielson’s Team versus the Mizanin’s Team where both teams are made up of married couples.
  • -9:49 pm- Who else is there for Rousey after Bliss? Bliss’ entourage consists most of RAW’s female heels so there’s no where else to go. It has to be either Nikki Bella or a heel Natayla but neither program is very exciting. With a roster consisting of Asuka, Bayley, Banks, Lynch and Flair, Rousey shouldn’t be floating alone a top of RAW.
  • -10:12 pm- I can’t be the only person noticing how GREAT Mick Foley looks! I almost believe this is a new “Face of Foley”.
  • -10:17 pm- Wait… where is JoJo? Awkward ring introductions for a match that’s supposed to be so vicious.
  • -10:34 pm- When this night started, I never expected Rollins and Ziggler to be the first guys on top of the Cell! The Red Cell reminds me of old NWA cage matches for some reason. I love it!
  • -10:38 pm- That might be the biggest bump I’ve ever seen Dolph Ziggler take.
  • -10:38 pm- WTF?!? Brock Lesnar!?
  • -10:45 pm- Just when we thought we had moved on from the stale Brock Lesnar Era and we have another PPV concluded with a part-timer standing over all of the full-time talent. It’s time to move on and concentrate on the talent of today and tomorrow… not yesterday.


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