Hell in the Cell 2012 reminds me why I gave up being a regular fan of the WWE a few years back. The draw of the annual event has always been the main event match that takes place in the Hell in a Cell itself, a mega sized enclosed cage that has produced some of the most memorable and brutal moments in WWE history. Sadly, the main event this year didn't deliver the anticipated encounter between John Cena and CM Punk, but instead hotshots the massively over and undefeated Ryback into the WWE title scene after Cena was unable to compete due to medical reasons. If a disappointing main event switch wasn't enough, the remainder of the event's card, largely made up of matches that would be mediocre on TV are the cement shoes that send this turkey to the bottom of the river.
The two highlights of the eight matches that comprise the event include the opening bout between Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio and the other title match late in the event between The Big Show and Sheamus. The former showcases a much more animated Randy Orton, who has been known to be lazy in the ring (the memory of a sign held up in the front row of an Orton match that read "Rest Hold" a few years back still makes me chuckle). The latter title match is an old fashioned physical encounter between two very large athletes and while it isn't pretty, it's not gimmicky nor corny. Also noteworthy, but technically mediocre is the tag match between Team Rhodes Scholars and Team Hell No, solely for the antics of Daniel Bryan, who works well as a comedy character paired with Kane, but still manages to show great technical skill.
The remainder of the evening are wholly mediocre offerings that would try one's patience if they were shown on free TV; sadly, as usual the penultimate match is a sloppy time killer pitting Eve Torres against Layla and Kaitlyn. Although for my money, there's little excuse for the tired antics of Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara in a match against The Prime Time Players nor the uneventful US title defense by Antonio Cesaro against Justin Gabriel, and on the flipside the Kofi Kingston and Miz bout for the Intercontinental title would have benefited greatly from five more minutes of match time, not the slightly rushed product. Nothing though is as bad as the poorly executed main event that struggles to keep the belt on CM Punk while not killing the momentum of Ryback. The no DQ rules of the match itself make the finish obvious, but the WWE swerves fans with an insulting and pointless conclusion. The pitiful bottom line is Hell in a Cell 2012 is a mishmash of mediocrity with even the best matches feeling like main event free TV offerings rather than premium quality and a sad reminder of how far the once mighty WWE brand has fallen; it's not late WCW bad, but at least WCW was an entertaining train wreck, this even is just plain boring.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer sports brilliant, rich color reproduction of the event itself. Detail levels are not as strong as something sourced from a modern HD broadcast should be, possibly due to some minor compression artifacts that seems to be the standard for WWE DVD releases (it's much better than a few years back).
The Dolby Digital English 5.1 audio is a solid, albeit non-mind-blowing experience. Commentary is front and center, but never mixed to overpower the sounds of the arena, nor do the mics focused on the in-ring action feel off-balance. A few matches in, and the sound isn't as immersive as being live (simply due to the constant commentary), but there's nothing to detract from the experience. A Spanish 5.1 track is also included.
The lone extra is an interview with Sheamus conducted by Matt Striker.
Two matches, slightly above what you'd get on free TV in terms of quality doesn't justify Hell in the Cell 2012's existence. In no uncertain terms this is a poor excuse for a major event, let alone purchase on DVD. Only the most fevered wrestling fan will be interested. Skip It.