How WWE Made “Hell in a Cell” Work in 2018

This past weekend the WWE hosted the Hell in a Cell 2018 pay per view and what a night it was! With a surprise return, a brutal opening contest, and a satisfying title change fans were left with plenty to talk about and very much entertained. However, making a huge stipulation pay per view like Hell in a Cell work in 2018 is not an easy job. Unlike years ago, the WWE are limited on just how barbaric these matches can truly get and many have questioned whether these sorts of PPVs have done their time but with such a successful show taking place this past weekend let’s take a look at the five ways WWE made Hell in a Cell work again:

Randy Orton vs Jeff Hardy

The decision to open Sunday’s show with a Hell in a Cell match was the best move the WWE could have made. To start and finish with a match that focuses on the whole theme and point of the show is important and was something that really worked. Both Cell matches proved to be intense, barbaric, and more extreme than anything on the PPV that was meant to focus on such rules that but there was something very special and old school about what fans saw go down between Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy. Huge stars of the noughties, this was a match that grabbed the attention of many fans and the build had seen that dark and sadistic side of Orton the WWE universe has always loved to watch. The match itself pushed boundaries as the two went as far as they could and for the PG era, Orton and Hardy really did go extremely inside the Hell in a Cell structure. Using the ring, the cell, their surroundings, and any object around them they created an intense, personal, barbaric, and surprisingly brutal contest that at times left fans having to actually look away from the screen which is so rare in the WWE today.

Personal Storylines

Throughout the night, it was evident that so many of the storylines/feuds that were presented were massively personal. Form Becky Lynch vs Charlotte to the Miz and Daniel Bryan to the epic rivalry between AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, the build to these matches have been so personal and so intense and during all of these matches the superstars continued to tell their story and that personal feel really did make the show overall feel even more entertaining. Matches were easy to invest in and instead of random bouts added to the card pretty much every match we witnessed made sense and had a rightful place on the show.

A Make-Over

One of the first things fans noticed this past weekend was the makeover WWE had done to its Hell in a Cell Structure. Aa red cell was a small change which unsparingly divided fan opinion. There genuinely were quite a few negative comments which personally I did feel were a little over the top but also not very surprising. However, I happened to believe this was a good move. It was a very small change, but it gave the feel of a new era. It looked good, it brought something a little different and created a new feel to the actual pay per view. These small changes to do in fact matter and gave the WWE universe reason to believe this PPV is going nowhere and the updated modern look gets the thumbs up from me.

Something for Everyone

While there is ongoing debate around whether two Cell matches is enough, or too much, I happen to think that this past Sunday’s show really did have some sensible structure that provided something for everyone. We had an excellent wrestling title match between AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, brilliant storytelling between Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, an entertaining and fun mixed tag team match, and two brutal Hell in a Cell matches that had everyone hooked. What this night did is honestly provide something for everyone. There was a little mixture of everything and it was that really did play a key part in making this such a successful pay per view.

A Star-Studded Main Event

Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman has forever been one that has divided fans but ultimately has always delivered in the ring. Every single time the two have collided we have seen them deliver brutal and barbaric content that has genuinely left fans entertained and this weekend it was no different. Topping the opening Hell in a Cell match was not an easy task considering just what Orton and Hardy brought to the table, however, Reigns and Strowman did what they have done best. The wrestling was kept to a minimum and instead, this was a brutal brawl that saw both men use everything they could to take out the other. This is exactly the type of match fans want to see at a pay per view like this.

We then also must take a deeper a look what really made this main event so solid because it wasn’t the best wrestling match of the night, however, the involvement of Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, McIntyre, and Ziggler had fans super excited and invested. Heading to the top of the cage, Ziggler, and Rollins taking that huge fall, and the addition of Mick Foley’s presence and the role in which he played all contributed to why this was such a success. What we got was a star-studded main event consisting of a legend, a beastly return, the top stars of Monday Night RAW, and of course, the champion. Hell in a Cell is supposed to be an over the top, dramatic, and theatrical and that is exactly what this main event provided and was all about.

While this may not have been the best pay per view of the year or a historic event, it is, at least, safe to say that the show was strong, entertaining, and well done. It’s not an easy task to make such an extreme stipulation style PPV work in this era within the WWE and the company and its talent did a very good job this past weekend. Can shows like this actually work in the modern WWE era? Or are there, in fact, some PPVs we may need to see the back of?