Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso opened WWE Hell in the Cell. Did Uso win the belt or lose his legacy? Find out in our recap.
I'm Jude Terror, and this is The Shovel, Bleeding Cool's weekly wrestling recap column where we watch this crap, so you don't have to. The crap in question this week is WWE Hell in a Cell, emanating from the WWE Thunderdome at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, and broadcast live and on-demand on the WWE Network.
There are five matches scheduled on the card, though of course, like all professional sports organization, WWE likes to sometimes wait until game day and let the athletes book their own matches at the last minute based on who cuts a twenty-minute promo at the start of the show, so who knows what could get added. On the card though: The Miz vs. Otis for the Money in the Bank contract, JEff Hardy vs. Elias, Bayley vs. Sasha Banks for the Smackdown Women's Championship, Randy Orton vs. Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship, and Jey Uso vs. Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship.
WWE Hell in a Cell 2020 Recap Part 1
Hell in a Cell's intro video is spooooooky because it's October. It's also national give someone a seizure day, so there are lots of strobe effects in there too. Then hundreds of potential automatons created from the captured souls of previous WWE Thunderdome attendees cheer wildly as Michael Cole and Corey Graves welcome us to the show. Nothing happening this Halloween is scarier than the idea that anyone who attends a WWE match over Zoom signs over all the rights to their likeness and identity exclusively to WWE in perpetuity. Then we get a video package for Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso. Is that match going on… first? That's unexpected.
Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso – I Quit Universal Championship Match Inside the Cell
This is Uso's second shot at Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship, but there's a catch. If Uso loses, he has to fall in line as Roman's follower and acknowledge him as the Tribal Chief. And if he doesn't, he's kicked out of the Anoa'i family, along with his brother and all their future descendants.
Uso comes to the ring wearing the Samoan ula fala and gets inside the cell. Roman comes out next. I don't know why his entrance includes a 40-foot tall orgasming Roman Reigns, but I'm not gonna complain. We see a promo from Paul Heyman recorded during the Kickoff Show earlier. He says Jey Uso will be an indentured servant to Roman Reigns after he quits tonight.
Once the match starts, Uso berates Roman about how he's changed. Roman says he had to change for the good of the family. They lock up, and Roman dominates Uso with a methodical offense as Uso limps and flops around the ring. Roman would be getting such great boos from a live crowd right now. The fake boos WWE is piping in don't do his heel persona justice.
Uso makes a plucky comeback, and Reigns retreats outside the ring. Uso follows and inflicts some good old ringside violence on the Big Dog. But back inside the ring, he runs right into a spear from Roman, turning the tide. Uso tries another comeback, but Reigns hits another spear, this time bouncing off the ropes first and hitting Uso high in the chest, which looked really good.
Reigns talks some trash to Uso now. He complains that Uso is making him look like a bad guy for having to do this. Roman doesn't want to do it. Uso won't quit, though. Roman goes for a third spear, but Uso kicks him in the face and hits a Superkick. Then he hits a splash off the top turnbuckle. Reigns does not quit. So Uso hits a second splash. Roman still won't quit. "The head of the table never quits," he whispers while selling the splash like he has internal injuries.
Uso gets a strap from outside the ring. He whips Roman with it three times, but then Reigns hits a spear out of nowhere. Now Reigns whips Uso with the strap and attaches one end to each of their wrists. They exchange blows to the face, still strapped together. Uso gets Reigns down and then gets on Roman's back, wrapping the strap around his head and neck and pulling. Reigns still refuses to quit.
Uso gets a chair, but he hesitates, and Roman hits a Superman punch. He locks on a guillotine. Uso won't quit, though he does collapse. Reigns lets go and gives him a disgusted look. "All you had to do was acknowledge me, and now it's come to this. All you had to do was quit." Roman tells Uso to quit, or he's gonna take this to the next level. Uso does not quit. Paul Heyman is watching with horror from outside the cage.
Reigns drags Uso to the apron and hits the drive-by dropkick into his skull. Uso won't quit. Roman grabs the steel stairs and puts Uso's head between them and the ring post on the apron. He lines up and hits another drive-by, with strategic camera cut, of course, so you can only kinda see that the stairs only hit Uso's shoulder. Still, Uso will not quit.
The ref sees Uso is out and says he has to call it. But Reigns stops him. He tosses the ref out of the ring. "Send out the memo. Nobody stops a match I'm a part of." The outside-the-cage ref runs, and Roman chases him off. Adam Pierce, Ralph Malf from Happy Days, and a bunch of other officials run into the cage now and check on Uso.
"Go ahead then. Choose his side," Roman says as he locks the cage with everyone inside. "Might as well close this. Nobody's getting out."
Reigns tosses the stairs in the ring. The crowd flees. Reigns puts the stairs on top of Uso and leans on them. He says he understands Uso trying him when they were kids, but they're 35 now, and Uso should know better. "All you had to do was acknowledge me, and now you make me do things I don't want to do. This is how serious it is at the top. There's no going back tonight. I'm gonna end you because you just don't understand who the Tribal Chief is."
Reigns picks up the stairs high over his head and is about to literally kill Uso when Jimmy Uso runs out and covers him up. He yells at Roman. Jey is selling like he's dead. Jimmy says, whatever Roman is going through, they can fix this. "This is Josh that's laying right here in the middle of this damn ring!" Reigns sits down and starts crying. Ugly face crying.
Jimmy seems to think Roman has come to his senses. He grasps his hand. He's in for a surprise. Reigns puts him in the guillotine. Jimmy tries to tap, but of course, this isn't a tap out situation. Jey Uso wakes up and tries to help. He can't get Roman to let go. Jey Uso quits to stop him.
Winner: Roman Reigns
The opening match of Hell in a Cell is concluded, and the cell is raised. Paul Heyman brings Reigns his Universal Championship. Reigns looks smug as he stands over his cousins and raises the belt in the air. Afa and Sika come to the top of the stage as Roman exits. They put a red ula fala around Roman's neck, crowning him the Tribal Chief officially.
It's hard to top their first match, which featured a great extended beatdown long after Roman had the match run that showed us for the first time what motivates the new Roman Reigns. But I think this match not only pulled it off but blew it out of the water. A lot of times, Hell in a Cell matches don't live up to their potential, partially because they happen every year in October regardless of whether any of the feuds really warrant this style of a grudge match.
But the Reigns/Uso story, though fairly new, is based on so much history and has been portrayed so well that this match really worked. The constant trash-talking, which was caught clearly on the camera, added to the drama. The only element really missing, and this isn't anyone's fault, is the real live crowd who I feel would have eaten this up. The character work and the psychology and the chemistry between these two (or three) are off the charts, and the ending was perfect.
We're 47 minutes into Hell in a Cell right now. I don't know how you top this, honestly. I guess we'll find out.
I'll now pass the WWE Hell in a Cell live coverage baton off to Chelsy Bloomfield, who will be covering whatever the next match is. Find all of Bleeding Cool's Hell in a Cell coverage here on the front page of the site. Depending on when you're reading this, there may or may not be a table of contents for all the matches at the bottom of this page.