Recently, Lucas bought to you the Top 5 Worst Hell in a Cell matches and let’s be honest there was some real stinkers but this very same, tired worn out gimmick has bought us some of the most recognizable and classic matches which we’ve seen. With less than one week till the annual WWE Hell in a Cell event, let’s look back through the amazing 18 year history and countdown this editors Top 5. Buckle yourself, it is going to be a bumpy and brutal ride:
#5: Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker – Badd Blood: In Your House 1997
Quite simply, this match defined their feud at this time, but spear headed both men in completely different directions. These two men had being feuding since Shawn Michaels cost The Undertaker the WWE Championship at SummerSlam 1997 and faced each other the month before at Ground Zero: In Your House but the conclusion at this time came in the form of Hell in a Cell, a brand new concept for the WWE as it is something which we’d never seen before but can in some ways be regarded as the beginning of the attitude era in the WWE. Being the first one of its kind, no one knew what to expect but both men utilized the steel structure to their absolute best to give the audience what they wanted. Shawn Michaels truly took a beating in this match, whether it be the press slam on the roof or falling through the announce table. The end of the match came with the infamous debut of Kane, who took out The Undertaker with a Tombstone Pile driver. These men set the standard for which every match of this kind thereafter should follow, but it also symbolizes the conclusion of an epic feud and story line. This match is certainly a recommendation from me, it is truly compelling case of storytelling from two of the greatest of all time.
#4: Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins – Hell in a Cell 2014
For me, this is one of the defining Hell in a Cell matches of the PG era where both competitors used the structure to their advantage and displayed a highly commendable effort. This match had being months in the making, following Seth Rollins turning on The Shield which intensified when Rollins (kayfabe) put Ambrose out of action. So, the match began in the best way possible…one top of the cell but was more like a handicap match due to J&J Security being involved. Needless to say the action and brutality displayed was intense but compelling storytelling, and showed both men as credible competitors who aren’t afraid to take a bump – both men took an announce table dive from the side of the cell which temporarily halted the action but was later resumed into further strong action from both men. Just when it looked like Dean Ambrose was about to pick up the win, interference from Bray Wyatt allowed Seth to pick up the win but whilst it gave a satisfying conclusion to this feud at that moment, ultimately it allowed both men to go in different directions for a few months to later refresh their rivalry. Arguably, the best Hell in a Cell match of the PG era and one that certainly deserves a watch…it shows what you can do with a little creativity.
#3: Edge vs The Undertaker – SummerSlam 2008
This match, can easily be described as the last truly brutal match in the onset of the PG era and was the closing chapter for a feud which had being spread periodically across the last 15 months, after Edge cost The Undertaker the WWE Championship on 11/05/2007 edition of SmackDown! but truly intensified throughout late autumn 2007 and summer 2007 which was highlighted by their incredible match at WrestleMania XIV. The match itself wasn’t about a championship this time, but more the truly epic feud which had being built up between both men and was the final closing chapter. After some initial brutality inside the cell, it quickly spilled to the outside when they broke out, with the usual ensemble of announce tables and various objects being used. Whilst the match was brutal, it was fitting to the style of content the WWE was beginning to streamline their content towards. Nevertheless, it is exceptionally enjoyable and invigorating to watch. The Undertaker won the match after taking a TV camera to the head of edge, a con-chen-to chair shot and a Tombstone Piledriver – but that wasn’t the end of it…a chokeslam from the ladder sent Edge to the depths of hell. A truly compelling way to end an incredible feud. I’d recommend this match highly, but have a look back at the buildup to this feud to allow the truly satisfying conclusion to engulf you.
#2: Cactus Jack vs Triple H – No Way Out 2000
Coming fresh off their brutal Street Fight at the Royal Rumble 2000, one could easily question how could these two men up their game (pardon the pun) the following month…simple, throw in HIAC and Foley’s career and you have a receipe for a show stopper. This match was pure brutality, with the idea fixated on Cactus Jack’s desire to get outside the Cell so to change his game plan, the cell door was chained shut. Inside the cell, it was brutal but when Cactus went to throw the steel stairs at Triple H, he ducked and broke open the side of the cell. The action then quickly spilled to the outside, with Foley taking more severe bumps…firstly off the cage through the announce table and then being backdropped through the top of the cell, causing part of the ring to collapse. After crawling back to his feet, Cactus was nailed with a final Pedigree to allow Triple H to pick up the win, retire Foley and oh yeah, retain the WWE Championship. I haven’t watched this match in about 4-5 years, but I can still remember it vividly and remains a personal favourite of mine to this day. I would highly recommend this match, absolute classic.
#1: Mankind vs The Undertaker – King of the Ring 1998
This match, is arguably the most famous match of Mick Foley’s career and the one most people can remember for the sheer brutality which was displayed by both competitors but the pure heart Mick Foley was incredible. It has ultimately set the standard for which all the other HIAC matches are compared against. Foley took some of the most memorable bumps of his career in this match, the dive off the cage, the choke slam through the cage, steel chair landing on his face! Both men deserve a round of applause for this match, it truly defined both men whilst definitely shortening another’s. The screams from Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler as Mankind went through the air still haunt me, but in a good way. I will always have great admiration for the achievements of both men in this match. I’ve given this the number one spot, purely for the heart and passion displayed by both men but if you want to see a good old fashioned beat down, then I would recommend you watch this match…maybe with the volume down though.
Do you agree with our top 5 Hell In A Cell matches, are there any more amazing matches we have missed?
Image Credit: Hulk Hogan Facebook Page