The Steel Cage match has a reputation for being one of the more brutal matches in all of professional wrestling. At the 2012 Royal Rumble, Daniel Bryan retained his World Heavyweight Championship in a Steel Cage match in the opening bout of the pay-per-view.
But was the stipulation of the match really necessary?
First off, this is the Royal Rumble. This is the one PPV where fans will purchase the show regardless of what the undercard is. Yes, the undercard is still important. However, the major selling point of the show is always the Royal Rumble match.
That said, the Steel Cage stipulation was, indeed, unnecessary. As far as selling the PPV, I can't imagine that the Steel Cage surrounding the ring did anything to convince fans to buy the show anymore than a traditional Triple Threat match would have.
What's more is that the stipulation didn't add all that much to the match itself.
Daniel Bryan, Big Show and Mark Henry did a good job of using nearfall moments to create an exciting atmosphere for their opening match. Whether it was one of them almost getting a pinfall or coming close to escaping the cage, they added an exciting dynamic to the match.
In my opinion though, the only close call that involved the cage was the one that involved Bryan and Big Show in the finishing sequence. Because of this, I stand by the fact that the Steel Cage didn't add much of anything to the match.
All in all, this match served to be a solid opening to one of WWE's biggest PPVs of the year. I believe that the match could have been just as good without the Steel Cage element. Even more so, a gimmick match like this seems unnecessary on this show simply because the show is sold by the Royal Rumble while the rest of the card is icing on the cake.
The Steel Cage stipulation has a lot of value to both PPV and television matches as it can add a brutal and exciting dynamic. But to use the stipulation as part of an undercard match that is a major focal point dilutes the concept.
Honestly, Daniel Bryan defending his World Heavyweight Championship against these two behemoths inside a Steel Cage is certainly a draw. When it comes down to it, the concept was wasted on this PPV.