On last night's RAW, Chris Jericho learned that he would be paying the price for his constant interference in Kevin Owens' championship matches. Mick Foley announced that Y2J will be dangling high above the ring in a shark cage when Kevin Owens defends the WWE Universal Title against Roman Reigns at 2017 Royal Rumble.
While many viewers assumed the match was simply set up as a ploy to sell more WWE Crash Cage sets before Christmas, the Shark Cage does have a bit of a storied history with professional wrestling.
To get you excited for Jericho's stint as a "sexy pinata," here are the 5 greatest shark cage matches in wrestling history.
While traditionally the Undertaker's keeper, Paul Bearer spent a good amount of time trying to destroy his creation as the manager of Mankind. Bearer would be raised into the shark cage to stay out of Taker's Survivor Series 1996 match with Mankind. With Bearer looking on creepily from high above, the Deadman was able to finish Mankind off with a tombstone for the victory. Perhaps seeing how this affected his own match is what led Mick Foley to put Y2J in the same situation at the Royal Rumble.
17 years ago, Triple H was the leader of Degeneration X and on the verge of the storyline that would change his life forever. To keep him from interferring in the Big Show vs Mankind WWE World Championship match, Trips was forced into the shark cage. The match went off mostly as planned until Trips was (for no apparent reason) lowered into the ring. It was at this time that special guest commentator, Stephanie McMahon, entered the ring to prevent H from getting out of the cage.
Just as Mankind came over to assist the boss' daughter, she kicked him square in the jewels, revealing her alliance with the Cerebral Assasin. 17 years later, Stephanie and Trips are still wreaking havoc on the rest of the WWE.
Paul Heyman has a pretty great resume when it comes to managing talent. Many years before he became the advocate for Brock Lesnar, Paul E. Dangerously was a cell phone wielding manager for WCW US Champion,"Stunning" Steve Austin. At the 20th Clash of Champions, Heyman got to watch a classic battle between Austin and Ricky Steamboat from the shark cage vantage point. No shenanigans in this one, as the cage prevented any outside interference from Heyman, which allowed Steamboat to capture the United States Championship.
At the original Clash of Champions in 1988, Sting challenged Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Flair's notoriously meddling manager, J.J. Dillon was suspend in a cage high above the ring. Flair and Sting wrestled to a 45:00 time limit draw, which left the match in the hands of the ringside judges; inexplicably including Jason Hervey (from The Wonder Years) and Ken Osmond (from Leave it to Beaver). The judges ruled the match a draw. While this all sounds ridiculous, the match did catapult Sting into instant stardom. More importantly for this list, the shark cage did it's job as JJ Dillon was kept far away from the action.
This match wins the award for best use of the shark cage. After Bret Hart left the WWE for WCW, Owen picked up a feud with Triple H and Degeneration X. At the Unforgiven pay per view in 1998, Triple H faced off with Owen for the European championship. Chyna spent the majority of the match trying to pry herself out of the cage. Eventually, Chyna was able to use her 9th wonder strength and pry loose the bars. The cage suddenly lowered, revealed to be Road Dogg at the controls, allowing Chyna to drop off and jump to the apron causing Hart to let go of the Sharpshooter. And if this was a convoluted enough of a finish, commisioner Sgt. Slaughter then appeared with a number of referees to dispatch Chyna, which allowed X-Pac to attack Hart with a fire extinguisher and allow Triple H to steal the match.