Despite wrestling fans recognizing that the Asylum Match is simply WWE’s version of TNA’s Lethal Lockdown Match, there was plenty of excitement for the prospect of two gifted wrestlers encouraged by bizarre weapons.
After the first ever Asylum Match, however, Ambrose will likely be disappointed by the reception of the crowd. Chants of “This is boring!” could be heard throughout the match, and the crowd hardly buzzed over the laborious process of retrieving the weapons repeatedly.
Most of the tools were used without significant impact, with remaining weapons dangling above the cage as a reminder of how much longer the match would last. By the time the last couple of weapons were used, the crowd had already lost interest in the gimmick.
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Fortunately, the Asylum Match ended on a high note, after a throwback spot that featured Chris Jericho being planted in thumbtacks, reminiscent of Mick Foley’s hardcore days.
Beyond the ending, the match was mediocre at best, failing to live up to the lofty expectations set forth by TNA.
It is too early to write off the gimmick match as ineffective, but few can argue against the need to make some changes before the next Asylum Match, if there is to be a next one.
Firstly, TNA often features more than two wrestlers in its Lethal Lockdown Match. By filling the ring with competitors, the process of obtaining weapons is rarely the focus of the match, as wrestlers in the background may reach for a weapon while others perform elsewhere in the ring.
In this way, the Asylum Match resembles an Elimination Chamber Match, as the latter would undoubtedly fail without the added drama of multiple competitors locked inside the structure. If WWE hosted a Fatal Four-way match using the Asylum Match stipulation, action will be fast-paced and more engaging.
Next, there needs to be surprises throughout the match. Most of the near-falls in the Asylum Match failed to provide excitement for the fans, as the crowd doubted the possibility of an early finish while multiple weapons dangled from the top of the cage.
The match was simply content to execute an easy formula of the wrestlers taking turns to retrieve a weapon and use it on their opponent, over and over again, with little creativity.
Most will agree that the highlight of the match was the use of thumbtacks, which speaks volumes to the necessary changes that need to be made. The thumbtacks added an element of unpredictability, as Ambrose and Jericho exchanged attempts to hoist their opponents and slam them into the mat.
The ending was a glimpse into the potential of the Asylum Match, and WWE would be wise to feature such surprise more consistently throughout the match.
Finally, the steel cage that houses the Asylum Match should have a ceiling, preventing any escape during the match, similar to the structure of Hell in a Cell.
It is understandable that Jericho, as a heel, would try to escape the cage to avoid any punishment. However, no one in the arena, nor those watching on the WWE Network, would have thought that Jericho would succeed in escaping the structure.
Thus, the attempts serve little to no purpose, and breaks up the in-ring storytelling that both wrestlers worked hard to display.
Confining the wrestlers within the cage, with no possibility to escape, forces constant action to take place, generating the electricity that fans expect from a weapons match.
The final grade of the first-ever Asylum Match did not meet expectations, but few match types are refined from the beginning. The gimmick match is crucial to Ambrose’s character, and after flashes of brilliance toward the end of the match, WWE should make the necessary changes and give it another shot.
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