The annual Hell in a Cell PPV is less than a week away now, and it has me thinking about the match itself, and the legacy it has left behind. Hell in a Cell used to be the be all end all match for only the most heated of rivalries. The match was reserved only for the top stars and the main programs. Now it is an annual thing and much of the lore of the match has gone away. While I wish we got rid of these gimmick PPVs and kept these matches special, it doesn’t mean that Hell in a Cell is any less cool. In fact it is probably the coolest match concept in the history of wrestling. So, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and revisit the very best that this gruesome match has to offer. These are the top 10 best Hell in a Cell matches, find out what they are after the jump.
Keep in mind these are in no particular order, as that would be like asking me to pick my favorite child. These all hold a special place in my heart and all are equally great.
1.)Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels Badd Blood 1997
What better place to start then the very first Hell in a Cell match. Undertaker vs. HBK. This match is special in all ways. It was the first of it’s kind. Undertaker and Michaels were at their peak. Kane debuted. Also, the match itself set the bar for all other Hell in a Cell matches. Michaels had a chip on his shoulder here because many believed they couldn’t make him beating up the Undertaker believable, he proved everyone wrong, like he normally does. Mick Foley has said that the only reason he did his infamous cell spots was because he knew it was the only way he could top this excellent match.
2.)Undertaker vs. Mankind King of the Ring 1998
Undertaker will obviously be a common person in this list. The most famous match in wrestling history. Bold statement, but very true. Mick Foley wanted to top the first Hell in a Cell match. He knew he wasn’t Shawn Michaels and couldn’t put on a wrestling clinic inside the cell. However, he could take much more punishment then HBK. He had told everyone he was going to start the match on top of the cell, it almost never happened. He was injured and said he didn’t think he was going to be able to climb up it when the time came. For better or worse he obviously made it up. This match could have been completely different if he had never been able to climb the cell, not once but twice. You have the two big falls. The chair falling down and hitting Foley in the mouth. His tooth in his nose. The thumbtacks. Terry Funk being chokeslammed out of his shoes, and you have the most famous or infamous match in wrestling history.
3.)Triple H vs. Cactus Jack No Way Out 2000
Title vs. Career (sort of). Triple H and Mick Foley probably had one of the very best rivalries ever in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. This isn’t the best match they ever had together, that spot is reserved for their street fight at Rumble 2000, but this match comes damn close. A more cerebral match then Undertaker vs. Mankind. This one had some very big spots as well, but the feud was so heated and the stipulations made this much more personal. Safe to say that Triple H owes much of his career to Mick Foley and this match continues to prove the point.
4.)Triple H vs. Chris Jericho Judgement Day 2002
The least praised match on the list so far. This feud could have been so much more, but they did have some solid matches, this being one of them. No crazy spots, but some great wrestling. The pedigree on top of the cell for the finish is brutal. Triple H started becoming the Hell in a Cell specialist after this match. Barbwire 2×4’s are always fun as well. Also, Mike Chioda had to climb to the top of the cell, which is awesome. Jericho has said he was disappointed in the feud and I don’t blame him, it could have been so much more. This would end up being his only Hell in a Cell match but at least it was a good one.
5.)Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker No Mercy 2002
This match is excellent. This whole feud was excellent. The added elements of Undertaker’s broken hand, and Paul Heyman on the outside barking orders at a young Brock make this one special. Brock is destroying Undertaker’s hand the entire match and Taker’s magnificent selling make you feel the man’s pain. Nothing to insane. They didn’t leave the Cell. But they beat the living hell out of each other. A bloodbath to say the least. These two changed the game when it came to Cell matches. It became less about high spots and more about an all out brawl between two people who hated each other. Lesnar was in top form and Undertaker wasn’t far behind. One of my favorites.
6.)Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels Bad Blood 2004
This match gets a lot of flack for being boring and too long. It is the longest Cell match in history, clocking in at 47 minutes. That alone makes me like the match though. It is completely different then every other Cell match in history. Definitely more a war of attrition then anything that came before it. These two had such great matches together, and this is no different. They keep you entertained throughout and really tell a great story. The fact that they went almost an hour in the Cell makes it worth watching alone.
7.)Triple H vs. Batista Vengeance 2005
The blow off to their long feud. Triple H made Batista into a main event star and this is one of the matches that put him on the map. Much like the last two matches, this one is more of a brawl then the older Cell matches. They do make good use of weapons though. Including, a sledgehammer, a chair wrapped in barbwire, and the ring steps. This was also Triple H’s first loss in a Hell in a Cell match, which makes it a little more special. This was the true blow off to their feud, and the Cell came into play when it was only necessary to finish things. One of Batista’s best.
8.)Undertaker vs. Edge SummerSlam 2008
These two had a great feud, and even better matches. A solid Cell match that makes use of a lot of weapons. This ended up being Edge’s only Hell in a Cell, but I am sure he can be proud of it. It was amazing how good Taker still was at this point in his career, he was still around regularly and was putting in good work. I remember always being impressed by the ending because you didn’t see it coming.
9.)DX vs. Legacy Hell in a Cell 2009
I really enjoyed this feud. It was nice to see the veterans give the rub to two younger guys. This is one of the very few tag team Hell in a Cell matches in history, which makes it special. It is also a very good match. I love the ambush at the beginning, with Legacy taking out DX during their entrance. A lot of brawling in the crowd and around the ring before the match officially started. Love how Triple H gets locked out of the Cell with HBK inside with both Rhodes and DiBiase. Turn about is fair play though, DiBiase ends up locked out while Rhodes gets destroyed by DX.
10.)Undertaker vs. Triple H WrestleMania 28
Probably the last time we will ever see Hell in a Cell used correctly. The ending of a feud, the blow off of a rivalry. Now it is a PPV, it is an inevitable match up every year. The two very best Hell in a Cell competitors colliding at the biggest show of the year. An excellent match up to say the least. This isn’t my favorite Triple H vs. Undertaker Mania match, but it is still awesome. The drama that was built up between the two men and then the added dynamic of Shawn Michaels makes this one to remember. Both men took a lot of punishment and proved that they are still two of the best in all of WWE.
So there it is folks. The 10 best Hell in a Cell matches. The definitive list of the most infamous match in wrestling history.