Wrestling Review: WWE Hell in a Cell (2022)

The Allstate Arena in downtown Chicago, Illinois plays host to the most dangerous night in all of WWE, as Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins main event the annual Hell in a Cell premium live event. A pre-match injury to Cody Rhodes has left Seth “Freakin'” Rollins with a huge advantage: Rhodes will be competing inside the ominous structure with a completely torn left pectoral muscle, and it is a certainty that Rollins will do anything he can to further destroy what’s left of Cody Rhodes. Bianca Belair will be in action, as she defends her Raw Women’s Championship against Becky Lynch and Asuka, two of Monday Night Raw’s absolute top competitors, while Vince McMahon’s handpicked protégé, Theory, defends his United States Championship against Chicago’s own Mustafa Ali. The Judgement Day will be in action for the first time as a full trio, when Edge, Damian Priest and Rhe Ripley battle AJ Styles, Finn Balor and Liv Morgan in a mixed six-person tag team contest, and Bobby Lashley will have to contend with the Nigerian Giant Omos and MVP in a 2-on-1 handicap match. Kevin Owens will finally battle Ezekiel (allegedly Elias’ younger brother) one on one, and Happy Corbin will face a monster of his own creation when he fights his former friend Madcap Moss in a No Holds Barred war.

+ Cody Rhodes vs Seth “Freakin'” Rollins (Hell in a Cell Match): holy crap, this was absolutely insane. Not necessarily the match itself, but Cody’s arm was BLACK due to his clearly completely torn pec and I was cringing every single time he did anything physically with his arm. Seth Rollins was working on another level in this match to cover for Rhodes clearly diminished mobility. This was (obviously) not a pretty match, and I can imagine there was a lot of stuff that would have been done at least a bit differently had Cody not been injured, but this was a grand success as a match, and the reactions both men got was something to behold
+ Theory (c) vs Mustafa Ali (WWE United States Championship): this does get a positive rating but I can admit it was mostly the crowd’s huge reaction to Mustafa Ali that got it over the line. The story leading up to this one has some what necessitated more than just a one on one match, but I understand exactly why it had to be the way it was. Theory is still a bit inexperienced, but he was in good hands with Ali; and between you and me, I’m still surprised Ali is in WWE at all
+ Madcap Moss vs Happy Corbin (No Holds Barred): first things first, I’m not sure why the ref was constantly asking if the competitors wanted to stop the match, as if this were an I Quit match. That is pretty much my only negative, as these two beat the hell out of each other. Madcap came off like a megastar, and Corbin as always knew just what to do to get the crowd at a fever pitch to see him get his ass beat; it’s so simple, but when the crowd wants tables, pretend to get a table and then don’t. I love it, and I liked this a lot
+ Finn Balor, AJ Styles & Liv Morgan vs The Judgement Day (Edge, Damian Priest & Rhea Ripely): simply due to the skill of every one of the six competitors involved, this was of course really good. I do have a real hatred of WWE’s mixed tag matches, only because they play up the ‘men versus men, women versus women’ stuff so much only to inevitably have the bad woman attack a good guy male competitors. All I’m saying is, Baron Corbin hitting that End of Days on Becky Lynch in the mixed tag from Extreme Rules in 2019 has made him beyond unlikeable ever since, and Liv Morgan is an adorable underdog fan favourite. Just think about it. Otherwise, I don’t know what Ripley’s attire was meant to be, but I really liked it, if you catch my drift
+ Ezekiel vs Kevin Owens: I’m strangely invested in the story here, despite my current feeling that there is no planned ending being built towards. The match was perfectly fine, especially as Owens continued to rile up the crowd by screaming that Ezekiel was Elias; this Ezekiel guy sure does do a lot of stuff very similar to Elias used to, but I always thought Elias was a perfectly solid wrestler so that’s not a negative
+ Bianca Belair (c) vs Becky Lynch vs Asuka (WWE Raw Women’s Championship): this was really good, and probably the best WWE women’s match in a very long time. All three women played their role perfectly – Asuka with sudden strikes; Lynch with the cheating sneaky stuff, and; Belair with the unrivalled power – and most importantly they were given enough time to really make it good. I enjoyed this a lot

Bobby Lashley vs Omos & MVP (2-on-1 Handicap Match): Lashley and MVP were good, but Omos was not and that basically means I can’t give it a positive rating. Bobby Lashley was perhaps the single most popular person on the whole show which was fantastic to hear, but this Omos fellow is not good enough in the ring to make matche slike this work

> the whole show had a fantastic crowd, which really added to a lot of the matches that might otherwise have fallen flat
> this is not a unique thought, but The Judgement Day really is just a less overtly satanic version of AEW’s House of Black. I expect The Judgement Day will add a small guy/cruiserweight soon

Should you watch this event: I was genuinely thrilled that there was only one match set inside the Cell itself, because it made that match a million times more intense. I don’t know if my expectations were just incredibly low, or that a red hot crowd made everything seem better than it was, but I really enjoyed this show. Cody Rhodes/Seth Rollins is an absolute must see, and even the women’s tag is well worth your time to seek out. If you have a spare few hours, then the only match not worth seeing is the Handicap match.

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