It’s Hell Week here at With Spandex, and we’re bringing you caged content every day as a build to the pay-per-view event named after a match that’s just like a cage match, but with more cage. We plan on surrounding you with Hell in a Cell-themed content, much like the 25-foot-tall structure that surrounds the ring and ringside area. Enjoy!
Monday: 5 Feuds That Would Have Been Great Inside Hell in a Cell
Tuesday: The WWE Legends Who Should Have Had A Hell In A Cell Match And Never Did
Wednesday: Bygone WWE Hell in a Cell Match Variations That Need To Make A Comeback
Thursday: Hell in a Cell Predictions and Analysis
When WWE first introduced Hell in a Cell in 1997, it was clearly heightening the traditional cage match which, in turn, heightened a regular wrestling match. WCW attempted to heighten Hell in a Cell with the Triple Cage Match in 2000 which was, technically, heightening, though it hasn’t aged well.
The Triple Cage Match was essentially Hell in a Cell at the bottom with a ladder that was used to get to the second cage which was a regular cage match (I guess?), then you had to get out of that to go to the last cage which had a bunch of weapons so it was like a hardcore match (??). Those WWE fan marketing surveys they send out has never asked us if we missed the Triple Cage Match because, well, we don’t.
Since the Triple Cage Match didn’t accomplish what it set out to do (heighten from Hell in a Cell), what’s left? Is the Cell as good as it gets in terms of cage matches? TNA’s Steel Asylum didn’t work and WCW’s Asylum match is a very bad idea since a) there’s no ropes, b) the ring is smaller, and c) everything else.
(By the way, best part from that link is within 30 seconds of the circular cage being lowered you can hear Shane Douglas shout, “Open the damn cage”. No, Shane. That’s the point.)
The Lion’s Den was a step backwards, Punjabi Prison needs to be locked up forever and ever, and this match almost makes me wish nobody ever attempted anything but a regular match in a regular ring:
So, what’s the future of Hell in a Cell and gimmick matches that employ some sort of cage?
One way to make Hell in a Cell better is to increase the number of people, the amount of cage, and add a ring. War Games is coming back, and that might be the answer we’re looking for here.
And how can we miss something that won’t leave? The most distance we’ve had between Cell matches was about 17 months 15 years ago (that fun 6-man match from Armageddon December 10th, 2000 and that … less-fun HHH vs. Chris Jericho match on May 19th, 2002). Since then, we’ve had at least one Cell match a year. That’s too many.
Absence makes the Cell grow fonder, and shifting the frequency here might be the solution. From 2006 to 2010 there was just one Hell in a Cell a year, and it never occurred at the same pay-per-view (Unforgiven, SummerSlam, Survivor Series) or even the same month (September, November, August) until the annual Hell in a Cell pay-per-view was created in 2009.
For the Cell to continue surviving, a return to this form would be nice. Let’s put Satan’s structure on ice for a few years and use it the next time it can be treated as a character in the storyline (see: Undertaker vs. HHH at WrestlemMania 28), as opposed to “it’s October and October is scary so whatever we got is going in the Cell.”
Pull the Hell in a Cell flag out of October’s well-tilled soil and stuff it in storage for at least a couple years. Bring it back with purpose, like for a vacant title or a retirement match, or (warning: really stupid idea that I kind of love coming at ya) have a Money in the Bank in Hell in a Cell match. The briefcase is another idea that could use a life raft, and pressing pause is the most efficient way to do make old things new again.