Hell in a Cell turned out to be one of WWE’s better shows this year. Both matches that took place inside Hell in a Cell were unforgettable classics that were worth every bit of hype and more, but there were still plenty of issues throughout the night. No pay-per-view is perfect, and Hell in a Cell is definitely no exception.
1 Poor Ru-Ru loses yet again
Just a reminder that Rusev rode into WrestleMania 31 as United States Champion on a tank to face John Cena. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Fast forward just two years and Rusev has lost again to Randy Orton. While this defeat allows him to save more face than his embarrassing loss at SummerSlam, it still hurts knowing that he has fallen from being a potential star in 2015 to losing to Randy Orton in the second match of a SmackDown pay-per-view for seemingly no reason.
The match itself was serviceable. Rusev dominated for much of it and Randy did an okay job of selling Rusev's offense, but the match never really got out of second gear before Orton won with the RKO.
What's more, going forward, it is difficult to identify Orton's next direction considering he had just finished feuding with Jinder Mahal for the WWE Title prior to his program with Rusev. Therefore, the winner has very little to do going forward while the loser loses what momentum he had garnered since SummerSlam.
2 Baron bores his way to gold
The triple threat match for the United States Championship between AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, and Tye Dillinger was an enjoyable if not slightly underwhelming affair.
There were a few nice sequences involving the three as The Phenomenal One and The Perfect 10 displayed chemistry befitting of performers of their ilk.
Baron Corbin, on the other hand, did not impress. His offense, which took up a sizeable chunk of the middle portion of the match, consisted of punches and taunting to the crowd. For a championship match on PPV, this felt very much like a run-of-the-mill match on a broadcast of SmackDown.
To be fair to Corbin, he is never going to be an AJ Styles when it comes to what he can do in the ring, but it is still extremely exhausting to see Corbin pushed into a position he doesn't seem ready for based simply on his limited arsenal.
Corbin won the United States Championship after taking advantage of Styles hitting the Phenomenal Forearm on Tye Dillinger. Considering we already have a limited performer as the top champion on SmackDown, having another limited performer holding the brand's main mid-card title is not going to do the show's ratings or live attendance much good. Speaking of which...
3 Jinder hinders Shinsuke...again
Going into Sunday's show, there was hope that Shinsuke Nakamura would finally take the WWE Title away from Jinder Mahal. Part of this was down to the build up to the match being so distasteful that it felt counterintuitive to keep the title on The Modern Day Maharaja. The other reason being that, on the India Tour, Jinder is advertised as a two-time champion so, surely, they would be taking the title off of him for at least a little while.
Of course not.
In yet another average title defense, Jinder Mahal defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to retain his title and keep this failing experiment going. This time, Mahal beat Nakamura semi-clean as a whistle in the middle of the ring with the Khallas.
So, in summary, Jinder Mahal has beaten one of the best wrestlers in the entirety of WWE (twice) for the sake of taking advantage of a market in a country where WWE has lost subscribers since Jinder became champion.
4 What's the opposite of glorious?
Bobby Roode finally made his WWE PPV debut when he took on Dolph Ziggler. There was hope for a top quality match from these two after reports that they were tearing up house shows. Unfortunately, their PPV match would not reach that quality. While it would have been a perfectly serviceable match on SmackDown, it was totally forgettable on PPV.
What's worse is the way the finish was booked. Rather than give Roode a solid PPV debut win to give him momentum towards his next programme, he beat Ziggler by roll up only to be laid out by Ziggler after the bell.
This was nonsensical for a few reasons. For starters, this booking decision establishes Roode as 'just another babyface' as well as taking away from his mystique. As well as that, it allowed for Ziggler, a guy who has done nothing of note all year and has been saddled with a dirt-poor gimmick, to stand tall over the newcomer. Nonsense all round.
5 Does Kevin Owens even know he won?
Okay, quick disclaimer: I loved Shane McMahon vs Kevin Owens at Hell in a Cell. It was chaotic, violent, shocking and genuinely nerve-wrecking at times.
However, I have a problem with the finish.
While Sami Zayn's sudden appearance to save Kevin Owens was a genuinely shocking moment that raises a lot of questions and gives people a reason to tune in to SmackDown on Tuesday, the fact should not be lost on people that Kevin Owens needed Sami Zayn's help to beat Shane McMahon, and didn't even look aware of how it happened.
While the match paints Shane as tough, spirited, and dangerous, it leaves one of SmackDown's top stars looking like he needed help to defeat someone who isn't even a full-time competitor.
Great match, questionable ending. Much of this rides on how they handle this story moving forward, but right now it just doesn't make any sense.
What did you think were the worst moments at Hell in a Cell? Let us know in the comments below!
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