WWE TLC 2013: 5 John Cena vs. Randy Orton Matches To Watch First

4. Hell In A Cell Match – Inaugural Hell In A Cell PPV (2009)

Hell in a Cell is a gimmick in which intensely personal stories thrive.  Cena and Orton renewed their rivalry in the summer of 2009, culminating in a four PPV series of one-on-one WWE Championship matches, three of which provide the best examples of why Cena vs. Orton at TLC ’13 will deliver the goods.

Though never to be mistaken as one of the finest editions of the Cell, Orton-Cena did offer one of the stipulation’s most underrated versions.  The Viper character that Orton introduced in late 2008 was well-known by WrestleMania 25 as one of the most sadistic of the modern era.  His cerebral tendencies were fascinating to witness, as he seemed to be a sort of strange mixture of in and out of control.  Orton’s persona bordered on the insane.  He played the part to a “T.”  It was one of the rare moments in their storied saga where Orton seemed to have the legitimate advantage, locked inside a massive steel structure with plenty of weapons under the ring that he could use to maim and destroy a wrestler for whom he well displayed hatred.

TLC certainly will not suffer from the common knock against the Hell in a Cell being amongst the most boring of the Cena-Orton matches; there will simply be too many tables, ladders, and chairs.  A fan looking back to Hell in a Cell 2009 would need to pay much closer attention to the details to fully appreciate the mastery of Orton’s performance, in particular.  He never had a greater command of the ring than he did in 2009; he never had a better sense of the character that he was portraying and how to accentuate all the minute mannerisms en route to the 2009 WWE Superstar of the Year according to several critical publications.  Hell in a Cell has always been known for its brutality rather than a mental chess game, so Orton-Cena struggles to hold up against the more popular matches in the history of Satan’s Structure.  However, that is more an indictment of the WWE’s own policy changes that avoid blood and violence than it is a knock on Orton and Cena’s ability to properly adapt to one of the most popular gimmick matches of the WrestleMania Era.