It is considered one of the most demonic structures in all of wrestling and it has been known to shorten some wrestlers’ careers. The Hell in A Cell is similar to a regular steel cage. The only difference is that there is a roof covering the top. In the history of the WWE there have been over 20 Cell matches. On Oct 27, 2013, there will be two more: Ryback and his ‘advisor’ Paul Heyman vs. C.M. Punk, and for the vacated WWE title, Daniel Bryan against Randy Orton. In honor of this upcoming event, I am going to talk about a few of my favourite Cell matches.
At the Badd Blood event in Oct. 1997, the main event was the first ever Hell in A Cell match, featuring the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. This was a brutal match where the structure was utilized often. After a few minutes of battling outside the cell, they returned inside the structure and things became interesting. The Undertaker was about to end the match with his “Tombstone piledriver,” but then, the lights went out. Organ music filled the arena, and fans saw the arrival of a huge wrestler, wearing a mask. It was Kane – the Undertaker’s storyline “brother.” Kane entered the cell and attacked a shocked Undertaker. He punished the Undertaker with his own finishing move. With ‘Taker down, Shawn covered his adversary for the pinfall to win this thrilling showdown. Fans were not happy with the outcome, and they let their emotions be known. But, I am sure they loved the spectacle of the Cell and enjoyed the match. With Shawn victorious, the WWE began a storyline involving the “brothers,” which led to some interesting matches between the two over the years.
At the No Mercy event in Oct. 2002, the Undertaker was involved in another Hell in a Cell match, this time against Brock Lesnar. The match involved constant use of the Cell structure and blood was gushing from both competitors. In an attempt to conclude the match, the Undertaker tried to utilize his ‘tombstone’ piledriver on his opponent. But, Brock managed to escape and applied his ‘F-5’ finisher for the final pinfall. That move ended a physical and bloody battle between the two powerful wrestlers, and it left fans in shock with the final result. It was, and to an extent, still is, a rarity to see the Undertaker lose a match.
The WWE held their Unforgiven event in Sept. 2006, and I was privileged to attend the event at the Air Canada Centre, in Toronto. I witnessed a Hell in A Cell match. It was Tripe H and Shawn Michaels against Vince and Shane McMahon, and the Big Show. It was great to see the audience’s response to the live action in the ring. Once Triple H pinned the Owner of the WWE (Vince McMahon) after a sledgehammer shot, the crowd at the ACC erupted in cheers as Triple H and Shawn Michaels stood victorious. The spectators were thrilled when Vince was attacked and was pinned.
The King of the Ring is known for its one-night tournament to crown a new “king” of the WWE for that year. However, the 1998 edition was remembered for a tremendous match – one that is still talked about today, and is one of my favourite matches of all time in the WWE.
Mick Foley (under his Mankind persona) battled the Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell. Now, wrestling fans have known Foley to be a risk-taker, who would perform scary, breath-taking moves inside the ring. In this match, he did something extraordinary that left fans fearing for his life.
After wrestling for a bit on top of the Cell, Taker tossed Mankind from the top of the cage, and sent him crashing through the Spanish announcer’s table. The crowd in Pittsburgh was in stunned silence. The doctors, along with Vince McMahon entered the arena to check on Foley’s health. As he was being stretchered from the ring, he got up, and re-entered the cell, to the astonishment of everyone, including the Undertaker.
As the match progressed, Mankind emptied a bag of thumbtacks into the ring. He had evil intentions in mind. The Undertaker, however, may have known what was coming, and he chokeslammed his opponent onto the tacks. Mankind however, would not stay down. So, he stood back up, and Taker once again hit a chokeslam to win this thrilling and brutal encounter. After the match, the crowd gave both wrestlers a well-deserved standing ovation.
The Hell in a Cell match has always provided fans with nail-biting, breath-taking, and dramatic moments. There will be more matches like this in the years to come, and it is sure to create more memorable moments for WWE fans. The Undertaker and Tripe H have been involved in most of the Cell matches, but because of his willingness to put his body on the line, and give the fans something they still remember fifteen years later, the Hell In A Cell match from June, 1998 helped make Mick Foley’s career, and it was my favourite Cell match ever.