Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Hell In A Cell 2015

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 183 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 1
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: January 4 2016

(To read a full event review of WWE Hell In A Cell 2015, click here.)

Hell In A Cell was one of the better WWE PPV events in 2015. Watching it back on DVD, the impact of some encounters is lost, but the show as a whole is still worth giving a second look.

The opener between John Cena and Alberto Del Rio for the United States Championship is the bout which loses the most impact upon second viewing. This is because, at the time, Del Rio's return appearance was a huge shocker, largely because of the circumstances in which ADR left WWE, but obviously that isn't a factor on DVD when you know it's coming. Also not helping is how Alberto quickly became just another wrestler again, and how his Mex-America alliance with Zeb Colter was quickly abandoned after general apathy. The match is fine but quite short, and as stated it lacks the significance that it had when it was originally held.

Fortunately, that doesn't apply to match two, a very good HIAC clash between Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt. Reigns is booed by a lot of fans (which isn't unusual at this point), but he gets many on his side with the big bumps and smoothly-executed spots against Wyatt, who is at his evil best here. On another card, this would be the best match of the night, but it's still an underrated steel-enclosed battle, at least by the standards of the PG era.

From there, the show loses steam slightly with a mildly disappointing Tag Team Title match between The New Day and The Dudleyz; the highlight is the pre-match promo by New Day (the botched spot involving D-Von Dudley legdropping Big E is left in, but the commentary lines which emphasise the blunder are taken out). In contrast, Charlotte's Divas Title defence against Nikki Bella is an improvement on their Night Of Champions battle and is a really good bout, although the spot where Nikki falls backwards off the top rope almost onto her head is hard to watch knowing that she had neck surgery shortly afterwards.

Seth Rollins vs. Kane is a decent WWE Title match which brings the Corporate Kane/Demon Kane storyline to a suitable finale. Conversely, Kevin Owens vs. Ryback is a fairly dull match to watch, with the crowd not necessarily helping matters by booing the Big Guy out of the building.

The main event justifies a purchase of this DVD. Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker inside Hell In A Cell is a brutal war, and as violent a match as you could get in the PG era. Some spots are nasty (like Taker driving a steel chair into Brock's throat), and the bloodshed is unedited (Lesnar's initial cut is pretty gruesome). The brawl is one of the best WWE matches of 2015, and provides a strong ending to a rivalry that had its ups and downs dating back to when Lesnar killed the Streak at WrestleMania XXX. There is a final segment which I don't spoil here, although it didn't achieve much in the long run.

The only DVD extra is a very entertaining six-man match pitting Neville, Cesaro and Dolph Ziggler against Sheamus, King Barrett and Rusev. The babyfaces have a great showing here, especially Cesaro who receives a main event-level reaction as the match enters the finishing sequence.

In the WWE Network era, it's harder to justify a full-price purchase of a DVD release for a Pay-Per-View, besides WrestleMania. But if you are still collecting supershow DVDs, the Cell matches provide a good enough reason to buy this. The remaining content isn't really worth owning, so get this for the two HIAC bouts.

Overall Rating: 7/10 - Respectable

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