Jeff Hardy came up short in the first Hell in a Cell match of his illustrious career as Randy Orton defeated him Sunday at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.
Orton and Hardy pushed themselves to their physical limits, and The Viper wasn't afraid to go to extreme lengths to get the win. At one point, he used a screwdriver to twist his opponent's earlobe.
The match ended when Hardy fell from the top of the cell through a table. He tried to build momentum by swinging from the cell, but that allowed time for Orton to move. The Charismatic Enigma landed face-first onto the table, allowing his opponent to get the easy pinfall.
Many expected Hardy to do something crazy to commemorate the occasion of his first HIAC match. Some fan were left feeling underwhelmed by the finish, though.
Sunday's bout was two months in the making as Orton returned at Extreme Rules in July and attacked Hardy after he dropped the United States Championship to Shinsuke Nakamura.
The Viper continued to make life miserable for Hardy in the weeks to follow by brutally attacking him on numerous occasions.
Most notably, Orton put his finger in the gauge hole in Hardy's ear and pulled, which caused The Charismatic Enigma an enormous amount of pain.
Orton also wiped the paint from Hardy's face and claimed he wanted to strip the popular Superstar of everything that made the WWE Universe worship him.
The Apex Predator's constant assaults brought out Hardy's aggressive streak, leading him to turn a scheduled match on SmackDown Live into an all-out brawl on the arena floor.
Hardy ultimately hit Orton with a Swanton Bomb through a table, proving he could match The Viper's sadistic side with one of his own.
Since it was clear the ring could not contain Orton and Hardy under normal circumstances, it was announced they would do battle in a Hell in a Cell match to settle their score once and for all.
Among the full-time Superstars on the current roster, Orton and Hardy are two of the most accomplished. They have each held essentially every title the company has to offer, and they are multi-time world champions as well.
Either could become the top guy on SmackDown at any moment, and the fans would readily accept it because of the incredible resumes they have constructed.
Both Orton and Hardy are at a point in their respective careers where they can work outside the title scene and add a great deal of meaning to the midcard because of how invested the audience is in everything they do.
That was the case at Hell in a Cell, and with Orton coming out on top, it is fair to wonder if he could soon find his way back into the WWE Championship hunt on the blue brand.
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