I was going to write an article about this but was going to save it for a later time when I didn’t have anything else to write about. However, after Monday night there isn’t a much better time to get this out there. I believe the steel cage match is in drastic need of a makeover.
The steel cage match as a premise is awesome. Taking something that already involves two men beating the hell out of each other and making it more brutal by surrounding them in tons of steel is one of the best ideas wrestling promoters have come up with.
Unfortunately the execution of the premise is less than great. Here are the main problems with the current format of the steel cage match. I am going to use the Batista vs Mysterio, Sheamus vs Orton vs Barrett, and last night’s Cena vs Riley matches as examples because in all honesty I don’t feel like doing more research and those matches are the ones I can remember off the top of my head.
Win by walking through the door
This is easily the biggest problem with the steel cage match. Is there a more anticlimactic way to end such a suspenseful match? The idea that someone can win the match simply by walking through the door is just ridiculous. Why even try to climb the cage at all? If you have the energy to climb the cage you would have more than enough energy to just walk out a door.
Not only that but it makes the wrestlers seem like a bunch of idiots. If your opponent is climbing the cage and is struggling to make it up, why try and climb up after him and pull him down when you could just go through the door uncontested. Batista tried this in his match against Mysterio but of course was too tired to make it out in time and Mysterio shut the door on him. Considering how much faster Mysterio is than Batista, when Batista tried to climb the cage Mysterio could have been out the door before Batista reached the top of the cage.
I am willing to suspend some beliefs while watching wrestling, for example the idea that two men could take such a brutal beating because that is what they are supposed to do. I cannot get over the spots that make wrestlers look like a bunch of clueless meatheads. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this flaw out and exploit it. At one point Riley was seriously struggling to get over the cage and Cena hopped up and fought him back down when he could have just walked through the door.
Then later in the match he walked right through the door. The worst, however, was during the triple threat cage match. How many spots were there when two men were fighting at the top of the cage then the third man brilliantly went up to fight both men. Both men are clearly distracted, why not just walk through the door?
It can’t be argued that it is because it is an “unmanly” way to win because both matches were decided by the winner simply walking through the door. It took them about five seconds to do so.
Climbing the cage
Ladder matches suffer a bit from this as well. After seeing wrestlers doing all sorts of athletic maneuvers around the ring, wrestlers all of a sudden become very clumsy when trying to climb the cage/ladder. How many times do we see someone set up a ladder, climb the first two steps, then reach up just to fall three or four inches short of the briefcase? OK, you’re tired, but you can’t take one or two more steps?
I doubt they are concerned about OSHA regulations. When it comes to steel cages, wrestlers consistently get to the top of the cage and take forever to make it over. Does the change in altitude make harder? Considering how fast Mysterio is he probably could have just hopped up on the turnbuckle and climbed out before Batista could even blink an eye. And there were a few spots where it looked like he was going to do just that, until he reached the top of the cage.
One of, if not the most agile wrestler in the business takes that long to get over the cage? I understand how anticlimactic it would be if Mysterio just climbed out and won within three minutes of the match starting but maybe they shouldn’t be involved in a steel cage match in the first place.
The worst offender of this is easily the triple threat match. Again, how many times were two men battling it out at the top of the cage only to have the other wrestler come in and join the fight? Even if there is no door to walk though, why wouldn’t the other wrestler just start climbing up the other side of the cage? Who is going to stop them?
The next thing that doesn’t make sense are the spots where wrestlers are battling at the top of the cage, one wrestler knocks the other down to the ring only to climb back down and continue the fight in the ring. You’re already at the top, you’re opponent is down, JUST CLIMB OVER THE CAGE!
I cannot stress this enough. I can suspend some beliefs but I cannot believe that the same people we see performing some incredibly athletic feats are just a bunch of bumbling, uncoordinated idiots.
I’m not sure what the WWE can do to fix the steel cage completely. The door most certainly has to go and triple threat matches just don’t seem to work. Climbing the cage makes the match much more suspenseful but I just think it could be executed better. All in all, right now the steel cage match is much better conceptually than physically.