While there is no doubt that this pay-per-view won’t go down in the annals of time next to WWE’s 2012 gems like WrestleMania and SummerSlam, Hell in a Cell was the perfect secondary PPV in support of the upcoming Survivor Series.
What grade would you give Hell in a Cell?
Just like a glorified go-home show, WWE treated Hell in a Cell like a special edition of Raw dedicated to furthering storylines in preparation for the company’s huge November event.
Those that bought Hell in a Cell may be disappointed by the midcard, but the WWE did a great job getting everyone ready for Raw and for Survivor Series.
Allowed John Cena to Rest
There is no question that John Cena is the biggest workhorse in the WWE, but every man has a limit and the former champion was close to reaching his. With some much-needed surgery and plenty of rest, Hell in a Cell afforded Cena the downtime he couldn’t be without any longer.
Had this been a top-tier PPV instead of the secondary Hell in a Cell event, the WWE may not have played Cena’s injury as cautiously. With the brutal reputation that the Hell in a Cell structure has, Cena was lucky that the company did the right thing and left him off the card.
The company guaranteed no setbacks after not scheduling Cena in a match, and now there is little doubt that he will be ready for Survivor Series. The WWE believes that the November PPV is one of its most important shows, so having Cena ready for action then is more important than having him go at Hell in a Cell.
Now that the company teased Cena’s appearance on Raw Monday throughout the Hell in a Cell broadcast, the WWE has already built the groundwork for the three-week run to the next PPV.
Well done, WWE.
Built Ryback as a Top Star
While not having John Cena on the PPV card was a strange sight, the combination of CM Punk and the Hell in a Cell structure was enough to make Ryback look like a viable championship contender and a possible main-event staple for years to come.
There is no doubt that buy-rate for the event will be down without Cena on the card, but the WWE did a great job using the lack of a main-event face to build a star that could be the heir apparent to Cena’s job.
Ryback may have lost the match and his streak—something that will only help stop the Goldberg chants—but the complete destruction of Punk and the dirty nature of the finish is a perfect way to build into Survivor Series.
Not only does Punk continue to gain more and more heel heat because of his likely involvement in the referee’s actions that cost Ryback the match, he gets to retain the title and continue being the WWE’s hand-chosen No. 1 heel. Punk also builds credit with his fellow wrestlers for once again doing everything in his power to make his opponent look great.
Ryback can now claim that his first title shot was ruined by the official's low blow and be in line for a possible rematch. The controversy that surrounds the ending of the PPV and the main event is enough to get fans to not only tune in for Raw, but also buy into the build for Survivor Series.
Sets Stage for a Traditional Survivor Series Match
It is still unclear who the team leaders will be—likely A.J. Lee and Vickie Guerrero—but the biggest revelation out of Hell in a Call is that the WWE will give the fans the 5-on-5 Survivor Series match that the event is known for.
There are a plethora of big-name wrestlers that aren’t involved in any meaningful feuds right now, and that almost always signals something brewing on a larger scale this time of year. One—or even possibly two—Survivor Series matches would be a huge part of getting the WWE Universe to tune into not only the Raws before the PPV, but also the actual paid event in November.
The WWE has convinced the fans using the Hell in a Cell PPV that they should care about the Cena angle with Vickie Guerrero, and that didn’t happen for no reason; the company is setting the groundwork now for what is to come over the next three weeks.
While there is no doubt that Hell in a Cell 2012 wasn’t the WWE’s best show of the year, the way it built to Survivor Series was perfect.
Just consider Hell in a Cell the go-home PPV for the company’s marquee November event.
Check back for more on the World Wrestling Entertainment as it comes, and visit Bleacher Report’s wrestling page to get your fill of WWE/TNA. For more wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics you just can’t miss (some language NSFW).