The WWE needed the WWE Championship match between CM Punk and Ryback to be great in order for Hell in a Cell to succeed, and while I wouldn't say that it was perfect by any means, it will have the fans talking for quite some time.
The WWE painted itself into a corner to some degree in terms of the result of this match, but both Punk and Ryback were protected fairly well.
I have been predicting for the past several weeks that Brock Lesnar would interfere on Punk's behalf due to his relationship with Paul Heyman, but that didn't come to fruition. Instead, referee Brad Maddox screwed over Ryback as he stopped him from hitting Punk with Shell Shocked, nailed him with a low blow and then helped Punk pin his shoulders down for the three count.
If nothing else, the ending was shocking as a crooked referee wasn't on anyone's radar. Maddox was actually the official who caused Punk to lose a tag-team match to John Cena six weeks ago as he counted despite Punk's foot being on the rope. This would seem to indicate that Maddox is in cahoots with Punk, Paul Heyman and perhaps even Vickie Guerrero.
The match itself was exactly what I thought it would be with Ryback dominating the early portion due to his pure strength. He tossed Punk around effortlessly into the cage wall and even busted Punk's back open. Punk came back, however, as he blinded Ryback temporarily with a fire extinguisher and also used a chair and a kendo stick.
Ryback regained control and was about to hit Punk with his finisher, but Maddox then changed the complexion of the match. Maddox paid for his meddling, though as Ryback destroyed him following the contest. The best spot of the match came after it was already over, however.
Punk tried to escape Ryback by scaling the cell, but Ryback pursued him. He then hit Punk with Shell Shocked atop the cell to end the night standing tall. The WWE needed to protect both Punk and Ryback, and it succeeded in doing so.
I can't help but think that Lesnar interfering would have been a better payoff, but the WWE obviously has an intricate plan, and I'll be interested to see where it goes.