DEADSPIN: How WWE Cheapened Hell In A Cell


On Sunday, WWE hyped up its now annual Hell in a Cell pay-per-view event as the 20th anniversary of Mick Foley’s famous match with The Undertaker, where the former was thrown off of the top of the titular cage in one of the wildest stunts in wrestling history.

tumblr_ofwai1urMN1vdm64to1_r1_250This is not exactly true—the actual anniversary was June 28th and we’re closing in on the 21st anniversary of the first Cell match period, with Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels. For our purposes, though, it’s a nice excuse to examine the history of what’s become one of WWE’s signature gimmick matches, even if its utility has shifted dramatically over time.

The titular cell itself has been cited by both Michaels and then–WWE creative team member Jim Cornette as being inspired in large part by “The Last Battle of Atlanta,” a 1983 feud-ending bloodbath that happened to be the first match in a fully enclosed cage. In WWE in particular, this was a drastic change from the standard steel cage match because the industry leader had a fairly unique take on how the gimmick was executed. Almost everywhere else, cages were treated as impenetrable barriers surrounding matches that required a definitive winner, but in WWE, it was almost the opposite: The first wrestler to escape the cage won.

Originally, it worked, but only because it uniquely suited the persona of then-top star Bruno Sammartino. After he was phased out, WWE cage matches didn’t usually feel like violent feud-enders as much as … Read the Full Story HERE


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