2020 WWE Hell in a Cell results, recap, grades: Two major title changes as Sasha Banks vs. Bayley steals show


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

Elias vs. Jeff Hardy: Elias performed a song before the match, again insisting that Hardy was the man who hit him with a car months ago even though that was very clearly sorted out on TV. Elias dominated the early part of the match, hitting a sit-out powerbomb from an electric chair position for a near fall. Hardy came back with a Whisper in the Wind for a two-count. Hardy followed up with a Twist of Fate but Elias ran from the ring when Hardy went up top for the swanton. Elias grabbed his guitar, but Hardy took it from him and hit Elias across the back with it, causing the disqualification. This felt like a result that was the product of not wanting either man to take a loss, and that’s never satisfying on pay-per-view. Elias def. Hardy via disqualification. Grade: C-

Otis (h) vs. The Miz (Money in the Bank contract on the line): Miz went for an early Skull-Crushing Finale but was countered by Otis. Again, Otis countered Miz offense by sliding out of the way of a dropkick between the ropes to hit a big clothesline. But John Morrison provided distraction that allowed Miz to take back over — and interfered again by actually punching Otis. Otis then fired up after some big Miz offense. Before Otis could hit the Caterpillar, Morrison dragged Miz out of the ring. Morrison was about to use the Money in the Bank briefcase to hit Otis but was caught by the referee, who ejected him from ringside. Moments later, Tucker hit Otis with the briefcase, turning on his friend and allowing Miz to score the pin and capture the Money in the Bank contract. It became clear down the stretch that the turn was coming, but it was probably the most compelling option available. How WWE handles a rivalry between the two after they were split to different brands is still to be seen, however. The Miz def. Otis (h) to win the Money in the Bank contract. Grade: B- 

SmackDown Women’s Championship — Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks (Hell in a Cell): As the cell was being lowered before the match, Banks grabbed Bayley’s steel chair and threw it out under the cage, stripping the champion of one of her big advantages coming into the match. Banks locked in an early Banks Statement, but Bayley bit the challenger’s hand to escape the hold. The two brawled outside, using kendo sticks and tables, including Banks setting up a table as a ramp and running up to hit a meteora that drove Bayley into the cage. Another meteora back in the ring got a two count for Banks. Bayley was able to slow down the action soon after, including bringing out a chair from under the ring, but Banks ramped her offense right back up, suspending two kendo sticks between the stairs and the cage. That would backfire, however, with Bayley using a drop-toe hold to drive Banks through one of the sticks and into the ring steps. Banks came back after a period of Bayley dominance, hitting a sunset flip into the cell wall. Bayley would hit a similar move back in the ring moments later, throwing Banks into a chair that had been stuck between two turnbuckles. Banks would fire back with a Backstabber into the Banks Statement, but Bayley slid out of the ring and drove Banks in the ring apron and slammed her head into the ring frame before hitting her with a kendo stick several times. Bayley duct-taped two kendo sticks together and suspended them between the ring and the cell, but before she could do anything with the stick, Banks sprayed her with a fire extinguisher. Bayley managed to grab a chair, but Banks laid into her over and over with a kendo stick. Banks tried to follow up with a frog splash, but Bayley pulled a steel chair over her body to counter. Bayley suspended a ladder between two chairs in the corner and tried to jump off and hit Banks with another chair, but was countered into Banks hitting a belly-to-belly for a two count. Bayley couldn’t get the win with a Bayley-to-Belly, and moments later found herself locked in the Banks Statement yet again, this time with a chair wrapped around her head. Banks torqued the hold while stomping on the chair to force the submission. This was a brutal match, fully of really great moments and drama. Aside from being a bit clunky early on, it was as good as you could ask for from these women. Banks def. Bayley (c) via submission to win the title. Grade: A

United States Championship — Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Slapjack: This match came about after Mustafa Ali laid out a challenge for any member of The Hurt Business to face any member of Retribution. MVP upped the stakes, saying Lashley would defend his United States title against Slapjack. Slapjack threw his shirt at Lashley when the bell rang, allowing himself to get the jump on the champion. Slapjack continued to put up a good fight, countering Lashley whenever Lashley would start to get any offense going. Lashley eventually had enough and tossed Slapjack around the ring for a few minutes before locking in the Hurt Lock for the victory. Retribution ran into the ring after the match and attacked Lashley. Lashley was able to fight them off before the group had to flee when the rest of Hurt Business came to the ring. Again, a loss for Retribution … and again, they are beat up by one man and then forced to flee. Lashley (c) def. Slapjack via submission to retain the title. Grade: C-

WWE Championship — Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Randy Orton: Orton attempted to attack McIntyre from behind as McIntyre made his ring walk. McIntyre was on top of things, turning and attacking Orton first. After a brief back-and-forth battle outside the cell, McIntyre dragged Orton through the door to officially get the match started. McIntyre took Orton outside the ring and ran him into the cage repeatedly before pushing Orton’s face into the steel. Orton turned things around by focusing on the previously broken jaw of McIntyre before using a slingshot to drive the champion’s throat into the bottom rope before stomping on McIntyre’s head while it was on the top of the ring steps. As McIntyre started a comeback, Orton dug a thumb into his eye before Irish whipping the champion into the ring steps. McIntyre eventually did make their comeback, hitting a series of clotheslines and multiple belly-to-belly suplexes before countering an RKO with a neckbreaker. After putting Orton through a table outside the ring, McIntyre made the mistake of taunting Orton before throwing him in the ring, allowing Orton to kick the ropes twice for a pair of low blows as McIntyre tried to step into the ring. Orton followed up with a hanging DDT but McIntyre kicked out at one, leading Orton to leave the ring, retrieve a set of bolt cutters and open the cell door.

After a brawl on the entrance ramp, Orton climbed to the top of the cell. McIntyre followed him, only to have Orton grab a steel pipe which he tried to swing at the champion. Orton then started to climb down the cell, again with McIntyre in pursuit. The two battled on the side of the cell before Orton managed to knock McIntyre off and through the ringside announce table. McIntyre crawled back into the Cell and countered an RKO into a backslide, calling back to the SummerSlam match, but hit a Claymore after for a two count. McIntyre lined up for another Claymore, but Orton ducked and hit an RKO to score the win. Aside from the somewhat forced “cell crash spot” that has to happen every year, this was a solid match, though it had a lot to live up to to match the earlier two matches in the Cell — especially Banks vs. Bayley. It was third best of the three, but still a perfectly good match. Orton def. McIntyre (c) via pinfall to win the title. Grade: B





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