Hell in a Cell: Nikki Bella bests Brie, and AJ Lee sees off Paige

Brie Nikki Bella WWEThe Bella Twins finally explode on PPV at Hell in a Cell, while Paige attempts to wrest the WWE Divas Championship from AJ Lee.

Brie Bella v Nikki Bella

The Background

Nikki Bella turned on sister Brie at SummerSlam during the latter’s match against Stephanie McMahon. We imagined that it was because Brie’s decision to quit WWE and McMahon’s decision to punish Nikki by proxy by putting her in handicap matches would be the reason for the hostility.

• Instead we got a bunch of mangled backstory about how Nikki was the put-upon sister who was overshadowed by perfect Brie. What followed were some toe-curlingly bad promos and segments which weakened the feud instead of hyping it.

• The pair have traded pitfalls on TV over the past few weeks in tag team and handicap matches but this is their first singles encounter in their feud, with a stipulation that the loser must be the winter’s personal assistant for 30 days or quit WWE.

The Match

• Both sisters started the match by pulling each other’s hair, with Brie looking to get the pin early before dropkicking Nikki in the face. She then went for a victory roll but it was countered into an Electric Chair.

• Nikki then took advantage with a reverse chin lock and then rammed Brie’s face into her knee for a near-fall. More hair-pulling by the heel Bella then came unstuck when Brie nailed an X-Factor for two before mounting a comeback, though Nikki scooted to the outside. However, Brie launched a tope through the ropes before hitting a missile dropkick.

Nikki Bella Brie WWE• Nikki managed to recoup to hit the Rack Attack for a near-fall but her frustration saw her fall victim to a Yes Lock by Brie, though she managed to force a rope break. Nikki retaliated with a massive forearm like the one which marked her heel turn at SummerSlam before nailing a second Rack Attack for the victory.

Thoughts

• The match itself wasn’t too bad. Barring the tope which saw Brie land on Nikki’s shin, it was all perfectly fine. The crowd didn’t care for it though, and event chanted JBL at one point.

• The telling part is that the biggest reaction was for Brie mimicking her husband Daniel Bryan’s “Yes” chant, which was more over than anything presented by the two sisters. That and Brie’s election to use the Yes Lock is an example that she has regressed as a character and is now merely Daneild Bryan’s wife instead of being her own woman. For that reason, Nikki is more of an interesting persona – coupled with that fact that her heel gimmick is pretty well executed compared to her sister’s face persona.

• Also, did this match really need a stipulation, considering it was their first one-on-one contest? This could have been saved for further down the line but it feels like WWE knows that it needs a gimmick to keep the feud bubbling as it started running out of fizz a long time ago. It should make for some vignettes with Nikki being a bitch to her sister and eventually getting her comeuppance in the future, but the excitement for this story is long gone.

AJ Lee Paige WWEWWE Divas Championship
AJ Lee v Paige

The Background

• The latest chapter in this feud which has been going since April took place after Night of Champions, when AJ Lee won her third Divas Championship in a triple threat match involving defending titleholder Paige and fellow challenger Nikki Bella.

• At this point, Paige abandoned the frenemies charade which she had been using with AJ and formed a friendship with Alicia Fox, challenging AJ to find a friend of her own. Attemps to team with Emma and Layla failed – as the champion grew tired of Emma’s dancing and walked out on her while Layla abandoned AJ.

The Match

• The challenger kicked off strong with a headlock and shoulder barge but then suffered a clothesline from AJ followed by a headscissors, victory roll and standing heel kick.

• Paige scooted to the outside but was quickly followed by the titleholder, taking out Fox but was swung into the barricade by the Briton. Elbows, boots and knees followed from the challenger but they weren’t enough to keep AJ down.

• The champion fought back with a Thesz Press, clothesline and neckbreaker but ran into a Paige super kick for a near-fall. The Brit went to the RamPaige but AJ fought out and connected with a Tornado DDT for a long two-count. A guillotine choke failed to get a tap out as Paige countered into a fallaway slam which saw AJ roll out of the ring.

• Paige climbed onto the barricade but suffered a legsweep to the floor, with Alicia pushing her friend back into the ring to avoid the count-out, but AJ locked in the Black Widow for the immediate tap out. Paige took out her defeat on Fox, slapping her before leaving the ring, saying that she hated her former bestie.

AJ Lee WWEThoughts

• This is probably their best showing on PPV, but it was placed in the penultimate spot on the show so the fans were waiting for the main event of Seth Rollins v Dean Ambrose and didn’t have much time for this.

• The wrestling made sense, the action was smooth and the friendship which had blossomed between Paige and Fox came back to bite the challenger on the bum as Alicia’s loyalty essentially set her buddy up for the defeat. That seemingly marked the end of their alignment and is also presumably the end of AJ Lee v Paige. Who will be next to face the champion remains to be seen.

– Photos by WWE

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