SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Greg Parks, Torch columnist (8.0): Man, B-shows certainly ain’t what they used to be. Not after last month’s No Mercy featured two WrestleMania-caliber matches, and this month’s Hell in a Cell featured the latest incarnation of Shane McMahon Leaps Off Tall Structures. And what did we learn? Take B-shows seriously, and they pay off in quality.
Usos vs. New Day was a fantastic farce that ably wove comedy and violence throughout the 20+ minute match. The creativity offered by both teams was welcome. I don’t mind the hot potato of the title – that should happen once in a while when wrestlers are so obviously evenly matched as in this case. This feud has the gravitas at this point to main event the December PPV if that’s where WWE chooses to hold the rematch.
Rusev vs. Randy Orton was more energetic than we’ve become accustomed to for Orton matches. The finish worked as well. The United States Title match could’ve had a few minutes shaved off of it. Yet, even so, I felt like the wrestlers were still offering something fresh throughout. That finish (heel steals the pin from babyface) needs to be put on ice for about a year though.
Natalya vs. Charlotte was fine, nothing more. The leg-work that Nattie did during the match didn’t seem to connect with the crowd. It seems pretty clear Charlotte will have up with the title by the end of this. I liked Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, round two, better than most of Mahal’s title matches up to this point. Even though this feud may have done some damage to Nakamura, if WWE is going all the way with Mahal (which they clearly are), it was nice to see him win here without using Singh interference.
Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler was about the level of a match you’d expect for its placement on the card. That said, it probably didn’t need to go 12 minutes. There’s a fine line between “edge of your seat” thrills and fearing for the well-being of the competitors involved; the main event may have crossed that line. Sami Zayn’s involvement creates some major intrigue going forward. The “match,” such as it was, was the usual Shane-O-Mac stunt show, likely with more drama than even Undertaker vs. Shane.