Ah, Hell in a Cell. Time for bitter rivalries to see a bloody conclusion. Time for intense, dramatic feuds that have raged for months to see a fitting end, to satisfy fans who have been emotionally invested in both workers to witness the outcome. No doubt about it, there’s nothing quite as exciting as WWE’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.
From the start, I have to say that I try not to be one of those fans who does nothing but complain at every turn. Despite what WWE does, some people just cannot be happy unless they’re unhappy.
You know what I’m talking about, right? “John Cena sucks. Why is he always in the main event, why not someone else? Wait, CM Punk is in the main event? Come on, he‘s stale, we need someone new. Ryback? Oh, he‘s lousy, he doesn’t deserve it.”
You get the idea.
Trust me on this one, I’m not complaining. Just a little frustrated.
But, I’m old school. I grew up watching Jim Crockett Promotions, when feuds had a very clear beginning, middle and end. The more intensity two guys had, the longer the rivalry continued, and the bigger the payoff in the end.
And nothing was bigger than the cage match.
By the time the cage match took place, the feud had reached its boiling point. Two workers, locked inside four walls of steel, with only their grit and ability separating them from the three-count and victory. More often than not, this was the endpoint for the rivalry, the match that would wrap up all loose ends between both men.
WWE’s Hell in a Cell? A cage match multiplied by 10. No one can do it on the scale that Vince McMahon and company can, and an entire pay-per-view based around the match seemed like a novel concept, one that worked in almost every way.
The problem with the Cell match in today’s WWE is twofold.
One, there is no blood. Intentional juicing is not allowed anymore, so for me, the overall impact of the bout is lessened to a great extent. Now personally, I‘m not all that hungry for blood and guts as a fan. Ninety-five percent of the time I don’t believe it’s necessary to get color, so WWE’s stance on that matter doesn’t really concern me too much.
But for a brutal, punishing match like Hell in a Cell, or the Elimination Chamber, the believability factor for fans has be somewhat affected. Realistically, how many times must a wrestler’s head meet jagged steel, until he is eventually busted open?
The other issue with WWE’s current Cell match is one that leads directly to the pay-per-view coming up on Oct. 28 and has everything to do with my opening gripe with the company. Because for me, this event only has one match booked thus far that is even deserving of the Hell in a Cell.
Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio have only been feuding since the end of September, so this match does not exactly have a ton of history behind it. But, it definitely has more than the other matches on the card and for me that is a plus.
The fact is that with more time, with more of a connection between Superstars going into a match of this nature, the more of a connection fans will have to the outcome. Orton and Del Rio have that back-story working for them in this showdown, whereas CM Punk and Ryback do not.
Sheamus and Big Show have had some comedic moments, thanks to the Great White constantly making fun of his opponent. Sometimes it works, but so far it’s been a hit and miss. Some fans may actually be looking at this match and wondering why they should really care about it.
With Randy and Alberto however, there are no punch lines, no clever one-liners to worry about. Intensity is the name of the game and it always has been for Orton. His character is focused on dissecting his opponent, breaking him down piece by piece and then going in for the kill.
For Del Rio, who in many ways is still working for respect and relevancy in WWE, this feud is no joke. His character is in it to win.
WWE Champion CM Punk vs. Ryback has the spotlight right now, and Sheamus vs. Big Show has the World Title hanging in the balance. They are both solid, main event matches.
But I expect Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio to be hard hitting, dramatic, and well worth the price of admission. This match could be the sleeper of the night and perhaps even steal the show in terms of solid ring work overall.
The truth is, WWE’s PG era is likely not ending anytime soon, and the company just does not take the time that it used to in properly building a feud from day one. So we do not get the opportunity to see classic old-school rivalries have the big-match payoff, like we saw with Triple H and the Undertaker in the Cell at this year‘s WrestleMania. The same is true for the Hell in a Cell pay per view in eight days.
But Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio is the closest thing we have to the old-school build-up for this particular event. Here’s hoping each Superstar will bring their A game for this one.
And no matter what happens, I won’t complain. Promise.