Randy Orton def. Alberto Del Rio

October 28, 2012

ATLANTA — There can only be one Apex Predator in WWE, and when the smoke cleared at Hell in a Cell, it was Randy Orton who sat atop the food chain after defeating Alberto Del Rio in a hotly anticipated grudge match that brought out the darkest and most vicious tendencies of both Superstars.

Del Rio had made much of his supposed supplanting of Orton atop the WWE food chain, mocking The Viper’s signature poses and referring to him as a “garden snake” en route to their showdown at Hell in a Cell. Orton had not seemed his typical, predatory self either as Hell in a Cell approached, suffering a loss to the resurgent Wade Barrett and coming up short when The Mexican Aristocrat sprung sneak attacks on the unsuspecting nine-time World Champion. For all of Del Rio’s history of bluster, it seemed like The Essence of Excellence did, in fact, have Randy Orton’s number.

Of course, appearances can be deceiving.

Orton was anything but de-fanged at Hell in a Cell, unleashing a venomous onslaught on Del Rio that, despite his best efforts, the opulent one-percenter was unable to withstand. Orton opened the match with just such an attack, hitting Del Rio with knees to the stomach and wasting no time taking the fight to the outside, smashing Del Rio’s face against the announce table and turnbuckle in a matter of seconds.

With an assist from Ricardo Rodriguez, however, Del Rio was able to revert to his time-honored game plan of targeting his opponent’s arm. In an attempt to soften The Viper up for the Cross Armbreaker, Del Rio strung Orton up in the ropes before applying a hanging, inverted version of the hold that left Orton writhing in pain on the mat.

As Del Rio’s assault continued, Orton attempted to reverse The Mexican Aristocrat’s momentum with a roll-up attempt, but Del Rio kicked out and went right back to work, wrenching Orton into a second, inverted version of the Cross Armbreaker. Del Rio’s insistence on using the entire five-count came back to haunt him, though, when Orton wriggled free and dropped Del Rio on the edge of the apron, gaining his momentum back and escaping from the Cross Armbreaker again before setting up for the hanging DDT.

Del Rio managed to escape, though, and ultimately took his mockery one step too far when he mimicked Orton’s signature taunt and attempted to execute an RKO on The Viper. Orton, however, would not be denied. The former World Champion, slightly hindered by Del Rio’s attacks to his arm, swung The Essence of Excellence into the hanging DDT, connecting this time and setting up a brutal barrage that seemed to turn the tide of the match in his favor … but Del Rio had one final, wicked trick up his sleeve.

While Orton set up for a top rope suplex, The Mexican Aristocrat tripped Orton and trapped his legs in the ropes, stomping on the chest of the inverted third-generation Superstar and covering him for a two-count. With his sternum and his arm compromised, Orton seemed down for the count when The Essence of Excellence applied the Cross Armbreaker yet again. But The Viper, showing his heart, writhed his way out of the hold and slithered back to the turnbuckle, where Del Rio went for his patented enzuigiri … and then, finally, The Viper struck, dodging the kick and catching Del Rio in a midair RKO, felling Del Rio and leaving him no delusions as to who exactly he’d been mocking, belittling and baiting all along:

His name is Randy Orton. And he is still The Apex Predator.