The pre-show gave us something a little different in John Cena being interviewed by Michael Cole. Different, but not interesting. Dolph Ziggler also ran in to get thrown out again by Cena. With Ziggler being around in ring gear but not having a match, I suspected it was a clue that he might cash in.
The opening Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio was a really great match with some unique spots—much better match than I expected.
Del Rio going to the top rope to jump off without achieving anything was a real puzzle, though. I've pointed out before how, when he's gone to the top rope to do the same thing and take a dropkick counter from Orton, there's no possible move he could have been trying for. This confirmed it.
The tag team championship match was very good, and I didn't mind its ending too much because I could understand the reason. The rematch that will follow ought to mean more build between the two very entertaining teams—sometimes it's the journey and not the destination, and this is true of Team Hell No.
Kofi Kingston's defeat of The Miz perhaps suffered a little from having seen them face each other so many times recently. Well, twice, but that's quite a lot for a short space of time. The title change is conclusive at least.
Antonio Cesaro vs. Justin Gabriel was an excellent match. Their differing styles complimented each other for some great storytelling. Though the crowd was muted throughout, I loved it.
The Big Show vs. Sheamus was incredible. I could not believe these two men, both of whom I've been greatly critical of, managed to put on this absolute masterpiece.
As Sheamus kicked out of the Chokeslam and again out of the WMD, my heart sank as I foresaw a superman comeback. When Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick, my heart sank again. The storytelling was engrossing—in hindsight it's hard to believe I had such low expectation for one of the best matches of the year.
The Divas Championship Triple Threat even delivered some reasonable action. It's no great accolade, but I'd say it's the best Divas bout of the year. The Triple Threat dynamic certainly helped it.
Time and again, I say what I like to see in a match is something new. The resolution of CM Punk vs. Ryback was certainly that, but I was disappointed. The match up to that point had been all right with both men playing their parts well. That the biggest match and the only titular one ended like that is a waste.
At the same time, though, it kept me interested in what's going to happen next, but with only two PPVs left until The Rock at the Royal Rumble, this felt like the last chance for real change with the top strap.
Looking back at what I've said, maybe I seem a little Pollyanna. Maybe I was in exactly the mood for the show and that helped my enjoyment, but to my mind Hell in a Cell was the best PPV of 2012 so far for the WWE—despite the letdown of a main event.