WWE Programming's Best Matches for Week of October 24October 31, 2015
Last week, Bleacher Report readers voted the SmackDown clash between Seth Rollins and Cesaro as the best match of the week.
That was an example of top-tier talent elevating a match that would have otherwise been inessential. SmackDown has a reputation for being a Raw recap show, and the only way to shift that stigma is to include action fans won't see anywhere else.
If the three hours of Raw is going to be the only time storylines are advanced, great matches would at least produce some reason to tune into SmackDown on a regular basis. Bouts such as Cesaro versus Rollins are uncommon at the moment, but the roster is certainly deep enough to remedy that problem.
Contender No. 1: Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns at Hell in a Cell
Hell in a Cell matches have lost some of their lustre in recent years, but WWE's most recent pay-per-view produced two excellent uses of the structure.
The first of the night was the first official appearance in this type of match by Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns. These two have faced difficulties on their way to the upper echelons of WWE, but matches such as this one demonstrate just how far they've come.
Hell in a Cell is a natural home for Bray Wyatt, and that strong connection was played up to full effect. The New Face of Fear made creative use of the cage, threading steel chairs and Kendo sticks through its walls to create an even more dangerous environment.
That fits perfectly with Wyatt's horror-movie persona—but crucially, his traps often ended up being turned against him.
Wyatt didn't enter Hell in a Cell to get a pinfall victory over Reigns; he wanted this match to do some damage. On the other hand, the Big Dog was focused on heading toward the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which allowed him to get the job done in the end.
Hell in a Cell matches can sometimes get lost in their own spectacle, but that wasn't the case here. This bout had to do a lot to further storylines for both men, but it managed to deliver all that and a healthy dose of carnage for good measure.
Contender No. 2: Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa vs. Jason Jordan & Chad Gable on NXT
As unlikely as it might seem, a tag match between two unsigned wrestlers and a team that officially debuted just three months ago was just as exciting as any bout on a major pay-per-view.
NXT has gained a reputation as being a feeder system for independent standouts looking to acclimatize to the WWE style. However, that doesn't give its home-grown talent enough credit—and the team of Chad Gable and Jason Jordan has as much potential as anyone performing in WWE developmental.
With crowds solidly behind them, the duo seem to have knocked off Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady as the most popular tag team in NXT. The reason is very simple, as Gable and Jordan can match their charisma with excellent performances between the ropes.
Gable's technical flair is something you don't see that often—having him take on Daniel Bryan should be a priority once the Yes Man is healthy. Meanwhile, Jason Jordan is an exemplary hot tag.
Paired with Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, this bout was always going to be something rather special. Anyone familiar with the work these two men have done in promotions such as EVOLVE were surely eager to see them in NXT, and they have certainly made the most of their opportunity.
This bout should be enough to put Gable and Jordan in contention for the tag team titles—and hopefully it's a step toward Gargano and Ciampa being signed too.
Contender No. 3: Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker at Hell in a Cell
The main event of Hell in a Cell needed to be a real war to end a feud years in the making. In the end, it delivered.
Undertaker and Brock Lesnar couldn't have matched the sheer brutality of their 2002 Hell in a Cell encounter for a multitude of reasons. However, it's fair to say their 2015 meeting in the structure will stand on its own.
Proceedings reached a high level of intensity in a very short amount of time. Both men bled, with speculation ongoing as to whether the claret was intentional or otherwise. Either way, it certainly added to the overall spectacle.
In the end, it's almost surprising how much Lesnar dominated the fight—even though that has been his MO for the best part of his time with WWE. The Beast's mounted punches to the Phenom demonstrated that no one can compare to the sheer violence Lesnar brings to the competition.
Undertaker looked weak by design in this match. It will certainly be interesting to see where he goes from here—especially considering he's looked better in his SummerSlam and Hell in a Cell outings than he has done in his past couple of WrestleMania bouts.
There was a huge amount of hype for this bout, and both men did everything they could to meet the high expectations. It's difficult to say whether this match is better than the aforementioned 2002 meeting, but it's certainly a contender for the best contest of the past week.
Which bout was your match of the week? Don't forget to make your choice by voting in the poll and then state your argument in the comments section below.