Best and Worst Booking Decisions of WWE Hell in a Cell 2022
Everyone will be talking about WWE Hell in a Cell 2022 for quite some time just because of Cody Rhodes wrestling with a torn pectoral, but that wasn't the only thing that happened on this show.
WWE booked a program with a lackluster build comprised of rematches that have been on repeat for two months, while the Superstars did their best to make up for that with quality performances.
That led to a mix of some underwhelming segments where nothing noteworthy happened but wasted some time, while other parts of the night went off without a hitch.
Looking back on the results, let's examine some of the best and worst booking decisions of the event.
Full Match Results
- Triple Threat Match: Bianca Belair defeated Asuka and Becky Lynch by pinfall to retain the Raw Women's Championship.
- 2-on-1 Handicap Match: Bobby Lashley defeated Omos and MVP by pinfall.
- Kevin Owens defeated Ezekiel by pinfall.
- Six-Person Mixed Tag Team Match: The Judgment Day defeated Finn Balor, AJ Styles and Liv Morgan by pinfall.
- No Holds Barred Match: Madcap Moss defeated Happy Corbin by pinfall.
- Theory defeated Mustafa Ali by pinfall to retain the United States Championship.
- Hell in a Cell Match: Cody Rhodes defeated Seth Rollins by pinfall.
Worst: Asuka Takes the Pin in Raw Women's Championship Match
It was a great decision to book Bianca Belair, Becky Lynch and Asuka in a Triple Threat match for the Raw Women's Championship, as those three met expectations with an awesome opening contest. WWE had to know putting them together would result in something better than just Belair against Lynch or Asuka in singles competition.
However, it's a shame to see The Empress of Tomorrow take yet another pin here, rather than for Lynch to have been the one looking up at the lights.
Asuka's only been back a month, but she's already lost twice to Belair and once to Lynch in her most recent matches. Adding in a no-contest draw, the only victories she's had were one pin on Lynch and a six-woman tag team match alongside Belair and Liv Morgan, which meant little in the grand scheme of things.
Since Big Time Becks hit the finishing maneuver and effectively had the match won, she'll most likely challenge for the belt yet again. Meanwhile, Asuka will be written off as having her shot and failing.
At best, she'll be another name in the Money in the Bank ladder match but assuredly won't win it. At worst, she'll be sidelined even more as WWE pivots to someone else after finally wrapping up the Lynch feud.
It isn't the worst thing to ever happen in professional wrestling, for anyone thinking this is some massive complaint, but it would have been nice for Asuka to retain some momentum and not take three consecutive hits to her credibility so soon after her return.
Best: Cedric Alexander Helps Bobby Lashley Win Handicap Match
Bobby Lashley's feud with Omos could have ended at WrestleMania with a one-and-done approach. It certainly could have concluded with their steel cage rubber match when Lashley went 2-1.
This handicap match needed something to spice it up. Adding MVP wasn't a good enough stipulation to keep this feud going, as if Lashley would have lost, he would have had multiple excuses to justify why he came up short. If he had won outright, it would have made Omos look weak for failing a third time, even with a two-on-one advantage.
Thankfully, Cedric Alexander was brought back into the fold to extend this storyline's viability at least one more week.
After several attempts to get on MVP's good side for a reformation of The Hurt Business, Alexander was rejected prior to the match. This set him up to interfere this time on The All Mighty's behalf, allowing enough of a distraction that Lashley was able to capitalize on it, put MVP in The Hurt Lock and score the victory.
That distraction kept Omos from taking the fall and looking weak. It also means Omos can destroy Alexander on Raw in retribution to help put momentum back on his side. There can even be a tag team match with Lashley and Alexander against Omos and MVP, if WWE wants to milk this for yet another week beyond that.
A babyface turn was overdue for Alexander, too, if not just to freshen things up.
Worst: No Interesting Hooks for Most Matches
The middle block of this event was the hardest part to get through as it had the least interesting matches with the least interesting outcomes.
Kevin Owens pinning Ezekiel has no bearing on their feud whatsoever. Just because Ezekiel lost doesn't prove he's Elias, nor was admitting that as a stipulation to his loss. Owen will continue to try to prove that, Ezekiel will deny it, and the feud will continue as it was, since this was pointless to the overall narrative.
Judgment Day won the six-person mixed tag team match. Now what? There wasn't a debut of a new member of the team, no one turned to join the opposing faction and nothing was on the line. Had Finn Balor walked out on his team or Ciampa interfered, for example, that would have been an interesting talking point worth paying attention to ahead of Raw. In all likelihood, all we'll get now is Edge cutting the same promo as before, about how everyone needs to listen to him.
Theory was clearly going to beat Mustafa Ali to retain the United States Championship. Hometown heroes often lose in order to get more heat on the heel who beats them in front of the cheering crowd. But since Theory already retained on Monday, why was this even on the card, rather than the more interesting title match coming up between Gunther and Ricochet for the Intercontinental Championship?
If all three matches had been removed from the card, all that would have been missing would have been around 40 minutes of filler, and the next episode of Raw would move on like nothing even happened.
Best: How Madcap Moss Beat Happy Corbin
Not every story sees the villains get their comeuppance, but that is normally how most tales finish in and out of professional wrestling. With Madcap Moss vs. Happy Corbin, that's what needed to happen, and the specific way it went down was perfect.
Moss, now without his suspenders, looks like a far more credible Superstar than he ever has. He can be taken seriously as a prospect to keep an eye on and not just some goofy sidekick or temporary gimmick Vince McMahon will chuckle at for a while, then grow tired of and toss to the side.
Beating Corbin was the right call, as it is the second-biggest win of Moss's career so far, just under the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal that helped spark this feud.
Even better, though, was that Moss didn't win by a fluke roll-up pin or after someone else helped him. He got the job done on his own and hit Corbin with some proper payback, too.
Since Corbin had tried to take out Moss with a steel chair hooked around his neck, slamming the trophy on to it, it was fitting for Moss to do the same to Corbin. He returned the favor by smashing the steel steps on to a chair hooked around Corbin's head for a brutal and decisive finish.
Standing tall at the end of this, Moss looked like he could stand up to a guy like Gunther, Sheamus or the other, more established names and not be laughed at.
Best (possibly): Cody Rhodes Still Wrestles the Main Event
Cody Rhodes walked into Hell in a Cell with a torn pectoral muscle. Had it been announced he was pulled from the match, fans would have been disappointed, but understanding.
Instead, he somehow not only wrestled the match, but he put on a great show.
It remains to be seen how much more damage he did to his injury by wrestling. If it is considerable, hindsight will call into question if this was a good booking decision or not, as it was certainly risky. So risky, in fact, that it is baffling he was even medically cleared to compete in the first place. That is a discussion of safety worth talking about in itself.
But by stepping in the ring, Rhodes achieved something that will stick with him for the rest of his career. This was a legacy-defining performance. He can always say he wrestled inside Hell in a Cell with a torn pec and still had a great near-25-minute match.
If that doesn't endear him to fans even more as an uber babyface, what can?
When he's ready to return from injury, fans should be clamoring for him to win the title and be the guy to dethrone The Tribal Chief. This could be the best possible setup he could ever ask for.
Bonus points also go to whoever suggested Seth Rollins wear the yellow polka dots. That was a fun touch to show off his character's attempt to get in The American Nightmare's mind, only to give him even more strength to fight through the pain.