The Hell in a Cell pay-per-view was SmackDown's last major stop before Survivor Series, with four title matches and two contests held inside of the cage. The final title match of the night featured Shinsuke Nakamura's second shot at Jinder Mahal's WWE championship. Matt Wilansky has the recap, and ESPN Stats & Info's Sean Coyle rates the match on a scale of one-to-five.
This was written in real time.
(c) - Denotes defending champion
WWE championship: Jinder Mahal (c) def. Shinsuke Nakamura via pinfall
He was the guy who went from nothing to the apex of this business in what seemed like the blink of an eye, and despite things seeming bleak on multiple occasions, Jinder Mahal is still your WWE champion after Sunday's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.
Mahal carried the torch of SmackDown Live with aplomb and confidence. And consistency. For more than 140 days, Mahal was the king of the show, taking out Randy Orton (three times over) along the way before his feud with Shinsuke Nakamura began.
They first met in August at SummerSlam, but Nakamura, one of the most established wrestlers in international wrestling history, found himself on the wrong end of underhanded play, as Mahal's sidekicks the Singh brothers helped him retain the title.
But as the weeks went on, there was a feeling that Mahal's time with the championship belt would be coming to an end. His in-ring appearances would devolve into antagonistic promos that lacked any kind of originality, and bordered on the boundaries of good taste. Was all this a sign of a title change to come?
Sunday's match started at a predictably slow pace. Mahal, after all, is a methodical worker, a power house, who rarely seems to do anything quickly.
Nakamura used a series of leg-based offense to gain the advantage. After further back-and-forth action, Mahal finally had his first big moment by landing a powerful suplex, bringing Nakamura back into the ring from the apron. But as Nakamura regained his wits, Samir Singh distracted the challenger, a move that ultimately got Mahal's cronies booted from the ring. As the ref was busy outside the ring, giving the Singh brothers the business, Nakamura converted a face-buster, then a Kinshasa on Mahal. By the time the ref returned to the ring, Mahal had recovered just enough to grab the ropes and save his day.
Mahal had had enough, though. He decided to leave the ring himself, but Nakamura followed him and pulled him back in. It turned out to be a mistake as, after gaining another advantage a few minutes later, Nakamura missed a second Kinshasa attempt that allowed Mahal to hit his foe with a Khallas, and that was that.
So, Mahal leaves, with his title secured for now. The result isn't all that surprising, in the overall scope of things, though the truth is that there wasn't any result in this match that would have been terribly surprising.
The ending, while not completing fraught by underhanded tactics, ensures this rivalry could linger on. And just as it did coming into Hell in a Cell, in seems only a matter of time before Namakura finally gets his revenge.