5 Ways WWE can make Hell in a Cell feel more important
One of the most plaguing issues about the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view over the years is the fact that a large number of matches happened simply because the annual event was on the calendar.
Many matches occurred not because they were warranted by hatred-filled rivalries between the two participants, but because they had a PPV with the name of the match and thus had to use it.
The Undertaker and CM Punk had their first-ever meeting in a Hell in a Cell match, after only a few brief weeks of interaction. Punk was the Heavyweight Champion and the eponymous PPV was coming up, so the match was put in the Cell.
The match was about 10 minutes long and the cage wasn't used at all. Punk also wrestled Ryback two years in a row at the event (once in a handicap match where Paul Heyman teamed with Ryback).
What reason did those matches have to be inside the Cell? Roman Reigns and Rusev had a few interactions, and suddenly they were locked inside the giant cage.
Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy had a minor grudge, but since the PPV event was on its way and it was for the World Title, it was inside the Cell. The Undertaker and Shane McMahon were inside Hell in a Cell just because they wanted Shane O'Mac to reprise his role as "guy who falls from high places."
That's not to say that a lot of the matches didn't turn out to be good, because some of them were. Some of them were great, really. But they could have done matches that were identified if they weren't inside the gigantic, scary-looking cage.
There have been a few warranted ones, such as Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks in 2016. They spent months getting more and more violent, which led to the Hell in a Cell making perfect sense.
Same goes for Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman, and even Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens made enough sense to be inside the structure (mostly on top, actually, but it was still cool).
The Usos and New Day had an incredible match, and it came after months of being at each others' throats, and they used their environment very creatively, in a match that could only happen inside that cage.
This year, neither match has enough build behind it to be inside the Hell in a Cell, however the character of Bray Wyatt's Fiend lends itself to being put inside the Devil's Playground. Becky and Sasha, while they have some history, it isn't personal and intense enough to have them step inside the cage. So what can be done to make the show, and the matches themselves, feel more important?
#5 Better utilize the Cell
One of the reasons the Hell in a Cell match became so popular was the fact that they utilized the steel mesh cage in some very creative ways. Be it the original Cell match that saw Undertaker launch Shawn Michaels into it over and over into the cage, Mankind being thrown off the top and then later chokeslammed (unintentionally) through the top and into the ring (which was emulated by Foley and Triple H on purpose two years later).
Later that same year, the end of 2000, Rikishi was chokeslammed off the top of the Cell by The Undertaker. In 2002, Triple H defeated Chris Jericho with a Pedigree on top of the cage.
Paul Heyman was kept out of the match during the Lesnar/The Undertaker match but still found a way to get involved when The Beast Incarnate used Heyman's belt to tie Undertaker to the side of the Cell and destroy his already broken arm with a chair.
Later matches, such as Triple H and Shawn Michaels vs. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, Jr was just a regular Tornado Tag Match that easily could have taken place outside of the cage, but it had to happen inside, since it was the inaugural Hell in a Cell event and they wanted to do three matches inside the structure.
The match was quite good but actually may have been less special because of the fact that it was shoehorned into the cage. Randy Orton and Sheamus barely left the ring in 2010. Neither did Randy Orton and Mark Henry in 2011 (although they still had an absolutely great match, the cage was just window dressing). Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt spent a lot of time outside the ring, but largely avoided the steel that surrounded them. Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins had a reguar match in 2016.
The matches were inside the Hell in a Cell because the pay-per-view has to have those matches, so a pair of guys often get thrown in there and just have standard, run-of-the-mill wrestling contests.
If the pay-per-view has to happen yearly, at least utilize it for more than a guy taking one or two Irish whips into the cage before they spend the rest of time in the ring.