WWE’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view is on its way. While the themed pay-per-view has cheapened the match to some extent, a Hell in a Cell match is always an anticipated event. It’s one of the greatest match creations in the history of professional wrestling. Here are the top 10 Cell matches in WWE history.
10) Batista vs. Triple H, Vengeance 2005
After many months on top of the world, Triple H was finally knocked off his throne at WrestleMania 21 when Batista, his former protegé in Evolution, defeated him for the World Heavyweight title. Batista then won a return match at Backlash. Triple H would get one last chance at Vengeance, in a Hell in a Cell match to regain his title.
Triple H had already done wonders in putting Batista over as the company’s big star, but this Hell in a Cell match cemented Batista permanently. This match featured a slower pace than the usual cell match, but was very brutal, with gut wrenching violence. It truly felt like Triple H was caged with an animal.
Among the props included were a steel chair wrapped in barbed wire and The Game’s trusty sledgehammer. It appeared Triple H would deliver that final blow with it while Batista hoisted him up, but the Animal hit the Batista Bomb before he could strike it. Batista was a made man at the conclusion of this feud. This also marked the first time Triple H lost a Hell in a Cell match.
9) Undertaker vs. Edge, SummerSlam 2008
The two had built up a feud throughout the summer and it was scheduled for a blow-out, the only way it could possibly happen, inside the cell.
This was all a way of Vickie Guerrero punishing Edge for cheating on her with a wedding planner. While that part wasn’t particularly interesting, this match certainly was. It was a great way of ending Taker and Edge’s feud.
It all culminated with a Conchairto to Edge, followed by a Tombstone Piledriver. Undertaker then chokeslammed Edge to hell, sending him through the ring.
8) Triple H vs. Chris Jericho, Judgement Day, 2002
They say the Hell in a Cell match ends careers. Unfortunately, this one did as referee Tim White suffered a severe shoulder injury that ended his officiating career.
The match provided tense moments, with both men tempting fate at the top of the structure, making us think we were in for a repeat of the King of the Ring 1998 match.
Finally, Triple H scored a Pedigree on top of the steel, as referee Mike Chiota nervously counted to three while he was 20 feet off stable ground.
7) Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker, No Mercy, 2002
Brock Lesnar broke the famed Streak at WrestleMania this year, but he already had his share of victories over The Undertaker. None as impressive as his cell match victory over the Phenom at No Mercy 2002.
Lesnar was a rookie defending his WWE Championship going into The Undertaker’s element. That match saw Undertaker take a beating that no one had ever seen him take. Lesnar beat Taker to a bloody pulp, while battling a broken right hand.
Undertaker brought everything at Lesnar, grating him against the steel, using his punishing blows, but it was Brock Lesnar who kept coming back.
It was all finished when Lesnar reversed a Tombstone attempt into an F-5 to finish off The Undertaker, leaving him a bloody, broken mess in the ring. The stunned, awed audience watched as Lesnar climbed the cell, raising his title, indicating he was WWE’s new alpha male.
This actually would soon lead to Lesnar getting more cheers, having earned respect by going through the toughest battle of his young career.
6) Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels, Bad Blood, 2004
The final match in an epic rivalry took place at Bad Blood 2004. Ever since Shawn Michaels had returned to the WWE in 2002, he and Triple H engaged in countless matches, each one topping the previous one. Finally at Bad Blood, the two decided to end their feud once and for all, in the only way it would finally resolve their issue.
The match lasted an astounding 47 minutes, as the two took turns brutalizing and victimizing their former best friend.
HBK hit Triple H with an elbow off a ladder through a table, while Triple H piledrove Michaels, and beat him with the steel steps. Neither could find a way to end the match.
Triple H finally was able to execute a Pedigree, but was too exhausted to cover Michaels. He would hit three in a row, before finally mustering enough energy to put his arm over Michaels for the three-count. As Jim Ross said, it was ‘mercifully over’ as the years of bad blood finally had reached an end. This would end their feud and two years later D-X was reunited. The cell works in strange ways.
5) Triple H vs. Cactus Jack, No Way Out 2000
Mick Foley and Triple H had a very long rivalry, whether Foley was Mankind, Dude Love or Cactus Jack. They had just had perhaps their best match yet at Royal Rumble 2000 in a street fight, so how could they top that? Why, a HIAC match of course.
Foley put his career on the line against Triple H, as in reality, this was supposed to be his swan song. This match also cemented Triple H as the dastardly heel we would come to know him as.
The two battled their way outside the cell, with Foley using a flaming barbed wire bat to punish Triple H. The battle made its way to the top of the cell, where Foley tried to piledrive Triple H onto the steel. The Game reversed it, sending Foley crashing through the cell, and the ring. Triple H followed it up with the Pedigree, which was only academic at that point. Foley outdid himself once again and Triple H got about the greatest endorsement you could get as a heel. It also helped establish his run of dominance in the cell.
4) Undertaker vs. Triple H, WrestleMania XXVIII
Not many were eager to see a third Triple H/Undertaker match at WrestleMania, but the added element of the cell added intrigue. Shawn Michaels as a guest referee also added interest, as this match would prove to be an example of a special referee truly adding a dimension to the match.
The match told a great story, sucking the Miami crowd into their palms. They brutalized each other from bell to bell, with neither man being able to secure a victory. The most memorable moment came when Undertaker suffered Sweet Chin Music and a Pedigree in a matter of seconds, but still was able to kick out.
Finally, after Triple H had run out of answers for the Phenom, he succumbed to the Tombstone and the Undertaker went to 20-0 at WrestleMania.
3) Six-Man Hell in a Cell: Armageddon 2000
In all likelihood, we’ll never see a match like this again. Seeing a six-man Hell in a Cell match was perhaps a perfect epitome to the Attitude Era. What made it even better was the title was on the line and the match featured the five biggest active stars in the company at the time (and Rikishi). Had Foley been an active wrestler, making him the sixth competitor would’ve given the WWE all its biggest stars of the Attitude Era in one match.
It was all a perfect way for WWE to end its most successful calendar year in company history.
Every story came together, from Austin being run over by Rikishi at the behest of Triple H, The Undertaker and Austin having come back from serious injuries the same year, The Rock having carried the company all year and Kurt Angle having been a rookie sensation, defending his title.
It became the wildest and most chaotic match in the cell’s history.
The match’s most memorable moment came when Undertaker chokeslammed Rikishi off the cell into the back of a truck. In the end, Angle was able to sneak in the win, leaving a trail of carnage in the ring. The match cemented Angle as one of the top stars in the business.
2) Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, Badd Blood: In Your House, 1997
We wouldn’t have had this match if the original wasn’t as good as it was. Shawn Michaels was just taking off as a top heel and he needed a home run in this match; both men, as usual, delivered.
The Undertaker whipped Shawn Michaels around the cell, with Michaels constantly using dirty tactics to stay in the match, finding any way he could to withstand or evade The Undertaker’s wrath.
Undertaker knocked Michaels off the cell through a table. Finally, The Undertaker did what he had been waiting to do for months; nailed HBK with a steel chair. He signalled for the Tombstone, victory was on its way.
We then got the greatest debut in the history of the WWE. Undertaker’s brother Kane made his way to the ring, broke into the cell and Tombstoned his brother. Michaels then scored the win to end the epic contest. It reestablished HBK as the top dog and the WWE instantly made a new star in Kane.
The quality of the cell match also told WWE that this wasn’t a one-off deal. This was a match they could keep around forever.
1) Undertaker vs. Mankind, King of the Ring, 1998
Is it clichéd to put this one in the top spot? Probably. However the fact remains, this is the first match that always comes to mind when people think of the Hell in a Cell. It’s the most influential match in its history.
Mick Foley has constantly said himself, for better or for worse, this is the match people will remember him for. The moment in particular, him being thrown off the cell through the table and then through the cell itself.
The bell-to-bell action is far from the greatest in a match of this kind, but the impact that it had puts it in the top spot. You have to factor everything in; crowd investment was intense, it was extremely memorable and it was one of the most influential matches of its time.
The match made Foley all the more popular. Fans will never forget him thanks to this encounter. What we saw in this match will never be seen again. The bar was set at an impossible level to reach.
The match fused Foley and Undertaker’s names to the cell match for eternity.
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