BRM Reviews WWE Hell in a Cell 2022 (disappointing)

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Big Red Machine
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BRM Reviews WWE Hell in a Cell 2022 (disappointing)

Post by Big Red Machine » Jun 8th, '22, 16:09

WWE Hell in a Cell 2022 (6/5/2022)- Chicago, IL

Right away, they are teasing that Cody Rhodes is injured. They promise to keep us up to date. I’m not happy with this. Either they’re screwing us out of a match on a show that is already very light, or they’re giving Cody an excuse for a loss to extend this feud even longer, or they’re creating a situation where Seth will not only lose once again, but this time he’ll look even worse because he’s losing to someone who isn’t even at full strength going in.

WWE RAW WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH: Bianca Belair(c) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Asuka- 8.5/10
This built really well and had some great nearfalls. I also really liked how much the story of the match itself mirrored the story they used to build it up: that Asuka was some sort of interloper in Becky’s title match. Consequently, most of Becky’s nearfalls were broken up by Asuka at the last moment. It also played well into the finish, where it was Asuka who got pinned by Bianca in a situation where the idea was that if it was a singles match, Becky would have won. It worked so well, in fact, that I actually enjoyed it as a spin on the frustratingly cliché three-way finish of someone stealing someone else’s pin.
And that, of course, means that this feud will continue, and that’s something that I really don’t want to see. Don’t get me wrong: Becky and Bianca are great together, but it feels like they’ve been feuding for nine straight months at this point. I’m willing to cut WWE a bit of slack, as they had to scrap their plans for the women’s division for this month (and possibly next month as well), but when we’ve got so many other feuds still going on that have been going on for months (Lashley vs. Omos, Seth vs. Cody, New Day vs. Sheamus & Pals, Owens vs. Ezekiel, and probably others I’m forgetting), seeing another one continue- and especially in tonight’s only major title match- is frustrating.

MVP tells Cedric he’s a failure, and he just has to accept that the Hurt Business is dead and he should just stop trying to live in MVP’s good graces. Maybe this will be the beginning for a babyface turn for Cedric? A slim hope, I know.

HANDICAP MATCH: Bobby Lashley vs. MVP & Omos- 4.25/10
This was a fine example of a match being psychologically sound, but in almost every other way uninteresting. It was a competently-told story about something no one cared about. It seemed to be like Cedric ran in with the intention of helping Lashley, but the announcers didn’t push it one way or the other. They could have Lashley decide that his revenge on MVP was enough because he already knows he can beat Omos, and move Lashley onto something else while Omos is rebuilt by killing Cedric, but this being WWE (and especially WWE booking of the last three years), I’m guessing that this feud is just going to continue, although at least there will be a slightly new element to it of Lashley now having a friend to counter MVP.
Or maybe I’m wrong! After the match, Lashley grabbed a fan’s replica belt and celebrated with it.

Jimmy Smith assured us that the “rumors” that Cody was injured this weekend by Seth Rollins were not true. But Cody did get injured on Raw (a partial pectoral tear) in a brawl with Seth Rollins, and then, while working out for tonight’s match, he tore the muscle right off the bone. But gosh darn it, that Cody Rhodes is going to gut it out and fight for all of us tonight.
I’m assuming this is all a work (I’m watching this on Wednesday, but completely spoiler-free), but the specific phrasing here (making sure we know that Seth didn’t injure Cody, it was Cody who got hurt during a brawl with Seth) is worrying. It comes off like old-school politicking to make Cody look better.

Owens won clean… but what, exactly, does this change? What does it resolve? How does this move the story forward?

MIXED TAG TEAM MATCH: The Judgement Day (Edge, Damian Priest, & Rhea Ripley) vs. AJ Styles, Finn Balor, & Liv Morgan)- 7.25/10
This was fun action. I’m fine with them using the “Rhea was a distraction” finish again here, as it actually feels like it’s either building to something or trying to establish something, but once again it really feels like this PPV match has changed little to nothing in the storyline. I’m not saying that every match needs to (especially if it’s a real grudge match, as opposed to something like Owens vs. Ezekiel, which, while built up over time, was the first match in a feud that isn’t very heated), but the problem is that there are way too many matches that feel that way on WWE’s big shows.

YAY! I was right. Cedric is a babyface now. I actually liked Lashley still warning him to never get involved in one of his matches again. It felt right for the situation, with Lashley still not fully trusting Cedric.

NO HOLDS BARRED MATCH: Baron Corbin vs. Madcap Moss- 6.75/10
If he is going to be a different guy and not the goofy clown Corbin thought he was, they really need to change his name back to Riddick Moss.
This was an enjoyable weapons match. It was by no means a breakout performance in the sense that it makes me think Moss is any kind of future star, but it was a perfect character-establishing win for Moss in what should be the end of this feud.

WWE UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH: Austin Theory(c) vs. Mustafa Ali- 7/10
Theory won a solid match cleanly. The crowd was solidly behind Ali in his home town, which helped elevate this, but it really felt more like a TV match than something that should have been on a PPV. It just felt small. Maybe it would have felt appropriate as the second match on the card, but in the semi-main event spot on a show where it was just one of two title matches, it felt very small.

HELL IN A CELL MATCH: Seth Rollins vs. Cody Rhodes- 8.5/10
Seth Rollins came out wearing Dusty Rhodes polka-dots gear to get into Cody’s head. It makes perfect sense… but between the goofy basic colorfulness of the gear and the goofiness of the red cell, it’s almost a cartoonish visual.
Oh my G-d, I REALLY hope that’s make-up on Cody’s pec.
This was another excellent match from these two. It built extremely well, was very violent, and wound up feeling worthy of Hell in a Cell by the end. They also did a great job of making sure that all of the stuff they did felt like they were having a fight and not trying to have an epic pro wrestling match. Even putting the bull-rope on didn’t bother me because each guy had a reason to think it would give them an advantage and the other was foolish for consenting to it.
The only real negative here was that between Cody’s injury and the very weapon-heavy direction they took, the polka dots felt like a big waste here, which is quite disappointing, as reacting to things like that is one of Cody’s strengths relative to the rest of WWE’s roster.

After checking the news, it turns out that Cody really is injured, in which case, why the hell did he win here? Let him lose with this built-in excuse, have Rollins go on a run while spending months bragging about putting Cody out, and now you've got a ready-made match whenever Cody is healthy again.

There was some great wrestling on this show, but despite that, I can’t bring myself to call the show good. It felt like an episode of Raw with a Hell in a Cell match and no talking segments (that last part is mostly a positive), and this is supposed to be a “premium” live event. Last month’s got away with it because the wrestling was excellent, and at least the world champion was actually on the show. This show had a lot less than that, the big stars in last month’s two top matches nowhere in sight, and the issue of feuds feeling like they are extending for way too long got worse, simply by dint of many of the same feuds still continuing for yet another month. I know I’m far from the first person to say it, but the degree to which it feels like WWE is in a holding pattern really hit me on this show, and what’s worse is that it doesn’t feel like they’re in a holding pattering because they’re waiting for necessary information to make a decision or waiting for someone to comeback from injury, but simply because they’ve got their guaranteed money from Viacom, Fox, and NBC, and so they simply just don’t care.

1. Jimmy Smith referred to a backflip off the turnbuckle as “something only the EST could pull off.”
Does he just not watch the show? It’s not like it’s 1999 and that’s some sort of crazy feat. We see a million of them a week.

2. When Asuka got an ankle lock on both of her opponents at the same time, Corey Graves referred to them as “dueling ankle locks.”
They’re not dueling. It wasn’t even one with each arm. It was one big ankle lock with two ankles. There was only one lock. And that’s ignoring the idiocy of the “dueling” term for one person doing two things to two different people where it’s working to the same end!

3. Corey Graves insisted that Mustafa Ali winning the US Title would “disrupt the status quo of WWE.”
Only in the most literal sense, which is not how Graves meant it. Graves meant it would be some sort of blow to the system, which is a ridiculous concept since the entire kayfabe system is built on the idea that someone can fairly prove his/her/their superiority over the champion and thus become the new champion.
Hold #712: ARM BAR!

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