The most unforgiving and evil structure in the WWE has its own Pay-Per-View these days. Yes, Hell in a Cell comes to Boston this Sunday and will surely be an entertaining spotfest that will have fans hoping that no one gets seriously injured. Much like the Money in the Bank ladder match and the Elimination Chamber (which also happens to be the most unforgiving and evil structure in the WWE) we now watch these gimmick matches with a tinge of concern for our sports entertainers. Our thirst for blood is only met with our sincerest sympathies in the Wellness Era, and now we have to ask ourselves if it’s all worth the risk.
Now now, I’m not saying that a dangerous wrestling match is a bad thing. I have a barbaric lizard brain just like any other red-blooded American. It’s just that the reward is worth less and less when this type of match is done again and again. We already had a Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania between Shane McMahon and The Undertaker, which was memorable. The match that sticks out in everyone’s mind is the Taker/Mankind match where Mrs. Foley’s baby boy was obliterated at the hands of the Deadman. Not a great match by traditional standards, but it set the bar as high as it could possibly go as far as extreme stunts are concerned.
Not to belittle everything in between, but I have trouble recalling any other specific Hell in a Cell matches in the past decade, simply because there have been so many. When a match has its own PPV and you have three or four Cell matches in one night, their significance starts to get a little blurry. As excited as I am for Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins to blow the roof off of the all encompassing cage, these great matches are perpetually being wasted on brand exclusive shows. Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles at Backlash was one of the greatest matches I’ve seen in recent memory, but it was squandered on a minor Pay-Per-View.
The marquee match in question between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg will, hopefully, not happen as soon as this Sunday. If the powers that be are smart, they will save such a mainstream contest for a major Pay-Per-View like Survivor Series. Although the Hell in a Cell format would more properly cater to the abilities and lack thereof of Goldberg, it would be wise not to rush the highest profile match of the year.
One match, however, is sure to be memorable based on historic significance alone. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte for the Women’s Championship is just another milestone in this burgeoning division. The Boss seems to be collecting these unprecedented moments, headlining a major NXT event as well as having the first ever IronWoman match. She is a Superstar of firsts, and the first ever Women’s Hell in a Cell match could be made even more revolutionary if it were to be the main event. Also, as much as I love the idea of people chanting “She’s hardcore. She’s hardcore. She’s hardcore,” after a reckless bump at the expense of Sasha Banks, we have to tread lightly. As tough as Sasha Banks is, let the records show that her body just isn’t build for the kinds of stunts she’s willing to do. Let’s hope that the first ever Women’s Hell in a Cell match doesn’t put the Boss back on the disabled list. Meanwhile, Charlotte will be the consistent and superb performer that she is. It’s bound to be great, as long as it doesn’t take anyone out of action.
From Shawn Michaels and Undertaker’s first Hell in a Cell match to now, Satan’s structure has lost its luster. Much like anything else in wrestling, to make something feel special, we can’t oversaturate it to the point where we can’t tell one instance from another. Charlotte and Sasha will be groundbreaking, but I would have much rather seen them battle in a Cell at the Royal Rumble or Summerslam to make it that much more monumental. The novelty of brand and stipulation specific Pay-Per-Views was cute, and it was a nifty enough idea for the PG era. But as we wean ourselves off of that safe space in the WWE that was the past 10 years, there needs to be a few more changes. The brand split and gimmick events only dilutes the impact of any given storyline. For both men and women to put their bodies through Hell for our amusement, they at least deserve a bigger stage.