Written By: Mark Armstrong
Running Time: 166 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 1
Studio: Clear Vision Ltd/Silver Vision
Released: January 16 2012
The biggest criticism of the Hell In A Cell PPV has been how several Cell matches have taken place where the combatants involved had no need to battle within the structure. Though 2009 and 2010 both hosted at least one HIAC bout where the issue between the combatants was worthy of the stipulation, neither of 2011’s caged battles could make such a claim, and the perception remains the same when watching it again.
Sheamus vs. Christian is a fun opener, and it gives Sheamus his first big win after a babyface turn in the summer. The subsequent battle of the Sin Caras is less entertaining; it’s actually considered one of the worst bouts of the entire year, and it sums up Cara’s 2011 as a whole.
Air Boom vs. Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler is okay but nothing more, and the first Cell match of the night, Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship, is average at best. Seeing Orton lose cleanly was a surprise to those assuming that he would soon regain the World Title; little did we know that Randy wouldn’t win another top prize for almost two years.
Cody Rhodes reintroduces the old-school Intercontinental Championship prior to an impromptu title defence against John Morrison. Natalya and Beth Phoenix forcing Kelly Kelly to scream in pain during her Divas Title loss to The Glamazon was presumably designed to put heat on the heels, but it feels both uncomfortable and pointless in hindsight (that’s quite a combination).
Finally, John Cena vs. CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio is another HIAC bout that is just alright, even if the finish is fairly creative. The post-match is more notable as The Miz and R-Truth (who had been fired at the time) storm the ringside area to destroy Cena and Punk and lock themselves inside the cage to unleash the beatdown. Most of the locker room greets them as they are arrested, and Triple H gets some shots in on the villains to end the night in a chaotic manner.
The memorable angle to close the show saves things here, because while only one match is truly terrible, there aren’t any really good bouts at all, and as noted earlier, neither of the championship rivalries warranted the huge cage. It all unfortunately results in the weakest Hell In A Cell PPV to date.
Overall Rating: 5/10 – Average