WrestleMania 28: Ranking the Undertaker's Hell in a Cell Matches
When Triple H and the Undertaker meet on Sunday, it will be a collision of the two men who have spent the most time inside the Hell in a Cell structure.
What better way to preview this contest than by looking back at all of the Hell in a Cell matches these two have endured.
Tomorrow, I will rank Triple H's Hell in a Cell matches (here is the link to that slideshow), but first up is the man with the highest number of appearances inside the cell: The Undertaker.
Out of the 24 Hell in a Cell matches that have taken place in the history of the company, the Undertaker has been involved in 11 of them. That is a ridiculous number, and it highlights the endurance of the Deadman's legacy.
Here is my take on the ranking of all 11 of the Undertaker's Hell in a Cell contests.
11) Undertaker vs. Big Boss Man (WrestleMania XV)
I think it is safe to say that the second Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania will be better than the first installment.
At WrestleMania XV, the Big Boss Man was becoming a pain in Taker's side. So, he did what any wrestler would do: beat him inside the cell and hang him from the roof.
So it was not the Undertaker's finest moment inside the structure, to say the least. The match itself was not so great, not even lasting 10 minutes. We know the Undertaker as a legend today, but he had to go through some pretty crappy feuds in the 90s to get there.
After this mention, it is better to leave this Hell in a Cell match in the past where it belongs.
10) Undertaker and Stone Cold vs. Mankind and Kane (Raw Is War June 15, 1998)
Not many people remember this encounter on Raw. In fact, it is so rare that it is almost impossible to find a picture of the match with the Undertaker actually involved.
The King of the Ring PPV was taking place in a couple of weeks, and a tag team match was set up inside the Cell for the two main events: Taker vs. Mankind and Stone Cold vs. Kane.
With the former taking place inside Hell in a Cell, this preview of the structure was given for free on television. However, like the other HIAC match on Raw, this ended in a no-contest.
It was a hard-fought match, but the superstars made sure to leave the audience wanting more at the pay-per-view. That is called using free TV to build towards the PPV. The exact opposite strategy seems to be employed over at TNA.
Anyway, this match set the stage for another Hell in a Cell match that is most definitely towards the top of this list.
9) Undertaker vs. CM Punk (Hell in a Cell 2009)
This match could have been so much more. However, with Taker barely a month back from injury and the new PG rating affecting the quality of Hell in a Cell matches, this one did not amount to much.
On top of that, this was the opening match for the inaugural Hell in a Cell PPV. It was a somewhat weird placement for a show that featured DX vs. Legacy in the main event.
This was another short match, only lasting about 12-13 minutes. The cell was a non-factor for the most part, and if that stipulation was not present, this would be remembered as a quality championship match.
However, the lack of blood and the fact that the only reason for the stipulation was because it was the month of October affected the quality.
The problem with the Hell in a Cell PPV is that the stipulation should be used to end intense feuds, like it will be with Triple H vs. The Undertaker. Because of this, the quality is lower, and it showed in this bout.
8) Undertaker vs. Kane (Hell in a Cell 2010)
It also showed in this as well, combined with the fact that it should have occurred over a decade ago.
The Undertaker vs. Kane inside Hell in a Cell is something that would get any long-term wrestling fan excited. So when the match was made in 2010, it still had plenty of drawing power.
Unfortunately, what followed was not exactly a classic.
Paul Bearer made a predictable heel turn at the end of the match to help Kane hold onto the title. Once again, the lack of usage of the actual cell and no blood involved made this one low in quality.
If this happened back in the late '90s or even early 2000s, this would've been a hot ticket. Sadly, the match was delivered about 10 years too late.
7) Undertaker vs. Randy Orton (Armageddon 2005)
Now the match quality starts to pick up, with the Undertaker showing why he belongs inside the cell.
Coming in at No. 7 is the culmination of an almost year-long feud against the Legend Killer, Randy Orton. This feud is a major reason why we see Orton as a top star today.
Randy Orton is the first person to make the concept of "The Streak" meaningful. He gave the Deadman a run for his money at WrestleMania 21, including the counter of the chokeslam into an RKO.
His father, Cowboy Bob Orton, had been helping out Randy for months against the Undertaker. As hard as he tried to do that again in this match, Taker and the cell would be too much for the combo to overcome.
Orton hit the Tombstone near the end of the match, but all it did was piss the Undertaker off even more.
6) Undertaker vs. Batista (Survivor Series 2007)
The Hell in a Cell match thrives when it is used to end long-standing and vicious feuds. Another example of this was in 2007, when Taker and Batista ended their rivalry inside Satan's Structure.
The unknown factor here was Edge, who impersonated a camera man in order to find himself inside the steel enclosure. He would cost Taker the match and kick start their feud, which would also end with a Hell in a Cell match at the next year's SummerSlam.
Batista made for a worthy adversary, and although he could not retain his title at WrestleMania, he prevailed at Cyber Sunday in decisive fashion. It looked like he was done after the Tombstone on the steel steps, but that is when the Ultimate Opportunist struck.
Taker is not afraid to give other guys a win inside Hell in a Cell, and it rings true for his next opponent as well.
5) Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar (No Mercy 2002)
Just like Alberto Del Rio last year, Brock Lesnar went on a meteoric rise in the company immediately upon his debut.
He debuted right after WrestleMania in 2002, and in just a few months, he won the WWE Championship by defeating The Rock at SummerSlam.
After that feat, he needed an opponent to further legitimize him as a monster. The Undertaker fit the bill perfectly, and he gave Lesnar a huge rub by giving him the clean win inside Hell in a Cell.
Never before had Taker bled so much. The blood poured from his head, and even Paul Heyman got the crimson mask going on the outside. It was meant to be a brutal bout, and it showed just how dangerous the Next Big Thing could be.
Lesnar would main event the next WrestleMania, but just a year after that he was gone for good.
4) 6-Man Armageddon Hell in a Cell Match (Armageddon 2000)
Up to this point, this is the only match with Triple H and the Undertaker inside the cell at the same time.
However, their interactions were limited due to the other four men. This was one of the most star-studded matches in history, with five possible Hall of Famers involved in the festivities.
The Undertaker would be the reason for the spot of the match, in which he shoved Rikishi off the top of the cell and into the back of a truck that Vince McMahon brought to ringside. Although Taker put on a dominant performance, Angle was shockingly able to retain his title in these circumstances.
With all six men doing different things, this match had the potential to be a complete mess. However, the established veterans involved were able to make the encounter one of the better Hell in a Cell matches in WWE history.
3) Undertaker vs. Edge (SummerSlam 2008)
This is the only Hell in a Cell match in the top five that has occurred within the last 10 years, and it is thanks to the intense rivalry between the Undertaker and Edge.
The main event at SummerSlam was their fourth PPV facing each other in less than six months. Often times, it is tough for opponents to keep matches interesting and intriguing. Randy Orton and Christian did it last year, and Edge and Taker did it in 2008.
Edge brought his TLC ability into the Hell in a Cell and effectively combined two of the great gimmick matches the WWE has to offer. The combatants even went through the side of the cell and used the announce tables as well.
After about 25 minutes of action, the Undertaker finally pulled away and won in decisive fashion. But Edge still put on a great performance, hitting a multitude of high-powered offensive moves.
The Rated-R Superstar would be "sent to hell" after the contest, and Taker would go into a feud against the Big Show.
2) Undertaker vs. Mankind (King of the Ring 1998)
Damn, that is a great picture.
When you think of the Hell in a Cell match, the first image that probably comes to your mind is the sight of Mankind falling off the side of the cell onto the Spanish announce table.
Amazingly, that did not do the most damage. It was the chokeslam through the roof of the cage and the chair falling on Mankind's face that knocked him out.
And then the match continued.
This was quite possibly the most brutal match in WWE history, and it made Mick Foley a star. He had many fans before this, but the toll he put his body through on that night got the respect of a ton of fans.
Undertaker would prevail after using some thumbtacks to his advantage. Even more ridiculous is the fact that both men were able to go through with their planned interference in the main event.
That is dedication at its most insane form.
1) Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (In Your House: Bad Blood 1997)
Although the ridiculous spots of Mankind are synonymous with Hell in a Cell, the original contest is still the Undertaker's best match inside the structure.
It is no surprise that his opponent was Shawn Michaels, as they will be forever intertwined in WWE history. The chemistry between the two was amazing, and with both men in their prime in 1997, it showed with an amazing contest.
Ironically, the Hell in a Cell was meant to keep out interference. Instead, the debut of Kane occurred when he ripped off the cell door and confronted his brother for the first time. It is a historic moment that is summed up perfectly in the picture.
The match itself went almost a half hour, and they battled inside, outside and on top of the cell. Shawn Michaels went through hell on that night, but thanks to Kane, he was carried out as the winner.
On Sunday, we will see if the Undertaker can top this encounter from 15 years ago, which is currently his best Hell in a Cell match to date.
Check out Mani's WrestleMania Dream Card at this link