U.S. Title Open Challenge
Now this was a genuine surprise. I did not have Alberto Del Rio coming back, even though the reports last week that the company was up for bringing him back should have been a hint. Him coming back and aligning with Zeb Colter was an extra surprise; we’ll see where that goes and how Colter’s character will adapt to working with someone he’d previously said all kinds of crazy stuff about. John Cena is going to do a reality show for a bit so he had to drop the belt here. Del Rio’s WWE career may be the most title laden in the shortest amount of time; in three years (2011-2014) he racked up a Royal Rumble win, a Money in the Bank win, and multiple World and WWE titles (when they were separate belts). And now he’s US Champ.
Where does he go from here? You got me. In his last run he was a big hit with the Hispanic market, but wasn’t as over with the overall fanbase as either a face or a heel. He’s an excellent performer in the ring, and provides another good worker for the midcard and the occasional world title shot. As far as the match itself between he and Cena, it was ok. It was really weird seeing Cena job clean in seven minutes after all the stuff he kicks out of and all the 20-plus minute matches we get on the big shows. How do you go from beating Seth Rollins in a 20 minute war to jobbing to Del Rio in seven minutes? I know it was a get in, get out kind of thing and there were other matches that required more time but I don’t know, man.
Hell in the Cell Match: Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt
This was a damn good match. They broke out the tables, the kendo sticks, and the chairs for this one and made good use of them. Roman does well with these kind of matches and so does Bray. If this is the end of their story it was a good way to close it out. The Shield guys and the Wyatt Family have been working together for over a year off and on so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see them hook up again or keep this program going. As far as what comes next, well we know where Bray is going (more on that later) but Roman finds himself at another crossroads. Do they try another run at the title with him or not? He seems to do well with the crowds most of the time at the level he’s at now (although he was getting the dueling chant for a few seconds at one point, enough already with that ok people?) but if they have someone else they prefer getting the shot we’ll get the same result as last year. We’ll see what happens.
Tag Team Title Match: New Day vs The Dudleys
Kind of what I expected. New Day keeps the titles, and this might be it for the Dudleys’ challenge unless we get a turn back the clock moment at TLC in December. I don’t know who’s up next for New Day between now and then, though. So far they’ve gone through all the opponents that are available.
Divas Title Match: Charlotte vs Nikki Bella
Good match here. If you’re looking for some signs of encouragement from the Divas division you can look at the fact that they got a good solid ten minutes to work here and weren’t shortchanged to a six minute affair. The ladies put on a good back and forth match and Nikki held up her end of the bargain. Whatever you think of her you have to acknowledge that she’s gotten much better in the ring than she used to be. There was a time where the Bellas were almost useless in the ring and while they’re not great they can both work a decent length match now. I actually liked this match better than last month’s match where Charlotte won the title. This one didn’t have the forced ending like that one did.
WWE World Title Match: Seth Rollins vs Kane
Some people weren’t happy with Kane getting a title shot here; I was fine with it. They were building to a match between the two for a while, and a one off in October isn’t a big thing to complain about. I said a few months ago that guys like Kane and Big Show keep getting work in major matches because they’re generally reliable to come out and do what’s needed. Kane came to work last night and Rollins does what he always does in carrying a good match. The match was way better than anyone thought it would be. Kane and Rollins probably aren’t done right now but it there won’t be a Kane title win to worry about.
Intercontinental Title Match: Kevin Owens vs Ryback
The only real dud of the night. They only went four minutes and Owens won clean. After a few good matches earlier this year Ryback has regressed; this was reminiscent of his WrestleMania match with Mark Henry without any botches. Ryback doesn’t blow spots like he used to but this still wasn’t very good. Hopefully Owens will get a future opponent that can challenge him to bring out his best.
Main Event: Hell in the Cell – Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar
This was a hell of a brawl between the two guys, and we got a little throwback to 1980s NWA with some blood.
Brock is a bleeder so I wasn’t surprised to see it happen. It wasn’t planned because they sent a doctor in there to clean it up and the pictures on the website are in black and white. The PG era is still with us and I’m fine with that. I don’t need these guys to bleed all over the place for my amusement. For Undertaker to be able to still bring it at this stage in his life and career is remarkable; he looked done (or close to it) in his matches at WrestleMania 29 and 30 but he’s bounced back pretty well this year. These guys just beat the crap out of each other for the whole time and it was entertaining as hell. The finish was done right; Brock won but both guys looked good. No convoluted endings like at Summerslam.
And we can’t talk about the match without mentioning what happened after. The entire Wyatt family coming in, beating down Undertaker and carrying him off was something straight out of the late 90s. Where it leads is probably a team match next month at Survivor Series (‘Taker needs three guys to face all four of the Wyatt family), and from the is anyone’s guess.
Final grade: A-
Three very good/excellent matches and a good Diva’s match. Two OK matches (Cena/Del Rio and the Tag match) and just one dud (Owens-Ryback). I would have been good paying the old pay per view price for this one.