Case Number 20354: Small Claims Court

WWE: HELL IN A CELL 2010

WWE // 2010 // 180 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ike Oden (Retired) // December 18th, 2010

The Charge

The Devil's Playground. Satan's Structure. By any name...one of the most career-threatening contests in all of WWE.

The Case

Hell In a Cell 2010 contains the following matches:

* World Heavyweight Championship: Kane vs. Undertaker

* WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

* John Cena vs. Wade Barret

* Daniel Bryan vs. John Morrison vs. The Miz

* Ultra Divas Championship: Michelle McCool vs. Natalya

* Edge vs. Jack Swagger

As a Pay-Per-View event, Hell In A Cell 2010 isn't half bad. Filler matches, an abundance of flashbacks, and a thick amount of cheese pervade its three hour running time, but the WWE gets it mostly right. The stakes for the headlining matches are high, the action is brutal, and the storylines twist and turn to satisfaction, if sometimes sloppily.

The opening Triple Threat Match sets the tone right. Daniel Bryan, John Morrison, and the Miz take their competition to vicious extremes. Morrison is acrobatically ambitious, The Miz leaves no street fighting tactic unfulfilled, and Daniel Bryan provides technically impressive; old school grappling. The trio works amazingly well against each other, creating a damn fun crowd pleaser with a solid outcome.

Randy Orton and Sheamus' cell bound tussle is equally entertaining, pitting two rival a-holes against each other for a no-holds-barred battle to be decided by strength, speed, and endurance. Orton is a ruthless anti-hero with some amazing moves, while Sheamus channels his hot-headed Irish persona into a high energy free-for-all, using the steel cage itself as his weapon of choice. The outcome is predictable, but triumphant...in a frat boyish way.

The Edge takes on Jack Swagger in an extremely boring filler segment, pitting the RAW and SmackDown wrestlers in an impromptu pairing. Alberto Del Rio is in there, too, but he's mostly just a plot device to get the other two wrestlers together. Much as I like Edge and Swagger individually, this match feels random and uninspired, laying the groundwork for future episodes of each show. Skip.

Wade Barret and John Cena's battle for the fate of Nexus makes for a legendary moment in the career of both wrestlers. The pairing highlights Barret's egotism and flair for invention, while glorifying Cena's face-like heroics and brute strength. The wrestling is complimented by a number of epic twists, among them a locker room full of WWE stars descending upon the supporting Nexus team for a mini Royal Rumble outside the ring. An intriguing twist ending is especially jaw dropping. Barret Vs. Cena is, bar none the highlight of the special.

Unfortunately, it's all downhill from there. The WWE Diva Match is utterly awful. Michelle McCool and Natalya come off as little more than sex objects; all fake boobs, squealing screams, and leg holds. It's a boring drudge that sums up the worst of the WWE, squaring two human Barbie dolls against each other with little regard for chemistry, persona, or style. Skip.

Finally, Undertaker and Kane battle for the World Heavy Weight Championship belt. Paul Bearer returns after a six-year hiatus, to hold court as the power hungry father of "The Monster" and "The Demon," respectively. Thematically, the match is compelling. Undertaker's search for humanity and Kane's 12-year-plan of betrayal work well together, making for a promising set-up. Unfortunately, this potential is grossly unfulfilled.

The wrestling itself is solid. Undertaker and Kane compose a crescendo of fisticuffs, breaking up the pugilistic punch outs with signature moves we've come to know and love them for. The action is sabotaged by a cop-out ending laced with supernatural wankery, cutting short a match that should have been nothing more than epic. The decision feels like a setup for a bigger, better Pay-Per-View event, but is no way to end an event like Hell In The Cell.

WWE once again comes through in the technical department. The anamorphic transfer feels like a genuine step-up from broadcast quality, while the 5.1 audio mix is consistently solid.

Extras include a bonus match featuring Triple H going toe-to-toe with Randy Orton, setting up Orton's penchant for skull punting that is eluded to often during Hell in a Cell. A bonus "home video" interview with Cena is also included, following up on the outcome of his match (to say anymore would spoil it).

The Verdict

Not guilty.

Review content copyright © 2010 Ike Oden; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile
Studio: WWE
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 180 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Bonus Matches
* Interview

Accomplices
* Official Site
http://www.wwe.com/shows/hellinacell/