Holding three Hell in a Cell matches in a single night runs the risk of making one of the most iconic matches in all of WWE feel stale by the end of a show. At Sunday’s 2020 WWE Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, the company avoided falling into that trap by holding three matches that were drastically different despite taking place inside the same structure.
Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso was presented as almost pure melodrama with the two men talking through the entire match and building to a moment that leaned heavier on the “entertainment” portion of “sports entertainment.” By contrast, Sasha Banks vs. Bayley was an all-out “plunder brawl” with both women using weapons and high spot-driven offense to create a pure spectacle. Somewhere in between was the night’s main event of Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton, which felt the most like the standard Hell in a Cell match, leaning into raw physicality and an iconic “crash spot” off the side of the Cell and through an announce table.
By mixing up the presentation of those three matches, WWE delivered a high-quality show that didn’t fall into a pit of repetition and wear out the welcome of “the demonic structure” that is Hell in a Cell. In that respect, it’s hard to consider the event anything less than a success. And, with a pair of big title changes across those three matches, the landscape of WWE will look significantly different as the Road to WrestleMania inches ever closer.
CBS Sports was with you the whole way through the event, providing updates and highlights as the action went down from the ThunderDome inside Orlando’s Amway Center. Read on for the complete breakdown and grades for all the Hell in a Cell action.
2020 WWE Hell in a Cell results, grades
24/7 Championship — R-Truth (c) vs. Drew Gulak: Gulak opened the show by pretending to speak with — and then punt — “Little Jimmy,” leading Truth to explode early. Truth ran through his John Cena tribute spot for a near fall before Gulak tried to turn things into a straight wrestling match. Unfortunately for Gulak, Truth was able to reverse a chain of pinfall attempts to score the win and retain his title. Akira Tozawa and Lucha House Party ran out after the match and chased off Truth. Standard kickoff show stuff here that felt more like filler than anything. R-Truth def. Gulak to retain the title. Grade: C
Universal Championship — Roman Reigns (c) vs. Jey Uso (Hell in a Cell, I Quit Match): After early dominance from Reigns, Uso made his first big comeback, hitting a pair of suicide dives and driving Reigns into the cage. Reigns would respond by hitting his first spear of the match, telling Uso that he would regret it in five minutes if he didn’t quit the match right then. Uso, of course, did not quit, and his next comeback attempt was cut short by another Reigns spear. Uso hit a superkick and an Uso Splash, but Reigns refused to quit after. Uso followed with another splash but Reigns responded by saying, “The head of the table never quits.” Uso used a strap to whip Reigns several times, but Reigns came back with his third spear of the match and began to use the strap to whip Uso. Both men attached the strap to their wrists, turning the match into a sort of impromptu strap match on top of the Hell in a Cell and I Quit stipulations. Uso would eventually wrap the strap around Reigns’ neck and try to choke him out. Reigns came back and locked in a guillotine choke, but Uso again refused to quit. Reigns dragged Uso to the ropes, dangling his head from the ring apron and hitting a drive-by, followed by a second one with Uso wedged between the ring steps and the post.
The referee tried to stop the match, but Reigns wouldn’t allow it without Uso quitting. WWE officials then ran into the cell to try and end things, but Reigns chased them off and pinned Uso under the ring steps. As Reigns was about to drive the steps into Jey, Jimmy Uso ran to the ring and covered his brother, yelling at Reigns that they have his back no matter what he’s going through. Reigns began crying and said, “I don’t even know who I am anymore. I’m sorry.” Reigns and Jimmy shook hands before Reigns pulled him into a guillotine choke. Seeing his brother in danger, Jey finally quit, awarding Reigns the victory. After the match, Afa and Sika were on the entry ramp, embracing Reigns and adorning him with a lei. A lot of good stuff, but far too much talking during the match and ham-fisted drama that served as a bit of a setback for a feud that has been so good. Reigns (c) def. Uso via verbal submission to retain the title. Grade: B