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Case Number 22913: Small Claims Court

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WWE: Hell in a Cell 2011

WWE // 2011 // 170 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // December 10th, 2011

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All Rise...

Judge Franck Tabouring's bedroom is a diabolical structure all right. He hasn't opened the windows in months.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of WWE: Hell in a Cell 2008 (published October 20th, 2008), WWE: Hell in a Cell 2009 (published November 18th, 2009), and WWE: Hell in a Cell 2010 (published December 18th, 2010) are also available.

The Charge

"It's over 20 feet high. It's more than five tons of solid steel."

The Case

World Wrestling Entertainment sends some of its most popular athletes into wrestling's most diabolical structure, as the stars of Raw and SmackDown fight for survival at WWE: Hell in a Cell 2011. Two major battles take place inside the steel box, and here's a closer look at the complete lineup:

• Sheamus vs. Christian
Sheamus and Christian launch the show with a solid performance, using their technical wrestling skills to deliver a variety of quick maneuvers and submission holds. Both athletes balance the action fairly well, going back and forth and giving each other enough time to slowly build momentum as the match goes on. While this won't go down as a classic PPV opener, it's still a mostly clean, entertaining match that lifts the expectations for the rest of this event.

• Sin Cara vs. Sin Cara
For some odd reason, WWE writers decided to launch a storyline involving a real and a fake Sin Cara, pitting both masked men against each other at Hell in a Cell. Although they don't get the honor to fight inside the steel structure, they do their best to put on an enjoyable show. Truth be told, their efforts don't entirely pay off. Although both men possess the necessary skills and flexibility to pull off a series of highly acrobatic maneuvers, this battle loses steam early on, leaving fans to wonder why they should care about who the "real" Sin Cara is in the first place. At the end of the day, the two Sin Caras do deliver an entertaining enough show to avoid a wrestling disaster.

• Air Boom vs. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger in a WWE Tag Team Championship Match
The tag team belts are on the line in this matchup, and in a nutshell, it's a noteworthy display of team effort. Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne are very comfortable working their opponents inside the ring, offering spectators highly energetic performances through a variety of high-risk moves, dives, kicks, and team action. Ziggler and Swagger approach this match with a more powerful attitude, injecting this contest with strong kicks, punches and holds. All in all, it's a solid matchup.

• Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Mark Henry and Randy Orton go at it again, and this time, they face each other inside the giant cell. That said, this meeting isn't as exciting as their match at WWE: Night of Champions 2011, primarily because they don't really make good enough use of the structure they're confined to (I don't count using the ring steps). Sadly, it seems like the good old days of hardcore, memorable Hell in a Cell battles are over. On the other hand, this one won't go down as a disastrous matchup either. Henry's inability to move quickly does slow down things considerably, but Orton leaves his opponent with plenty of possibilities to engage in moves impressive enough to keep the fans engaged. Orton makes a generous contribution in terms of high-risk maneuvers as well, and both wrestlers end up putting on a satisfying show.

• Cody Rhodes vs. John Morrison in an Intercontinental Championship Match
Rhodes and Morrison fight for the Intercontinental title in this brief match, which could've used more energy and variety to really stand out. Truth be told, this is just a so-so contest, and there's really nothing else to say about it. Moving on…

• Beth Phoenix vs. Kelly Kelly in a Divas Championship Match
The Divas matchup at WWE's previous PPV event was a nice improvement over the rather lame matches we've seen emerging from this category, but judging by this contest, things seem to be going downhill again. Although both ladies pull off a few pretty impressive stunts inside the ring, they fail to keep the momentum going long enough for audiences to care. Even Kelly Kelly's great looks can't save this one.

• John Cena vs. CM Punk vs. Alberto del Rio in a Triple Threat Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship
The demonic cell makes a second appearance for the main event, which features Cena, Punk and del Rio in a Triple Threat Match for the WWE title. Each of the three contestants deserves equal praise for injecting this final match with all the entertainment value it needs to close out a solid pay-per-view. Alberto del Rio shows off his aggressive side as he doesn't hesitate to take on and pin whoever is inside the ring. Meanwhile, Punk adds a hardcore element to the contest by breaking out a chair and table, and Cena shows off his trademark power moves. Although this matchup run for almost 30 minutes, Cena, Punk, and del Rio keep the wrestling action interesting enough without really causing the battle to slow down. A surprising twist in the end shakes things up before the big finish, adding a silly yet amusing touch to an excellent match.

WWE's usual widescreen presentation of the show looks and sounds decent enough, and the bonus section continues to offer short unnecessary interviews no one really cares about.

WWE: Hell in a Cell 2011 ranks among the better WWE pay-per-views of 2011. Even though not every matchup leaves a mark, most contests on the card provide solid entertainment value for loyal wrestling fans. Let's hope the WWE keeps up the improving work.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 84

Perp Profile

Studio: WWE
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
• None
Running Time: 170 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Performance
• Sports
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Interviews


• IMDb
• Official Site

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