Hell in a Cell marked a seismic shift in the balance of power on both Raw and SmackDown. Randy Orton closed the show by defeating Drew McIntyre to win his 14th WWE world championship, in the third match of the night inside of the cell.
But McIntyre's seven-month reign as champion coming to an end was far from the only big moment of the night. Sasha Banks and Bayley had an all-out war inside Hell in a Cell as well, with Banks ending Bayley's yearlong stretch as SmackDown women's champion. Roman Reigns opened the night by going to despicable lengths to force Jey Uso to quit and become his lackey against his will.
And in perhaps the most shocking moment of all, The Miz wrested the Money in the Bank briefcase away from Otis thanks to Tucker's betrayal, shifting the valuable token to Raw and putting it in the Miz's possession for the second time in his career.
Let's break it all down.
Hell in a Cell match for the WWE championship: Randy Orton def. Drew McIntyre (c)
Orton seemed to have the momentum and the opportunity to knock McIntyre off his lofty, indestructible perch all the way back in August at SummerSlam, but he was stifled time and time again, through chance, and through his past coming back to haunt him.
But Sunday night was different. It was just Orton, McIntyre and the Hell in a Cell cage. And though the match was likely third best from bell to bell in terms of the evening's offerings inside the structure, there was a reason it went on last.
Outside of the stakes at hand, it was the match deemed most appropriate for the seemingly mandatory climb to the top of the cage. For all of McIntyre's early dominance, the weapon shots and the tosses into the fencing, everything in the match built up to the moment when McIntyre and Orton stared each other down and circled around the top of the cage. McIntyre lost the exchange thanks to a bright red pipe hidden atop the cage by Orton, and then suffered the blow that would ultimately cost him the title when Orton smashed him against the side of the cage enough times that McIntyre fell from midway up the wall and crashed down through the commentary table below.
There would be one final gasp, as the time it took to return to the ring allowed McIntyre a chance to try to roll up Orton, and subsequently position himself for a Claymore kick. But when Orton rolled out of the ring, the outcome seemed clear. The hobbled McIntyre used up his remaining energy sliding Orton's dead weight back into the ring and tried to line up one more Claymore. Orton ducked the flying Scotsman, hit a single RKO, and got the three-count for the win.
What's next: As Orton ascended the ramp, championship in hand, McIntyre rose to his feet in defiance. It was the first time he had been pinned in a one-on-one match since August 2019. This rivalry has seemingly been stretched to its limit, and yet someone as dominant at McIntyre would seemingly be in line for another shot. The Miz is also in play with his Money in the Bank briefcase, but don't be surprised if Miz slips into the shadows for a bit to lower his profile before striking.
Hell in a Cell match for the SmackDown women's championship: Sasha Banks def. Bayley (c)
The Hell in a Cell match that Bayley and Sasha Banks had for the SmackDown women's championship should have happened on a WrestleMania stage, in a football stadium with 100,000 people screaming at the top of their lungs.
They certainly wrestled like that was the environment given the stakes at play. As predicted, both women pushed themselves past the brink and repeatedly put their bodies on the line, creatively using the cage and every weapon at their disposal to bludgeon each other to the point of occasional uncomfort.
There were callbacks to their 2015 instant classic in NXT. Kendo sticks and chairs were flying, and they even brought a ladder into play. There was barely a moment for those watching the match to catch their collective breath, as the energy and the action rarely waned.
Banks got after it early, when an early headscissors to Bayley slid right into a Banks Statement submission. Bayley bit Sasha's hand to break the submission, and the animosity only grew from there. Banks channeled Shelton Benjamin's ladder run by running up a table and smashing Bayley into the cage with double knees for a Meteora.
Kendo sticks were utilized as platforms, obstacles and their original purpose, as a blunt force weapon. Bayley catapulted a grounded Banks face-first into two draped kendo sticks in a particularly brutal moment. Bayley and Banks traded sunset flip powerbombs -- Bayley sent into the cage, and Banks sent violently, head-and-neck first into a chair wedged between the middle and top rope.
They traded finishing moves and attempts to no avail. Banks sprayed Bayley with a fire extinguisher. They battered each other inside and outside of the ring to the point of frustration and exhaustion.
Bayley brought the chair she initially used to injure Banks -- which she walked to the ring with -- back into play. A Banks frog splash with the chair wedged in the middle hurt both women. Bayley hit her arm-trapped headlock driver finishing move on the outside, but that wasn't enough, either.
Finally, Bayley escalated things further by grabbing a ladder from underneath the ring. She draped it over two folding chairs to form a platform, lifted Banks and slammed her face-first into the ladder.
Bayley grabbed spray paint and drew an X on Banks' torso as she laid atop the ladder bridge, climbing to the middle rope with her favorite chair, but Banks moved. She leaped off the ladder bridge for a super meteora, smashed Bayley's face into the ladder, and then called back to Bayley's old finishing move, a Bayley to Belly, onto the ladder that had since fallen to the ground. As Banks cleared the ring and plotted her next move, Bayley hit a running knee and a Bayley to Belly of her own. It still wasn't enough.
Finally, Bayley attempted a Bayley to Belly assisted by the chair on Banks' back, but Banks slipped out and trapped Bayley's head in the chair. As she secured the Banks Statement, she stomped the chair down on Bayley's head -- eerily reminiscent of the iconic moment from their 2015 match when Banks stomped Bayley's hands.
Bayley tapped out, and Banks finally claimed victory.
What's next: It's unlikely this is the final chapter, and for every fan's sake, let's hope it's not. Both women are still on SmackDown, and it's likely Bayley, with her year-plus reign as champion over, will hold a grudge.
Hell in a Cell match for the Universal championship: Roman Reigns (c) def. Jey Uso
For 30 minutes, one question loomed over the Universal championship match between Roman Reigns and Jey Uso -- how would Reigns force his prideful cousin to utter the words "I quit."
Uso did everything within his power to avoid uttering those two simple words together. They exchanged words, fists and kicks. There was a leather strap brought into play, and eventually the steel ring steps.
Reigns hit two spears early on in the match that incapacitated Uso but did little to shake his resolve. Uso hit multiple superkicks and top rope splashes in response, but that, too, did little to shift either man closer to uttering the words "I quit."
The setting of the Thunderdome allowed fans to hear every word Reigns exchanged with Uso, from Reigns pleading for Uso to just quit and spare them both the trouble, to Uso pleading with his cousin to see the light.
In all honesty, the match didn't need the Hell in a Cell stipulation. Aside from a few dives and Uso tossing Reigns into the cage once, the dialogue and the level of violence carried the match -- and it was quite a match.
After trading whips from a leather strap, Uso utilized the strap to try to choke Reigns unconscious, and Reigns went in and out of consciousness several times. Then, when Uso hesitated to bring a steel chair into play, Reigns hit a superman punch and then locked in a standing guillotine with a body scissors that put all of his weight on Uso's neck.
"Quit, or I'm going to take this to the next level. Don't make me do this," Reigns pleaded.
A driveby kick on the apron was followed by a second driveby that drove the ring steps, which had been wedged under the bottom rope, into Uso's head and then the steel ring post.
The referee attempted to call off the match, but Reigns wouldn't go out without getting what he wanted out of Uso and this match. Even as officials spilled into the ring, Reigns would be satisfied with nothing short of an "I quit."
When Reigns lifted up the steel stairs and lined up Jey Uso's head underneath, Jimmy Uso ran out to save his twin and tag team partner, covering Jey's body. Jimmy pleaded for the violence to end, saying that they were cousins, and that they could fix things. Reigns broke down into tears as Jimmy pleaded, "Look at me, please. Whatever you're going through, you know we've got you. This ain't it."
"I don't even know who I am anymore. I'm sorry," Reigns replied. But the moment Jimmy reached out his arm, Reigns pulled Jimmy -- recently sidelined by knee surgery -- into a guillotine. Jey mustered all of the power he had to pull himself up, and then said, "I quit" to save his brother.
To rub salt in the wound, Reigns' father and uncle, Sika and Afa, joined Reigns at the top of the ramp and blessed Reigns by putting the chief's beads around his neck in celebration.
What's next: Per Paul Heyman's prematch stipulation, Jey Uso is now Reigns' "indentured servant" -- more than a bit troubling given the history attached to that term. In any event, he must now follow Reigns' every order moving forward. Reigns has plenty of options for finding a challenger on SmackDown moving forward, but only time will tell.
This year has been a real rollercoaster for Otis. Everything seemed to be falling his way with his relationship with Mandy Rose, and the Money in the Bank briefcase fell from the sky and into his hands, which offered him the chance to challenge for a world title whenever he wanted.
But much like 2020 has crashed down on so many others, everything quickly fell apart. After Mandy Rose and Tucker, his Heavy Machinery tag team partner, were both drafted to Raw, a farcical "trial on SmackDown," presided over by JBL, forced Otis to put his Money in the Bank briefcase on the line against The Miz after months of conflict.
In the last match before the effects of the 2020 WWE Draft would effectively end this story, it appeared as if Otis would finally right the ship and get his chance to start rolling by himself. That was anything but the case. A solid, but standard match was blighted by multiple instances of John Morrison interfering on The Miz's behalf, and Tucker doing little to stop it.
Once Morrison was caught trying to use the Money in the Bank briefcase as a weapon and dismissed by the referee, it seemed as though it was all over. But then Tucker decided to insert himself in a way no one could have foreseen. He used the briefcase to strike down Otis, and with a stunned Miz claiming the pinfall, he was now the owner of a title shot at the time and place of his choosing.
What's next: This is a dramatic shift in power. It was unlikely Roman Reigns was going to lose the Universal championship any time soon, especially to Otis, but all of the momentum Otis was carrying is now gone. He's only the second person to lose the Money in the Bank briefcase without getting a chance to cash it in, and the first since Mr. Kennedy (who lost it in a match against Edge) in 2007. The Miz, meanwhile, picks up a much greater position in the pecking order with his new home on Monday Night Raw. Post match comments from Miz and Morrison backed that up: "This contract has a meaning and a purpose. This is not a prop... it's a golden opportunity."
As for Tucker, he might get into the ring one more time with Otis to go one-on-one after Otis chased him backstage. But with Tucker on Raw and Otis on SmackDown, that won't go on for long. Tucker was actually pretty impressive in his postmatch comments, and separating himself from the playful Heavy Machinery persona could help.
Bobby Lashley (c) def. Slapjack to retain the United States championship
In what was the ultimate filler match on the Hell in a Cell card, Retribution sent out its least physically imposing member, Slapjack, to answer Bobby Lashley's title challenge. For some reason, Retribution agreed to the Hurt Business' terms and didn't interfere in the match.
Slapjack put up more of a fight than most would've expected, hitting a spinning DDT for a two-count, but ultimately they squandered a prime opportunity for the group by not allowing one of their premier members a shot at winning a title.
Lashley put the Hurt Lock full nelson on Slapjack and quickly got the submission win, and the rest of Retribution quickly hit the ring, only to get chased off when the Hurt Business ran out in response.
What's next: More conflict. Retribution's logic inside the storyline parameters was laughable at best, and it played the fool yet again with little gained outside of a double chokeslam attempt on Lashley that wasn't even successful.
Elias def. Jeff Hardy by DQ
After an intensely emotional match with family ties and prodigious violence, this fairly brief match between Jeff Hardy and Elias was more about advancing a story than what happened in the ring.
Much of the match was spent on even ground, but Hardy hit a Twist of Fate and had Elias lined up for the Swanton bomb. Elias slid to the apron, and then to the outside, forcing Hardy down. Elias reached for his trademark guitar, but a frustrated Hardy snatched it away and smashed Elias, triggering a DQ.
What's next: More to come from these two. Elias tried to pin the attack that put him out for months on Hardy, when it was a fairly clear setup by Sheamus, but Elias sacrificed himself to two ends -- to earn himself a victory, and to prove Hardy's violent streak. For good measure postmatch, Hardy stomped the guitar, clearly frustrated.
Drew Gulak had a brief opportunity to showcase his submission skills with a variety of different holds. But R-Truth, after channeling his "childhood hero" John Cena's offense for a stretch, rolled Gulak up for the pinfall and then absconded from the ring as the Lucha House Party and Akira Tozawa gave chase out of the arena.
What's next: R-Truth is a 42-time 24/7 champion, and he'll certainly keep that number growing by exchanging the title back and forth in all sorts of humorous settings and circumstances. Having the title change in a "real match" would seemingly defeat the purpose. Gulak will win the title again, but this match was pure filler.