A Steel Cage match is a wrestling match type where two or more opponents must escape a steel cage to become the victor, though sometimes the rules are bent where they may also win via pin or submission as well.
A cage match is usually booked for a feud that either has one wrestler running away, or has other individuals running in to help a wrestler. As a result, the initial purpose of a cage is to keep the wrestlers in and outside interference out. However, the match is also no-disqualification, allowing the wrestlers to use the cage as a weapon (such as throwing an opponent into the cage wall), do bumps off the top of the cage (such as the famous splash in Madison Square Garden Jimmy Snuka), or use weapons that allies throw over the top of the cage. If the door is not locked, outsiders may enter through the door and interfere (which is supposed to defeat the whole purpose of having a cage match, but has actually proved quite effective in getting heels over).
Rules of a Steel Cage Match
The most basic of cage matches has a variety of rules, depending on the company and the nature of the angle in which the cage is being introduced.
- World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) currently uses the rule that there are four ways to win: Pinfall, submission, exiting through the door, or climbing over the top and down to the arena floor. For both of the latter, both the wrestler's feet must be planted firmly on the floor, or the escape doesn't count. Before this, however, most of WWE's cage matches could only be one via escape (leading to the "no disqualification" rule).
- Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA)/Impact Wrestling employs a rules system similar to that of WWE's current one, but before then, their cage matches could only be one by pinfall or submission. In their first one, pitting Triple X vs America's Most Wanted (AMW), Mike Tenay explained the rules, saying "We're not going to find out who the best climbers are; we're going to find out who the best wrestlers are!" It should be noted, however, that this cage match was booked because Triple X utilized outside interference against AMW four times previously, so these rules made sense. However, after that first cage match, TNA used the same rules system for many years, with the exception of their X-Division Xscape Match, until 2008, when they began regularly employing an escape rule.
Variations of the Cage Match
The cage match has more variations that almost any other match type.
Barbed Wire Steel Cage
This match is the same as the normal one (complete with the flexible rules system), but the top is covered in barbed wire, preventing escape over the top (or, at least, causing serious cuts to the person who does escape that way).
Doomsday Chamber of Blood
In this barbed wire cage match, the only way to win is by pinfall, but a pinfall only counts towards victory if the one being pinned is bleeding. This match has only been featured once, at the Hard Justice 2007 PPV.
Electrified Cage Match
There are two versions of this match. One is mostly in Mexico, where the only way to win is via escape. The electricity is turned on and off at regular intervals to allow the wrestlers a chance to escape.
The other one was in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, at their Lockdown 2007 PPV. The cage was constantly electrified (save for the door), and the only way to win was by pinfall or submission.
This variation can only be seen in World Wrestling Entertainment, as they have the intellectual property. The cage has a roof, and instead of resting on the ring aprons, it extends several feet on each side on the arena floor. This match is famous for the legitimate injuries that have been sustained in this match, such as Mick Foley loosing a tooth through his nose.