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WWE Cage Matches Are Not The Same As They Used To Be

Once upon a time, a steel cage match epitomized the ultimate resolution for settling disputes between two rivals. Whenever a feud escalated to the point where it was contained within those iron bars or unforgiving fencing, fans understood the severity of the conflict.

The cage often brought out the rawest instincts in wrestlers, unleashing a primal brutality as they inflicted punishment on their adversaries. It became a tool for delivering retribution or seeking justice, depending on who wielded its unforgiving structure.

However, over time, the allure of the cage has waned. Once the centerpiece of matches, the cage has become a confined arena for various weapons like chairs, tables, kendo sticks, and trash cans—items now standard in regular matches.

At NXT Deadline, Kiana James and Roxanne Perez showcased a match that harkened back to the old-school cage clashes.

They exchanged relentless blows, slamming each other’s bodies against the cold steel and utilizing the cage itself as a weapon. At one point, James even trapped Perez’s arm through the fencing to inflict further damage.

It was a display of pure brutality.

Yet, as the match approached its climax, James attempted to escape the cage but instead retrieved a chair from under the ring. With Izzi Dame assisting by slamming the cage door into Perez’s face, James used the chair to gain the upper hand and subdue her opponent.

For the most part, the match resonated with the classic cage matches of yesteryear that I grew up watching. However, the introduction of a foreign object left a sense of disappointment. Once again, the cage seemed secondary to a prop that fans see routinely.

Part of the challenge with modern cage matches in WWE is the absence of bloodshed, a staple of earlier eras in wrestling. In the past, a wrestler would bleed almost immediately upon contact with the steel.

Today, WWE takes a different approach, prioritizing performer safety and halting matches to attend to any injuries.

For instance, at WrestleMania’s Hell in a Cell match—intended to be more brutal than traditional cage matches—Finn Bálor had to be momentarily sidelined to receive medical attention after being cut open by Edge’s use of a ladder.

While I appreciate WWE’s commitment to protecting its talent, as a viewer, it’s challenging to fully invest in a match marketed as career-defining and life-altering when it pauses for medical interventions.

Because the steel cage can no longer be a canvas for visceral bloodshed, today’s wrestlers often resort to the same predictable weapons seen in regular matches to elicit a reaction from the audience.

It’s a trend that feels both unfortunate and uninspired, lacking innovation in integrating the cage in ways that convey believable violence while maintaining appeal to advertisers and a broader audience.

Nevertheless, my optimism was slightly renewed after witnessing James and Perez at Deadline. For approximately 15 minutes, they relentlessly battled each other, effectively utilizing the cage to enhance their story.

Though not flawless, their scrappy contest provided a refreshing deviation from the norm, briefly restoring the cage as the central element of their narrative.

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