Why WWE Just Ran 2 Hell In A Cell Matches On Free Television

The real reason WWE booked four Hell In A Cell matches in as many days.

bobby Lashley Xavier Woods
WWE.com

WWE has gone Hell In A Cell crazy over the past four days, not only booking two of the stipulation matches for 20 June's titular pay-per-view, but also adding HIAC bouts to the most recent episodes of Raw and SmackDown as well.

Originally announced for the PPV, Rey Mysterio and Roman Reigns' Universal Title clash was fast-forwarded to SmackDown on short notice. Then, Bobby Lashley bludgeoned Xavier Woods inside the structure on Raw, defeating Kofi Kingston's New Day teammate ahead of a date with the former WWE Champion at Money In The Bank 2021.

Per PWInsider's Mike Johnson, WWE opted to put two additional Hell In A Cell matches on free television to give their broadcast partners "something extra". On top of this, the promotion wanted to grab their audience's attention ahead of 16 July, when the ThunderDome era ends and live fans return to main roster shows.

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Putting Reigns vs. Mysterio on SmackDown coincided with a small ratings boost for the blue brand, which improved from 1.944 million to 2.040 million in overall viewership and 0.48 to 0.54 in the key 18-49 demographic.

Andrew Zarian of the Mat Men Pro Wrestling Podcast reported last week that WWE's decision to move Rey vs. Roman to SmackDown, which goes out on FOX, had upset Raw broadcasters USA Network.

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The idea of WWE "giving away" big matches on free television no longer holds weight, given television rights fees are WWE's primary source of revenue. The pay-per-view business is largely dead, too, with an overwhelming majority of viewers consuming WWE's biggest shows via Peacock in the United States and the Network abroad. WWE's decision is therefore understandable, and perhaps viewers should get used to situations like this becoming the norm.

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WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter, Presenter and Editor. Formerly Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @andyhmurray.