The PG content isn't the problem with the WWE's PG Era. Wrestling doesn't need to be soaked in blood, sex and profanity to be compelling. All it needs are two skilled storytellers in the ring and a reason for them to be clashing against each other. The problem with the PG Era is that the WWE keeps trying to shove concepts that don't fit into the PG mindset. This only brings attention that the WWE is a PG show when the audience really shouldn't care. All wrestling fans need to be entertained are great wrestling matches. Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler can entertain us without the use of blood and profanity. They can do it in the ring.
This is the problem with Hell in a Cell in the PG era. It really doesn't fit the mold, but the WWE continues to try and force it in anyways. The Hell in a Cell is my favorite gimmick match. I love the name, I love the cage, I love the history that comes with it. But Hell in a Cell in both name and concept requires a certain level of visceral brutality that the WWE has no intention of making good on. It's a match that requires blood. For the gimmick to work and remain special, it has to be viewed as the most brutal match two wrestlers can engage in.
Hell in a Cell is a gimmick match that should only be busted out once in a great while and only when the WWE is prepared to let it live up to its name. I'm not saying we need people to be thrown off the top of a cage or slammed into thumbtacks every time its trotted out. Mick Foley already took a dive off the cage, I don't really see a need for anyone to do it again. However, Hell in a Cell needs the illusion of a grueling, old school, brutal match. It should be brawl based, there needs to be plenty of bumps into the cage itself and most of all, it should be a bloody affair.
WWE has moved on from the attitude era, away from the blood and beer of Austin's time of dominance. I'm kind of happy about that. I have had more than my fill of pimps, porn stars, X-Pac and hand birthing. Basically, the Hell in a Cell had a great run as the ultimate gimmick match of the WWE and despite my love for it, I'm ready to let it go and ride off into the sunset.
There are plenty of gimmick matches that work in the PG era: ladder matches, the Royal Rumble, the more traditional cage match, tables matches, the iron man match, I quit matches, even TLC. All of those matches could fit easily into the current climate of the WWE. Hell in a Cell requires something more.
The biggest problem with Hell in a Cell in the current WWE isn't really the lack of blood or carnage. It's the fact that its a yearly PPV. The Hell in a Cell needs a reason, a purpose. The fact that two superstars are going to have a Hell in a Cell match simply because its that time of year cheapens the impact of Hell in a Cell. It becomes just another gimmick PPV like Extreme Rules or TLC or Money in the Bank. It loses its impact. It's not like the Royal Rumble, which has become a yearly ritual and first step on the Road to Wrestlemania. Like TLC, its just sort of there rather or not if it makes sense for it to be there.
It also diminishes the ability for the Hell in a Cell concept to draw. Giving us a Hell in a Cell match every two or even three years will make it seem like a huge deal. It will be an event in itself. It would be the special attraction that the concept was meant to be. There is no good reason for it to be a yearly PPV. It can be a great tool for drawing a few more buys to some of WWE's lesser PPVs. It can help to really give a feud an extra boost. It's a powerful tool in the WWE's belt that is currently be used in the most lazy and uncreative way possible.
The Hell in a Cell had its run. Watering it down for the PG era isn't going to do it or the WWE any good. Maybe the time in wrestling that made Hell in a Cell so awesome has passed for good. If so, maybe a permanent retirement might be called for instead of a temporary one. Maybe not.
As for right now the concept should be retired. It would be better for the WWE to focus on concepts that don't have the expectations of mayhem given to us by the Attitude Era behind them. The PG era doesn't really have a place for Hell in a Cell and that's okay. Not everything fits into a new era and some things just have to be left behind. That's the nature of progress and moving forward.
Aside: You know what, they should totally bring back the casket match. It can have its own PPV....called Casket Match.