Steel cage match

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Ric Flair and Randy Orton in a cage match, showing the current WWE Steel Cage.

In professional wrestling, a steel cage match is a match fought within a cage formed by placing four sheets of mesh metal against the edges of a ring.


[edit] Background

Traditionally, the steel cage match is used to settle the most personal and vindictive of feuds, or in instances when a series of matches have been fraught with interference. The cage is used as a barrier to keep the competitors inside, and interference out.

The cage is an open-topped enclosure, with sides often made from sturdy plastic, steel, or chain-link fencing. Traditionally cage matches ended with a pinfall or submission, however, in the 1980s the World Wrestling Federation popularised cage matches where the only way to win was to escape from the cage (either by climbing over the top or going through the door) and having both feet touch the ground.

[edit] History

According to some historians, the first "cage match" on any kind took place on July 2, 1937 in Atlanta, Georgia. This match, between Jack Bloomfield and Count Petro Rossi, took place in a ring surrounded by chicken wire, in order to keep the athletes inside and any potential interference out of the action. While exact details of this match are sketchy at best, it is entirely possible that this match represented the earliest form of a steel cage match in recorded history.

[edit] Invention

There are those who credit late promoter Paul Boesch with the idea of the steel cage match. Author Joe Jares wrote in the 1974 book Whatever Happened to Gorgeous George?, "...Texas wrestling is just wild and nutty enough that it is possible he's not kidding me", joking about creating the cage match concept. The roots of the cage match can be traced back to Galveston, Texas, where officials wrapped a ring in fishing net for a match between Wild Bull Curry and Dirty Don Evans. The concept was not well received, but the idea did, however, pave the way for something more attractive: the fence match. The fence match predates the steel cage match, but was similar in style and execution to the cage matches seen in later years.

The idea behind the classic steel cage match known to fans today could also be traced back to Los Angeles, California, and the famous Grand Olympic Auditorium. In the late 1960s, Freddie Blassie, with promoter Mike LeBell, created and promoted the "Blassie Cage" to blow off his feuds with wrestlers like John Tolos and The Sheik, which was a one-of-a-kind idea at the time. It is believed the winning concept of escaping by climbing over the top or exiting through the door was indeed, the brainchild of Fred Blassie himself.

[edit] Promotional Usage

[edit] World Wrestling Entertainment

Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy in a cage match. This shows the steel cage more commonly used in the 1970s through 1990s in WWE.

The World Wrestling Federation originally used a chain link cage but later switched to a thick, grid-like cage as part of a storyline between Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy leading up to 1986s WrestleMania 2. They kept this cage until 1999 when they switched back to the chain link because it had more give. They have mostly used the concept of winning by exiting the cage, with a few exceptions.

WWE has also experimented in other types of cages, involving the usage of a roof, a larger cage that surrounded the entire ringside area instead of just the ring (Hell in a Cell), and the multi-competitor Elimination Chamber.

Despite the popularity of cage matches in WWE, no one had won either of the companies top titles in a cage match until 2002, when Shawn Michaels won the World Heavyweight Championship at the Survivor Series in the Elimination Chamber.

The WWE's first Diva steel cage match, which saw Victoria defeat Lita, took place on a 2003 episode of RAW.

[edit] World Championship Wrestling

World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and its forerunner Jim Crockett Promotions used several types of cage. Some of the cages encompassed only the ring, while others would encompass the ringside area as well, often having a roof, and almost always allowing victory only by means of pinfall or submission (the only exceptions coming in "special" matches with specific winning stipulations, such as War Games).

The first NWA World Heavyweight Championship match in which the title changed hands inside a cage happened at the inaugural Starrcade in 1983, when Ric Flair defeated champion Harley Race to win his second title. Former champion Gene Kiniski was the special referee.

Variations of the Steel Cage match in WCW included a special barbed wire topped steel cage created by Ric Flair, as well as the Thundercage (a roofless cage with walls that curved inward in a semi-domed fashion), the WarGames Cage, the Triple Cage, and the grid-like bar cage used for Hulk Hogan vs. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper at Halloween Havoc '97.

[edit] Total Nonstop Action Wrestling

Elix Skipper walks the cage at TNA Turning Point 2004. This shows the TNA's Six Sides of Steel.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling originally used a four-sided ring and prided themselves on having the tallest cages in wrestling, which not only made for less interference but also for more incredible highspots. They have since switched to a six sided ring and, thus, have a six sided cage, which they refer to as "Six Sides of Steel".

TNA took this concept to a new level at their Lockdown Pay Per View, in which they utilized the cage for every match on the card. Added stipulations such as a tables match, a blindfold match, a flag match, a #1 contender's match, a classic escape match, and Lethal Lockdown (a variation on WCW's WarGames Match) were used for variety.

The most famous matchup in TNA history to have taken place in a steel cage is the America's Most Wanted vs. Triple X match from Turning Point 2004. During the match, Elix Skipper walked on the top steel cage and gave a hurricanrana to Chris Harris.

Except for the occasional "X Division Xscape match" and the Christian Cage/Rhino cage match topped with barbed wire, all cage matches in TNA are pinfall or submission only. A wrestler can not win by escaping the cage.

[edit] Ring of Honor

Ring of Honor has used the steel cage two ways: as the historical feud ender, and for "scramble cage" matches.

The Scramble Cage Match traditionally has wooden platforms added on the top four corners of the cage (known as the Scramble Cage), to allow wrestlers to easily execute aerial moves from the top of the cage to the interior. The Scramble Cage Match is usually contested by either four or more teams or two teams of more than two.

A variation, Scramble Cage Melee, is a singles elimination match held in a Scramble Cage where elimination occurs from a successful aerial move from the cage platforms. This match has only occurred once due to the high number of injuries sustained from that one outing.

[edit] Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre

Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) uses a grid-like cage most similar to the original Blassie Cage. The promotion builds up to cage matches with two groups of wrestlers of three or more feuding and then booking them in an "everyman for themselves" cage match. Wrestlers escape until there are only two wrestlers left in the cage. The final two face each other in a regular pinfall and submission victory match and the loser of that has thier head shaved or loses their mask. CMLL generally has at least one cage match a year in either the Spring or Summer.

[edit] Variations

[edit] Barbed Wire Steel Cage

A Barbed Wire Steel Cage typically denotes one where barbed wire lines the top of the cage, acting as a deterrent to those that want to escape from the top, but may also refer to a cage where barbed wire replaced the chain-link or chicken mesh construction.

[edit] Lucha en Jaula Electrificada

A cage match seen in Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA). The cage is ostensibly electrified except for brief time periods where the electricity is turned off so wrestlers can attempt to escape. This match usually involves four wrestlers with the last person remaining in the cage losing. This match has been used on many occasions to decide a feud where outside interference by a wrestler's allies has been a problem.

[edit] Punjabi Prison match

Image:Punjabi Prison.jpg
The Punjabi Prison Cage

The "Punjabi Prison match" was originally created for The Great Khali; though he was unable to compete in it due to elevated liver enzymes.

The "cage" is constructed of bamboo fashioned with ropes securing the individual sections and features "spikes" affixed to the top of each of the sections.

Debuting at the 2006 Great American Bash, the Punjabi Prison match features only one way of winning: escaping both the inner and outer cage. The inner cage, surrounding and affixed to the ring, stands at 16 feet high and features four sliding doors near the mat, with a referee attending each. At a participants request, one of the doors is opened for 60 seconds, after which it is closed and locked for the remainder of the match. After either participant has left the inner ring via the doors or by climbing out, the contest then moves to the outer cage.

The outer cage stands at 20 feet high and encases the ring and two tables (along its perimeter), both of which feature an assortment of weapons (bamboo variations of many WWE stalwarts and medieval weapons). There are no doors to the outer section and the only means of escape is ostensibly over the top. This, however, was not the case during the maiden match between Big Show and The Undertaker wherein The Undertaker leapt from astride the inner cage into the Big Show and both collided into the outer structure. The resulting momentum burst open the outer cage and gave The Undertaker the win.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Steel cage match

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