5 Talking Points From WWE Hell in a Cell 2022

Hell in a Cell 2022 was similar to WrestleMania Backlash in a lot of ways: it suffered a poor build-up, but actually turned out to be a pretty solid show on the night. Opting again for a reasonably timed show with 7 matches on the card, WWE proved that the streamlined approach to PPV works to their favour currently. There were three great matches in the main event, the women’s triple threat and the six-man tag between AJ Styles, Finn Balor, Liv Morgan and Judgement Day. Theory and Mustafa Ali had a fun encounter, Madcap Moss came out of his battle with Happy Corbin looking good, and even Lashley vs. Omos and MVP, and Kevin Owens vs. Ezekial were watchable.

It’s a pattern that seems to be working for WWE currently. If they can build on the success of these PPV’s and work to improve TV, they really could be on to a winner again. I’m not holding my breath, but it’s nice to dream…

Let’s get to the top five talking points from Hell in a Cell 2022.

1. An Injured Cody Rhodes Gives The Performance of a Lifetime

By now, you’ll have watched the match or you’ll have seen the pictures: the sickeningly dark, spreading bruise across Cody Rhodes’ right arm and right side of his chest. The argument about whether Cody wrestling with a torn pectoral was the correct thing to do or only contributes to a culture of wrestlers feeling they have to wrestle while hurt will run on for a while I’m sure, and it’s an understandable argument, but the fact remains that Cody did wrestle and in the process, he gave one of the best performances of his career. If Hell in a Cell 2022 belongs to one person, it’s Cody Rhodes.

Much credit must go to Seth Rollins as well for working around Cody’s injury—even bringing it into the fight early on with some vicious cane shots to the area by Seth as well as digging the cane into the wounded flesh. Considering the state he was in, Cody took some nasty bumps with it, going into the side of the cell and through a table also. Cody tried to even the odds by bringing out the cowbell—a Rhodes family speciality—and that did some damage to Seth to even the odds.

The ending, utilising both The Pedigree and the sledgehammer were nice allusions to Triple H and made sense in the context of both Seth and Cody, who have stated previously how much they admire and owe to Triple H. And with this one performance, Cody took his first steps to being a made man in WWE. Whether he should have wrestled the match or not, Cody is only going to benefit in the long run from this.

2. Bianca Belair Beats Becky Lynch At Her Own Game

If Cody-Seth was the match of the night, then the Raw Women’s Championship Triple Threat was a relatively close second. In a fast-paced, extremely entertaining encounter, all three women had moments to shine, especially Asuka, who looked lethal at one moment when she unloaded a barrage of spinning back fists, forearms and back kicks to Becky Lynch in an impressive spot. Becky, meanwhile, dominated early on, keeping one opponent on the floor while she worked on the other one in the ring. Bianca then showed off her power and repeatedly attempted the KOD, which was countered and escaped from over and over again.

There was a nice thread that ran through the match and for once was actually paid off in the climax. Becky began to try to sneak the win by throwing an opponent out of the ring after they hit a killer move, trying to pin the person who took the move so as to sneak the win without having done the damage. Very sneaky. Again and again, The Man tried it, to no avail—a bit like Bianca Belair with the KOD. So it made sense that Bianca would win by giving up on the KOD and giving Becky a taste of her own medicine—throwing ‘Big Time Becks’ out of the ring after she nailed Asuka with the Manhandle Slam and sneaking the pin for herself!

It may not be the match that was originally planned for Hell in a Cell but somehow I think us fans got the better end of the deal.

3. Cedric Alexander Stands Up For Himself

Cedric Alexander had been desperate in recent weeks to get back in union with MVP. So it was interesting to see MVP reject Cedric in a backstage segment with Omos when he turned Alexander away and told him that “The Hurt Business is over”. Omos seemed especially unpleased, telling Cedric it was “time to go now”.

Looks like Cedric (quite rightfully) took it personally, as he ran down to the ring during the climax to Omos and MVP’s handicap match with Bobby Lashley and caused enough of a distraction for Lashley to take out Omos and ensnare MVP in The Hurt Lock for the submission victory.

Does this mean a programme coming up for Cedric Alexander? Quite possibly, and maybe not with who we think. Later in the show, it wasn’t MVP who confronted Cedric but Bobby Lashley, telling Cedric he was proud of him for sticking up for himself. But it was noteworthy that Cedric said that he hadn’t done this for Bobby but for himself. And that look on Alexander’s face when Lashley jokingly told Cedric not to get involved in his matches again? Could we be looking at a Cedric vs. Lashley programme in the near future?

4. Madcap Moss and Theory Both Demonstrate That They Have Potential

I’ll admit it: I’ve not really seen in the past what Vince obviously sees in Theory and Madcap Moss. It’s been clear that the pair are being built up for pushes, but I couldn’t understand why these two. Now, I’m not saying Hell in a Cell has completely made me see the paid as mega-stars but this was the first time that I’ve felt like I’ve caught a glimpse of what Vince possibly sees in them.

With Moss, while his No Holds Barred match with Happy Corbin was a little tame (especially when compared with AEW’s recent ‘Anarchy in the Arena’ war), Moss showed a brand new sense of aggression and urgency that we haven’t seen before and it suited him well. He looked dangerous (in a good way) when he unleashed a barrage of chair shots on Corbin before finishing him with a stairs shot to a chair wrapped around Corbin’s neck. Ouch! If Moss can ramp up that aggression without losing his natural likeability, it will serve him well.

Theory, meanwhile, should that he can hang as a defending champion on a PPV by beating Mustafa Ali in a pretty damn entertaining little encounter. Yes, Ali did a lot of the work, but Theory looked good in the ring with him, acting as a strong foil for Mustafa’s aerial offence and countering it with power. That he won cleanly says a lot about the faith WWE has in Theory (and how it feels about Ali).

Can both men capitalise on their gains here? I’ll be interested to see.

5. Kevin Owens Still Hasn’t Really Been Proven Right

It’s a bit of a minor point, this one, but it goes to show that even on a solid show like this, WWE can’t get it completely right.

Owens’ match with Ezekial was fine and relatively entertaining, with Ezekial looking good as a classic whiter than white clean-cut babyface. But then Owens won and…nothing happened. For weeks, Owen’s mission has been to prove that Ezekial was lying and that he is really Elias. And yet, although he won, Owens did not accomplish what he set out to achieve. He still doesn’t know the truth, not really. So why the win?

Answers on a postcard, please…

Written by Chris Flackett

Wrestling obsessed since '91. Lived through the Monday Night Wars and is still here to tell the tale. Major fan of Strong Style, technical and Super Jr. Wrestling, as well as big versatile hosses smacking the hell out of each other. Lives in Manchester, England.

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