10 Best Hell In A Cell Matches

Mick Foley Hell In A Cell

The Hell in a Cell match was originally developed to serve as the explosive climax to WWE’s biggest feuds. Names like Triple H, Mick Foley and The Undertaker soon made this match one of the most popular, through barbaric spots that left certain individuals broken in half. In 2009, WWE took the historic match and devised an entire pay-per-view around it, putting some of the hottest rivalries inside the steel structure as a means of giving us bloodthirsty mob our fix of violence.

Although many fans have taken umbrage with the lack of blood and insane stunt bumps since entering ‘the PG Era’, it doesn’t take away the storied history of the cell and some of the instant classics that have been produced inside of it. Many still look back fondly on Hell in a Cell as one of the best matches to serve as a bookend for rivalries, so don’t expect the annual PPV to be disappearing anytime soon.

With the 2017 edition on the horizon, lets take a look back through the 10 best Cell matches of all time.


10. Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins – Hell in a Cell 2014

Granted, this wasn’t the best received match in Hell in a Cell history, I’d go as far as saying that it was considered one of the worst purely because of the anti-climactic ending involving the returning Bray Wyatt.

But let’s stop for a second and look back on how well booked this match was. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins were involved in one of the hottest and blood-hungry feuds of 2015, a result of the break-up of The Shield and Rollins’ career-defining heel turn. The fans were ready for these two to break out as the top stars of the new era, having already had two ridiculously fun matches at Summerslam and the Raw following with Ambrose playing the perfect thorn in the side of Seth’s burgeoning singles career, it was the perfect feud to be used for a destructive cell match.

Despite not being remotely involved in the title picture, the match closed the show to many fans’ delight. It certainly felt like it needed to be the main event at this point. A lot of speculation surrounded whether or not Dean and Seth would break the trend of cell matches being tame compared to previous episodes, so the live crowd was pleased to see Ambrose scale the cage almost immediately. The match began with J&J security climbing the cage in order to bring Ambrose back down to the ring, where Seth was waiting for him. Of course, this didn’t go too well. The two eventually found themselves fighting on the outside of the cell, which eventually led to them both scaling the cell together. Conveniently just above the announcers tables, fans were ready for a re-creation of the famous Mankind cell bump. What they got was a half-hearted attempt at doing so, with both men knocking each other off the cell and through respective tables.

It was a great moment, but kind of dwarfed by previous spots which had looked far more impressive. Nevertheless, EMTs and medical personnel were at ringside to stage a match-ending stretcher angle. But as with all stretcher scenes, Ambrose refused to call it a night there. Dean brought Seth back into the ring to continue their match to the delight of the fans.

What followed was a total car-crash (in a good way) involving steel chairs, kendo sticks and cinder blocks. A good effort by WWE to create the violence necessary to make a cell match unique, despite having their hands tied by PG ratings. Without spoiling too much, this is a great watch for fans of the modern era and will stand out to me as a time where the future looked brightest for these two. Just a shame about the ending is all.


9. Sasha Banks vs Charlotte – Hell in a Cell 2016

Again, a match which has been heavily criticised for its booking, but nonetheless a part of history. The peak of the Women’s Revolution in WWE, Sasha and Charlotte lobbied against Raw GM Mick Foley to allow them to step inside the steel structure and put their huge rivalry to an end. I don’t think there’s ever going to be a time where WWE doesn’t need Sasha and Charlotte to fight each other, very similar to Owens and Zayn, but I’m not sure their feud will ever look as important as it did on this night.

Similarly, the match included an outside the cell spot featuring announcers tables, a spot which looked a hell of a lot more dangerous than the aforementioned 2014 attempt. Sasha was in the midst of being carted off before the match had a chance to really start, but once again, she managed to hulk up and power through the physical pain and enter the match.

With the women’s title on the line in the main event of the pay-per-view, these two did everything they could to make people remember this cell match. Even though a lot of critics have chalked this up as a flash in the pan, I for one admire the lengths WWE allowed Banks and Flair to go in this match. Some nasty looking table spots were included which led to a believable finish.

It’s the most I’ve ever cared about the Women’s title to this day, kudos.


8. The Undertaker vs Batista – Survivor Series 2007


There’s not much to remember from 2007, aside from this beast of a feud which took over the majority of Smackdown’s screen time. The Undertaker and Batista had some excellent matches starting from Wrestlemania 23, but an injury sidelined Taker in his hunt to reclaim the World Heavyweight title. Survivor Series marked his return to the ring against Batista, the stipulation was of course necessary to make this final match feel like the explosive conclusion it became.

The two hard-hitters went to town on each other for well over 20 minutes. Arguably this match was a sign of times to come, with the cell having little to no involvement in the match itself, but these two somehow managed to find a way to make this match exciting despite of the limitations given to them. Nowadays fans are used to seeing matches where the two would kick out of each others signature moves, but to me, this was the first time I recall seeing someone kick out of consecutive Batista Bombs and Tombstones.

It was an intense match which met its end far sooner than it should have, with the returning Edge putting an end to The Undertaker’s momentum whilst disguised as a camera man. Somewhat more satisfying interference than Bray Wyatt’s.


7. Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker – No Mercy 2002 & Hell in a Cell 2015


I thought it unfair to leave out either of these guys Cell matches, as both were equally fantastic in different ways. For those looking for a cringe-inducing blood-fest, then go see their 2002 match. Those seeking storytelling and shoot spots, check out 2015.

Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker’s chemistry knows no bounds, putting on two iconic Cell matches which I’ll happily go back and watch as many times as possible. The 2002 match was the finale in their feud for the WWE Championship, cementing Brock as one of the top workers on Smackdown. The psychology of using Taker’s hand injury made this match difficult to watch at times, with blood being spilt everywhere, even by Paul Heyman. This being the first Cell match I ever watched as a WWE fan, it was a perfect introduction to the brutality and the sheer violence the brand could produce.

Their 2015 Cell match was the conclusion to their more recent streak-related shenanigans. Having put an end to the streak at Wrestlemania 30, Undertaker disappeared for the best part of the year and even upon his return, there was no mention of his vengeance against Lesnar. All was thought to be over between the two, until Taker shocked the world and ruined Brock’s chances of reclaiming the World Championship from Rollins. The two had an incredible main event at Summerslam, which put them at 1-1 (since their 2002 feud) and the decider was penned for Hell in a Cell. Albeit less bloody, but still violent in newer ways, The Undertaker wasn’t scared to take risky bumps despite his physical condition.


6. Attitude Era Free for All – Armageddon 2000

2000 was a crazy year. The Attitude Era had produced some of the most celebrated stars in WWE history, around this time, each of them were involved in equally explosive feuds with one another. It was decided to bring all of them together for one massive Hell in a Cell match at the aptly named Armageddon event. The WWF championship was wedged in the middle of it all and fans were treated to the peak of programming at that time.

Kurt Angle, The Rock, The Undertaker, Rikishi, Triple H and Steve Austin all pulled their weight throughout this match, some taking ridiculous bumps off the top of the cell, others bleeding profusely throughout.

Everyone involved earned the respect of fans of old as well as new in this showcase of top talent, WCW couldn’t stand a chance.


5. Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker – Wrestlemania 32

Taking place during the drought period of 2016, where countless superstars were taking time off to rehab injuries and Roman Reigns was set to have his first Wrestlemania crowning moment, it seemed as if they were throwing together absolutely anything they could get their hands on. I mean, Christ, even Sin Cara was wrestling for the Intercontinental Championship. So upon the return of Shane O’ Mac, he was set to do battle with The Undertaker (who hadn’t been seen since November) in Hell in a Cell. Many fans were worried that neither of these two could hold a match together, despite them being two of the highest regarded wrestlers in history.

The match itself was quite sluggish and the wear and tear soon settled in for both of the competitors, until that one spot happened. Yes, I am including this match because of one single spot. Shane McMahon being Shane McMahon had to fall off of something really high, in this case it was the cell itself. Looking taller than ever before from the angles it was shot at, Shane’s elbow drop/fall from the top looked amazing. The entire crowd went nuts for the spot and I was marking out of my seat at 4am.

That one moment reinvigorated the Cell match, something which fans had been dreaming of for many years. Even though the wrestling wasn’t at its best and the booking was somewhat nonsensical, Shane and Taker earned my respect for making the Cell seem relevant once again. I can’t wait to see what sort of stunt Shane is going to pull against Kevin Owens this weekend.


4. Triple H vs Cactus Jack – No Way Out 2000


A feud which had been so personal and so explosive just had to finish in Hell in a Cell. Triple H and Mick Foley had already put on some intense and violent brawls for months prior, but this was simply the cherry on top of the bloody cake.

A match which if saved another month could have been a huge Wrestlemania blockbuster, but nonetheless just as fun. What puts this above others is simply the risks Foley continued to take after his 1998 encounter with The Undertaker. There was fire, piledrivers through announce tables and even a 20 foot backdrop through the cell roof.

Mick Foley is one crazy SOB, nuff’ said. This also pretty much made Triple H the best heel in the company. Fair play.


3. The Undertaker vs Triple H – Wrestlemania 28


Dubbed ‘The End of an Era’ match between the two last gunslingers of the Attitude Era, Taker, Triple H and Shawn Michaels had all been involved in a ‘who can end my streak’ fest for the previous three Wrestlemanias, the only way that someone was going to break it was if they went all out in Hell in a Cell. Having HBK as the special guest referee, still with a chip on his shoulder for being retired by Taker’s hands at Wrestlemania 26, added an unprecedented level of drama that few matches have been able to touch since.

Triple H and The Undertaker made this match feel so very personal and so very real. Heart stopping near-falls made this my personal favourite of streak matches, even though the magic is somewhat lost knowing what the end result is, it stands the test of time as one of the best Cell matches too.

This was essentially an unspoken handicap match between The Undertaker and DX, the crowd were reliving nostalgia as well as modern history at the same time.


2. The Undertaker vs Mankind – King of the Ring 1998

Quite possibly the most recited line in commentary history came from this match. Quite possibly the most fondly remembered cringe in wrestling history came from this match. Quite possibly the greatest Hell in a Cell moment came from this match.

Mankind and The Undertaker set the bar for future Cell matches, something which hadn’t been touched until Shane McMahon decided to have a shot at falling off the cage himself. Although this is definitely not a wrestling match by any means, in fact it is a spectacle of violence. But from the get go, you fear for a mans safety, isn’t that what the Hell in a Cell should represent?


1. Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker – Bad Blood 1997

Finally, we come to the final on our top 10, which so happens to be the very first Hell in a Cell match recorded. The Undertaker and HBK tested the water with the Hell in a Cell concept and pushed the boundaries on what was acceptable to broadcast. Taking some of the crazy antics found in the ECW ballroom and applying it to the sports-entertainment world of WWE, fans were left unglued from the action as these two went nuts on each other.

It was the perfect booking, with the chicken-shit heel being locked in a cycle of pain with the ominous rival.

Why else would I put this at number one? Well, because Kane debuted of course.

Honourable mentions
– The Undertaker vs Edge – Summerslam 2008
– DX vs Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase – Hell in a Cell 2009
– Batista vs Triple H – Vengeance 2005
– John Cena vs CM Punk vs Alberto Del Rio – Hell in a Cell 2011
– Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt – Hell in a Cell 2015

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