Hell in a Cell has never been one of the WWE’s top PPVs but there was a time when the fans were looking forward to the event because it had a dangerous appeal. This year, during the build up to Hell in a Cell, the main talk was on how disappointing the show was going to be and how much more interesting Survivor Series sounded. Now, the day after what the WWE wanted to be a monumental HIAC edition, not only featuring, but being main-evented by the first ever women’s Hell in a Cell match, the majority of the WWE fans seem to voice nothing but disappointment. What went wrong and should the WWE let one of its most iconic concepts go?
The main problem with Hell in a Cell is that the PPV has lost its edge. The gorey, insanely dangerous matches that the likes of the Undertaker, Mankind and Kane pulled off inside the HIAC structure in the 90s are a thing of the past. What used to make the show so popular was the promise of blood and career-threatening spots off the top of the cell. Since the WWE is PG and blood is out of the question, and the company is paying much more attention to possible health risks, all of the excitement had drained out of the product. This year the WWE tried to replace quality with quantity. They hoped that somehow 3 Hell in a Cell matches would sound more exciting to the fans than one. That, however, wasn’t the case. All the fans had to say after the PPV was: “Three Hell in a Cell matches and not a single drop of blood?” Now, the company cannot be faulted for wanting to protect its talent and not giving top of the cell spots a go. However, without the two most compelling features of the Hell in a Cell fight taken out of the picture, it might be a sensible idea to scrap the entire concept altogether.
The 2016 Hell in a Cell PPV is getting a lot of criticism. Yet, the one common thing that was wrong with the three main event matches was that they were all inside a Hell in a Cell. Reigns vs. Rusev is under fire with people claiming it was a boring match, when in reality, it was a good effort by both performers. Two heavyweights violently beating each other would have satisfied most on a normal day but because it was a HIAC match, it wasn’t enough. The blood was missing. Rollins vs. Owens was one of the best matches of the night. In that fight, the Hell in a Cell was simply unnecessary. The main storytelling device was Jericho but his involvement could have been done in a simple no DQ match. HIAC just didn’t add to the segment. And as for Sasha vs. Charlotte, would there have been as much criticism towards that match if it wasn’t branded as ”the first ever of its kind”, a “historical moment in wrestling”? Overall, neither one of the three main events gained any benefits from being in the Hell in a Cell structure. Would it not have been more profitable, if the entire PPV had been based on a different concept that would actually attract the attention of the fans?
The main trump card the WWE planned to use at this year’s HIAC was the first ever women’s Hell in a Cell match. The problem is that it seems to have backfired. Yes, allowing women to set foot inside a historically memorable structure, such as HIAC is a sign of respect. Making that the last match on the show was a huge vote of confidence. The WWE used Hell in a Cell this year to make a statement in favour of women in wrestling. Charlotte and Sasha gave their all and had no mercy for each other. The match was as violent as they get, despite the well-publicised health concerns for the Boss. Yet, the fans were unhappy. Bad booking decisions and uncooperative props were mainly to blame. However, it served to create the ridiculous idea that women aren’t that good in that environment and if they are put in other heavy gimmick matches, it would be for political reasons only. In the end of the day, the use of HIAC only made the fans more eager to criticise. And so the last move Hell in a Cell had to play, in order to revitalise its image, got destroyed by the fans’ overzealous rebellion towards the WWE’s perceived attempts to influence opinions.
It seems like the Hell in a Cell concept has nothing new to offer and whatever good it did the company is already history. Therefore, it might be high time the WWE said goodbye to HIAC and welcomed a new concept to signify the acceptance of change that comes with the New Era.
Do you think Hell in a Cell should be done again next year? Leave a comment and let us know!
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