Hell In A Cell fell a tad short of expectations, but not without leaving memories of quality moments and outright well-wrestled matches. This comes off the heels of what I perceived as a top-notch Go-Home show for Smackdown. I go into this week wondering if they can keep the momentum going. Certain fears of mediocrity creep in, but with the quality in shows improving ever so slightly, confidence builds.
Miz TV is becoming a regular fixture in WWE programming, and Miz has taken this opportunity to get as much necessary promo time as possible. As usual, he's on form, and he does a great way of connecting dots to show that he is ultimately responsible for Sheamus losing the belt. Sheamus trades some words in a mediocre fashion until Kofi Kingston gets in the ring and proves again that he is learning how to construct an attractive promo. After Miz is humiliated thoroughly, Big Show caps the segment by reminding Sheamus why he doesn't have the gold over his shoulder, before denying Sheamus' challenge for a fight. A decent start to the "B Show," but nothing that particularly has me interested in the rest of the episode. It's kind of nice to have an opening segment that doesn't immediately lead to a match set-up, though.
Of course, following the commercial break, Booker T informs Big Show that he is making a match: Big Show & Miz vs. Sheamus & Kofi. At least they lasted past a commercial break.
Sin Cara v Darren Young(C+): It feels like it has been a few weeks since Sin Cara has been in a singles match of decent length, and despite this being the pre-taped show, he looks to be stepping up his game, adjusting to the new environment in order to pull out some well executed matches. Working with Young, he has a solid competitor to test his growing abilities with, while Darren is simultaneously shown to be the strongest ring-worker in PTP. As the first match in November, it's quite a doozy.
Rey Mysterio v Titus O'Neal(C): The lead-in for this is innovative, as when Young scores the victory, Titus grabs a mic(after emphatically blowing a whistle) and challenges vocally provokes Mysterio into a match. While O'Neal is the weaker wrestling link in PTP, he's becoming a believable monster with intelligent psychology. For someone I once wished would be released, he might have a future as a regular main-eventer if he keeps putting in the effort. A shorter match that might have had a flat moment or two, but it did not deliver less than I expected.
Natalya and David Otunga are interested in having a role as Assistant GM to Booker, but all this apparently leads to is Natalya and Teddy being spit on, and Otunga having a match against...oh god...no...don't let it be...it is! The Great Khali...is returning. Excuse me while I find a noose.
Wade Barrett v Randy Orton(C+): WWE has a penchant for taking good match-ups and making them happen 50 times before they take place on Pay-Per-View. To make matters worse, Barrett and Orton have squared off many times before Barrett came back from injury. It takes advantage of when i say things like "I could watch these guys wrestle every night." It doesn't mean I actually want to watch it that often. Barrett and Orton somehow make each match feel different from the last, though, so the match-up being nothing new is the only real thing I can complain about. These guys know what the crowd wants from them and serve it up on a silver platter, all while Del Rio tries to play mind games, successfully costing the match for Randy with distractions. I guess we're getting more of the Viper and ADR, but hopefully not much more.
Randy, the rising king of backstage brawls, is none too happy about Del Rio's intervention. So, he hurls Alberto through a couple tables and throws hot liquids onto his butler. He doesn't get the job done before Del Rio escapes, so to calm his nerves, he smashes Matt Striker's face into a cake. I was personally hoping for an RKO.
The Great Khali v David Otunga(D-): Well...here it is. The return of the worst man we could currently see grace our TV screens. I sincerely hope no one was expecting something interesting to come out of this, because it was far from it. It even looks like some kind of angle between Natalya and Khali is taking beginning, and that may be the one chance at exposure for which I would not sacrifice her lack of TV Time. Let's just move on.
Well...before we move on, we must confirm my fears of a Natalya/Khali angle as Natalya walks up to Khali backstage and leaves him with a bit of flirting. Terrific...now I am going to seem more Khali in the near future. I am SO thrilled...
Justin Gabriel v R-Truth(C-): The match feels somewhat random with no prior explanation, but considering Truth attacked Antonio Cesaro on Monday, whom Gabriel lost to at Hell in a Cell, it must be an unspoken #1 Contender match for the U.S. Championship. It's short, but it washes the taste of the Khali travesty out of my mouth. Gabriel could be a popular star after a few years, but he has a lot of wrinkles to iron out first. Truth getting a title shot could be a decent turn. At least it'd be an opponent for Cesaro that the crowd actually cares about.
Sheamus & Kofi Kingston v ShoMiz(Big Show & The Miz)(C+): Seeing Miz and Kofi operate as well in the ring as they do now warms my heart, and this match is not only a testament for them, but Sheamus and Big Show as well. Big Show in particular finds odd ways to make his matches more interesting than they have been in many years. For some reason, I fell in love with him applying various techniques and holds on Kofi while taunting Sheamus on the outside. It concludes with a shocking and entertaining finish, so it got a smile out of me.
While not surpassing the quality of last week, Smackdown satisfies the average weekly hunger for WWE, but while angles like Big Show and Sheamus are drawing me in, stories like the return of Khali always leave me feeling a bit drained.