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It’s been one of the most iconic feuds in recent memory. Between the shockingly personal smack talk, their instant-classic match at Clash at the Castle, and the seemingly never-ending bad blood that exists between the two men, no current rivalry in WWE compares, and last night’s explosive episode of Monday Night Raw saw the discord between Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle come to an apex.
Riddle fired the first shot. During the United States Championship match that opened up Raw, Riddle distracted Rollins long enough for Bobby Lashley to hit a spear to secure a victory. Rollins responded later in the night, attacking Riddle outside the ring during his tag team match with Rey Mysterio against Judgment Day.
That was more than enough for both Superstars, as later in the evening, cameras caught them brawling backstage, leading to this moment:
And with that, it was made official: Matt Riddle and Seth Rollins will clash at Extreme Rules in a Fight Pit match.
The question flying through the WWE Universe is understandable: What is a Fight Pit match, exactly?
It’s like a cage match, but it’s not. It’s like a Hell in the Cell match, but it’s not. It’s like an MMA fight, but it’s not. It’s almost like all of those combined into one hellacious match that has to be seen to be believed. And for an intense rivalry like Matt Riddle vs. Seth Rollins, it’s the logical next step. When normal wrestling matches won’t suffice anymore, when a feud gets so personal and so heated, a career-altering, extreme match like a Fight Pit match is more than suitable.
In a Fight Pit match, there are no ropes or turnbuckles inside the ring, only a steel cage surrounding the squared circle. And participants shouldn't even think about escaping the cage to secure a victory, as the only way to win is by knockout or submission, guaranteeing a physical, grueling test of fortitude.
We’ll be honest: A Fight Pit match gets so intense that it sometimes becomes hard to watch. Outside of the familiarity of a WWE ring, competitors are forced to rely on their primal instincts. MMA-inspired moves are commonplace, as are just straight punches, knees, and elbows to the face. This match is not for the weak of heart, and one has to wonder what kind of long-term physical consequences both Matt Riddle and Seth Rollins will face as a result of this match.
But did you know that Riddle actually will have the advantage at Extreme Rules? During last night’s episode of Raw, Riddle didn’t just throw out a random stipulation to Rollins when he laid down the challenge — he chose a Fight Pit match because he actually took part in the first-ever one just a few years ago.
Savvy members of the WWE Universe know that NXT actually was home to the first two Fight Pit matches in wrestling history, taking place in 2020 and 2021.
The first-ever Fight Pit took place on May 27, 2020, and saw Matt Riddle take on his ex-tag team partner Timothy Thatcher to settle their intensely personal and bitter rivalry once and for all. Sound familiar?
The first-ever Fight Pit match was an absolute war and ended with Riddle picking up the victory and Thatcher losing his two front teeth in the process. Ouch, indeed.
Timothy Thatcher also competed in the second-ever Fight Pit match, this time defeating none other than Tomasso Ciampa in another epic match. And we’re happy to report that Thatcher survived the tenacity of the steel cage with all of his teeth intact this time.
Of course, old-school fans can argue that the Fight Pit match draws heavy inspiration from the legendary Lion’s Den matches that happened during the Attitude Era — and they wouldn’t be wrong.
The Lion’s Den featured some of the top Superstars of the '90s squaring off in a decidedly MMA-style cage where the phrase “anything goes” was an understatement. It’s no surprise that the match often featured competitors with heavy MMA and amateur wrestling backgrounds, like Ken Shamrock, Owen Hart, and Steve Blackman.
Although Extreme Rules will mark the first time that the Fight Pit match will appear on a WWE Premium Live Event, it’s fascinating to trace the roots of the match back to its humble beginnings in the Attitude Era. While WWE Superstars like Ken Shamrock were no slouches inside of the Fight Pit’s steel cage enclosure, there hasn’t been two competitors more athletic, more driven, and more capable than Matt Riddle and Seth Rollins.
Their clash at Extreme Rules will be one for the record books. Tensions between Riddle and Rollins have reached a boiling point, and it’s only fitting that both men will be trading the friendly confines of a WWE ring for an unforgiving structure that will potentially alter their career trajectories — they hate each other that much.
On Oct. 8, the most extreme rivalry in WWE takes center stage.
Let’s just hope both men leave Philadelphia that night with all their teeth.
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