Thursday, October 29, 2015

It's Time to Put Hell in a Cell in Mothballs for a While

Without proper gravitas, the cell becomes just another obstruction for clear viewing
Photo Credit: WWE.com
I pose to you a thought experiment. Imagine both the Hell in a Cell matches from the titular pay-per-view. Now, imagine them happening in a regular environment, no cage-with-a-lid. Would they have been any different? Would they have been less impactful? Nominally, the Roman Reigns/Bray Wyatt match may have needed the cage as a story mechanism to keep the Family out, and they used the cage for a few spots in the match. But was it enough to warrant the use of the cell? Undertaker and Brock Lesnar used the cell even less.

The stark truth is that while both feuds in theory could have used the cell, neither one of them would have had it for their matches if the pay-per-view gimmick didn't call for it. Some gimmick matches, like Elimination Chamber or the Royal Rumble, make sense being done on a yearly basis. But Hell in a Cell is not something to set on the calendar. By its design, it's meant to fit into a story, whether to increase the violence or to keep people out. Granted, the latter function has been rendered useless by WWE's reliance on deus ex machina. Foreign parties have been able to interfere with cage matches, lidded or not, with regularity for years now. Still, a little course correction could make the norm in cage matches a little more solitary, but that's getting off-task.

Overuse of a gimmick match dilutes its power, but taking one for a specific use and putting it in a generalized schedule nerfs it altogether. One needs not look back any further than last year when John Cena and Randy Orton had the most basic wrestling match in the world that just happened to be inside of the cell structure. Once the cell is used for such mediocrity, all the structure becomes is a visual obstruction for the live crowd.

That's why Hell in a Cell needs to go bye-bye for awhile. It needs to cease being a yearly pay-per-view, and it needs to be rehabilitated and re-romanticized through passage of time before it can become a part of WWE's parlance once again. My guess is the audience won't miss it.  Hell, I bet most of the people watching will forget it's even a thing if WWE stops using its promotional machine to remind people it exists. But something that should have become one of WWE's signature gimmick matches has become Just Another Thing™, and to me, that's depressing.