The Hell in a Cell match is one of the WWE’s most iconic stipulations, spanning over two decades. Some stars, notably Triple H and The Undertaker, have become synonymous with the vicious steel structure, with over twenty HIAC matches between the two.
With their adjustment to PG, the WWE have had to take away blood from these fights for the most part. However, even without that kind of gore, the company has found a way to keep these matches interesting and completely brutal.
With only eight days left, we decided to take a look back at some of the best Hell in a Cell matches of all time.
#5 The Undertaker vs Edge: SummerSlam 2008
By the time SummerSlam 2008 came around, Edge and Undertaker had a storied rivalry which really only began back in 2007. After Edge defeated Mr. Kennedy for his Money in the Bank contract, he immediately cashed in on The Undertaker, igniting a personal rivalry for the World Heavyweight Championship. An injury early into Edge’s run with the belt would sideline the feud, but when the Rated-R Superstar came back, he and the Deadman picked up right where they left off.
With La Familia in his corner, Edge made Taker’s life a living Hell for a little less than a year. However, after it was revealed that Edge cheated on Vickie Guerrero, the then Smackdown GM pit her former lover against The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match at SummerSlam 2008.
The grudge between these two men honestly could only be settled inside Hell in a Cell, and the two legends went to war in this match. The Phenom battered Edge at the beginning, driving him repeatedly into the steel. Edge’s punishment for crossing Vickie Guerrero was slow and methodical, but Edge found a way to get an upper hand over The Undertaker, playing possum after being tossed onto the steel steps, catching himself before spearing the Deadman into the steps.
Edge and The Undertaker brought out tables, ladders, and chairs in order to try to put each other down for the count. At one point, Edge speared The Undertaker through the cell wall. However, The Undertaker would put away the Ultimate Opportunist after chokeslamming him through two tables, hitting him with a con-chair-to, then finally nailing the Tombstone Piledriver, ending their match at a grueling twenty-six minutes.
That wasn’t the end of Edge’s night, however. The Undertaker noticed Edge was stirring in the ring as he walked up the ramp, and decided to go back to the ring to finish the job. After Edge escaped the Last Ride by clutching onto the top of a ladder, The Undertaker followed him up with a ladder of his own, chokeslamming the Rated-R Superstar through the ring before Taker summoned flames from the pit, sending Edge to Hell.
If you’re trying to find some HIAC matches to watch ahead of the PPV next week, this brutal bout from SummerSlam 2008 will give you everything you’re looking for.
#4 Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose: Hell in a Cell 2014
It’s hard to think of a rivalry in the past few years that really earned a Hell in a Cell match. Since the HIAC PPVs began back in 2009, a lot of these matches began to happen simply because the WWE needed to have them. The WWE Universe was promised multiple Hell in a Cell matches every year, and sometimes the build to that event didn’t really earn that stipulation.
This feud, however, definitely earned it. After turning his back on his Shield brethren and buying in on himself, Seth Rollins was at the top of the mountain in the WWE…well…as close to the top as you could be without the WWE Championship. However, Rollins was the Authority’s golden boy, and with their help, he became Mr. Money in the Bank.
Dean Ambrose spent four months attempting to get revenge on the man that stabbed him and Roman Reigns in the back, and after repeatedly failing to pin Rollins, Ambrose got one final shot at Hell in a Cell 2014.
Before the match could begin, Ambrose littered the ring with steel chairs before climbing to the top of the structure, awaiting his former friend with a kendo stick in hand. Rollins, accompanied by J&J Security, demanded that Ambrose come down, before sending Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble up to bring him down.
Eventually, after falling through the commentary desks, Ambrose and Rollins finally began the match inside the cell. Ambrose screamed, “You stabbed me in the back you son of a bitch” before punishing Rollins with chair shots.
The emotion in this match was incredible. On one side, Ambrose was fighting for revenge for both himself and Roman Reigns, who was out with a hernia. On the other side was Seth Rollins, desperately trying to move past the Shield and capture his destiny as the WWE’s next big star.
This match is full of incredibly destructive moments, and rightfully deserves a spot in the conversation as one of the greatest Hell in a Cell matches of all time, especially in the PG era.
A weak ending keeps this match from going any higher, as the WWE attempted to hold off on the blow-off of this feud until later. Instead of a definitive win by Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt attacked Ambrose, leaving him out cold for Rollins to put away.
#3 Cactus Jack vs Triple H: No Way Out 2000
Just like The Undertaker, this won’t be the only time you see Mick Foley or Triple H on this list. Leading up to this gruesome fight, Foley had been trying to take the WWF Championship from Triple H. Unsuccessful in his attempt at Royal Rumble 2000, Triple H offered him one more shot at the title in a Hell in a Cell match. Should Foley lose, he would retire from professional wrestling.
The Hartford, Connecticut crowd exploded for Foley, not knowing if this would be the last time they would see the Hardcore Icon or not.
Foley’s plan for the night involved getting to the top of the cell as quickly as possible, but a crafty Triple H had padlocked the cell door prior to the event, forcing the two to battle inside the structure.
Foley eventually broke out of the cell with steel steps, bringing the fight to the outside as the crowd went wild. This match had just about everything you’d want to see in a Hell in a Cell match and a Mick Foley match. Broken tables, dented steel chairs, and Foley’s trusty barbed wire 2×4 littered the ring area. And just like his iconic cell match just two years prior, Foley was sent crashing through the ceiling of the cell, and after a Pedigree, he would be forced to retire.
While many HIAC matches are great in their own right, no wrestler has ever taken the punishment that Mick Foley did in the match at No Way Out 2000.
#2 Triple H vs Batista: Vengeance 2005
Triple H had a stranglehold on the World Heavyweight Championship from 2002-2005. Whenever the Game lost the title, he seemed to get it right back, putting an end to the hopes of anyone attempting to climb their way to the top of Monday Night Raw.
Batista’s crowning as the new World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 21 was an incredible moment, as the Animal became one of the most popular stars in the company, and a long-running feud with the Cerebral Assassin really helped solidify Big Dave as a top guy.
When people discuss the best Hell in a Cell matches, it always amazes me to hear the lack of respect this match gets. It was bloody, it was sickening, and it featured two of the WWE’s greatest stars of the mid-2000’s. There was a lot of hype in what would be the final match of their feud, but it lived up to it in every way.
Batista used his brute strength to drive the Game from one side of the cell to the other while Triple H’s underhanded tactics included hanging the Animal with a steel chain. In this forty minute match, both men ended up drenched in blood.
Along with the gore, there were also great callbacks to previous moments in Triple H’s career. In this bout, we saw all of the tricks that the former World Champion used over the years play out again against Batista. However, being a student of the Game, Batista was always able to counter or fight out of those situations.
Though he won the championship at WrestleMania 21, this was the match that convinced fans of his ability. Triple H would take a leave of absence from the company for the next four months to recuperate from nagging neck problems.
Both of these men put on a brutal war at Vengeance. It was a complete bloodbath between the two, and it was a great end to Batista’s first World Heavyweight Championship feud.
#1 The Undertaker vs Mick Foley: King of the Ring 1998
It’s probably not shocking to anyone to see this match in our #1 spot. While it may not be considered by some to be the best match, rating wise, it was a moment that has lived on forever in the minds of wrestling fans.
Mick Foley, as Mankind, took on The Undertaker at King of the Ring 1998 after a somewhat uninteresting build leading up to it. Mankind and Kane had teamed up to take on Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker on an episode of Raw is War a few weeks before King of the Ring. At the PPV, Stone Cold Steve Austin would face off against Kane for the WWF Championship, leaving The Undertaker to deal with the demented Mankind.
This match started off at full speed, with Mankind and The Undertaker beginning the match atop the cell. After a bit of brawling, Taker sent Foley flying off of the structure, crashing into the announcer’s desk below.
Foley was being taken away on a stretcher, but refused to quit, climbing back up to the top of the cell, only for the Deadman to send him through the top of the cage, landing in the middle of the ring. A steel chair fell along with him, crashing into his face when he hit the mat, knocking out a tooth and leaving him with a concussion. J.R. begged someone to “stop the damn match.” However, his pleas fell on deaf ears, as The Undertaker followed Foley down to the ring, chokeslamming Terry Funk for attempting to help him.
Somehow, Foley wasn’t down for the count, as he and Taker brawled for another fourteen minutes. Foley was able to dish out some serious punishment, all the while smiling into the camera.
Steel chairs and thumbtacks littered the mat by the end of the match, as The Undertaker finally put Foley away with a Tombstone Piledriver.
The Deadman left bloody, with his arm raised high, as Foley was helped to the back, covered in crimson and thumbtacks. It was brutal. It was disgusting. It was the greatest Hell in a Cell match of all time.