Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA – Sunday, October 25, 2015
Michael Cole, Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler, and JBL are on commentary.
Cesaro, Dolph Ziggler & Neville defeat Sheamus, Rusev & King Barrett at 11:30. Stardust and The Ascension are shown sitting in the crowd with a “Stardust Section” crowd, aimed to antagonize Cesaro and his “Cesaro Section.” That feud certainly never went anywhere. This is quite the collection of talent that couldn’t even get on the main show. The babyface team shows off some impressive teamwork and fire in the early going, but the not-yet League of Nations perseveres and isolates on Ziggler, even though the inexplicable commercial break. Eventually Cesaro gets the hot tag and he’s flying all over the place, taking everyone out with the sheer force of his greatness. HOW DOES HE NOT GET PUSHED?? Ziggler hits Barrett with a superkick, and Cesaro sets the table with a Cesaro Swing. Neville follows with the Red Arrow to get the pin. Very good six-man tag team formula here, with Cesaro standing head and shoulders above everyone else. This should easily best some of the matches on the main show.
Alberto Del Rio (w/ Zeb Colter) defeats United States Champion John Cena at 7:48 to win the title. Cena has been the Champion since 9.20.15, and this is his sixth defense. The “John Cena Sucks” chants are quite loud tonight. Del Rio is introduced by Zeb Colter, a supremely awkward pairing based on their history. Cole gets the first LOL line of the night, calling Cena v Del Rio “one of the all-time great rivalries.” This is Del Rio’s first match back since the August 5, 2014 episode of Main Event, where he lost to Jack Swagger. This goes along much like every Cena v Del Rio match, nothing too notable happening. Then suddenly Del Rio escapes an Attitude Adjustment and hits a Backstabber. Del Rio follows with a low superkick to get the pin! That was short and the ending came out of nowhere. This felt like a TV match, but it’s always a big moment when Cena loses clean, so let’s call it a push.
Roman Reigns defeats Bray Wyatt at 23:03 in a Hell in a Cell Match. This is the first time in the Cell for both men. They are the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth wrestlers to enter the demonic structure. They start off with their usual stuff, and then take it to the floor. A kendo stick is the first weapon involved, and Wyatt is the first beneficiary of its effects. Wyatt uses a variety of offense to abuse Reigns, keeping him off his feet. Reigns recovers and uses TWO kendo sticks at the same time, which is neat. Reigns introduces a table, but it backfires when Wyatt catches him with a uranage off the apron through the table on the floor. Moments later Reigns returns the favor with a powerbomb through anther table, this one in the ring. Reigns then Spears Wyatt off the apron through another table. Back in the ring Wyatt comes back with Sister Abigail for a near-fall. Wyatt tries to use the kendo sticks again but Reigns fights him off and hits a Spear to get the pin. This just felt long. It wasn’t particularly bad or anything, just again felt like a regular match and not much more.
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) defeat The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley) at 8:24 to retain the titles. New Day have been the Champions since 8.23.15, and this is their fourth defense. Xavier Woods is not with Kingston and E tonight, so it should be an evenly contested match. They follow the formula to the letter, with the Dudleys getting the early shine and the New Day coming back and taking heat on D-Von. Bubba gets a hot tag and the Dudleys do their thing. Kingston tries to pull an Eddie Guerrero with the remnants of Francesca but the referee doesn’t buy it and the match goes on. When the referee’s back is turned, E hits Bubba with Francesca, and then D-Von clotheslines E to the floor (and goes with him). Kingston hits Bubba with Trouble in Paradise to get the pin. It’s a Dudley Boys match. You’ve seen it.
Divas Champion Charlotte defeats Nikki Bella at 10:39 to retain the title. Charlotte has been the Champion since 9.20.15, and this is her first defense. All members of Team Bella and PCB are banned from ringside to ensure that this match stays fair. Charlotte shows some fire from the bell, but Nikki cuts her off and starts wearing her down. Nikki focuses on Charlotte’s back, which should neutralize the Figure-Eight. That proves true when Charlotte gets the opportunity to put it on but she can’t fully cinch it in and Nikki reaches the ropes. They spill to the floor and Nikki hits an Alabama Slam on the ring apron! Great spot. Back in the ring Charlotte counters the Rack Attack and puts on the Figure-Eight for the tap out win. I find it a little bit insane that Charlotte came back from an Alabama Slam into the ring apron in about five seconds, and then used her most injured body part to apply her finish. Aside from that this was good, as they stuck to the formula and threw in a handful of big spots, all leading to a clean finish.
WWE World Champion Seth Rollins defeats Kane at 14:35 to retain the title. Rollin has been the Champion since 3.29.15, and this is his tenth defense. If Rollins wins this match, not only does he retain the title, but Kane will lose his job as Director of Operations. I know, thrilling stuff. These two former allies battle back and forth, with Kane using his size and strength advantage, and Rollins trying to out-think Kane and use his speed. Rollins manages to powerbomb Kane through the Spanish Announce Table, which doesn’t break. Back in the ring Rollins hits a succession of knee strikes to the face from the top rope, and then a Frog Splash but he can’t get the pin. One Pedigree later, Rollins has the pin and retains the title. Rollins did the best he could, but there’s only so much that can be done with 2016 Kane. Like the women’s match, at least the finish was clean.
Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens defeats Ryback at 5:35 to retain the title. Owens has been the Champion since 9.20.15, and this is his third defense. Ryback immediately goes on offense and abuses Steen both in and out of the ring. It’s almost all Ryback until Owens hits the pop-up powerbomb from out of nowhere to get the pin. That was a total RAW match, too short to get much of anything going. But, in a nice theme tonight, Owens went over totally clean with his finish.
Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman defeats The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell Match at 18:07. This is the second Cell appearance for Lesnar, he’s 1-0 with a victory over Undertaker at No Mercy 2002. Undertaker has been in more Cell matches than anyone, as this is his thirteenth appearance and his record is 7-5. The crowd is juiced for this one before anything happens, making this feel like a big match. Both men are aggressive and violent, and it’s Undertaker scoring first blood by busting Lesnar’s head open. A doctor briefly checks on Lesnar but no chance will they stop this. Both men land heavy bombs on each other, but neither can get a pin. A frustrated Lesnar starts ripping up the ring padding to expose the wooden boards, but it backfires when Undertaker flattens him with a Chokeslam and a Tombstone Piledriver right on the wood! Lesnar still kicks out! Undertaker does the throat slice motion, but Lesnar delivers a vicious low blow and then an F-5 to get the pin. Fantastic match. The blood certainly helped, but all the way through this felt like a big-time match. Also, both men conveyed how important it was to them to win this match more than well enough for me to buy it,
After the match, all four members of The Wyatt Family come out to attack Undertaker, and they drag him back to the locker room. Because reasons.
A tremendous main event helps mask a bunch of middling or disappointing matches on the undercard a little bit easier to take. But if you’re into the whole brevity thing, the only match worth watching is the main event.