For 18 years, the Hell In A Cell match has been showcased in the WWE as a means to finish a feud. The original concept of the structure was created by Jim Cornette and featured in the War Games pay per view for WCW, and the NWA before that. The WWE would just use one ring as opposed to the multiple rings from War Games, but they would create some unforgettable moments.
Once the WWE went to PG TV, they had to use other creative ways to create amazing moments since blood was banned with the ratings change. It is hard to fathom a match like Hell In A Cell without the use of blood, but the WWE has put together some great matches in the PG TV era, such as Triple H vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania 28, and Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins last year.
Since 2009, Hell In A Cell transformed from a specialty match to its own pay per view event every October. It’s a great way to end some feuds to be able to start fresh for one of the big pay per views next month in the Survivor Series. This year, we will see two big feuds between Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, along with Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt end inside of the Cell.
The following are 15 images that have defined the Hell In A Cell match over the years. Which are your favorites?
15. The Brutality Shown From The First Ever Hell In A Cell Match
The very first Hell In A Cell match took place at the Bad Blood pay per view in St. Louis, MO in October 1997. Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker squared off in the cell where the winner would get WWE Champion Bret “The Hitman” Hart at Survivor Series the following month.
The match took place inside the cell mainly to keep the rest of Degeneration X out, but also to finally put an end to the feud between these two. Sgt. Slaughter, who was commissioner at the time, would do an inspection under the ring to make sure no one was hiding.
As you can see from this photo, the match was full of brutality. The ring mat had a lot of blood stains with the two competitors completely decimated from the grueling match.
14. The First Pinfall From The First Hell In A Cell Match
Here is another look from the first ever Hell In A Cell match where a lifeless Shawn Michaels took all the energy he had left to cover the Undertaker for the victory. You get another look at all of the blood lost due to the chair shots administered by both participants.
The reason why Michaels was able to get the pin was due to the famous debut of The Undertaker’s brother Kane. He would rip the cell door off of its hinges and deliver the Tombstone on a stunned Undertaker.
This win led to the Bret Hart versus Shawn Michaels match at Survivor Series for the WWF Championship. That match would be one of the most famous in the company’s history due to the Montreal Screwjob that Vince McMahon created to get the belt off of Bret Hart.
13. Rikishi Takes A Massive Fall
The scene was Armageddon in 2000 where we would have the first (and only) six-man Hell In A Cell match for the WWF Championship. Kurt Angle was the champion after he won his first WWE Championship two months prior at No Mercy. Those in the match were: Kurt Angle, Undertaker, Triple H, Steve Austin, Rikishi, and The Rock.
For Rikishi, this was about the only taste of the main event for him. He turned heel by running over Steve Austin as he claimed he “did it for The Rock” in a story line that never really clicked.
The most iconic moment from this match was when the 400 pound Samoan Rikishi was on the top of the cage with The Undertaker. As you can tell, it didn’t end well for Rikishi as he was chokeslammed off the cage onto a truck full of wood chips.
12. The Last Hell In A Cell Match That Has Been On Raw
In the history of the Hell In A Cell, only two matches have taken place on Monday Night Raw. Actually two of the first four matches ever for the Cell were on Raw. The match was put together to follow up the success of the Cell match against The Undertaker that will be covered later.
At 7 minutes and 41 seconds, this is the shortest televised Hell In A Cell match ever, but as you can see from this photo, they got to the point quickly as there are dozens of thumbtacks sticking out of Kane’s posterior. That probably didn’t feel too good.
The match ended in a no contest, and it would mark the final time that Mankind would appear inside the cell, but it wouldn’t be the last time Mick Foley would be in the match as you will see with the next entry.
11. Cactus Jack Is Slammed Through The Ring
Brutality is a word that will be used a lot to describe these Hell In A Cell matches, but there are no words to describe the violence that was in the Triple H and Cactus Jack feud early in 2000. There was a Street Fight at the Royal Rumble, the Cell match at No Way Out, and a Fatal-4-Way match at WrestleMania 2000.
The night after the Rumble street fight, Triple H would grant Cactus Jack one more shot at the title, but Cactus would pick the stipulation and he chose Hell In A Cell. The caveat was Foley had to put his career on the line, which he did.
This picture was the result of Cactus taking a back body drop through the cage; which then put him through the mat. Unfortunately when he got up from this, he walked into a pedigree and lost.
10. As Did Edge…
In 2008, Edge was set to marry Vickie Guerrero, who was the general manager of Smackdown. After it was revealed that he had an affair with wedding planner Alicia Fox, an enraged Guerrero reinstated the fired Undertaker and forced Edge to take him on inside of the Cell.
After a grueling 27-minute match, Edge ended up getting the punishment he deserved for slighting Vickie by suffering a Tombstone leading to the loss. After the match, Taker came back for more…
Eight years after Triple H drove Cactus Jack through the ring from on top of the cage, The Undertaker did the same thing to Edge, but from a ladder. Since Edge’s fall was shorter, you could argue that Undertaker’s chokeslam had more force behind it.
9. The End Of An Era…
At WrestleMania 27, Triple H challenged The Undertaker to end his winning streak at WrestleMania and do something his buddy Shawn Michaels couldn’t do the year before. When he wasn’t successful, he challenged Taker again at WrestleMania 28 inside of Hell In A Cell with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee.
This match was billed “The End Of An Era” due to it being two of the final wrestlers from the pre-Attitude era. The match itself was epic as both men took it to each other. There was even a point where Michaels was begging Triple H to stop the brutalization he was delivering.
Taker would make a comeback and deliver a Tombstone to extend his streak to 20-0. The iconic photo above showed the respect that all three men had for each other, and it was truly the end of an era.
8. Heyman Finally Gets What He Deserved At The Hands Of CM Punk
Under the management of Paul Heyman, CM Punk would go on to have the longest modern reign as WWE Champion at a total of 434 days. When Punk lost the title in January 2013, the relationship with Heyman started to slowly sour. Then in June, Heyman turned on Punk to cost him the Money In The Bank ladder match.
Punk won the opportunity to choose the stipulation at the 2013 Hell In A Cell pay per view. That stipulation would be that Heyman would be Ryback’s tag team partner for the match inside of the Cell. Heyman hid on top of the Cell for the whole match thanks to a scissor lift.
After Punk disposed of Ryback, he tucked a kendo stick in his trunks and climbed the cage to deliver Heyman the beating we all knew he deserved.
7. Big Boss Man Is Just Hangin’ Around…
The first ever Hell In A Cell match to take place at WrestleMania is quite possibly the worst cell match in history, but there was definitely an iconic moment at the end of the match that took place over 15 years ago.
At WrestleMania 15 in 1999, the Corporation and the Ministry of Darkness were feuding, which led to The Undertaker taking on the Big Boss Man in the fifth ever Hell In A Cell match.
After Taker defeated the Boss Man, The Brood would swoop down from the rafters to the top of the cage and present a noose for the Undertaker to hang Boss Man with. It was definitely a scary scene that will never be duplicated in the PG TV era.
6. Even The McMahon’s Were Brutalized In The Cell
There have been 30 matches that have been contested inside of Hell In A Cell, and even the boss and his family had to get involved in one of those matches back in 2006 at Unforgiven. The match was a 2-on-3 handicap match against Degeneration X (Triple H and Shawn Michaels) vs. Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, and Big Show.
DX would reform in 2006, and the McMahon’s with the Spirit Squad would get in their way. Triple H and HBK would devise a set of pranks at their expense to lead to an intense feud that would bring us to this match.
As you can see from the above photo, Shane was decimated in this match thanks to an HBK elbow drop while Shane’s neck was inside of a steel chair. Internal bleeding to go along with a blood-stained white jersey told the story here.
5. Synchronized Cell Diving
Brock Lesnar was WWE Champion, but did not compete at last year’s Hell In A Cell pay per view. This opened the door for two fresh faces to main event the show. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins had one of the better feuds of 2014 after Seth had turned on The Shield. Ambrose defeated Cena (who also wanted a piece of Rollins) for the right to face Rollins inside the Cell.
The match itself started on top of the cage, just like an epic match that will be mentioned later. As Rollins was trying to escape down the side of the cage, Ambrose followed and caught up to him. After a small battle on the side of the cage, both men fell at the same time through two different announcer tables for an amazing spot.
4. The Most Epic Hell In A Cell Match – Part 1
The next four images come from the most epic Hell In A Cell Match to date. The 1998 King Of The Ring was known for Austin 3:16 and the Cell match between Mankind and Undertaker. This would be the third ever match inside the cell.
Last year’s Hell In A Cell match between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins was an ode to this match that also started on top of the Cell because Foley is just crazy. The most iconic moment in Hell In A Cell history comes just minutes after the bell rung for the match.
Foley had the early advantage on the roof and was delivering some vicious chair shots to The Undertaker, but eventually Taker would get the upper hand. With no remorse, Taker threw Foley off the Cell.
3. The Most Epic Hell In A Cell Match – Part 2
The above picture is the aftermath of the start of the match when Taker threw Mankind off of the 15-foot high Cell onto the announcer’s table. You can barely notice that was an in-tact table before Foley was used as a dart to crash through it.
Jim Ross would famously make the call, “Good God almighty! They’ve killed him! They’ve killed him!” Foley would remain motionless for minutes until EMT’s would arrive and put Foley on a stretcher and proceed to carry him up the ramp to the back.
Every year that the Hell In A Cell pay per view comes around, this moment is relived over and over because it is definitely one of the most dangerous moves that has ever been executed in the WWE.
2. The Most Epic Hell In A Cell Match – Part 3
Many thought the match was over as the EMT’s were wheeling Foley up the ramp towards the back to have him checked out. The entire process took up quite a bit of time to make the audience and those watching on pay per view think that this was for real.
To everyone’s surprise, Foley got back up on his feet and had a deranged smile on his face. Not only was Foley upright, he was heading back to the ring! As you can see in the above photo, head referee Earl Hebner and good friend Terry Funk were trying to keep Foley from re-entering the match, but they failed.
Foley would then climb back up the cage to attack Undertaker, but Foley would end up taking another gigantic bump…
1. The Most Epic Hell In A Cell Match – Part 4
We all know Mick Foley is crazy, but this photo is living proof because he was already thrown off the cage at the beginning of the match, only to climb back up to take the fight to Taker. That didn’t end well either as Taker choke slammed Foley through the roof onto the mat.
The bump was so brutal that Foley’s good friend Terry Funk came into the ring with paramedics to check on him. Of course, Foley wasn’t done and didn’t want to quit there. Amazingly Foley would get the upper hand once there was actually action in the ring; however, his flurry wasn’t enough as he would walk into a Tombstone to lose the match.
It was such an amazing moment that both wrestlers received a standing ovation after the bell was rung.