In the buildup for WrestleMania this year, there was a moment where Triple H declared that if he would be fighting Undertaker again, it would have to be in a Hell in a Cell match. This was supposed to be a very important statement and carry a lot of weight with it. (You could tell because Triple H said it with his serious face on) The idea was that the invoking of the Hell in a Cell stipulation would bring with it the history of Hell in a Cell matches, and the idea that this type of match is a feud ender. Unlike steel cage matches, and most other types of matches on the roster, the idea behind Hell in a Cell is that the only way for the match to end is for one wrestler to truly beat the other. In an organization that thrives on questionable referee decisions, outside interference, disputed victors, and whatever else they can use to further a feud and a storyline, the Hell in a Cell concept would be the type of match that truly determined who was the best. There should be no need for complaining, or cries of rematches from the loser. A victor in a Hell in the Cell match is truly the victor of the feud. Or at least that’s the way you are supposed to feel when Hell in a Cell is mentioned (remember: serious face)
The thing is, now Hell in a Cell is just another gimmick match, on an ever-growing list. It’s a steel cage match with a lid on it. The Hell in a Cell PPV means that every year, (for the past three and the foreseeable future) around October, we will be getting a handful of Hell in a Cell matches no because there are feuds that can be solved no other way, but instead simply because it’s that time of the year again.
This is not necessarily an indictment of the gimmick PPV. Some gimmicks work fantastically for this kind of setup, the Royal Rumble being a perfect example. The Rumble is set up to start feuds, not end them, and with it’s placement so near WrestleMania, the idea that a scheduled event needs to happen to kickoff that Road to WrestleMania. Same thing goes for Money in the Bank. As an event that is build around giving wrestlers a shot at the title, it would make sense for this to take place at a scheduled time during the year.
I say all of that to say this. This year’s Hell in a Cell match for example is between CM Punk and Ryback, two guys who have never faced each other in the ring. There is no long-standing rivalry here for these two to settle, no feud so great that a normal match won’t cut it. In fact just a few weeks ago you had never seen these two characters interact with one another at all. To be fair, with Cena still circling the title scene, this match may very well end the short term rivalry between Punk and Ryback, but it’s not a feud with a buildup worthy of the Cell. If we are supposed to take the Triple H serious face seriously when he mentions Hell in a Cell, then you need to keep some of the prestige that goes with the match. And every year you have a match take place with Hell in a Cell stipulations, not to end a feud or declare an unquestionable winner, but instead just because it’s October, you chip away at that prestige a little bit at a time until at last, Hell in a Cell becomes nothing more than “That time of year again.”
Unrelated Thought: Just to be perfectly clear, AJ has stepped down from her role as GM due to allegations of fraternizing with some of the wrestlers. Whether they are true and regardless of who the wrestler in question may be, we are to believe that this is the sort of thing that the board of directors would frown upon. So lets take a quick look at AJ in the weeks right before she was offered the job of GM in the first place. She had over the previous several weeks, been seen, on camera, “fraternizing” with at least three of the current roster. She had even locked lips with some in the ring in front of thousands of live witnesses. She had proposed to one wrester, live in the ring, and then turned around and accepted the proposal of another. It seems to me, that fraternizing with the wrestlers was really the only qualification that AJ had when the job was offered to her. And now she’s losing the job for the same thing.