Kickoff Show: 24/7 Champion R-Truth def. Drew Gulak
It's crazy to think that Gulak took AJ Styles to the limit in a match for the Intercontinental Championship a few months ago on SmackDown. Now, he's been reduced to 24/7 Championship nonsense, which is exactly why I didn't want him to go to Raw in the Draft. The match itself was fine, but I couldn't bring myself to care about it whatsoever. Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik have suffered the same fate as Gulak in that they went from contending for actual gold on SmackDown to chasing the 24/7 Championship on Raw. Can we please throw the title in the trash already?
Universal Champion Roman Reigns def. Jey Uso in a Hell in a Cell "I Quit" Match
I didn't know how Reigns and Uso would be able to outdo themselves from Clash of Champions, but they managed to do just that. Much like their original encounter, this was a storytelling masterpiece with both guys playing their roles remarkably well. Uso gave it a great effort while Reigns grew more and more frustrated with the way he kept refusing to quit. The referee constantly asking Reigns and Uso got annoying after a while, but at least it's better than when the referees were equipped with a mic during these matches. Otherwise, this was fantastic and an outstanding way to kick off the show. Of course, the outcome was never in doubt, but that hardly mattered to me. Jey quitting because he was trying to save Jimmy from Reigns made for a brilliant finish and the sight of Reigns celebrating on the stage with Afa and Sika afterward was a terrific touch.
Elias def. Jeff Hardy by Disqualification
The feud just got started, so I guess it's logical that there wasn't a finish to this. It was a perfectly fine match for a perfectly fine midcard feud, but it definitely didn't light the world on fire and was nothing compared to what came before it from Reigns and Uso. Obviously, the non-finish means the storyline will continue as I expected it to and prevented Hardy from taking yet another pinfall loss. Elias just returned, so he shouldn't have lost clean, either.
The Miz def. Otis to Win the Money in the Bank Contract
Although I enjoyed the skits these two did in "court" on Friday's SmackDown, the feud has largely been a waste of time for the past month or so. In fact, the entire experiment with Otis as Mr. Money in the Bank was a waste of time, too. He was riding high coming out of WrestleMania 36, but that doesn't mean he should have won the Money in the Bank briefcase. He was never going to cash in successfully, so I'm honestly okay with Miz taking the contract from him. He'll likely lose, too, but it's an improvement over Otis. The match itself was decent and the Tucker swerve was certainly expected. I didn't hate or love it, either. I think I just don't care, especially with the two being on separate shows. I can seeing them facing off at Survivor Series, but that screams Kickoff show to me.
Sasha Banks def. Bayley in a Hell in a Cell Match to Win the SmackDown Women's Championship
While I maintain that this rivalry has been rushed over the last month, they went out there and had, well, a hell of a Hell in a Cell match. There was no way this was going to be on the level of their TakeOver classics from five years ago, but they did the best they could given the circumstances and battered each other with every weapon they could find. I would have been open to Bayley retaining her title to keep Banks in chase mode for a little while longer, but Banks couldn't afford another loss inside the structure and I'm glad she finally captured the championship. My only nitpick with it was that it didn't go on last, and after watching Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton, I have no idea why it didn't.
United States Champion Bobby Lashley def. Slapjack
Few people cared about RETRIBUTION to begin with, but them losing to The Hurt Business clean last week on Raw pretty much solidified them as a joke of a faction. Thus, why anyone would give a crap about Lashley defending his United States Championship against Slapjack is beyond me. This was total throwaway and it couldn't have been more obvious that it existed solely so the show would come close to the three-hour mark. Hurt Business fended off RETRIBUTION again afterward, so I'm not really sure what the point is in continuing this feud.
Randy Orton def. Drew McIntyre in a Hell in a Cell Match to Win the WWE Championship
I was a big fan of the match McIntyre and Orton had at SummerSlam. The Clash of Champions rematch wasn't as strong but was still fairly entertaining on the whole. This third matchup was just a total bore in my opinion. Part of that might have been because the feud lost a lot of its juice a month ago, but I think another reason was that this felt like it dragged on for way too long. It didn't help that it paled in comparison to the other two Hell in a Cell matches earlier in the evening. Orton was my prediction to win the title because he's already lost to McIntyre twice, but it was the wrong call. There aren't many (if any) credible top babyfaces to challenge Orton coming out of this show, unless the plan is for McIntyre to regain the gold sooner rather than later. If WWE was going to put the belt on Orton, they should have done it over the summer when he was at his hottest.
To address the obvious, three Hell in a Cell matches on a six-match card is pure overkill. I mean, three Hell in a Cell matches in one night is overkill in general, but it was especially an issue with this installment of the event. The lack of build for this pay-per-view was painfully apparent going in, but the main matches mostly delivered. Okay, Orton vs. McIntyre wasn't my cup of my tea, but it was much better than the past two Hell in a Cell main events from 2018 and 2019. I'd give the show a slight thumbs-up for Reigns vs. Uso and Bayley vs. Banks as both bouts were phenomenal, but the rest of the card wasn't remotely memorable.