Biggest Takeaways From WWE Hell in a Cell 2022 Results
History will look back at the 2022 Hell in a Cell pay-per-view as the night when Cody Rhodes elevated his legacy from one of a mere mortal to that of a wrestling god.
The American Nightmare turned in the performance of a lifetime to defeat Seth Rollins inside the steel structure to end to their feud, all while nursing a torn pectoral muscle.
The agony painted his face, and the bruising on his arm and chest indicated a serious injury, but he battled through it to not only earn victory but also to deliver a third Match of the Year candidate alongside The Visionary.
Rhodes' iconic display headlined a show that also featured The Judgment Day scoring another key victory in their quest for dominance, more low-key greatness from Kevin Owens and a women's division that nearly stole the whole show.
Women's Wrestling Shines in Superb Opener, Six-Person Tag
In an era when WWE television can be described as inconsistent at best, there is one element of its programming that continues to shine: the women's division.
That was no different Sunday night in Chicago when Becky Lynch, Asuka and Raw women's champion Bianca Belair got Hell in a Cell off to a red-hot start with a show-stealing Triple Threat match that further underlined the excellence of all three.
Fast-forward three matches to the six-person mixed tag team bout pitting Liv Morgan, Finn Balor and AJ Styles against The Judgment Day's Rhea Ripley, Damian Priest and Edge, and there was even more to celebrate within the women's division.
The star power was undeniable in the six-person contest, but by the time the heels were announced as the winners, it was Ripley and Morgan who had earned the rave reviews for their contributions to an action-packed match.
On a night when the card was decidedly pedestrian, the stars of the Raw women's division commanded the attention and proved that even the most mundane booking cannot prevent them from delivering when given the time.
Given what will likely be a lengthy absence for Cody Rhodes due to his torn pectoral muscle, WWE should lean into its world-class roster of female talent and give them the opportunity to shine in main events.
At this point, female wrestlers are responsible for the most consistent excellence, as evidenced Sunday night.
Kevin Owens is WWE's Unsung MVP
The quality of Kevin Owens' victory over Ezekiel Sunday night was not only indicative of a wily veteran capable of getting the most out of any opponent, but it was also further evidence of his status as the unsung MVP of WWE in 2022.
First, KO was trusted with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's first match in 19 years in the main event WrestleMania Saturday. Then, he was asked to help introduce and lend credibility to a new character in Ezekiel. He got more out of that persona and storyline than most imagined possible.
At Hell in a Cell, he paid the two-month program off with a decisive victory over Elias' younger brother, putting him down and out with a Stunner. The win was the least WWE Creative could do for a guy who has been so integral to its product in the first half of the year.
Owens delivered a quality WrestleMania main event with Austin and got Ezekiel over in a way a lesser performer never would have been able to. He is an all-world pro wrestler with an enormous personality and a knack for connecting with audiences regardless of his role.
He has earned every bit of praise he has received and should find himself in or around the main event sooner rather than later now that his feud with Zeke appears to have reached its conclusion.
The Judgment Day Are Great, but Where Do They go from Here?
The six-person mixed tag team match between The Judgment Day and AJ Styles, Finn Balor and Liv Morgan was an action-packed, energetic bout that proved WWE does trios matches as well as any other promotion in professional wrestling.
It also provided the heels another quality victory over The Phenomenal One that begs the question: Where do they go from here?
The easy answer is the continuation of the feud with Styles and Co. but given the fact that Edge now has three wins over the former WWE champion, what good does that do for anyone? If Styles beats him or the babyfaces get their win back, all it does is emphasize the company's oft-criticized 50-50 booking.
The alternative? Well, that's where things get tricky.
With a decided lack of depth across the board, the options are limited. A feud with Bobby Lashley? A babyface turn for Seth Rollins and the resumption of Edge's feud with him?
Anything beyond that, outside of said escalation of the feud with the trio affectionately known as BulLiv Club would be a step down for a group capable of being a top-tier heel act in WWE.
The faction has been fantastic and the presentation expertly executed. Maybe that is enough reason to sit back and enjoy. At some point, though, the long-term creative plans for the heels becomes paramount, and outside of the continuation of a feud that has been one-sided to this point, the future is unclear for Edge and Co.
Cody Rhodes Delivers Career-Defining Performance in Match-of-the-year Main Event
Fans had a reasonable understanding of just how injured Cody Rhodes was when Kayla Braxton announced his torn pectoral muscle on Sunday's kickoff show, yet they were still stunned when he removed his jacket and revealed a right arm and pec covered in bruising.
An uncomfortable silence fell over the Allstate Arena as the reality of the situation struck the crowd. Hearing of an injury is one thing but realizing the extent of it and both the fortitude it took to still make the match was something entirely different.
What ensued was one of the hardest-to-watch, yet equally compelling, main events in WWE history. Neither Rhodes nor Rollins shied away from the injured body part, instead factoring it into the story of the match. The American Nightmare lived through enduring pain in the name of art. He suffered for his craft while turning in the performance of a lifetime.
He and Rollins managed to do the unthinkable and wrestled a Match of the Year candidate despite the babyface's obvious problem to cap off one of the great in-ring trilogies of this generation.
Rhodes easily could have backed down, had surgery and then come back to wrap up the program. Instead, he gutted it out and made sure the fans got the main event and feud-closer they deserved.
There will be debates about The American Nightmare opting to perform and WWE allowing it to happen, and it's also important to remember that it is not something Rhodes' peers should feel pressured to replicate. Working hurt should never be encouraged by fellow talent or management.
Still, there is no denying what was on display Sunday night. Some will call it guts and courage, while others might label it as sheer stupidity. It was probably all of those things, but what Rhodes exuded inside the steel structure was an unwavering passion for the industry.
Similar to Triple H limping his way through the finish of a May 2001 tag team main event after tearing his quadriceps or John Cena fighting through a torn triceps to ensure Daniel Bryan got his moment at SummerSlam 2013, Rhodes delivered a match infinitely better than even the loftiest of expectations could have imagined.
In the process, he solidified his status as someone willing to give of himself for an industry that has given so much to him and his family. And that is something even the most jaded fans will appreciate.