Jul 13, 2023
The History Of WWE's Original Steel Cage (& Why They Stopped Using It)
The original steel cage design used by WWE was a completely different structure
The original steel cage design used by WWE was a completely different structure that featured some of the best legends competing inside it.
The sport of professional wrestling is known for its hard-hitting action. However, another thing that adds to the physical action in the ring and makes it more exciting to watch is the different match types. These matches happen once in a while, give a change to the fans, and keep them invested in the television product. One of the most brutal and tormenting matches is the steel cage match.
A steel cage match takes place inside a cage that is created by stacking metal mesh sheets against, inside, or around the wrestling ring's perimeter. The easiest way to win is to simply escape the cage, either by climbing over the top of the cage wall and reaching the arena floor with both feet hitting the mat or by climbing through the cage door and contacting the floor. Pinfall and submission are other sporadic methods of victory in a steel cage match. WWE is known to feature some of the most amazing steel cage matches.
The global juggernaut originally started with a different type of steel cage and has continuously evolved the design over the period of time. So let's explore the subject of WWE's original steel cage and the reason the company stopped using that design.
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The original steel cage match was introduced by the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) in the 1930s that was relatively modest by modern standards and had a chicken-wire frame. But it was not until the 1960s that the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF, now known as WWE) adopted the concept. The original WWE steel cage was made of thick steel bars, chicken meshes with no roof, and a small gap at the top for wrestlers to climb in and out. The purpose of the cage was to contain the action inside the ring and prevent outside interference from managers, valets, or other wrestlers.
The first steel cage match in WWE history took place in 1976 between Bruno Sammartino and Larry Zbyszko. In 1982, WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka transformed sports entertainment and sparked the steel cage's ongoing development. Snuka scaled the steel cage during a match with his adversary Don Muraco and leaped from the top to the joy of the stunned WWE crowd.
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WWE's original steel cage was a staple of wrestling matches for several decades, but it eventually fell out of favor with audiences and was replaced with a more modern and visually appealing cage. There were several reasons why WWE decided to stop using the original steel cage.
First and foremost, the violent nature of steel cage matches became less popular with audiences as WWE evolved into a more family-friendly product in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The original steel cage matches were often bloody affairs, with wrestlers using the steel bars to their advantage and slamming each other into the cage. These matches were intense and exciting, but they also appealed to a more niche audience.
Another factor in the decision to stop using the original steel cage was the cage's lack of visual appeal. While the thick steel bars of the original cage was functional and served their purpose, they were not particularly visually appealing. The cage was not marketed as a brand, and it did not have any distinguishing features that made it stand out.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, WWE began to use a new, more visually appealing cage with a roof and smaller gaps between the bars. This cage was made of lighter steel mesh. The new cage also allowed for more high-flying moves and acrobatics, as wrestlers could climb all the way to the top of the cage and perform daring stunts. Some of the designs that came into prominence were the blue and black steel cages and modernized standard versions used today in WWE.
The new cage was a hit with audiences and became a staple of WWE pay-per-view events. It was more marketable, more visually appealing, and allowed for more exciting action in the ring. The original steel cage, by contrast, had become outdated and no longer fit the brand that WWE was trying to cultivate.
Despite its simplicity, the original steel cage became a popular attraction in WWE, and it was used for several years. The original steel cage still holds a special place in the history of WWE and is remembered by many fans as an iconic element of classic wrestling matches.
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