Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable def. The Hype Bros (Kickoff Match)
Everyone assumed Benjamin and Gable were going over as they should have, so while this wasn't the most memorable Kickoff match, I appreciated that they picked up the pace a bit down the stretch. Most of the matchup was fairly formulaic, but the last quarter was a treat. Of course, the breakup angle with The Hype Bros was furthered with Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley teasing tension and that getting in the way of them picking up the win.
The Usos def. The New Day in a Hell in a Cell Match to Win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Every encounter these two teams have had over the last five months have been nothing short of spectacular, and the (apparent) blow-off to the long-running rivalry was probably their best bout yet. This was what Satan's Structure was designed for, and they more than made the most of the stipulation by brutalizing each other in incredible fashion. It could have headlined the event and no one would have questioned it. The match set the bar pretty high for the rest of the night and was an excellent example of a Hell in a Cell contest done right in the modern era. Congrats to The Usos and New Day for putting together such a stellar series of matches this year and taking tag team wrestling to the next level.
Randy Orton def. Rusev
I honestly wasn't looking forward to this match coming into the event because although their first two matches were extremely brief, I wasn't sure what kind of chemistry they would have as opponents. Ultimately, they delivered a surprisingly pleasant matchup where the crowd was engaged in the action. The finishing sequence was especially fun and made Rusev look like he was on Orton's level, despite the defeat. I don't know what will make Orton interesting again, but at least this was a quality performance from him.
Baron Corbin def. AJ Styles and Tye Dillinger in a Triple Threat Match to Win the United States Championship
I have no doubt that Styles and Corbin could have had a great match on their own, but adding Dillinger to this championship clash was definitely for the best. Not only does it save Styles vs. Corbin for later down the line, Dillinger getting a shot at the strap on this show needed to happen after he pinned Corbin on the latest episode of SmackDown Live. The three of them worked well together and had an enjoyable Triple Threat match with the right man going over. Yes, Styles didn't fulfill his full potential as U.S. Champion and never truly brought back the open challenge gimmick, but here's hoping this leads to him rejoining the main event scene eventually which is where he belongs.
Charlotte Flair def. SmackDown Women's Champion Natalya by Disqualification
Charlotte and Natalya had a pretty promising track record heading into Hell in a Cell of having good to great matches together, so I had high hopes for this in the ring. Unfortunately, it failed to meet those lofty expectations. The crowd, which had been hot all night prior to this point, sat on their hands for a majority of the match, and understandably so because they were waiting for something to happen. Well, before they could reach that next gear, Natalya got herself disqualified out of nowhere. I don't mind that they kept the title on Natalya for a little longer, but this was an awful way of cutting the contest short.
WWE Champion Jinder Mahal def. Shinsuke Nakamura
It continues to be completely illogical that the SmackDown officials don't ban The Singh Brothers from ringside during Mahal's matches from the get-go. They have interfered in every Mahal match since he became a "main event player" earlier this year, and it's so damn predictable and tiresome. This was a bit better than their SummerSlam encounter, but this was still an underwhelming outing with a disappointing outcome. I had a bad feeling Mahal would retain with WWE touring India soon, and that's exactly what happened. I've said everything imaginable about how Mahal as WWE Champion just isn't working, but WWE will move along with the experiment, regardless.
Bobby Roode def. Dolph Ziggler
Whoever formatted this show had to know that the crowd wasn't going to care about this contest following Mahal's successful WWE title defense, so I can't say I was shocked when they were flat for this month. The effort was there and it was well-wrestled, but it suffered from its positioning so late in the night right before the main event. Roode winning was what needed to happen, yet Ziggler attacked him afterward, so basically, no one benefits it seems.
Kevin Owens def. Shane McMahon in a Hell in a Cell Match
This wasn't nearly as exciting early on as The Usos vs. New Day, but the important thing is that it told a terrific story throughout with Owens ruthlessly beating down Shane and Shane refusing to back down. The Falls Count Anywhere stipulation in a Hell in a Cell match remains silly to me, but it was cool that they took their fight to the top of the structure and endured some unreal bumps. It was only inevitable before Shane would jump off the cell, but I had no idea Sami Zayn would help get Owens the hell out of dodge. That's an amazing twist that makes me and many others excited to see the fallout on Tuesday's SmackDown.
Hell in a Cell was off to a strong start with the first three matches and two title changes, but then took a turn for the worse with the mediocre women's match. From there, the WWE Championship match left a sour taste in the mouths of most fans and Roode vs. Ziggler will be forgotten a week from now. Thankfully, the event closed on a high note with the main event and Zayn swerve, so on the whole, it was an entertaining pay-per-view. As I've noted countless times in the past, Mahal as WWE Champion does nothing for me, but fingers crossed that issue is rectified soon enough.