When one looks at the conclusions of the two world title matches at the 2011 edition of WWE Hell in a Cell, it is hard not to address the two wildly different conclusions.
In the World Heavyweight Championship match, Mark Henry cleanly defeated Randy Orton for the second month in a row, pinning his shoulders to the mat and solidifying his position as the top heel on the Smackdown brand.
In the WWE Championship match however, Alberto Del Rio was reliant on interference from his manager, Ricardo Rodriguez, a lead pipe, and John Cena being locked out of the cell. It was only after all three things perfectly aligned that Del Rio was able to capture his second WWE Championship.
What does this tell us about WWE's booking methods? Does the company really care that little about the Friday night brand that they can sacrifice their champion so cleanly? Was the manner in which Del Rio won the match the beginning of a sneakier, more prone to cheating heel character?
The answer to all of those questions is no.
Randy Orton's clean loss to Mark Henry was exactly what it should have been. Whoever is in charge of the Smackdown creative team clearly understands that a loss for Orton at the hands of a dominant superstar like Mark Henry does not make "The Viper" look any weaker in the eyes of the fans.Those writers understand that Randy Orton is a huge star in the WWE Universe. He can rebound from any loss he incurs. There is no reason not to utilize that star power in making a star out of someone else on the roster.
The way in which Del Rio won the WWE title is a fresh piece of evidence in the fans' agenda against Cena. For years, he has been portrayed as the Superman of the WWE, the Superstar who always finds a way to win but rarely ever loses. Sunday night, he lost the WWE Championship without taking the fall. Some will say the point of a triple threat match is that the champion does not have to lose, to lose his championship. But the way Cena lost, and Del Rio won, is something much larger and more pressing then any match rule.
But, the booking of Cena is not the point of this article. Rather, the booking of Del Rio's second title win is. Contrary to the manner in which Mark Henry cleanly defeated Randy Orton, Del Rio was made to look like the cowardly heel that cannot win on his own, a repetitive and boring character type the company has been rolling out for the last three years. It is undoubtedly a product of the creative team's reluctance in booking Cena to lose a match cleanly.
However, unlike The Miz, who had been a mainstay near the top of the card prior to his feud with Cena over the WWE title, and R-Truth, who had a new and interesting character during his run with Cena, the fans have not yet truly adopted Del Rio as a legitimate star in the company. To many, he is a retread of Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase and John Bradshaw Layfield. He is aristocracy, which has a one dimensional aspect about it that wears thin quickly. Of anyone, Del Rio needed a strong and convincing win.
Until the company sacrifices Cena's oh-so-prestigious win-loss record, there will be a number of ineffective heels whose pushes suffer, and end, due to the mighty Cena character.