Top 10 Hell in a Cell Matches of All Time
Well, let’s not waste any time here. These are the matches that I consider to be the top 10 Hell in a Cell matches of all time. If one of your favorite matches didn’t make the list, well, guess what? You’re wrong. End of discussion. All right, glad we got that established. Seriously though, feel free to disagree in the comments down below!
#10: Sasha Banks v. Charlotte Flair — Hell in a Cell 2016: Yeah, there are probably some other matches that made better use of the actual stipulation itself, but this one is historic and did a damn fine job writing the first chapter in the book of women’s Hell in a Cell matches. These two had something to prove in this match and prove it they did. After a nasty-looking powerbomb from Charlotte to Sasha through the announce table early in the match, we believed that Charlotte would win due to an injury forfeit from Sasha. Luckily, the match continued, but soon, Sasha’s back problems would catch up to her. After Charlotte rag-dolled Sasha into a table several times, The Queen would come out on top in the first-ever women’s Hell in a Cell match.
#9: Six-Man Hell in a Cell — Armageddon 2000: Taking place at the aptly named “Armageddon” PPV, this match was absolute anarchy from inception to completion. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, Undertaker, Triple H, Kurt Angle, and Rikishi. Some of the biggest names in all of wrestling, all vying for the WWF Championship, in the ring at the same time. To steal a line from good ol’ Jim Ross, “BAH GAWD ALMIGHTY!” For reasons I still don’t fully understand, Vince McMahon and his stooges have someone back up a flatbed truck, filled with sawdust, to the cell to rip the door off. In hindsight, it was just an excuse to have something for the Undertaker to chokeslam Rikishi onto without killing the man, but c’mon… If you like your wrestling matches overflowing with chaos and drama, then this is the one for you. The anticlimactic pinfall by Kurt Angle to close out the match keeps this one from being higher on my list, but good lord is this just some ridiculously fun to watch professional wrestling.
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#8: The Undertaker v. Shawn Michaels — Badd Blood: In Your House: The one that started them all and introduced the world to “The Big Red Machine” Kane. Purists might say that it’s heresy to not have this match higher on the list, but don’t let its positioning here let you believe that I think any less of the match. While the match had some really good spots and a good storyline that led to the stipulation itself, in retrospect, it’s hard to say that it was the best in any regard when it comes to the Hell in a Cell match stipulation. It’s sort of like comparing a football game from the 1960s to what you see modern-day athletes do. This match laid the foundation for all future Hell in a Cell matches, so it will always get the respect it deserves for that.
#7: The Undertaker v. Edge — SummerSlam 2008: So, like, Undertaker tried to kill Edge in the post-match shenanigans for this match, right? Are we all just going to look the other way on that one? Okay, just checking. Anyway, there was some real, long-term storytelling here that ultimately led to this matchup inside the demonic structure. Edge had to access some dark corners of his mind in the leadup to this match but it still wasn’t enough to overcome the wrath of the Lord of Darkness himself. After a chokeslam through two tables and a tombstone piledriver, Undertaker made Edge rest in peace. Then he totally tried to murder Edge by chokeslamming him off a ladder, through the ring, and then set him on fire — but hey, whatever, I guess…
#6: The Undertaker v. Brock Lesnar — Hell in a Cell 2015: After Undertaker got a rather dirty win over Brock Lesnar at the SummerSlam pay-per-view before this event, the “Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar had revenge on the mind for Taker at Hell in a Cell 2015. The match was a hard-hitting slobber-knocker that saw Brock Lesnar bleed profusely after being sent into the ring post by Undertaker. After two F5s, chair shots, steel ramp shots, and the Hell’s Gate submission by Taker, Brock Lesnar would eventually dismantle the ring mat itself and expose the bare wood underneath it. Lesnar would be on the receiving end of a chokeslam and tombstone piledriver onto the exposed wood but since this is Brock Lesnar we’re talking about here, he managed to kick out. Lesnar ultimately gave Undertaker a taste of his own medicine from SummerSlam and hit the Deadman with a low blow and then finished him off with an F5 on the exposed wood. An utterly barbaric match in WWE’s “PG” era was not something I was expecting that night but was pleasantly surprised by the display put on by these two men.
#5: The Undertaker v. Triple H — WrestleMania 28: “The End of an Era” Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania 28 would prove to be one hell of a final chapter for not only the battles between Undertaker, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels, but it would serve as the perfect end for the stars of the Attitude Era itself. The match didn’t make all that great of use out of the Hell in a Cell structure but good lord was the story being told in the ring between the competitors and the special referee just over the top drama. Take notes, Bill Shakespeare, this is how you tell a story. When Shawn Michaels snapped and hit Taker with Sweet Chin Music, followed by Triple H hitting him with a Pedigree, and then Undertaker STILL kicked out after what had to be the closest near-fall in professional wrestling history, just…wow. I was rewatching the match as I wrote this and had to take a minute to collect myself again after watching that moment.
#4: The Undertaker v. Brock Lesnar — No Mercy 2002: Standing in the way of the rocket ship-like rise of “The Next Big Thing” Brock Lesnar was the “Deadman” himself, The Undertaker. With the Undisputed WWE Championship on the line, Undertaker set out to prove to Brock Lesnar that it was still his yard. After enduring an absolute beating in the early part of the match, Brock Lesnar weathered the storm from the veteran of the cell, Undertaker, and would go on to inflict truly savage amounts of punishment on Taker. The overwhelming power of Brock Lesnar would prove too much for Undertaker on this night, as Brock ended the match with an F5. This match was a downright display of the punishment wrestlers are willing to withstand for the sake of entertaining the fans.
#3: Batista v. Triple H — Vengeance 2005: To see Batista beat peak “Golden Shovel” Triple H at the height of his powers, and in such visceral fashion was something else indeed. The storyline between these two leading up to this match necessitated a Hell in a Cell match based on the pure rage with which these two wanted to rip each other to shreds. Batista was done playing second fiddle to his former Evolution leader, Triple H. The Game couldn’t accept that Batista might be better than him, the match was set. Nasty chair shots, spine busters on entrance ramps, sledgehammers — the match was a gruesome affair. In the end, Batista put away Hunter Hearst Helmsley with an emphatic Batista Bomb, thus sealing the deal on who was better.
#2: Cactus Jack v. Triple H — No Way Out 2000: I’m telling you, however much money Mrs. Foley’s baby boy is still making off of his time spent wrestling, even if it’s a lot, it’s not enough — and it’s matches like this that prove it. What more could you want out of a Hell in a Cell match? Barbed wire two-by-four set on fire? Got it. Two men bleeding as though they’re in a horror movie? Got that too. A man plunging through the top of the cage, and subsequently through the ring itself? Well, you’re not going to believe it, but it’s got that too. This match embodies everything a Hell in a Cell match should be and if it weren’t for “that” spot two years earlier, this may very well be the best one of them all.
#1: The Undertaker v. Mankind — King of the Ring 1998: Of course, this one has to be number one, it just has to be. Hell, we should all still be mailing Mick Foley money every time we rewatch the clip of him falling from the top of the cell through the announce table. When you think of the Hell in a Cell stipulation, this is almost always the first one that pops into your brain. There’s very little I can say about this match that hasn’t already been said by many more qualified people, namely, the wrestlers themselves. It was brutal, epic, and gave birth to the most ridiculous spot(s) in WWE history. I have a hard time imagining WWE ever being able to top this Hell in a Cell match, so it shall remain as the top Hell in a Cell match.
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