McIntyre enjoyed an era defining reign at the top of Monday Night Raw after beating Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania back in April.
Since then he's stood tall for seven months, seeing off all challengers - including several bouts with Orton.
Now, though, the company has finally seen fit to make the switch - Orton at last defeating McIntyre after a breathless main event and the latest outstanding match between the two.
The two used the Cell and various weapons to their advantage, including a notable fall for McIntyre from the side of the cell through a commentary table, some 23 years after Shawn Michaels first did so in the first match of its kind.
At the end, Orton countered a Claymore into an RKO for what was a deserved win, ending a reign that was even more due.
The bout would have been up there for match of the night, but will eventually have to settle for the bronze medal in that regard thanks to epic efforts from Sasha Banks and Bayley for the Smackdown Women's Championship, and the astonishing Roman Reigns v Jey Uso.
Banks defeated her arch rival to claim the gold and end a reign even longer than that of McIntyre. Bayley has held the blue brand's title for over a year, with the two playing out a memorable storyline for much of that time.
For the better part of it had been on-screen buddies before Bayley's sinister turn on Banks to set up this feud. There was an air of inevitability to Bayley's defeat, but that wasn't enough to detract from a terrific showing.
There were some hard landing and awkward falls that probably resulted in some unintended punishment, but the two told the latest chapter in their story expertly, Banks sadistically dishing out plenty of punishment to Bayley, who was every bit the villain getting her comeuppance. The ending was a visual treat, a Banks Statement combined with a steel chair wrapped around her head forcing the submission and the crowning of a new champion.
Without a doubt, however, the best match of Hell in a Cell was the night's opener. Reigns defeated Cousin Uso to retain his Universal Championship in an I Quit Match. Again, the result here was fairly academic, but the way the two men got to that point was via another storytelling masterclass that puts this rivalry up there as one of WWE's best in recent years.
Barring only a particularly savage choke attack with a strap, champ Reigns spent the vast majority of the match on top, including some incredible Spears and several of his other key finishers. With Uso seemingly unconscious but not having said "I quit", Reigns was at one point free to do as he wished, resulting in a brutal looking dropkick with Uso's head caught between the ringside steps and post.
In the end, the match echoed the story as a whole in coming back to the central theme of it all - family. Jey's brother, Jimmy, raced to ringside to plead for mercy on his behalf. His words to a tearful Reigns looked to be cutting through, too, only for the Big Dog to again reveal his true colours - by choking out Jimmy instead.
Coming to, a stricken Jey had no choice but to do the only thing he could to end his brother's punishment - say "I quit" and end the match.
It's the second time in as many pay per views that Jimmy has - in a roundabout way - cost his brother a match against Reigns, which adds another layer to this incredible story that will surely unravel soon enough.
There was other action at Hell in a Cell but, in truth, it barely moved the needle by comparison. Such was the brutality in the three Cell matches, that was probably by design and was a good thing, as three short bouts acted as ideal breathers for those watching.
Elias was a 'winner' after defeating Jeff Hardy by disqualification. Hardy had nailed the resident WWE musician with his guitar to inadvertently cause his own demise.
The Miz won the Money in the Bank briefcase by overcoming Otis - aided by a cruel heel turn by Otis' tag team partner, Tucker, who helped ensure the veteran snared the sought-after case and a future Championship match.
The bizarre decline of Retribution also continued as United States Champion Bobby Lashley eased past Slapjack.
WWE HELL IN A CELL QUICK RESULTS
WWE Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Randy Orton defeated Drew McIntyre
Universal Championship Hell in a Cell “I Quit” Match: Roman Reigns (c) defeated Jey Uso
SmackDown Women’s Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Sasha Banks defeated Bayley (c)
Elias defeated Jeff Hardy by disqualification
Money in the Bank Contract on the Line: The Miz defeated Otis
WWE United States Championship: Bobby Lashley (c) defeated Slapjack
24/7 Championship: R-Truth (c) defeated Drew Gulak