SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day def. Rusev Day (Kickoff Match)
This match didn't have a ton of heat going into the event due to being made official for the card as late as Tuesday, so I can't say I was surprised that it was bumped to the Kickoff show. I wasn't offended by that because while this was a fun outing, it wasn't amazing enough to warrant being on the main card, anyway. Both teams gave it a good effort and Rusev Day teasing tension toward the end should lead to their inevitable split sooner rather than later.
Jeff Hardy def. Randy Orton (Hell in a Cell Match)
Well, Hardy can finally rest easy knowing he has competed in a Hell in a Cell match for the first time in his career. In all seriousness, I thoroughly enjoyed this and loved its brutality. Was the stipulation truly necessary? Not really, but it was one of the better bouts contested inside the cell in recent memory, I felt. The incorporation of weapons was excellent and there were a ton of innovative spots that made this a blast to watch. Most importantly, I was happy Hardy's big risk wasn't anything that could have ended his career. Orton winning was the right choice.
Becky Lynch def. Charlotte Flair to Win the SmackDown Women's Championship
These two have always had strong chemistry together, so sure enough, this was a quality contest. Lynch has been more favored by the fans than Flair since SummerSlam despite Lynch being the heel and that was once again the case here. Everything seemed so seamless as they brought the best out of each other and the bout benefited from the outcome being unpredictable. It was interesting that Lynch captured the championship fair and square, yet no double turn was executed afterward. I figured Flair would retain her title, but Lynch regaining the gold allows her to maintain the momentum she's had as a heel.
Raw Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre def. Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose
Even though Raw's tag team division has been on ice for a long while, this was a great match as I assumed it would be given who was involved. The action was exciting and I appreciated how the pace was largely kept constant throughout. I'd have no problem with this program continuing over the tag titles (and in fact, I expect it to), but Rollins really should refocus on the Intercontinental Championship he helped elevate to new heights earlier this year. Is it possible for him to chase the tag titles and defend his Intercontinental title on a regular basis simultaneously?
WWE Champion AJ Styles def. Samoa Joe
As well-wrestled as this was, it didn't have the same type of urgency as their SummerSlam outing, likely because the crowd failed to get into it until later down the stretch (was it because they had to follow that terrific tag title match). Nevertheless, this was an above-average encounter from them, featuring a finish that protected Joe in defeat and keeps the feud alive going into WWE Super Show-Down early next month where they'll collide for the championship for a third time.
The Miz and Maryse def. Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella
Knowing Maryse and Brie haven't wrestled a ton in several years, I didn't have high hopes for this and therefore I wasn't disappointed. It was essentially what I expected with everyone playing their roles well and it being a nice little match but not much more. Thankfully, Miz and Bryan did a majority of the in-ring work as they should have. Miz and Maryse winning was not what I predicted, but I liked it because it allows the heels to maintain their heat before Miz and Bryan face off again at Super Show-Down (where a future WWE Championship shot will be up for grabs).
Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey def. Alexa Bliss
Although the outcome was never in doubt, I actually appreciated that this was a more competitive contest than what we got at SummerSlam from them. Bliss targeted the ribs/midsection of Rousey that she originally targeted on Monday's Raw and attempted to use her buddies Mickie James and Alicia Fox at ringside to her advantage. In the end, Rousey was still able to tap out Bliss within seconds, but this was honestly a bit better than I thought it would be. Rousey rolls on as Raw Women's Champion.
Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman in a Hell in a Cell Ended in a No Contest (Mick Foley Served as Special Guest Referee)
There were a lot of moving parts in this match, most of which were completely pointless. I understand Foley served as the special guest referee because of the 20 year anniversary of his Hell in a Cell clash with The Undertaker, but since he didn't take any bumps and didn't factor into the finish at all, there was no need for him to involved. Plus, the structure itself was devalued even further than it already has been with the interference from The Shield, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre and Brock Lesnar. Granted, Lesnar's shocking return made for a cool moment, but don't let that distract you from how disappointing of a main event this was on the whole, or how it didn't even have a decisive ending. That's a ridiculous way to close out a pay-per-view this day and age, especially in a match where there should be a winner.
Considering fans had low expectations for this event going in, this turned out to be one of the most memorable and entertaining WWE pay-per-views all year. The main event was underwhelming (even if Lesnar's return was newsworthy and unexpected), but everything else was excellent overall, specifically the fantastic first half of the show. Aside from Reigns vs. Strowman, I was very satisfied with Hell in a Cell. It's a shame the rest of WWE programming nowadays is so lifeless and doesn't reflect how strong this show was (more so than Raw than SmackDown Live, but the point still stands).