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Highlight and Lowlight of This Past “Hell in a Cell” Week in WWE – by Mike Sanchez

I’m going to try something new, if that’s ok with you, the TJR Wrestling faithful? You see, sometimes it’s relatively easy to write something based on what’s happened in the wacky world of professional wrestling in the last seven days, and sometimes it isn’t. I tend to try and stick to one topic in particular; something that caught my attention, or the hot topic of the moment. This week however, there were two things I wanted to write about; one great and one not so great. So, with that in mind, I’ll try something new by giving a personal highlight and lowlight of the week. It’s purely my opinion and you’re entitled to agree or disagree – I don’t care, it’s up to you. So, without further ado, let’s get on with it.

Lowlight – Brock Lesnar’s Return to WWE

I can get caught up in the moment, be that in WWE, a TV show or a movie. I love how something can bring the suspension of disbelief, even but for a fleeting moment. It’s a great feeling when your attention is drawn into something make-believe and you momentarily forget your worries. When that moment, or the promise of one, is broken – especially in a really crappy way – then I can find myself legit pissed off at something scripted. To be fair, that’s part and parcel of the suspension of disbelief and good storytelling, but this Sunday had me for a good while.

I had mediocre hopes for the Hell in a Cell PPV, as I’d seen too many times a promising show fail to either capitalize or realize its potential and left us all feeling like an opportunity had been missed. Hell in a Cell started off great and delivered match after match. Was the Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles a let-down? Maybe, but it wasn’t terrible. They could have had a better match, but it was entertaining, hard-hitting and enjoyable. As the main event drew near, the PPV had done well. It exceeded my expectations and for the final bout of Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns, it had what I think is one of the best reasons to watch a wrestling match; I really didn’t know who was going to win. I didn’t care who did, all I wanted to see was the story play out and a milestone reached in the feud. All was going as expected and the inevitable interruptions by Rollins, Ambrose, Ziggler and McIntyre weren’t a surprise, but then we had the return of the beast Brock Lesnar.

I legit got pissed at that point. I’m not hating on Lesnar, and if the guy can pick up a six or seven figure paycheck for kicking down a cell door and kicking the crap out of two wrestlers, then fair play to him. What I hate, and I really do hate this, is that WWE knew that the fanbase didn’t care for Brock. They knew he devalued the WWE Universal Heavyweight Title and they knew the fans were receptive when the gold was taken from him and put onto Roman Reigns. Was Reigns the darling of the WWE Universe? No, not by a long shot, but he’s not Brock Lesnar – and that is what mattered. With Brock seemingly out of the picture and off down the road to UFC, the freshness was clear in the Raw top title picture. WWE knew that and still they did what they did. They buried the Money in the Bank cash in. They derailed the momentum of Braun Strowman and once again they stuttered the title defense of Reigns. All for what? The fans chanted ‘bullshit’ after the show. After what was building up to be one of the best PPVs of 2018. WWE did that. WWE knew the reaction it would get and still did it. Now we see that Brock will get another big payday all at the expense of the WWE Universal Title picture. Well, if that’s how you see it, WWE, go for it. Insult your fans, piss off the crowds and shower the guy who has openly said he really doesn’t care about WWE with millions upon millions of dollars. I’m sure the fans will appreciate it.

Highlight – Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair

As many a faithful reader on here will already know, I’m a huge fan of the Women’s Division and it should come as no surprise that the Becky Lynch/ Charlotte Flair feud is my highlight. Though I begrudgingly endured the unpleasantness of Brock, the undoubted moment of the night for me was the Smackdown Women’s Championship match.

The Hell in a Cell match itself wasn’t a five star classic, or in the same league as Bayley vs Sasha at NTX Takeover Brooklyn I, (damn, how good was that match?), but it was pretty darned good. The build between Charlotte and Becky has been fantastic. The storytelling is simple yet very effective; the long-time friends slowly growing apart yet inevitably forced back together to support one another until one cracks and turns on the other. The reception from the fans has been great too. Many in WWE obviously expected Charlotte to be the face in the feud and Becky to be the heel who would be booed across the country, but that hasn’t happened.

What has happened is that Becky has become the anti-hero that fans resonate to. Her cause is seen as just and her frustrations valid in the eyes of the WWE Universe. We see how hard she works and how talented she is in the ring and we love her for it. I must point out that Charlotte’s contribution cannot be underplayed in this. I believe she’s a more natural heel regardless of how WWE present her, and I think she knows that too. Charlotte is legit, and not just because she’s a Flair. Her style, moves and presence in the ring are that of a huge star. Her victory over the previously undefeated Asuka at Wrestlemania wasn’t a great surprise to some. If anyone was going to beat Asuka, it was highly likely to be the Queen.

History has told us that when the stars align for a popular champion in professional wrestling, they haven’t done it on their own. They’ve needed support along the way from strong, credible opponents to help elevate their talent, get them over and build a relationship with the fans. Hogan had Andre, Austin had Bret Hart, Rock had Austin, Punk had Cena and though each encounter never truly defined a star in a particular moment in time, they made a massive contribution to their legacy. This is that moment for Becky Lynch, I feel. Charlotte is the one who can elevate the Irish Lass Kicker to the next level and have her be the true champion we all know she can be. I’ll watch with great interest as to where this feud will lead. I have high hopes as it’s not the traditional chickenshit heel we saw with others in recent years, no, Becky will beat the crap out of you if she wants to. That’s what makes this for me; the difference we’re seeing in her character and how her opponents respond to that aggression and attitude. Long may it continue.

PS- Becky Lynch is awesome.

What were your highlight and lowlight of this past week in WWE? Did you like this new format and think I should do more in this style? What were your thoughts on Brock & Becky? I’d love to hear them. As always, thanks for reading.