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Coming off the heels of the WWE Hell in a Cell Pay Per View, I have one question… Did anybody really care about this show? By all accounts, the matches seemed to be well reviewed and the show as a whole seems to be receiving good marks… But did this match feature anything that will move the WWE needle along?
And the answer is “NO” because everyone knew that this was a throwaway Pay Per View. Why?
(a) Its #1 star, Roman Reigns, had his Hell in a Cell match moved to WWE Smackdown.
(b) Next month’s Pay Per View, Money in the Bank, will be the first Pay Per View with live fans in attendance.
However, we have known this for YEARS… The non-Big 4 Pay Per Views are usually throwaways… WWE tends to save their big title switches for those shows and if any title switches happen otherwise, they are purely transitional.
There is a real problem with these non-Big 4 shows and it’s not so much that they aren’t treated with the honor or prestige as the Big 4…
The problem is that the Pay Per View theme derives the type of matches needed, NOT the wrestlers or storylines.
Could everyone go back to the Fall of 1997… Why was the first “Hell in a Cell” match created at WWE Badd Blood 1997? Wasn’t it to ensure that the heel, Shawn Michaels, would be unable to escape the Undertaker in a brand new steel cage type developed for this Pay Per View? There was a REASON why this match happened and NOT because it was a particular month. In fact, the show was called “Badd Blood” and had nothing to do with cage matches until the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels feud brought it up.
THAT is the problem. “Because it is June (formerly October), we must wrestle in Cage matches”. When Money in the Bank soon arrives, we’ll be forced to wrestle in a dangerous Ladder match involving weapons and furniture. In December, that’s TLC month. Oh great, we’re back to wrestling with ladders, weapons, and furniture except this time, for no serious reason because there are no briefcases with World Title contracts in them. How about when “Extreme Rules” comes around as a Pay Per View? That will be the month where everyone gets EXTREME even though on most Pay Per Views, many of the matches are No Disqualification anyway.
Could you imagine this at your workplace? You’re in an office setting and an accountant. Suddenly, for the month of September, you’re allow to THROW your office equipment at your co-workers. Wouldn’t it be hilarious to walk into a meeting, only to get blasted in the head with a stapler? How about this? We’ll put extra amounts of WAX on the floor during the month of November. Oh well if you slip and break your hip, it’s November and that’s when we CHANGE YOUR WORKPLACE CONDITIONS because he happens to be that particular month.
Seriously, that is what these STUPID gimmick themed Pay Per Views are all about. They change the workplace hazards for 1 month and because of the Pay Per View theme, the wrestlers have to endure it and have ZERO SAY on how dangerous these matches could be to them. In my examples above, you could report the throwing of office equipment or extra waxed floors to safety commissions due to them being workplace hazards. In the WWE? Nope… You go out there and take those Kendo Sticks like a man (or woman). Go ahead and jump off that cage, as that crash pad will catch you *wink**wink*. Take that those chairshots. Even though we no longer use them for headshots, your ribs and spinal cord will be less forgiving. Getting thrown through tables are fun! We buy thinner tables and gimmick them to break more easily. Don’t worry, the floor will catch your fall.
Oh – I guess this is the difference between being an employee or an independent contractor?
I’ve hired many independent contractors in my day, such as plumbers or carpenters… Not once were they ever asking me to make my house dangerous for them to work in as they were fixing my pipes or redoing my roof. No, in fact, they carefully surveyed the landscape before performing work in my house in the beginning and asked many questions beforehand. Last thing that they wanted was to get hurt on the job… Wrestling in cages, using Kendo sticks, going through tables, hitting people with chairs to the ribs, or other dangerous things are not safe.
The heart of this matter is “because it is June, we wrestle in cages”. That has to be stopped. Fine, if you want to keep Money in the Bank as an event because there is at least a purpose, albeit a dumb one with how the MITB winner cashes in, then fine… Keep Money in the Bank. But why have an entire Pay Per View full of cages when there is ZERO heat between the wrestlers to perform in cage matches that month and fans actually don’t want to see a full Pay Per View with nothing but cage matches either. Seriously, who wants to stare at that period blood colored monstrosity of a catch for 3 hours? And yes, that comment was misogynistic. I said the same thing about the WWE Universal Title being red in color, too.
Could you imagine UFC having any goofy gimmick matches for any of their Pay Per Views, let alone being uniform in the gimmicks for each match of a particular month’s shows? Dana White would get laughed out of the building if he tried that.
I know what many wrestling fans will say… “That is what makes wrestling unique…”
Well, then how is this onslaught of gimmick and weapons matches doing for your lately? Business keeps declining… We’ve LOST over 2 million RAW viewers over the past 6 years and now we’re seriously pushing below 1.8 million viewers per show as the norm. For Smackdown, that show can only barely draw 2 million viewers itself despite being broadcasted and available to 115 million households. Tickets are FAILING to sell for the July and August RAW, Smackdown, and houseshows. That “pent up COVID demand” just isn’t there by wrestling fans after enduring the AWFUL 2020 year full of AWFUL gimmick and weapons matches!!!!!
Go back to that Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker Hell in a Cell match at WWE In Your House – Badd Blood 1997. Aside from Michaels falling off the side of the cage, which had NEVER been done before, it was just an epic match that happened to be surrounded by a cage. THAT IS WHY IT IS GREAT. Then, fast forward to Undertaker vs. Mankind at WWE King of the Ring 1998. Why is that match so fondly remembered? Because what Mick Foley did in that match was REAL and damn near killed him. Both of those bumps were unexpected from everyone and 100% real and Foley has the scars and bodily damage to prove it. Fast forward to 2000… Does anybody remember that Hell in a Cell match that Foley had with Triple H? Not really… It was a decent match, but that “big bump” was clearly gimmicked. And that’s why all of today’s “big bumps” off of cages don’t work or are failing to be remembered years later.
People remember Michaels and Foley’s bumps, but they are NOT remembering recent bumps. I guess when there are CLEARLY Crash Pads below the area where the wrestler will safely land, it reduces the effect.
Now, am I advocating for Crash Pads to be taken away so that wrestlers can take REAL bumps? NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Matches should NOT have to be reliant on No Disqualification rules, Cages, Ladders/Tables/Chairs, Kendo Sticks, getting thrown through the Announcers’ Table, and other gimmicks to be great. These guys are FULLY TRAINED to deliver well executed matches. Why have wrestlers learn how to properly bump, use psychology, and work on their characters at the WWE Performance Center or NXT when all you need them to do is take bumps or weapons shots? Right now in Hollywood, there are plenty of Unemployed Stuntmen (and women) that you could hire if all you need is a big bump. Hell, there are Death Match wrestlers out there. Why not hire them? Why not pick up Nick Cage as a wrestler, as the WWE has never seen light bulbs used in a match.
We’re just getting ridiculous, WWE…
WWE Hell in a Cell used to be the October Pay Per View, just as Extreme Rules used to command June, July was for Money in the Bank, and TLC was in December. The idiotic impression that WWE gave fans was “well, it is October, time to force everyone to wrestle in a big cage match”. Just lame. You don’t just make your workplace conditions dangerous based on a terrible theme for a Pay Per View. I AM HOPING since Hell in a Cell no longer occupies that October spot that a BETTER Pay Per View name is possibly returning or SHOULD return.
For the older wrestling fans out there… Remember World Championship Wrestling (WCW)‘s Halloween Havoc? In fact, Eric Bischoff actually admitted to that show being his “Wrestlemania” in terms of big matches and storyline blowoffs compared to Starrcade. What was great about that show is that it occurred during October where Halloween legitimately happened. Wrestling fans could attend the event in costumes and it was a BIG PARTY. The costumes put fans in a great mood to cheer loudly throughout the shows and Halloween Havoc was always well received during that era (well, maybe not 1999).
And that’s what the WWE needs to focus on… Maybe they are emphasizing too many gimmicks inside the ring when they should be making it a FUN experience to the fans paying $40 or more outside of the ring. Halloween Havoc is obvious for October. Remember Great American Bash? Patriotic theme and the WWE had a few successful shows during the first half of the 2000s with as the theme. Proof positive! (Rehire Torrie Wilson to appear on its posters, too!) For the 1999 year, I always enjoyed the St. Valentine’s Day themed show. It was just something for an off-month of February to occur. Then, you have December… Sorry, but TLC needs to go. Why not create a brand new Christmas themed Pay Per View? “Christmas Bash”, “Holiday Havoc”, “Santa Slamboree”, or something like that. Make it a Christmas themed show… If that doesn’t work, just continue your great work providing shows in front of the Troops and make THAT the December Pay Per View.
Do something other than WATERING DOWN great gimmick matches such as Hell in a Cell, TLC, or other types of matches that are only needed when the confines of a regular match are exceeded. If a handful of regular matches don’t settle the score, then THAT is when you seek out a more violent match. Don’t do it because we’re on a certain month and that is the type of gimmick match that coincides with the Pay Per View theme. Furthermore, let’s REMOVE the No-Disqualification gimmick from Triple Threat and Fatal 4 Ways and force actual tags to happen again. We need “Legal Men” declared on those matches instead of the stupid bedlam rules which always has 1-2 participants acting like they have been knocked out on the outside anyway.
EVERYBODY knew that WWE Hell in a Cell was a “throwaway” Pay Per View. Now that the results are in, no major title changes happened and Roman Reigns vs. Rey Mysterio was actually moved to Smackdown. Need any more proof than that? Why risk your wrestlers’ health and safety when you don’t need that poorly colored cage anyway? Cage or not, because that gimmick has been WATERED DOWN, you’ll receive the same amount of viewers whether a gimmick exists for the match or not. WWE Smackdown for June 18th, headlined by a Pay Per View match moved to Smackdown, barely scored above 2.0 million viewers as if it were a normal Smackdown. IF that Hell in a Cell gimmick + the allure of having a Pay Per View match moved to a regular show truly was a draw, we’d be well above 2.0 million viewers. Instead, we appeared as if it was “business as usual” despite the Cage gimmick and the luxury of seeing a Pay Per View early.
The SAD THING is that the WWE Creative Team, consisting of 40 writers reportedly, is so creatively bankrupt that they have become reliant on these gimmick matches to briefly “pop” the numbers. I’m sure that WWE’s reported staffing of 50 statisticians are suggesting that these gimmicks “draw” as well, even though the Creative Team has to pile on multiple gimmicks per Pay Per View show just to draw any interest. The FACT is that WWE Creative + Vince McMahon are NOT setting up their wrestlers to succeed in regular matches and thus have to put them in more dangerous style matches to grab the public’s brief attention.
This is just like the hair band W.A.S.P.‘s lead singer Blackie Lawless once trying place a fireworks shooting device on his crotch to impress fans at a live show. The end result of this device gave many 2nd and 3rd degree burns. The best part is his quote to this band afterwards: “If we wrote better songs, I wouldn’t have to try something like this!”
If this great staff of 40 WWE Creative Team writers + Vince McMahon had better Creative, then gimmick matches or gimmick match Pay Per Views wouldn’t be needed in excess. If WWE Developmental provided the WWE with better Main Event ready superstars over the past decade, then maybe WWE wouldn’t have to be so reliant on gimmick matches to cover up their inability to draw.
For the WWE’s reported team of 50 statisticians… The numbers don’t lie. It is a FACT that WWE has lost MORE THAN HALF of their North American audience since 2015. STUDY THAT, nerds! Study how these gimmick Pay Per Views aren’t drawing extra WWE Network subscribers but it’s someone performing in WRESTLING MATCHES, like a superstar named Brock Lesnar, that does.
But all of you Internet “fans” won’t hold the WWE accountable for its own stupidity like I do and thus the WWE will keep delivering CRAP to you. Crap is exactly what you deserve. I hope that you enjoy the Crap Sandwiches that Vince McMahon kindly delivers to you consistently while he easily steals your money.
I will give the WWE some credit, though… At least for last year’s WWE Extreme Rules 2020, they at least advertised that event correctly as the “Horror Show”… It is hard to see such honesty from the WWE these days!
So just chill… Until the next episode!
Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow and Tweet me @titowrestling or login in below to post comments.
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