The Inferno Match was a controverisal one that created interest in the Attitude Eras featuring flames all around the ring. Two wrestlers competed in the ring with the flames surrounding the ring as the goal of the match was to set your opponent on fire. Only five matches in WWE history have had the stipulation throughout the years. The Undertaker, Kane, Triple H, MVP, and Bray Wyatt are the only wrestlers to compete in the Inferno Match.
WWE changed the name to a Ring of Fire match for the most recent one between Bray Wyatt and Kane at Summerslam 2013. Quite a few fans would love to witness the wild match return since there was nothing else like it. Both positives and negatives could come from bringing back such a stipulation. We will break them all down as we look at five reasons WWE should bring back the Inferno Match along with five reasons to avoid it.
10 Bring it back: Easier Match for Undertaker and Kane's Returns
WWE continues to bring back legends that struggle to keep up in the ring. The Undertaker hobbles to the ring for every Saudi Arabia show along with the occasional normal PPV match. Kane does the same when he can fit in a return in between his job duties as Mayor of Knox County.
Both wrestlers could likely hide their weaknesses in the ring with the return of the Inferno Match. Undertaker and Kane each would have the match make sense since it plays a role in their backstory. This would both create appeal for a match while allowing the legend or legends involved to have an easier match at a slower speed.
9 Don’t: It Won't For Everyone
The Inferno Match makes sense for wrestling characters like The Undertaker and Kane, but not many wrestlers on the current WWE roster would have the same benefit. Few wrestlers have characters or gimmicks that could put them in a match like this logically.
Most of the top talents like Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and AJ Styles work at faster speeds and their skills would be limited in such a unique match. A wrestler like Brock Lesnar would likely flat out refuse given his reputation. The Inferno Match may not make sense in today’s WWE.
8 Bring it back: Could Boost Ratings
The best thing about the Inferno Match when taking place was the cool visual associated with it. Fans would see the ring surrounded by flames for both the intimidating and interesting elements. The Inferno Match could easily hold appeal to casual fans.
Someone switching through the channels on television is likely to be captivated by such a sight. The older fans from the Attitude Era that liked it may be more prone to give WWE another chance if seeing the flames surrounding the ring again.
7 Don’t: Fans Don't Take it Seriously
The years have exposed wrestling a bit more with fans knowing the ins and outs behind the scenes. Diehard fans know that there is little risk involved with the fire spots in wrestling. It sometimes comes off silly watching the Inferno Match back and seeing the wrestlers try to push each other into the flames.
The historic flaming table spots have provided more dangerous and that cool factor when seeing the table break with someone dealing with the flames. Inferno matches struggle to hold the same appeal of coming off serious as opposed to silly.
6 Bring it Back: Nostalgia for Older Fans
The older fans of wrestling do return to increase the ratings when older draws ae back in WWE. Goldberg, Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair have all helped Raw’s viewership improve during some of their more recent appearances using nostalgia.
Inferno matches provide a stipulation that does hold that same level of nostalgia for older fans that don’t watch WWE weekly. The match could spike a rating and create a genuinely cool appeal for viewers that used to love the older days of WWE.
5 Don’t: Could Appear Too Dangerous For Parents to Let Kids Watch
Perception is often reality in the entertainment business and that’s no different for WWE. The change to a PG television rating has WWE wanting to present a product friendly to the younger demographic. WWE often prevents things that showcase danger like intentionally bleeding or piledriver moves.
The visual of wrestlers trying to set each other on fire could cross the line. Kids too young to understand the show business element of wrestling could find it terrifying or attempt to even mimic it. WWE has been selective about using this gimmick match and this could be a reason why.
4 Bring it Back: Add Theme to Annual PPV
WWE has tried to add special themes to PPVs each year. Hell in a Cell is the one time per year we can expect to see the cell match. TLC features various versions of matches with tables, ladders, and chairs. Survivor Series has given us the Raw vs Smackdown matches.
The Inferno Match should not have its own PPV name, but it could become part of a PPV. Events like Fastlane, Stomping Grounds and Clash of Champions could use a change or full-on rebranding. The Inferno Match can easily give you a new annual match that ties into a new name of a show or just adds to a current one.
3 Don’t: Hokey and Outdated
Many concepts from the Attitude Era would come off poorly today given how much wrestling and sports in general have evolved. The Inferno Match used to present an intimidating visual, but the current landscape could just see it come off hokey.
Wrestlers doing the most basic moves while trying to push each other into the flames may not connect with the audience. Any risk of fans in the live crowd turning against the match will destroy. An Inferno Match needs the crowd to suspend their disbelief for it to work and that may be outdated in 2019.
2 Bring it Back: New Gimmick Match for Bray Wyatt to Dominate
The one active wrestler that makes the most sense to bring back the Inferno Match is Bray Wyatt. WWE did experiment with it in 2013 Wyatt defeated Kane in the renamed Ring of Fire match. The recent change of his new alter ego as The Fiend could see Wyatt make it his specialty match moving forward.
Given the heinous actions of Wyatt as The Fiend so far, the potential of wanting to set his opponents on fire is quite believable. Wyatt defeating Kane or Undertaker in an Inferno Match would help his star power rise as he takes control of the match after defeating a legend associated with it.
1 Don’t: Matches Weren't That Great
The biggest negative about the history of Inferno Matches is that they are never that great. Fans expect a higher level of matches today than the 90s which makes it a harder stipulation to sell. Even with the cool visual, you are still watching two guys try to slowly push each other into a ring apron the entire time.
Inferno Matches could make sense with the right characters, but fans will have to be content with sacrificing a more entertaining all-around match when the stipulation is added. The entire event could suffer from an Inferno Match boring the audience in 2019 with them turning on the show.