There used to be a time when a gimmick match meant something in the WWE. Two wrestlers would be embroiled in a feud that had been going on for months. And when a straight one-on-one match wouldn’t solve their issues, a special stipulation would be added to the match to finally allow both wrestlers to settle their differences.
Unfortunately, we don’t get to see anything like that in today’s WWE. And that is because someone in the WWE thought it would be a great idea to add gimmick PPVs to the schedule. The WWE’s logic is that having a gimmick attached to a PPV adds drawing power to it and will get people to tune in. And there is some logic to that statement. But the problem is, the WWE feels that the name alone is enough to get people to tune in and watch said PPV. But that just isn’t the case anymore.
Having “Hell In A Cell” attached to the name of your October PPV doesn’t make me want to tune in anymore than if it was called “No Mercy” or “Bad Blood.” In today’s era of the WWE Network, you don’t have to worry about PPV buys. You have to worry about telling a compelling story that gets the audience to invest in the story. But as we all know, the WWE writing staff has a tough time doing that nowadays. And if you ask me, a lot of that has to do with gimmick PPVs frequenting the calendar so much.
The only thing gimmick PPVs do nowadays is cause lazy booking. There’s a Hell In A Cell PPV coming up in the next month? Just throw two guys together and put them in the Cell, I’m sure that will make people want to watch! The funny thing is, with the WWE Network now in existence, we can now go back in time and take a look at when the Hell In A Cell match actually meant something. You can see the final chapter of the Triple H/Batista rivalry end inside the Cell. Or how about the brutality of the first ever Hell In A Cell between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. Those were real HIAC matches, unlike the thrown together PPV matches we have gotten the last few years.
And it obviously isn’t just Hell In A Cell. The Elimination Chamber has lost a lot of its luster. But a lot of that has to do with the fact that the WWE is now PG. The Intercontinental Title Chamber match from last Sunday, in my opinion, was the worst Chamber match I have ever seen. And yes, that includes the ECW December to Dismember one. Then of course there is Tables, Ladders and Chairs at the end of December. Remember when a ladder match used to be a “specialty” match of certain guys? That doesn’t happen anymore. And lets not forget Extreme Rules, where every match has to have a gimmick attached to it. It’s also after Wrestlemania for some reason as well, which is suppose to be the end of your calendar year.
It is time for the WWE to end the gimmick PPVs. Just look at NXT. I’ve said countless times that RAW and Smackdown need to follow the NXT model of booking. And once again, NXT sets a template for their big shows. Every special has been called NXT Takeover, then had another title added to it. It is something the WWE used to do when they started doing monthly PPVs. Every non-big show had the “In Your House” title added to it. There’s no reason the WWE can’t go back to a model similar to that. Maybe then, the WWE writing staff will actually put some effort into making a compelling story that then leads to a gimmick match being needed to settle a feud. I’ve been dying for a feud where both men hate each other so much that the only way to settle it is inside a Hell In A Cell. Or how about an Elimination Chamber match to determine the number one contender for the WWE Championship? Maybe we can go back to the day where a ladder match is a specialty match for a handful of wrestlers. Or hell, just a different gimmick that can be thrown out there.
Imagine if this current John Cena/Kevin Owens feud ended with a Hell In A Cell match at SummerSlam? Or if the ladder match became the specialty match of either Dean Ambrose or Seth Rollins? What if the Elimination Chamber was used at Battleground to determine the #1 contender for the WWE Championship? Nope, instead we need to use these matches as a crutch to support lazy booking that is not capable of telling a compelling story. And until that changes, gimmick matches will mean nothing in the WWE.
Until Next Time,
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