As I’m sure you all know, it was way back in the 1880s that Ferdinand von Lindemann and Karl Weierstrass proved in their eponymous theorem that you can’t square a circle.
Still, that hasn’t stopped wrestling announcers from calling the ring a “squared circle” anyway for the past century or so.
This week’s induction, however, gave new meaning to the term. I refer of course to WCW’s asylum cage.
Unlike all the other cages in use in WCW that month, where participants could freely roam the roof and arena floor…
…the asylum cage confined wrestlers to the ring. Well, the 79% or so of the ring that fell within the cage.
See, the WCW’s 16 x 16 ft. ring was much too spacious and fancy for a wrestling match, what with its corners and ropes and all.
While slightly larger than, say, a shark cage, the asylum cage still didn’t offer much room for maneuverability within its 50-foot circumference (which sounds much larger on paper).
Basically, it was an oversized bird cage, minus a perch or two. That would have made the three asylum matches that WCW held in the late spring of 2000 slightly interesting.
Nitro viewers were introduced to the new cage by Big Poppa Pump, who briefly mentioned it at the end of a rhyming promo about having sex in great detail.
“There’s nothing finer than doing the 69-er with Scott Steiner.”
Do you think that’s how he signed his 8x10s?
Out came Rick Steiner to accept his brother’s challenge (for the cage match, not the Steiner 69-er). “It’s real easy to get in, but to get out, you’ve got to say, ‘I quit’,” said Scott, about the cage match.
The dog-faced gremlin foolishly fought his brother in the center of the ring as the tiny cage slowly descended and trapped them both within.
Rick was shocked!
If Rick had had any brains, he would have hid in a corner, waited until his brother Scott was trapped inside the cage, then blasted him with either blood or doodies.
After exchanging the kinds of punches and kicks one would expect from a match with no ropes, Scott discovered that the cage was just big enough for him to execute his beloved belly-to-belly suplexes.
A minute and a half into the match, Goldberg’s music hit, but the former world champion was not to be found. Instead, we got “Tankberg,” a rip-off of Gillberg that saw Tank Abbott rip off Goldberg.
Flanked by security guards, Tank Abbott just happened to have bolt cutters after having heard about the cage two minutes earlier.
Tank tried for two whole seconds to cut through the chain link fence…
…then punched referee Mickey Jay and stole his cage-lifting gadget. Abbott was truly making a mockery of this important match stipulation, which had been hotly anticipated ever since it was announced earlier in the segment.
After lifting the cage back up, Tank ran in so he and Rick could double-team Scott, resulting in a no-contest at the three-minute mark.
This, in a match whose only selling point was that escape was impossible and there must be a winner.
Fortunately, “The Sexecutioner” Kevin Nash arrived to back up Big Poppa Pump. Wanting to avoid taking a lethal injection from the Sexecutioner, Tank and Rick fled the scene.
The next week, Scott cut another rhyming promo about having sex in great detail, inviting the ladies in Salt Lake City to “get erotic” at his “freak show.”
Hey, they don’t call it “Sin City” for nothing!
In the last five seconds of his promo, we found out that his opponent was Shane Douglas. Even though there were no ropes inside this cage, and its whole point was to recreate UFC-style fights, Steiner still Irish-whipped Douglas, who pretended to spring right off the fence to deliver a neckbreaker.
After Shane Douglas used a foreign object, Tony Schiavone pointed out how the rules in WCW had been relaxed as of late to give fans clear-cut winners and losers. Good thing, too, as just last week a cage match just kind of evaporated into thin air after interference.
But there certainly was a clear decision in this week’s asylum match when Steiner made Douglas submit after two and a half minutes.
Referee Slick Johnson did his best Marcel Marceau impression to deliver the verdict.
It was now time for the Great American Bash, where the asylum cage would make its third and final appearance, as Scott Steiner defended his U.S. Title against Tank Abbott.
Before the match, Scott Hudson referred to Steiner as “creamier” than any cage fighter in the world, which raises some questions. Although maybe not as many questions as WWE Network’s closed captions raised…
Scott Steiner having spent a combined total of over five minutes in the cage, the match was deemed his specialty. Scott’s experience edge (not to mention being clingier than the queen of the sheep-fighting clock) put him at an unfair advantage, so Vince Russo added Rick Steiner to the mix to make it a handicap match.
The standard punches and kicks quickly bored Tank and his partner Rick Steiner (who may or may not have been competing for the U.S. title in this impromptu two-on-one bout; no one bothered to explain how this worked). Tank pulled out a chain to deliver further punishment to the reigning champion, only for brother Rick to protest.
Tank hit Rick with the chain instead, then tapped him with his foot to make sure he was still awake…
…allowing Scott to make Tank give up in 3:46 to the Steiner Recliner.
Truly, there was nothing finer. Well, except that one thing. Nothing can compete with that, which might be why WCW shelved the cage after this match.
TNA later created its own, full-sized version of the asylum cage, which it debuted at Sacrifice 2008.
Frankie Kazarian won that one to replace Kurt Angle in the three-way main event, seriously screwing up Scott Steiner’s mathematical calculations in the process.
But that’s an induction for another day….