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411’s WWE Hell in a Cell Preview

June 5, 2022 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
WWE Hell in a Cell RWT Image Credit: WWE

Hello 411 guys, gals, enbies, and everyone else! Welcome to 411’s WWE Hell in a Cell preview! I’m Jeremy Thomas as always, and Hell has come to Chicago this weekend (or rather, Rosemont) for a PPV with… all of one Hell in a Cell bout for the first time since 2017, and seven matches total. WWE does appear to be somewhat looking past this PPV to Summerslam — and fair enough I guess, that is the bigger PPV. We do have some potentially very good matches on this card, even if they don’t have the “Big PPV Feel” that we might hope for in every case. Regardless, we do have six matches to preview so lets get right to it!

Finn Bálor, AJ Styles & Liv Morgan vs. The Judgment Day

Image Credit: WWE

I know The Judgment Day isn’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea, but I very much appreciate them. Edge is exactly the kind of character who works well with a cult of personality built around him, and the stable has given Damian Priest and Rhea Ripley some much-needed direction after they started to aimlessly drift for a little while. Meanwhile, I also appreciate how it’s given the babyfaces in this feud something serious to do, even if it hasn’t particularly translated into wins for them. AJ Styles always has credibility so he can take losses without being hurt too much; while the same can’t necessarily be said for Balor and Liv, Morgan’s one win over Ripley on Raw this week is one more on-screen victory than she’s had in weeks — and frankly, same with Finn regarding his last two wins. More to the point, it puts them in a storyline which is more important than a heatless win here and there. This match has a lot of potential to deliver considering the talent involved in the ring, and as I just basically laid out I don’t think a loss will hurt Team Club here. I suspect that Edge unveils his newest member (Ciampa, perhaps?) and steals another win, in part because I think creative is far more invested in Edge, Inc. than in Styles & Friends.

WINNER: The Judgment Day

Ezekiel vs. Kevin Owens

Image Credit: WWE

Okay, I’ll be honest; if you have told me before it happened that Elias would be returning as his twin brother — or Elias pretending to be his twin brother — I would not have had high hopes for his chances at success. It sounds like the kind of thing someone would suggest as a joke to Vince McMahon that he latched onto and decided to make a real thing. And yet somehow, it’s been entertaining. That’s down to three things, really. For one, Ezekiel is selling the shit out of this storyline and just having fun with it. For another, it’s being treated exactly like the dumb thing it is in storyline, which gives fans permission to enjoy it instead of trying to take it seriously. And third, Kevin Owens is doing everything he can to help Ezekiel get the whole thing over. Owens and Ezekiel are just great feud partners, and while there have certainly been some potholes in this angle I think it’s been way more enjoyable than it has had any right to be. What’s more, the fans are reacting to it, and there’s no way WWE is going to ease off the gas on it. Owens delights the fan base every time he loses his mind over the Elias/Ezekiel thing, and this feud is far from done. That means that Ezekiel somehow wins, perhaps with some kind of gimmickry that suggests Elias helped him out just to drive Owens even further over the edge.

WINNER: Ezekiel

Bobby Lashley vs. Omos & MVP

Image Credit: WWE

One of my big concerns with this PPV is that too many of these feuds are ones that we’ve seen since WrestleMania. I’m all for long-term storytelling, but there is a difference between a storyline stretching out over multiple months with different twists and turns and what is essentially the same story repeating itself for for a few big events. Lashley vs. Omos and MVP seems to be more of the latter than the former. Lashley picked up the first win over Omos at WrestleMania; then Omos got the win at WM Backlash. That leads us to this match, our Handicap match where the odds seem heavily stacked against the All Mighty. There are two things about this match that I don’t believe. First, I don’t believe that this storyline is meant to extend past Hell in a Cell. WWE needs to start building to SummerSlam, and that means setting Lashley (and probably Omos) in new programs. And second, I don’t believe that WWE intends to have Omos win this match because they need someone who can contend for the main event titles. Omos would not work in such a position; Lashley would. To me, that makes this result seem clear: the odds will be overcome in classic babyface fashion, and Lashley will defeat MVP and Omos (probably more specifically MVP) to pick up the win. As for the quality of the match itself — well, fingers crossed, folks. That’s all I got to say.

WINNER: Bobby Lashley

No Holds Barred Match
Madcap Moss vs. Happy Corbin

Image Credit: WWE

Due to a personal matter I was not able to do a full preview for the No Holds Barred match between Madcap Moss and Happy Corbin that was announced on Smackdown. As a quick summary of it: Moss came back on Smackdown with a new attitude, slightly new look and new entrance music. There is absolutely no reason that he should lose this match, and absolutely no reason Corbin needs to win it. Moss should 100% win this match against Corbin definitively to establish his new return. If Corbin wins — and to be clear, I don’t think that will happen — then Moss is absolutely DOA literally 48 hours or less after he was brought back.

WINNER: Madcap Moss

WWE United States Championship Match
Theory vs. Mustafa Ali

Image Credit: WWE

At this point, it’s abundantly clear that WWE sees big things in Theory. If the company (and thus Vince McMahon) wasn’t certain about the former “son” of The Way’s chances as a star, he almost certainly would have been given up by this point. But that hasn’t happened, and to his credit Theory’s been doing everything he can to make the most out of the opportunities he’s been given. That includes his United States Championship run, which has helped move him past the first stages of his being the on-screen Chosen One of McMahon. Meanwhile, Mustafa Ali is back on television after a significant amount of time away where he had been public about wanting to be released. One has to imagine Ali wouldn’t have come back unless he had a compelling reason to do so, and I don’t think that ends with a loss to Theory and then dropping back down to Main Event matches. All that makes this an interesting match to predict. There’s no reason to doubt that it will be a fun match considering the talent involved. But in terms of the result, I can see arguments both ways. Giving Ali a run with the US Title would help put him in the position he clearly wants, and Theory could conceivably move further up. On the other hand, Theory’s reign is still young and I don’t know that WWE wants to push him higher yet. It’s more likely to me that Theory retains with help from The Miz, which may allow Ali to transition to a more direct Miz feud, and perhaps all three being competitors in the Money in the Bank match. While I would love to see Ali with a title right now, a Theory retention just makes more sense from WWE’s booking perspective.

WINNER: Theory (STILL WWE United States Champion)

Raw Women’s Championship Match
Bianca Belair vs. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch

Image Credit: WWE

We’re just going to ignore the elephant in the room that was the original plan for this match and the walkout that it led to. There’s been enough digital ink spilled over that whole fiasco, so instead we’ll look at what we actually do have. While Becky Lynch and Asuka may not have been the original plans for Bianca Belair’s Hell in a Cell title defense, it’s far from a bad idea. Belair’s second title reign has been off to an okay start, and putting her up against Lynch and Asuka certainly gives her a challenge to overcome in terms of storyline. Belair didn’t defend her title at WrestleMania Backlash, making this the first PPV defense of her title and it ups the stakes from her WrestleMania win. This match will be great in terms of the in-ring action; I have no doubt of that. And I also have no doubt of the result. There is no reason to hotshot the title back to Lynch at this point, and I think it’s clear WWE isn’t putting the title on Asuka yet. Hell in a Cell was always supposed to be a place where Belair retains and moves on to a more storyline-worthy match, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen here.

WINNER: Bianca Belair (STILL Raw Women’s Champion)

Hell in a Cell Match
Cody Rhodes vs. Seth “Freakin’ Rollins

Image Credit: WWE

Right now this is our main event, and it brings to mind the biggest question of this PPV: does Seth Rollins lose three matches in a row, or does Cody Rhodes’ momentum stumble a bit? Honestly, I can’t imagine either as a particularly good idea which is why I feel like this feud didn’t need to extend this long. Don’t get me wrong; Rollins and Rhodes make good opponents and feud partners, and what we’ve had from them has been pretty enjoyable. But it’s clear WWE wants to capitalize on Cody’s return as much as possible, and potentially play off his storyline of wanting to claim the WWE Championship his father never did. At the same time, while Rollins can take losses a third in a row to Cody would really trip him up. Rollins has much more experience than Rhodes inside the Cell, with Rollins’ only HiaC match coming way back in 2009 when he was part of The Legacy and lost a tag team match to D-X. But Rollins’ track record in them isn’t great either; he has one win (over Dean Ambrose), two losses (Edge & Owens), and whatever the match with The Fiend was. When these two guys get a chance to cut loose I don’t think they’ll disappoint us, and my gut tells me that WWE is leaning more into the American Nightmare while thinking that Rollins will be fine with a third loss. That’s how I expect this to go, with Cody standing tall to end the PPV.

WINNER: Cody Rhodes

And that’s all we have for WWE Hell in a Cell! I do still think we’re going to have at least one more match added in — perhaps Rousey’s title defense Natalya after her win on Smackdown — but WrestleMania Backlash was only six matches so who knows? It’s not the most consequential PPV but I will admit that after the relative marathon show that was AEW Double or Nothing (no slam on AEW, it was a fun show), I’m going to appreciate a shorter event. Thanks once again for reading and remember that we will have live coverage of the show courtesy our own Scott Slimmer right here on 411mania.com. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s Pride Month and I have to go ask Seth Rollins for some fashion tips so I’m looking my best for June…

Image Credit: WWE

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WWE Hell in a Cell, Jeremy Thomas