Orton could have been in an entirely different predicament (Picture: WWE)
The Punjabi Prison was almost very different – and apparently even WWE boss Vince McMahon had signed off on the original plans.
The divisive gimmick match, which debuted at the Great American Bash 2006 and featured two bamboo cages with wrestlers having to escape both to win, split fans and only ended up happening three times with the most recent coming four years ago between Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton.
According to MLW boss Court Bauer, who was part of the writing team at the time, the original plan was to have an ‘exploding ring’ deathmatch.
He told GameSpot’s Wrestle Buddies podcast: ‘I was at WWE, when we did the infamous Punjabi Prison Match, as you might remember.
‘Now, full disclaimer, I had pitched Vince on that match, but it wasn’t that match. It was -I’m not going to bury myself. Actually, I showed him a tape of an [Atsushi] Onita deathmatch with the exploding ring.
‘I said I wanted to do that in WWE, and he signed off on it–members of the creative team have gone on record backing the story.
‘And it goes to Kevin Dunn, who we didn’t hear from for a while, everything was close to the vest. But hey, if Vince says it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen.’
However, plans steadily changed as the Great American Bash approached, and Bauer noted they deviated from his original plan – which had input from writer Alex Greenfield – and went for something very different.
‘We start seeing the mockups for what the exploding cage was going to look like. First of all, there was no explosions,’ he added.
‘This was about 10 days before the PPV. And the second thing we learned was it’s bamboo. And it’s almost like an Indiana Jones playset from Temple of Doom.
‘And you’re like, “This is so perversely not what we talked about. Oh my god. This is going to bury the creative team once again.” Of course, we took the heat for that one.’
Despite being tied to The Great Khali, the first bout actually pit The Undertaker against The Big Show, while Hall of Famer Khali then faced Batista in the cages at No Mercy 2007, before the structure returned for the Orton/Jinder bout four years ago.