Hell In A Cell 2019 was a controversial pay-per-view. The finish of the main event between Seth Rollins and The Fiend, which saw the referee call for a match stoppage in a stipulation match that supposedly has no disqualifications, was panned the WWE Universe who felt that, once again, Bray Wyatt's credibility was being ruined by the company.
Bray Wyatt's career is not the only thing to have lost credibility, however. Hell In A Cell matches used to be a once-in-a-while spectacle that included crazy bumps and historic spots, though now the once-great stipulation has become a shadow of its former self. Here are five reasons why Hell In A Cell matches have lost their credibility, as well as five ways it can redeem itself.
10 Why It's Lost Credibility: Seth Rollins Vs. The Fiend
It may seem melodramatic to blame a single match for Hell In A Cell's decline, but the nonsensical finish to Seth Rollins' bout with The Fiend has done immeasurable damage to the famed gimmick match's legacy.
Hell In A Cell's main event came to an abrupt halt after the referee stopped the match following the Beastslayer attacking Bray Wyatt with a sledgehammer. It made no sense in terms of the narrative and having a Hell In A Cell match stopped due to violence, something it famously boasts, has severely damaged its credibility.
9 How To Redeem: Get Rid Of The Hell In A Cell PPV
Having an annual Hell In A Cell pay-per-view with a minimum of two matches taking place inside the structure has overexposed the Hell In A Cell match. It no longer feels like a last resort for feuding Superstars. Because of this, WWE would be wise to postpone the next PPV.
Having a match inside the cell needs to be sold as a big deal. If the cell is supposed to be seen as a destructive force then it needs to be used sparingly.
8 Why It's Lost Credibility: Too Many HiaC Matches
Because of the Hell In A Cell pay-per-view, WWE has been outputting too many matches inside the cell and they have begun to lose their appeal. Every time WWE showcases a lackluster Hell In A Cell match, it kills excitement for the overall gimmick.
As long as the cell is used every once in a while, it will feel that much more momentous when it does feature into the narrative.
7 How To Redeem: Big Feuds
If WWE decides to limit their usage of the Hell In A Cell match, it should only be used for main event feuds. The structure needs to be sold as a perfect opportunity for Superstars to finally get their hands on each other.
This calls back to the cell's original use as a means of preventing Shawn Michaels from escaping the structure during his bout with The Undertaker. Despite the underwhelming finish, the Hell In A Cell match was also a highlight in Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks' feud.
6 Why It's Lost Credibility: The Red Cell
The red-painted cell has come to symbolize the overexposed Hell In A Cell matches that have dominated WWE's PG era. Although WWE would have fans believe it is a demonic and devastating stipulation, the red-painted cell no longer holds the prestige that the structure once enjoyed, during the prime of Superstars such as Mankind and Triple H.
If WWE wants to move away from this then a new structure should take the place of the old. One that resembles the original cell more.
5 How To Redeem: Creative Spots
Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks demonstrated creative use of the cell during their Hell In A Cell bout, including an impressive spot with The Boss suspended on a steel chair in the corner of the structure before eating a dropkick from The Man.
Absurd spots such as Mankind's famous plummet from the cell may be too risky for a PG WWE, but imaginative bumps like this can continue to elevate the match and set it apart from other stipulation matches.
4 Why It's Lost Credibility: Boring Matches
Hell In A Cell matches should be fun, dynamic and devastating. During its prime, the cell was a towering behemoth that provided the perfect setting for wrestlers to go at it while the fans cheered emphatically.
Unfortunately, due to the overexposure of the cell, there have been too many boring Hell In A Cell matches that have dampened enthusiasm for the event as a whole. The cell cannot be booked the way it is with this blemish on its record.
3 How To Redeem: Listen To Fans
If the controversial finish to Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt's Hell In A Cell match indicated anything, it is that WWE needs to listen to their fans. The company remains in a crucial period as, with the emergence of AEW, fans are more aware than ever that there are alternatives to WWE when it comes to wrestling content.
WWE shouldn't follow every whim of the fans, but decisions like this will continue to alienate the audience.
2 Why It's Lost Credibility: No Consequences
Despite Mick Foley's 2016 promo in which he fervently told Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks that the cell would irrecoverably change them, there haven't been any consequences as a result of a Hell In A Cell match for a long while.
Shane McMahon's power over the WWE roster was supposed to have been lost following his defeat at the hands of The Undertaker inside the cell at WrestleMania 32, yet this ultimately went nowhere as he consequently handed over control of Monday Night Raw afterwards anyway. The cell needs to be depicted with dire consequences if WWE wants to salvage its credibility.
1 How To Redeem: Better Storytelling
WWE has utilized Hell In A Cell to tell several strange stories that have often fallen flat. The controversial booking of The Fiend was the latest mishap for Bray Wyatt's character, who was also booked to interfere nonsensically with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins' 2014 bout and The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar's 2015 clash.
Even if the in-ring action is impressive, lackluster storytelling will hurt any match. WWE should avoid convoluted narratives and stick to a more tried and tested babyface versus heel dynamic.