The SmarK Rant for Hell in a Cell 2022 – 06.05.22
Live from Chicago, IL
Your hosts are Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton & Corey Graves
Considering the lack of Roman Reigns and total lack of buzz, this is probably one of the worst-built Premium Live Events I can remember in the past few years. Unifying the titles and then running two shows in a row without a title defense is certainly a choice.
RAW Women’s title: Bianca Belair v. Becky Lynch v. Asuka
I thought this might have been in the Cell, but nope, I guess there’s just one of those tonight. Becky tries attacking both of the other two and it backfires, sending her to the floor. Asuka takes her down with a clothesline, but Becky trips Asuka up and yanks her to the floor. Becky goes up and Bianca slams her off the top for two. Asuka comes back in with a dropkick off of Bianca and hits them both with kicks, but Bianca tries for the KOD and Asuka reverses to an armbar. Bianca powerbombs her into the corner to escape, but Becky slams Asuka onto Bianca for two. Becky with a Perfect necksnap on Bianca for two. Becky chokes Bianca out while the announcers stress that it’s YOU FANS who turned on Becky. Man they’re even doing the wrestlers’ own lame promos for them now. Becky takes out Asuka and guillotines Bianca for two. They trade reversals and Becky gets the Bexploder out of the corner to put Bianca on the floor. Back in, Becky with the top rope legdrop for two, but Asuka saves. Becky and Asuka slug it out and Asuka gets a backslide for two and follows with a german suplex and hip attack for two. Asuka goes for the choke and Becky cradles for two, but Bianca comes in with the KOD on Becky, which Asuka breaks up. Bianca makes the comeback and pounds on Asuka in the corner, but Becky grabs the braid to escape. Bianca slams Asuka onto Becky and follows with a moonsault onto both of them at the same time for two. That would have been a hell of a finish. They head to the top and we get the Tower of Doom spot tease, but Asuka hits them both with double knees instead. A double hip attack gets two. Anklelock on both at the same time is another cool and wacky spot, but they send Asuka to the floor to escape. Bianca and Becky slug it out and Bianca rolls her up for two, but Becky reverses to the armbar and Bianca powers her up and into the KOD , which Becky escapes. Bianca catches a crossbody, but Asuka dropkicks her and Becky hits the manhandle slam for two. Everyone is down and Asuka fights back on Becky, but Becky tosses her and tries to steal the pin on Bianca for two. That looked bad with a late save from Asuka. Everyone is down again and Becky gets the armbar on Asuka in the ropes, but Bianca breaks it up and gets sent to the floor. Becky and Asuka trade rollups and Asuka gets the Asukalock out of that, but Becky rolls her over for two. Back to the submission, but Bianca comes off the top and misses something which presumably was supposed to break it up. Becky dumps Bianca again and hits the Manhandle Slam on Asuka, but Bianca steals the pin at 18:57 to retain. God I hate that finish. The match was pretty great otherwise, mostly all action before kind of running out of steam a bit at the end. ****1/4
Meanwhile, Cedric Alexander tries to get the Hurt Business back together again, but MVP brushes him off and Omos tells him to get lost for good.
Omos & MVP v. Bobby Lashley
Omos no-sells Bobby’s attempts to take him down to start, but Lashley slugs him into the corner and gives us some of that patented Omos Selling. So it’s over to MVP and he beats Lashley down for two and it’s back to Omos again. Bobby pounds Omos down for more of that sweet, sweet Omos Selling, but Omos drops him with Snake Eyes and some corner splashes, yelling like Lex Luger with kidney stones after each one. MVP puts Lashley on the floor and Omos does the shoulderblock through the timekeeper cage that gets over for everyone but Omos. Lashley beats the count at 9 and MVP beats him down again for two. Lashley comes back with a spear for two, but Omos makes the save. So then Cedric Alexander comes in to interfere, allowing Lashley to spear Omos and then finish MVP with the full nelson at 8:30. Can we please be done with this feud now? *
Kevin Owens v. Ezekiel
KO again accuses Ezekiel of being a liar, so Ezekiel hits him with a high knee and goes up with a flying elbow for two. Pretty good for a raw rookie. They fight to the floor and Owens runs him into the post and back in for a DDT, which gets two. Owens gets a moonsault for two and goes to the chinlock and chokes him out on the ropes, still claiming that it’s Elias and not Ezekiel. I’m still not seeing it. This guy doesn’t even have a guitar. Zeke runs KO into the corner, but Kevin gets a DDT for two. KO goes up and misses the senton. Ezekiel makes the comeback but there’s just nothing there past the joke. Spinebuster gets two, but Owens gets the powerbomb for two. Ezekiel with a rollup for two and he goes up for another flying elbow, but Owens crotches him to bring him down and then hits the cannonball and finishes with the stunner at 9:20. The crowd was into the thing for the first minute or so, but “Ezekiel” just has nothing in the ring to back up the joke and this was out of steam long before KO put it out of its misery to a babyface pop. ½* It’s a funny idea for about 1 or 2 minutes’ worth of match and not much else. In particular the babyface comeback was terrible.
Edge & Rhea Ripley & Damien Priest v. AJ Styles & Liv Morgan & Finn Balor
On the bright side, THANK JEBUS that Edge cut his awful hair off. Slugfest to start and the Ballot Club clears the ring, but Rhea puts Liv down with a headbutt. Rhea with a delayed suplex for two. Man, I know this is a minor thing that they can’t really do much about, but Rhea looks so SHORT when she’s in the ring with giants like Edge and Priest. It really ruins the illusion of her being this giant monster that she usually has. Over to AJ, so Priest comes in to deal with him and gets double-teamed in the Ballet Club corner. Finn gets distracted by Edge and the heels go to work on him outside. Back in, Priest boots Finn down for two. Edge slugs Balor down and Priest comes in with a clothesline for two and goes to a chinlock. Balor fights up and Priest gets a backbreaker for two. They slug it out and Balor fights back with a Pele kick and makes the hot tag to AJ, who runs wild. Backbreaker on Edge gets two. Liv fights with Rhea outside and AJ gets the forearm on Edge for two, but Priest makes the save. Everyone is out off that, so the women tag in and Liv gets a rana on Rhea for two. Crucifix bomb gets two. Rhea comes back with a suplex for two, but Liv DDTs her and everyone comes in for the PIER SIX BRAWL. Balor goes up to finish Priest, but Rhea trips him up. Edge runs AJ into the post, but Finn rolls him up for two. Balor goes up again, but Rhea stops him again, and Edge spears him for the pin at 16:00. This felt like a good TV match but I just don’t see this Judgment Day thing going anywhere and the AJ Styles side never seems to get anything back. In particular it makes Rhea Ripley look like a second banana. ***1/4
Meanwhile, Bobby Lashley offers some friendly advice to Cedric Alexander.
No Holds Barred: Happy Corbin v. Madcap Moss
Oh my god we have to see this AGAIN? Thankfully Moss has ditched the stupid suspenders and switched back to normal tights. They fight on the floor and run each other into one of the LED boards at the entrance, and back down to ringside, where Moss throws an office chair at him. Happy retreats into the crowd and then suplexes Moss onto a railing and puts the boots to him. Back in the ring, Corbin chokeslams him and beats him down with a chair, and the Deep Six gets two. Corbin gets another chair to continue trolling the crowd, because they want TABLES you see, and chokes Moss out with it. Moss runs him into the chair and grabs it for himself for some shots with that, and a DDT on the chair gets two. Moss puts him on the floor, but Corbin takes out the knee out there and puts a chair around Moss’ neck before running him into the table. God, shut up about the tables already, crowd. WHY do you want tables? Corbin brings the stairs into the ring and Moss slams him into them and follows with the neckbreaker before wrapping Corbin’s neck in the chair and pinning him at 12:12. This was just your usual “hit each other with chairs” match with nothing else going on of note. **
US title: Theory v. Mustafa Ali
Ali flips out of a wristlock and chases Theory to the floor after a chop. Back in, Ali gets some armdrags and chases him out again, then follows with a crossbody to the floor. Theory runs him into the post and slugs away in the ring to take over. Ali goes up and Theory dumps him to the floor as Ali takes a crazy bump straight down to the floor. Back in, Theory with a fallaway slam for two. Ali gets a rollup for two and an enzuigiri to make the comeback, and a rolling neckbreaker follows. Theory goes up and Ali superkicks him on the way down for two. Ali goes up and Theory brings him down with a flatliner for two. Ali comes back with a tornado DDT and goes up, but Theory crotches him and goes for his finisher. Ali reverses to an STF, but Theory makes the ropes. Theory necks him on the top rope, but Ali DDTs him and goes up, missing the 450. And Theory takes out the knee and finishes with the TKO at 10:23. Yeah once Ali was introduced from Chicago while wearing Chicago colors and the announcers made sure to note his wife and children were at ringside…well, you knew what was going to happen. Match didn’t have much heat but it was OK for a Main Event main event, I guess. **1/2 Good thing Ali came back for this massive push.
Hell in a Cell: Seth Rollins v. Cody Rhodes
Seth goes with the Dusty polka dots to be a troll. So Cody is coming with a torn pec muscle, and holy crap does his chest look gross as a result. Well now he’s got his own splotch. That’s horrifying. Rollins goes for the arm and Cody slugs back with one arm and then hits the disaster kick and the Cody Cutter. Figure-four and Rollins makes the ropes, but there’s no DQs in the cell so Seth grabs a kendo stick from under the ring to break free. Seth beats on the bruised pec with the stick and runs Cody off and apron and into the cage. Back in, Cody fights back and clotheslines Seth to the floor, but Seth hits him with the stairs, and then reveals his polka dot weight belt and whips Cody with that for two. This is getting uncomfortable to watch. Seth grabs a table, but Cody fights him off and Seth misses a splash and goes through the table as a result. Cody retrieves a bullrope and makes a comeback with MORE COWBELL for two. Back to the floor and Seth yanks Cody into the post with the bullrope to escape and brings another table into the ring, powerbombing Cody through that for two. Next up, Seth finds a sledgehammer, but Cody reverses him into the Pedigree we’ve all been waiting for and that gets two. Funny how he spent months teasing it in AEW and then finally debuts it in WWE and it’s just a near-fall. So Cody gets the hammer and Rollins runs away, allowing him to regroup with the curb stomp for two. Another one misses and Cody gets the Crossroads as both guys are down. Both guys go for the hammer and Cody wins that race, but can’t lift it, perhaps because he’s not worthy, but still gets two more Crossroads. And then he lifts the hammer on the second try and knocks Seth out, pinning him to win at 24:18. Well this was one of the damnedest things I’ve ever seen, I’ll give it that. This was kind of gross and uncomfortable to watch most of the way but you can’t say Cody isn’t a tough son of a bitch. I don’t know that I’d agree with Dave’s “this was the most compelling match in all of humankind’s history” or whatever he was saying, but no one’s gonna forget this one. ****1/2 I would never want to see anyone else try what Cody did ever again, though.
Opener was great, main event was great, no one gives a shit about the midcard anyway, so this is a big thumbs up.