Two rings, wrapped in a cage, filled with 10 guys representing two teams beating the everloving bejeepers out of one another. What’s not to like? Well, if you’re the WWE, it has too much of the WCW/southern stink on it and thus cannot be used. Some of the individual components have been cannibalized and reused for WWE gimmick matches: the large team aspect appears in the traditional Survivor Series matches, while the timed introduction of competitors appears in both the Elimination Chamber and the Royal Rumble.
There is a certain charm to the Wargames match the is lost in the translation. Survivor Series matches have to rely on convoluted booking to have a babyface outnumbered by the heels, while it is built in to the concept of Wargames. Elimination Chamber matches become a 6-way free-for-all cutting off certain story possibilities (although a 3-on-3 match or a tag-team triple threat could be an interesting take on the Elimination Chamber set-up).
As far as the double-ring is concerned, my understanding is that the logistics of having two rings in the arena makes life much more difficult for the road crew. Not to mention that it cuts into the amount of floor seats they can sell. And is that really what’s best for business?
World War 3
Making no attempt at all to make life easier for the road crew or the ticket agents, I demand a return to World War 3. Not a well-loved gimmick by anyone except for me and Kevin Nash, the three-ring, 60-man battle royal is a spectacle and a clusterfuck; two things that wrestling can never seem to get enough of.
If I’m being perfectly honest, it’s not even the WW3 match that I miss, it’s having three rings set up throughout the show. This gives everything a unique feel and allows the more acrobatic performers a new suite of possibilities. A guy like Kalisto or Neville could probably come up with some pretty funky stuff when you have two parallel top ropes 2 feet apart.
Immortalized in the awful 2000 film Ready to Rumble, the triple cage is a sight to behold: it’s a small cage sitting on top of a regular cage which itself sits upon a Hell in a Cell. It is a profane testament to the excess of the Attitude Era and I couldn’t love it more.
But unlike the World War 3 match, there are several interesting things that can be done within the match itself. The top chamber can contain a title like a ladder match, one of the upper cages can be full of weapons, some or all of the doors can be locked requiring someone to bust doors down, ladders can be used on the outside to climb up without using the lower cages. In a word, pandemonium.
The Punjabi Prison
I don’t even know if I’m joking with this one. This bizarre variant of the traditional cage match involved locking doors, a double-cage, weapons mounted on the walls and spikes on the cage itself. My favorite thing about this match is that it was designed around the Great Khali, it was to be his signature match and yet he never appeared in one. It harkened back to the old Hulk Hogan Blue Cage of Pain with it’s huge gaps and shaky construction. It looked dangerous (probably because it was) and, despite being quickly retired, was an interesting concept.
Now that the prototypical WWE superstar is much more athletic and much lighter, I think this gimmick could use another look. I realize that after that look has been taken, it is quite likely that we will wish they hadn’t, but the curiosity compels me…
Upon seeing all these old WCW gimmick matches that have been cast out and left by the wayside I have a proposal: Bring back the Great American Bash as the July PPV and give it a WCW theme. Each event could have one of these older, rarely used gimmick matches to give it a unique flavour. You’d only see them every few years, so you wouldn’t get too sick of them and given the WWE’s penchant for shitting on the legacy of WCW, if the matches don’t get over, you can just have JBL riff about how backwards everything is. With luck, some of these match types will click with the current generation of fans and wrestlers and can be spared from the dustbin of history.