It’s that time of year again and….ok I might need to be a bit more specific. We are done with WrestleMania, but we are far from being done with the WrestleMania stories. The season might be done, but WWE has only milked one extra pay per view out of what they did at WrestleMania. That will be remedied this weekend by Hell In A Cell, because you know full well that WWE isn’t going to put in any extra effort than they have to. That has been on full display this week and now you can see it very clearly.
We are currently four days away from Hell In A Cell and as of this writing, there are six matches set for the show. Two of these were added earlier this week on Monday Night Raw and so far, there is not a single SmackDown star on the card. Not one, because there is not one match from SmackDown taking place. This is hardly the first time WWE has done this (they have even done it at Hell In A Cell before) but you would think they would have learned a lesson based on something else that has taken place recently.
One of the more interesting, and in WWE’s case, more embarrassing, stories over the last few weeks has been Money in the Bank being moved from Allegiant Stadium to the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Oh sorry: the more intimate confines of the MGM Grand Garden Arena. This came after WWE realized that the stadium was going to be empty, which shouldn’t come as that big of a surprise.
While there were several problems that led to the change, the biggest of them all very well might be that fans don’t find Money in the Bank to be as big of a show as WWE seems to think it is. The ladder matches are going to be cool, but most of the time, you’re winning a chance to get a title match later. That’s a cool concept, but when you have all kinds of ladder matches throughout the year, it isn’t quite as special. Compare that to the Royal Rumble, which happens one night a year, and it doesn’t exactly hold up.
At the same time, nothing was actually announced. Other than the ladder matches themselves, fans were being asked to pay stadium prices for a blind show. While they had sold a good amount of tickets (over 20,000), they had a long way to go to get to the 50,000+ that Summerslam held in the same venue the previous August. There’s your other problem: they just ran a stadium show there less than a year earlier, so it isn’t like this felt special.
When you break it down, WWE was trying to sell fans on the idea that WWE was coming to town rather than anything specific. Ladder matches aside, there was absolutely nothing announced for this show, including which wrestlers would actually be appearing. I get that it makes sense to come to a show based on the name alone, but that isn’t going to fill a stadium, certainly not less than a year after they did the exact same thing with a more important show.
This brings us back to Hell In A Cell, where WWE is doing almost the exact same thing. With less than a week to go before the show, the card had four matches announced and one of the two main shows was not represented at all. They did at least have a Cell match set for this show, but even then there is a caveat. Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins will be taking place inside the Cell and will probably headline the show, but why should I want to see that either?
On Sunday, Rhodes vs. Rollins will be taking place for the third time in three pay per views. The first time was a surprise, the second was a rematch and the third actually has Rollins making it personal (as announced with six days before the pay per view). There is nothing on the line and Rhodes has already won the series, but this is what we are getting anyway, like it or not.
Other matches on the show include: Kevin Owens trying to prove Ezekiel’s identity, Bianca Belair defending the Raw Women’s Title against Asuka and Becky Lynch (half of a WrestleMania rematch), Bobby Lashley vs. Omos/MVP (fourth time Lashley and Omos have faced off), a six person tag (third time Edge and AJ Styles have fought in three pay per views) and a US Title match which took place this week on Monday Night Raw (which wasn’t exactly fair).
That leaves you with one match that isn’t either a rematch or a continuation of WrestleMania, which was over two months ago. Their previous pay per view was WrestleMania: The Sequel and now we are in for the direct to video threequel, but with a big cage being wrapped around one of the matches. Other than that, you have almost the same card with a few other people included.
That’s where everything falls apart. Having seen WrestleMania and WrestleMania Backlash, you can imagine my interest in seeing so many of the same matches all over again. I need more than having the main event be inside the Cell to make it work. Rhodes has already beaten Rollins twice, so why should I want to see the match again? Just because of the Cell? Maybe back in 1998 but that isn’t going to be enough this time around, even if WWE thinks otherwise.
In a word, the whole thing feels lazy. Rather than taking advantage of the roster that they have, this whole thing has been about getting as much juice squeezed out of one set of ideas, some of which started all the way back in March. WWE has an amazing group of talent, but if the company isn’t interested in using them, they are only going to be able to go get so far.
I’m sure things will pick up a bit after Hell In A Cell and WWE can move on to something else for the summer, but that doesn’t make this stretch any easier. WWE has done this many times before and it isn’t like this is some surprise. Instead, it is yet another thing that makes them feel out of touch and like they are taking their fans for granted. WWE has given us very little reason to believe that this is a show that matters and it is the second time in as many weeks that it is starting to cost them.
At some point, WWE is going to have to try to do something other than repeating the same stuff over and over again. I know this is a criticism that has been made of them for a long time now, but they keep doing it over and over. While I would like to believe that the Money In The Bank fiasco will be something of a wake up call for them, I have spent more than enough time watching this company drag its feet over the years that I know better than to expect a change.
WWE will run Hell In A Cell this weekend and odds are the show will be pretty good at worst and good at best. I’m sure they will add in some matches between now and the show starting, but that does not mean it is going to be enough to make me care about the show coming in. This isn’t exactly a good idea, and that was proven when WWE couldn’t fill a stadium. The company isn’t going to change though, and that means we wind up continuing down this spiral, meaning there might be a lot less money in the bank.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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