KELLER’S TAKE: Why more than one Hell in a Cell match is a bad idea with diminishing returns

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


Two-thirds of respondents in our PWTorch Poll believe that having three Hell in a Cell matches on one PPV is “overkill” and “waters down” the concept. I agree.

Last Monday WWE announced that besides Roman Reigns vs. Rusev settling the sore in the HIAC structure at the HIAC PPV on Oct. 30, Sasha Banks would defend the Women’s Title against Charlotte and Kevin Owens would defend the Universal Title against Seth Rollins.

Wade Keller, editorWWE seems to be a in a mode where any “brainstorm” in a creative meeting on how to “move the needle” on WWE Network subs by offering “something special” to the Universe is not just considered, but rubber stamped.

The HIAC concept should be protected as something for just the absolute most intense and heated rivalries, with the idea being there is no way to settle this rivalry without the structure to keep the combatants inside (although really the structure is more of a playground than a way keep wrestlers inside). Having three lowers the bar on what constitutes an HIAC-worthy feud in general, and the night of the event, it’s going to be more difficult for each pair of wrestlers to get the attention of fans as they grow increasingly numb to the structure.

It’s going to be a challenge for the three pairs of wrestlers to each utilize the cage in a novel way without going so far to try to “one up” each other or execute moves “never before seen” to try to justify their inclusion in the cage. The mindset that some wrestlers have these days (most?) that getting a “This is awesome!” chant is validation is disheartening.

There are occasions where “This is awesome!” is a good thing, such as two wrestlers in a dream match about to lock up. That’s fans saying they’re excited and enthralled with what’s about to happen. But getting a “This is awesome!” chant during a series of highspots or because of a big dangerous spot in a match like HIAC isn’t the type of response that indicates fans are engrossed in the story you’re telling. They’re reacting to a special effect rather than the drama of the plot playing out where they’re invested in the swings of momentum with a desire to see someone win and the other lose.

I hope that WWE, a week from Sunday, can device three distinct HIAC matches, minus crazy stunt bumps, that can hold the interest of fans without excessive risks or just ridiculous one-upmanship (or one-upwomanship!) from one match to another.

I hope they sell, sell, sell big spots, and don’t do one spot after another that, by any reasonable gauge, should be the end of a match. After all, the next night on Raw, and every week thereafter, they’ll be working hard to get fans invested in regular moves inside a regular ring, so three HIAC matches in one night can dull fans to the sense that any of the regular moves count for much.

There’s a lot more to lose with three HIAC matches in one night than there is to gain. I agree with the PWTorch reader voting, three is too many. So is two. Ideally, the HIAC structure would be taken out once or twice every year or two, not on a set date, and only when a feud really took off and the HIAC announcement came as a surprise, not “on schedule.”

What do you think?…

Do you endorse WWE having three Hell in a Cell matches on one PPV? free polls

2 Comments on KELLER’S TAKE: Why more than one Hell in a Cell match is a bad idea with diminishing returns

  1. Couldn’t agree more. I especially fear for the women. Not chauvinistically, but because of how Sasha (miscast as a face)uses less and less psychology and more spots in her matches. I hate the fact that WWE even named a PPV after the match when there are so many WCW names to choose from.

  2. This is a fair assessment. I’ve never understood the reasoning for centering PPVs around a theme that involves a physical object (HIAC, EC, etc…) It essentially neuters any feud that takes place in these environments. The cage/cell/whatever should be used as a means to definitely end a feud wherein the heel needs his comeuppance, or where there are so many people involved in a feud that there is no other way to contain them, regardless of face/heel status. Whatever the case, it should most definitely not be used solely as a marketing tool to fill in 1/19 PPV slots per year. And when the device IS used, it should be sold as PUNISHMENT for all involved. The way HIAC is being presented right now just feels so… shallow.

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