Hell in a Cell is easily one of the most barbaric creations in WWE history. Its bloody past has given fans some iconic images of human destruction - none greater than Mick Foley at King of the Ring 1996. However, back in 2008, Vince McMahon wanted to alter the sadistic course of Hell in a Cell.
For 11-time WWE Champion, Edge, his 2008 SummerSlam match with The Undertaker proved to be a very frustrating time to deal with with WWE boss. Both Edge and Taker planned to "get color" or bleed to enhance the match's drama. However Vince McMahon had other plans.
Edge recounted the story on he and Christian's podcast, E&C's Pod of Awesomeness:
"For me, I would say that Hell In A Cell… I remember going into that, and a little story about that Hell In A Cell, we got from Vince the edict that day that there would be no color in that match and I had put together this whole thing in my head that involved color and also involved me taking a chokeslam through the panel, through two tables, this whole thing. I know I have this written down somewhere. And it wasn't going to work and color wasn't going to work. And I'm mad. And I remember saying to Vince that day, 'this is the most disappointed I've ever been in a decision that I've had to try and make do with, I guess, in this company' because I really was. I thought, 'this is the culmination of a year-and-a-half angle. There has to be that. There has to be color.'"
Yet Edge had missed Vince's point. McMahon knew that Hell in a Cell could be a part of WWE forever. But as they years have passed, the wrestling conglomerate has had to gentrify its reputation and became a little more family oriented. So, blood was taken off the table.
"I wasn't thinking further down the road or the big picture, all of the things Vince has to think about, and in hindsight he was right. He was right and what he said that day was completely right. He said, 'I trust you two to set the template for what a Hell In A Cell will be going forward' and I was like, 'oh, well s--t.' What do you say to that? There's the challenge. Alright, so the challenge is, we've got to figure out a way to do this then, and I think we did. It still got in the story I wanted to get across."
Vince's reasoning is hard to argue with. As performers, Edge and Taker has to have loved the responsibility of starting a new era of Hell in a Cell, one that could still be highly entertaining but without the gore.
"it was fun to try, and, at that point in time, to Vince's point, set the template for what a Hell In A Cell would become. Yep, [the match was what McMahon wanted]. Yep, yep, [the feedback] was, 'that's exactly what it can be going forward.' It doesn't have to be gory. It doesn't have to involve bumps off the top of the cage. The challenge was, 'you're good enough to do it without all that stuff.' And I was just mad at first and once I wrapped my mind around that, it was like, 'alright, cool, I love challenges.'"
This is a fascinating look into what it's like backstage in WWE. Vince McMahon seems like quite the particular boss, but there's clearly a method to his madness.
In October, WWE will put on their Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. The rumored combatants might was to roll the footage of Taker/Edge 2008 to educate themselves on how to tell a great story without blood.
[H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription]