Well, here I was hoping that I’d be cheerfully writing this review, having some fun and while “The Fiend” stalking away into the… weird, strobe-lit realm or whatever that he disappears into.
But, alas. Just when we as wrestling fans thought that things were going to head in a brave new world, with risk-taking, more creative story-telling, and maybe even some unexpected surprises. Well, actually we did get something that we never had before.
A disqualification in a Hell in a Cell match.
— WWE (@WWE) October 7, 2019
“Went too far?” Umm… Isn’t the whole gimmick of this match sort of built around the concept of “going too far?” Seth Rollins swinging a sledgehammer onto a stack of garage materials is “going too far,” but Becky Lynch in the opening match propping Sasha Banks on a chair held up on the Cell wall and then dropping kicking her head into the cage wasn’t? No, it wasn’t because it’s the whole point of the goddamn match.
It’s too bad, because I should be spending some of this review actually talking about that opening match, because it was really good. Becky Lynch is the best thing going in WWE right now, and she and Sasha but on a hell of a match (pun intended), but unfortunately it’s going to be lost in the angry screams from fans over how the night ended.
Fans were audibly chanting “AEW” and “Refund” and “Bullshit” on the broadcast. Fans in the arena were pissed off. Twitter was on fire too, with fans watching at home were pissed too. And frankly, they’re right to be. This was an idiotic booking decision. Rollins has not been getting overly positive reactions lately, and fans have been AllI-In (AEW pun intended) on “The Fiend.” I was at a house show a few weeks ago and the main event was them working this match. They booked the finish similarly, where it took Rollins four or whatever Curb Stomps to finally put “The Fiend” down, and even at that show the fans were not stoked to see Rollins win.
I’m not going to go as far and say that this is reverse Mick Foley incident here– where fans switch allegiance to AEW and never look back– that’s a little extreme to claim right now. But continuously booking things this way just might. The thing about it too, is that it was completely avoidable and, frankly, hard to fuck up. The inaugural episode of Dynamite was good, but nothing spectacular. SmackDown on FOX was good, and NXT had Finn Balor and Tommaso Ciampa returning. The week was fine. All they had to do was not book an absolutely shitshow of a finish to a PPV and we could be moving into next week happily and eagerly waiting to see what was going to happen on Monday Night Raw. They have the goddamn draft on Friday coming up. They had nothing but momentum for at least another week. But instead they’ve massively effed it up.
Raw‘s still going to be interesting, but not because of anything creatively happening, but to see how the fans react in the stands. There is an opportunity here to hijack the show in a way that is unprecedented.
This era has now become intriguing for an entirely different reason.