WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 Results: Reviewing Top Highlights and Low Points
Shortly following SummerSlam and being somewhat overlooked in favor of Super Show-Down and even Evolution to follow, WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 didn't have the strongest foundation to build on.
For the most part, it was a one-feud show, with WWE putting all the eggs in the basket of The Shield against Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre in their two matches.
Everything else was mostly a repeat of what we had seen before, like the rematches between Ronda Rousey and Alexa Bliss along with Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles. Suffice it to say, this was an event that needed its matches to deliver, as the feuds were hit or miss.
Thankfully, there was some solid potential that the action would be good, and fans could go into this show with at least some optimism, despite the justifiable anxiety WWE could possibly overbook things just to save the true advancements of the feuds for Super Show-Down or later on.
Now that the event is over and done with, how did things pan out? Were there more positives or negatives, and which things stood out as the biggest disappointments and the best parts of the evening?
Presented in order of appearance, here are the most impactful highlights and low points of WWE Hell in a Cell 2018.
Low Point: SmackDown Tag Team Championship and Kickoff
The card felt a little thin going into Hell in a Cell, but instead of adding another match or two to the pre-show, the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match was bumped up to the kickoff.
Not only was it underwhelming to see such little value attributed to these titles, the match itself didn't wow to make up for it.
To be fair, it was also doomed from the start. WWE had already announced that The New Day would defend the tag titles against The Bar at Super Show-Down, so it was hard to suspend enough disbelief to buy into Rusev Day potentially winning.
As forgettable as this match and the entire pre-show surrounding it was, the ending was the most notable part, as it was sloppy enough to stand out.
The saving grace is that the arena hadn't yet filled up, so less people saw Rusev pretending to struggle to break up the pin he easily could have reached.
Highlight: Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy
Hell in a Cell is one of the gimmick matches that demands some dangerous spots in order to deliver its promise, so it was good to see Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton follow through.
Admittedly, there have been much more grandiose things in the past, but what's preceded this event shouldn't tarnish Hardy's and Orton's efforts.
In particular, the true highlight of this match was the ending, which saw Hardy dangling from the roof of the cell and crashing down into a table.
That fall wasn't alone, as the two traded shots with ladders and chairs, as well as incorporating an interesting spot which saw Orton twisting Hardy's ear with a screwdriver—one of the more innovative things to come out of a WWE hardcore match in a while.
This was a good way to write Hardy off television for a while and illustrate how vicious The Viper plans on being, going forward.
Highlight: Becky Lynch Wins SmackDown Women's Championship
Since things went down so poorly with Charlotte Flair's victory at SummerSlam and Becky Lynch's heel turn, it was nice to see WWE change the direction and go with the champion the fans clearly wanted.
The support for Lynch has been obvious over these past few weeks, so if Flair would have retained the title, it would have only frustrated fans more, by showing that WWE didn't take the audience's opinion into consideration.
Whether putting the title on Lynch changes future plans for the better or worse is an unknown at the moment, but for this event itself, the move was met with applause, and that's all that matters right now.
At the very least, this creates more of a logical reason for the two to face each other in the already advertised match at Super Show-Down, since Flair will be able to use her automatic rematch to demand that match.
It's rarely a bad thing for a fan favorite to win a title, especially when that person has worked as hard to get on top as Lynch has.
Low Point: AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe
In terms of pure match quality, the WWE Championship fight between AJ Styles and Samoa Joe was slow and lumbering.
It went on for what felt like a much longer time than it had the momentum to sustain, leading to multiple points where the crowd seemed to only pop when a noteworthy move happened here and there.
Had there been a bombastic ending, it would have potentially gone down better, but the finish of this was rather convoluted and not entirely executed as well as it could have been.
Having Styles tap out in the way he did, which wasn't too visible, sucked the energy out of the situation by making it come across as Joe simply being pinned. The live crowd likely had no idea what was going on, as the viewers at home barely got a solid look at the submission.
Since WWE already announced a third match between the two at Super Show-Down, it feels like this was nothing but a tactic to stall. That is fine once in a while, but WWE has relied on that crutch far too much this year, especially with Styles and his opponents.
Here's hoping their feud picks up steam in the next few weeks, rather than being a rinse and repeat of what we've already seen, and that their match in Melbourne goes down much better than this one.
Low Point: Finish for Mixed Tag Team Match
Earlier in the night, the finish to the SmackDown Tag Team Championship was pretty bad. Not to be outdone, Maryse and The Miz vs. Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan went ahead and topped that.
For some reason, there was significant confusion in the execution of some bumps and distractions, leading to an incredibly awkward fumbling that transitioned to a terribly performed pinfall.
The timing was off, or someone forgot where they were supposed to be or what to do, and it just turned into an absolute mess.
It's one thing to botch a finish, but another thing to build up the entire match to seeing Maryse and Brie going at it, just to have that, of all things, be what they had to offer.
If it's ring rust, it's hard to have faith in Brie's upcoming match at Super Show-Down, as well as whatever she will do at Evolution, but let's hope this and her performances on Raw and SmackDown are the worst things can get.
Highlight: Universal Championship Match
Depending on which horse you backed in the race, your perspective of whether this was a positive or a negative is likely skewed, but ignoring the outcome itself, the segment as a whole certainly had its share of highlights.
Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler falling off the side of the cage into tables was one noteworthy moment as far as the use of the cage.
Even more than that, though, was Brock Lesnar's surprise appearance—something that wasn't hinted at beforehand in the slightest bit.
Unfortunately, it resulted in a rather lackluster official end of the event, but it will get people talking, which is what WWE is ultimately looking for, and it opens up lots of opportunities for what WWE will do going forward with the Universal Championship picture.
What do you think were the highlights and low points? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.