The beginning of the road to Hell in a Cell had me thinking about the idea of concept pay-per-views – and how terrible most of them are.
Before I kick on, it’s important to note that there are exceptions to this logic. Royal Rumble and Money In The Bank the two that spring to mind. But there is a reason why they work.
Both of these have always involved once a year matches, even before Money In The Bank got its own PPV. As a result, fans will naturally always get excited to see these and who will come out on top in each.
The argument is completely different when analysing the rest of WWE’s big events. Looking at the PPV calendar for 2019 alone, there is Elimination Chamber, Extreme Rules, Clash of Champions, Hell in a Cell and TLC. That’s five concept PPVs. FIVE!
Big match gimmicks
By running so many events like this, WWE has arguably diluted most of their big grunge-style feud ending stipulations.
TLC and Hell in a Cell contests used to be a rarity. Matches the company would only pull out to finally put-to-bed rivalries that had been on-going for months. Ones that couldn’t be settled by a simple one-on-one contest.
Now a days, you know months in advance when the matches are coming, and quite often, the stipulations aren’t fitting of the bouts.
Take last year’s Hell in a Cell for example. Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy opened the card – a feud that had been going for about a month. Why was this match done inside the Cell? No reason other than for Jeff to do a stunt from the roof of the structure.
This is the same concept that once saw Mick Foley put his body on the line on more than one occasion. The match which helped establish Brock Lesnar as a top guy during his feud with the Undertaker, now seen as nothing more than a cheap pop.
The concept PPV does on occasion coincide with the climax of a blood feud, such as when The New Day and The Usos clashed inside the Cell in 2017.
But WWE as a whole is low on these big gimmick matches. If they want them to start feeling special again, they should be put in storage and only brought out when the time is right – like a gazebo on a hot summer’s day. Just not annually, otherwise so many could slowly feel like your routine trip to the dentist.