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Wrestling Soap Box: Are Steel Cage Matches Dead?



Wrestling Soap Box: Are Steel Cage Matches Dead?

 

There is no other encounter in professional wrestling that signifies the pinnacle of a feud more than the steel cage match. Its confines are unforgiving and blood shed is a virtual guarantee. Villains of bravado and champions of heroic destiny square off in this last resort encounter where the referee’s three count is not enough. Finish your opponent or escape the cage is often your only option for victory. In two weeks, CM Punk will defend the WWE title against Ryback. This match has everyone talking for a variety of reasons but none of them include the Hell in a Cell itself. This makes me wonder; are Steel Cage matches dead?

 

Magnum T.A. vs. Tully Blanchard, Undertaker vs. Mankind, Bruno Sammartino vs. Larry Zabyszko and Jimmy Snuka vs. Don Muraco are just some of the caged classics that will never be forgotten. The match itself has evolved over the years but the style over substance approach the matches are booked with these days are causing its devolution. Instead of being the main attraction, they are a meaningless spectacle used to garner a quick buck or to pop a rating.

 

Pay-per-view events such as Lockdown and Hell in a Cell cheapen what is supposed to be a worth wild affair. Would you rather watch a cage match because it means something or simply because it is the month of October? War Games, which only happened once a year, was the exception because it involved two teams battling it out in gang warfare since faction dominance was the norm in that era.

 

Fireworks are fun to watch but you forget about them as soon as they are over. It’s the same thing with cage matches today. The Undertaker vs. Triple H match at Wrestlemania 28 didn’t need to be inside the cell and they barely used the apparatus to heighten the match. I understand they had already wrestled twice and needed something special the third time around but it was merely window dressing.

 

CM Punk and Jerry Lawler worked a cage match on the 8/27 episode of Raw. Here was the buildup to the match. The King demands an apology. Punk challenges him to a match instead. Lawler thinks about it and accepts the challenge later in the show. One Raw Active Twitter poll later and we have ourselves a Steel Cage match. It was a good TV main event but why was it in a cage? To get Punk over as a heel? He blindsided the beloved Jerry Lawler with a kick to the head and he is the best promo in business. The cage enhances nothing in this situation. It doesn’t take away anything from this particular match either but it dilutes the entire steel cage concept.

 

Why are these matches not as special as they use to be? Are random gimmicks required to captivate today’s wrestling fan? Is the UFC to blame since all of their fights occur in the cage; causing fans to be desensitized to anything they see in a chain length fence? Perhaps we’ve seen everything a steel cage match can offer and it just doesn’t matter anymore? Making the concept completely disappear for three years could ignite the excitement the match once garnered. If you don’t see something for a while you tend to miss it. Then again, maybe it’s too late and it’s just another stipulation to throw in to the mix.

 

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6 Responses

  1. Really? says:

    I think Lockdown is TNA’s best show almost every year. I still think cage matches CAN be special. They are thrown around too much, yes, and they are a lot harder to pull off in a PG, bloodless environment.

  2. Nick says:

    I agree with everything you say about one thing: I think Lockdown actually manages to present the cage match as something great. Much like the Royal Rumble is special as an annual event, by putting the cage matches on one card, it makes that card standout. It’s basically the second biggest PPV of TNA’s year, even if this year’s main event was disastrous.

  3. Dragon says:

    I must agree the cage match has definitely lost its appeal in years due to the over exposure. The Hell In a Cell use to be the end of ends. to see one was a big deal and a rare occurrence. Now its just another PPV to wait for. I remember seeing Batista and Taker in the HiaC at the survivor series in Miami, I felt like I was seeing something special. Not so much the match itself but just that I was seeing a HiaC live and even then it was already being overused in recent years, but it was still in a way at random. Once the HiaC became a PPV, the match lost its luster. Even getting to see HHH/Taker in Miami live the HiaC just wasnt as special even though I must say the feel of the match was the most intense match ive ever been for live but the cage was just scenery in my view. It also dosent help that due to the PG rating the cage dosent get as bloody as it used to.
    Back in the day seeing a cage match meant the feud was at its peak and reaching a boiling point. It meant you were gonna see something brutal and violent. Seeing a Hell in a Cell meant that the 2 men in the match wanted each other dead. The Hell in a Cell used to make careers and break bones. Now it all has been cheapened to just another PPV and the 2 guys in the match have run out of other possible matches.

  4. Atlee Greene says:

    Thank you all for reading!

    @Really: You bring up a great point about the PG direction of the show.

    @Nick: Lockdown is usually a fun event to watch for sure. I completely agree with you on this years main event.

    @Dragon: I never seen a HITC match in person but I got to imagine it is an impressive sight. I got to see the cage match between Steve Austin & Rikishi (Stemming from Rikishing running over Austin in 1999) and it was amazing to watch in person even though people felt it didn’t come across well on TV.

  5. Scott says:

    I think you can blame PG for that. I’m usually one to say “Don’t blame PG”, but I think this is one exception. Yeah, maybe there is also too many of these matches, but at the same time, when you have limitations on what you can or can’t do, it hurts it.

  6. Gene says:

    Learn to just watch and let things go. Either just enjoy it or stop watching. Stop over analyzing it

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