The Hell in a Cell is one of the greatest matches to ever grace the WWE. Twenty-feet high and two tons, the cell is radiant yet gruesomely terrifying. Throughout WWE's decades of existence, there have only been 16 Hell in Cell matches.
Many have been victorious, and others have not. Wrestlers must have the right mindset going into that cell, or as Jim Ross puts it,"The devil's playground".
Do or die, sink or swim, are just some of the thoughts going through the minds of the unfortunate souls to face off in the cold hard unforgiving steel. Many questions have been raised, and many have been answered, but one still remains. Who is the greatest performer to ever step foot in the Hell in a Cell?
Out of the 16 Hell in Cell matches, one man has competed in nine of them, and that man is the Undertaker. The phenom isn't only the best because he competed in over half of them, but because he revolutionized the match.
In 1997, the world would witness the very first Hell in Cell match at Bad Blood. Undertaker was in the middle of a feud with Shawn Michaels. HBK screwed Taker earlier in a WWE title match in which he was the ref.
The structure stood there. It's a marvelous sight...from the bleachers. Undertaker and HBK would go pound for pound in the match. When a camera man was injured, the door had opened to remove him. The brawl between the two would lead to the the top of the cell for the very first time.
HBK found himself in a world of trouble. He was holding on the cell and Taker stepped on his fingers until he fell off. This was the very first fall from the cell. HBK fell through an announce table. The match would resume inside of thr ring, and Shawn Michaels turned out to be a lucky man as Taker's brother Kane, debuted and tombstoned Undertaker.
HBK would win the first Hell in a Cell match.
Almost a year later, WWE would have the first Hell in a Cell on Monday night RAW. It would be Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Undertaker against Kane and Mankind. The match would turn into a brawl, then a no contest.
Undertaker would claim his first soul and victory in the third Hell in a Cell match that took place nearly two weeks later at The King of The Ring.
Throughout the timeline and history of WWE, the word "torture" was truly manifested for the first time through this match. Mankind was a rag doll for the deadman as he threw him off of the cell and he fell through an announce table. This fall was much more devastating than HBK's fall in the previous year.
You would think Mankind was done for...nope, he continued.
Mankind found himself falling again, but it wouldn't be off the cell. Undertaker Chokeslammed Mankind through the cell. He still insisted on moving. His body must have been too numb to feel the pain.
One of his teeth had came out of his nose. The sight would be gruesome, but justice was served...at least in the deadman's mind. Mankind was defeated and Taker would mark his first Hell in a Cell victory.
When you thought you wouldn't see it again, the cell would appear once again. The WWE's greatest structure would make it's first, and only appearance at the grandest stage of the all. The Undertaker took on the Big Boss Man at Wrestlemania XV.
Big Boss Man would put up the fight of his life, but it wasn't enough. The Brood had appeared in the match and a noose would be hanged. The Undertaker defeated Big Boss man, grabbed another victory, took his soul, and left him hanging from the noose.
Big Boss Man would be carried out by the paramedics via stretcher.
The legendary Undertaker would once again enter the cell at Armageddon. It was a six-man Hell in a Cell between Undertaker, Stone Cold, The Rock, Triple H, Rikishi, and the WWE champion, Kurt Angle. Angle claimed victory in this classic, and only six-man cell ever.
Undertaker lost of course, but he wouldn't leave the cell without adding another victim to his collections of souls. Vince McMahon tried to stop the match, but couldn't. He brought out a truck full of hay and pulled off the cell door. Before Vince could put a stop to it, Undertaker threw his third superstar off of the cell.
Rikishi was chokeslammed off of the cell and into the truck full of hay. Rikishi would not return to the match.
In 2002, the Undertaker would be pinned for the first time without interference in a Hell in a Cell match. Brock Lesnar had beaten the deadman, but was barely able to walk out of the cell intact. With that loss, the worst had been assumed. Questions were raised once more.
"Would Taker ever wrestle in another Hell in a Cell again?"
He would't be seen in a cell for three years. In 2005, Undertaker had a vicious feud with the legend killer Randy Orton. Orton had vowed to kill the legend of the Undertaker. He failed at Wrestlemania 21, but was victorious at Summerslam and No Mercy in a casket match, which was a specialty of the phenom.
Orton had Taker's number and attacked him every chance he got. It seemed that Orton would finally kill the legend of the Undertaker, but one more match between the two would take place. Undertaker would end his three year hiatus from the cell and return to face Orton at Armageddon.
The match was brutal.
Steel steps, chairs, tables, everything the two could get their hands on. Orton would tombstone Taker, but it just wouldn't cut it. Randy Orton and his father Bob Orton would both fall in the diabolical cell.
Bloody and beaten, Undertaker stood tall over two more unfortunate souls that dared to defy the deadman.
This was the last time Bob Orton would involve himself in his son's affairs.
Two years later Edge cost Taker a Hell in a Cell match to Batista at Survivor Series. Edge went on to feud with Undertaker the following year. Edge would have Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero by his side. Vickie would ultimately book Edge vs Taker in a Hell in Cell match at Summerslam 2008, as a result of Edge cheating on her.
You would think that 11 years later over a decade of destruction, that superstars would learn. They didn't. Edge, through fire and flames, would be chokeslammed through the ring...and straight to hell. Another cell...another soul.
Triple H can be argued as the better cell performer because he's wrestled in seven cells and won five of them. The only losses was the Armageddon cell and against Batista. Despite having four wins to Triple H's five, Undertaker is still the greatest Hell in a Cell performer.
You can cut the pie anyway you want to, but Triple H cell tenures cannot compare to those of the deadman. Triple H owns victories over the McMahons, Big Show, Chris Jericho, Kevin Nash and Cactus Jack.
The Hell in a Cell is meant to be the "feud ender", and Triple H has successfully done that once. (Cactus Jack).
A feud was ended every time Taker walked out of a cell.
Why do you think it was named the Devil's Playground?"
Triple H is a future hall of famer, but Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell equals "DOOM", Ask Orton, Edge, Foley, Rikishi, and HBK. In the cell your playing the game, but with the deadman, your staring down death.
"Why? History tells tales. You have a 50/50 chance surviving with the Game in the cell, but close to zero with the phenom".
He knows the cell like the back of his hands...since 97' and 12 years running. Before he retires, I have no doubt in my mind that someone else will rest...in...peace, or pieces. Each cell as brutal as the last. Any superstar that faces Taker in the cell are getting a push.
Careers skyrocketed after their deadman encounter. Orton, Edge, Lesnar, and the rest. The man has revolutionized the match. His gimmick fits it. Wrestlemania isn't his only niche. He'll get into your mind before a superstar reaches their final destination. When you hear does bells, you better start preying.
Three superstars flying off the cell, one through the cell, one through the ring, one left hanging on a noose, and none more dominant than The Undertaker.