Ziggler, Cesaro, Neville vs. Barrett, Sheamus, Rusev
Predicted Winner: Ziggler, Cesaro, Neville
Actual Winner: Ziggler, Cesaro, Neville
This was a great way to start the show. It showcased all six men, and the crowd popped well for Cesaro. Neville with the pin was a nice way to seal the deal, and get the show going with a bang. Not much else to say about this match, aside from it was a good midcard bout.
Going Forward: All six of these men are in booking limbo, so hopefully one or two of them will be able to crawl out sooner or later. With many rivalries ending at HIAC, we may see a bit of a shift.
John Cens vs. Alberto Del Rio (WWE U.S. Championship)
Predicted Winner: Not Cena
Actual Winner: Alberto Del Rio
WWE hid this quite well, considering he was not the main talking point on the internet as the man to take the open challenge. I wonder how many people thought it would be Jack Swagger when they heard the Zeb’s music hit? The match itself was very quick, and Cena lost clean. Not much else to say about that. Alberto Del Rio is a fitting choice to hold the U.S. title, especially if he continues the open challenge. Although he can be a bit bland at times, he carries starpower, and is very talented in the ring. With Zeb as his mouthpiece, this may be a fun little midcard run for him.
Going Forward: Del Rio to continue the U.S. open, and take a heel turn quickly down the road.
Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt (Hell in a Cell match)
Predicted Winner: Bray Wyatt
Actual Winner: Roman Reigns
This match was predicted as a sleeper with much potential, and it proved to live up to and surpass that prediction. Bray and Roman took us on a journey back in time to the attitude era. This felt like a gritty late 90s hardcore match/Hell in a Cell. Although the match wasn’t technically sound, it didn’t need to be. The weapon spots and the brawling was more than enough to call this one of the best matches each man has ever put on. Both men deserve props for this one. From Bray’s methodical and creative attacks, to Reigns’ heavy table spots, this was fantastic.
Going Forward: Team Bray vs. Team Taker, and Roman to chase Rollins’ title.
The New Day vs. Dudley Boyz (WWE Tag Team Championship)
Predicted Winner: Dudley Boyz
Actual Winner: The New Day
It seems that this feud will be continuing into Survivor Series (and even possibly TLC). Although Kofi got the pin clean, it still seems that there is much gas left in this rivalry. There were a few fun spots (talking about unicorn horns, the trombone spot, mimicking the wazzup move etc.), but other than that, it was just another tag match.
Going Forward: Another match at Survivor Series, and Dudleys to win the titles at TLC in either a tables, or a TLC match.
Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella (WWE Divas Championship)
Predicted Winner: Charlotte
Actual Winner: Charlotte
Even though this was one of the first matches in a while with no outside influences, it still did not live up to a “Divas Revolution.” The missing piece here is a stronger opponent for Charlotte. Although Nikki has greatly improved, there were still some spots that seemed very awkward. Working the back was a good strategy, but it didn’t save the match.
Going Forward: Charlotte to feud with Paige, Nikki to likely take some time off with Cena and not be in the main event as much.
Seth Rollins vs. Kane (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
Predicted Winner: Seth Rollins
Actual Winner: Seth Rollins
This match was much better than expected. To be fair, the bar was set so low, it would be hard to not exceed expectations here. Kane showed quite a bit of athleticism in this match, and you could tell he kicked it up a notch here (and the crowd was quite into him too). Rollins was great as usual. Seth winning sets up for an interesting story going forward, as we no longer have Kane in charge, and we will have a new #1 contender.
Going Forward: Rollins vs. Reigns, and Kane on team Taker for Survivor Series.
Kevin Owens vs. Ryback (Intercontinental Championship)
Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
Actual Winner: Kevin Owens
To be fair, the rating is not indicative of their in-ring skills. This match suffered a major time constraint (ended at 5:35), so they were not able to set up anything properly. Instead of having these men have a wasted spot on this PPV, it could have been saved for the main event or opening segment of Raw with a 15 minute time allotment.
Going Forward: One more match between the two men, then KO to move to another challenger and Ryback to join the midcard mix with the six men who opened this show.
Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar (Hell in a Cell)
Predicted Winner: Brock Lesnar
Actual Winner: Brock Lesnar
Another brutal and beautiful Hell in a Cell to end the show! Again, this did not need to be a technical masterpiece between the two. Both men bled, used everything as a weapon, brawled like monsters, and put on a great show for the audience. This match also exceeded expectations, especially for a 50 year old, and a part-timer. After the match, it sets up for a fulltime feud with Taker and the Wyatts, just in time for the 25th anniversary of the deadman at Survivor Series.
Going Forward: Team Taker vs. Team Wyatt, with Brock joining Undertaker.