Monday, October 5, 2009

Hell in a Cell thoughts (RAW thoughts later or tomorrow)

Hi guys - Raw in Canada being on tape delay is over in about 20-30 mins. depending on the over-run; being an early-bird old lady these days, I may be up to sharing my thoughts afterwards but in case not I figured I should not entirely disappoint, get my HIAC thoughts up here now and that way worst case I can just put up my Raw thoughts sometime tomorrow. :) So without further ado ...

Hell in a Cell from a wrestling perspective was a tremendous pay per view; while Undertaker and CM Punk didn't do *entirely* what I thought them capable of, they still put on a strong match that suffered only from the high expectations placed on them; John Morrison and Dolph Ziggler did not disappoint, although I predicted it incorrectly; even Batista/Rey Mysterio vs. JeriShow was great, and not just from the participants who you'd expect to pull off a fantastic match. Randy Orton vs. John Cena was brutal without resorting to cheap tricks like blood, and even R-Truth vs. Drew Macintyre was good. DX vs. the Legacy was excellent, and all the HIACs had a different feel to them (although none involved blood - which I found kind of interesting - or any stunts atop the structure - which disappointed me as well as most pundits I've read). The match between Mickie James and Alicia Fox was ... well, it was. And the three-way for the US title could have used a bit more time and build, but still involved a great effort and showing from all involved. So to the performers - kudos. No one did a bad job whatsoever, and there were many shining moments.

However, what puzzles me is the booking. Opening with a Hell in a Cell match was confounding when I would more have ended each hour with one (understanding that three HIACs at the end of the show would be too much as well). Particularly the HIAC match they chose, where the Undertaker won the World Title for the first time in about a year, year and a half. How many times is Taker with the belt a great final image to close a PPV on? When they put on the other world championship Hell in a Cell match halfway through the show I figured, OK, there must be some catch involved in the DX-Legacy match; either the other HIAC participants will get involved setting off the Raw vs. Smackdown theme of next month's Bragging Rights PPV, or there would be some run-in per the rumours of Bret Hart's return, or any other number of possibilities. Without that big booking swerve, with two world title changes within the Hell in a Cell structure over the course of the evening, it made no sense to book that particular match last, and I suppose speaks to the influence Triple H has over the WWE creative/booking team (aka his wife Stephanie McMahon-Levesque lol).

That was probably the biggest error in terms of match order; but I do also question putting show-stealing matches like John Morrison vs. Dolph Ziggler directly after a big match like HIAC; to me, those would be better followed by more filler-esque matches like the Diva match or R-Truth vs. Macintyre to allow the fans a chance to catch their breath between real show highlights. Again though less relevant when the HIAC match Morrison-Ziggler followed was such a letdown, and unfair to both participants (to Taker for not getting to truly celebrate such an important victory, and to Punk for having to lose in such an unceremonious and unimportant way, thus making his world title reigns seem less and less significant, similarly to Edge's).

It's tough to be tough on this show when it included some of the best matches I've seen since Wrestlemania (which may speak to my lack of real watching wrestling over the summer, but honestly ...), but I feel it could have been even stronger for some re-ordering of the matches; it really did take away when the big news - that for the first time world titles changed hands in the HIAC, and it happened TWICE - that the show ended with neither of those big changes, nor with any particular feel-good moment, since DX was expected to win and didn't do so in any particularly memorable or exciting way. WWE continues their trend of batting above their weight on PPVs we expect to underwhelm, while fumbling big-time on PPVs that by all rights should be incredibly strong shows. It will be interesting to see how next month's brand vs. brand "Bragging Rights" concept plays out, and how ECW will fit into the RAW vs. Smackdown format. But we'll talk more about that on Thursday night, as well as of course posting Raw thoughts and any other news and happenings in the world of wrestling as the week goes on. Be sure nad have a good one in the meantime!


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