Friday’s WWE SmackDown featured the first time a Hell in a Cell match aired on network television, with Roman Reigns defending his universal championship against Rey Mysterio. It was another good night for the champion as Reigns survived some big moves from Mysterio to choke out the challenger to retain his title.
In addition, several matches were added to Sunday’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view match, including Bianca Belair officially challenging Bayley to upgrade their match for Belair’s SmackDown women’s championship to a match inside Hell in a Cell. Bayley responded with a vicious attack to make the match official for Sunday.
CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from the ThunderDome inside Yuengling Center in Tampa.
Roman Reigns battles Rey Mysterio inside Hell in a Cell
Rey Mysterio opened the show with a promo from inside the ring as the Cell was semi-lowered. Mysterio cut a passionate promo stating he had warned his son Dominik of what could happen when you compete in the ring, but that what Roman Reigns had done in attacking Dominik was outside the boundaries of what happens in the business. He again demanded the match happen that very night, stressing that he wouldn’t wait another night. Mysterio demanded Reigns accept the match in person, rather than on Twitter as he had Thursday night. Reigns came to the entrance ramp and asked if Mysterio was sure he really wanted to get in the Cell with him, which Mysterio said he wanted more than anything in his life.
Universal Championship — Roman Reigns def. Rey Mysterio via submission with a modified anaconda choke. Mysterio got an early advantage after using a fire extinguisher to first spray Reigns in the eyes before using it to hit Reigns in the head. Mysterio then dropped Reigns with a toolbox. Mysterio kept up his violent approach by wrapping a chair around Reigns’ neck and running him into the Cell and the ring post. Despite missing Mysterio and putting himself through a table, Reigns eventually came back, tossing Mysterio around — and into — the Cell. Reigns countered a 619 with a big uppercut but went into the post on a missed spear, allowing Mysterio to hit a 619 before laying into Reigns with a chair. Reigns hit a frog splash from the top rope with a chair on Reigns’ body. Instead of going for the pin, Mysterio went back to the top rope to hit a second frog splash for a two count. Reigns countered a huricanrana by throwing Mysterio from the ring into the Cell wall. Reigns locked in a standing modified anaconda choke to force Mysterio to tap out. Jimmy Uso came to the ring to raise Reigns’ hand, with Jey Uso missing. Reigns locked in the choke one more time after the match, forcing Mysterio to tap out again to end the show.
It’s hard to complain too much about getting a Hell in a Cell match on TV, even if the circumstances can best be described as “odd.” Mysterio was given plenty of offense to come across as a threat, even if the ending was inevitable. The business with Jimmy being there but Jey going missing is odd, but that will seemingly play out in the coming weeks. If nothing else, the match was as entertaining as you’d hope. Grade: A-
What else happened on WWE SmackDown?
- Apollo Crews & Commander Azeez def. Kevin Owens & Big E via pinfall after Azeez hit Owens with the Nigerian Nail. Sami Zayn was at ringside to provide commentary and ultimately helped set up Owens for the finish. Owens later demanded a match with Zayn and was told it would happen on Sunday.
- Shinsuke Nakamura def. King Corbin via pinfall after hitting a kinshasa. This was a “Battle for the Crown,” meaning Nakamura officially won Corbin’s crown he won in the 2019 King of the Ring tournament.
- Bianca Belair challenged Bayley to a Hell in a Cell match. Belair offered to up the stakes of their match to taking place inside the Cell. Bayley responded with a violent attack, leaving the SmackDown women’s champion down and out.
- Angelo Dawkins was brutally attacked by Otis and Chad Gable. Dawkins was supposed to face Otis in singles action but the duo instead attacked for an extended beat-down segment, finishing Dawkins off with a combination German suplex and discus clothesline.
- Cesaro challenged Seth Rollins to a match at Hell in a Cell. Rollins interrupted a Cesaro interview backstage, sitting down with his rival and telling Cesaro he doesn’t respect anything about him. The segment ended with Cesaro shoving Rollins to the floor and telling him he would see him on Sunday.