Randy Orton has defeated Alberto Del Rio at Hell in a Cell, likely the first step of toward a major push for the popular superstar. For Del Rio, it's yet another step in the wrong direction.
It's been more than a year since Orton last held the World Heavyweight Championship. Recently, he's been held back by a wellness suspension and filming a movie. With both of those things out of the way, he can refocus on wrestling.
Even though Orton did the best he could to build the feud with Del Rio while also working on the movie, the storyline never really got off the ground. There just weren't enough opportunities to give it a proper setup.
Due to that, there wasn't really much hype surrounding the match leading up to the pay-per-view. But since both guys are solid in-ring workers, they were able to put together a good match and at least salvage the feud somewhat.
That's important in case the creative team wants to continue the storyline moving forward to Survivor Series next month. It's one of the biggest shows on the WWE schedule, so you have to figure both guys will be involved somehow.
Looking ahead, another feud with Dolph Ziggler seems likely. While the pair had some terrific encounters leading up to Night of Champions, they never received the top billing a matchup of that caliber deserves.
That could be Orton's eventual ticket back to the top of SmackDown. He's clearly still one of the top draws, which means it's only a matter of title before he gets back in the title picture, which has been dominated by Sheamus for quite some time now.
As for Del Rio, the loss can only be seen as a setback. It's quite obvious his character has become stagnant in recent months and the WWE Universe illustrates that every week by giving him virtually no reaction when he comes out.
Something needs to change to get him back on track. The company clearly has a lot of confidence in him because they keep putting him in marquee feuds against opponents like Orton, but his gimmick just isn't getting over anymore.
It will be interesting to see where each superstar goes from here as the Survivor Series build begins. They are certainly trending in different directions.