Over the course of the last 15 years, the Hell in a Cell match has been used to conclude some of the most iconic rivalries in WWE history. Just the sight of the cell can make a viewer cringe, as the affliction and agony that the match ensues could very well shorten the career of any wrestler who dare step inside it.
Since making its historic debut at Bad Blood 1997, a total of 25 Hell in a Cell matches have occurred. While not every bout was memorable, a handful of them had their fair share of blood, which happened mostly in the match's earlier years rather than in the PG era.
Of course, the sight of blood enhances any match according to most wrestling fans, but only if it is used and done effectively. Satan's structure has been home to some of the bloodiest bouts in WWE history, which I'll attempt to rank here from the least gory to the most sanguinary.
As a disclaimer, I advise you read no further if you get queasy or nauseous at the sight of crimson, as things are about to get messy.
In one of the most iconic Hell in a Cell matches of all-time, Undertaker battled Mankind at the King of the Ring event in 1998. The contest is notorious for the infamous spot that saw Mankind hurdling off the top of the top of the 16-foot cell at the hands of the Deadman, which has since been engraved in the minds of diehard wrestling fans who know their history.
However, let's not overlook the sight of blood that was also featured at certain points in the matchup. Being the resilient maniac that he was, Mankind battled back against Taker, but it wasn't long before he was caught bleeding from the mouth.
Of course, it wasn't a bloodbath by any means, but even the slightest amount of blood can effectively enhance any gruesome outing.
Almost exactly 15 years ago, Undertaker battled Shawn Michaels in the inaugural Hell in a Cell match at the Bad Blood pay-per-view event. At the time, Michaels was aligned with Triple H and Chyna, who made various attempts to interfere in HBK's matches in the past, but the newly-constructed Satan's structure would prevent that from happening.
Over the course of the match, Undertaker dissected Michaels, using the cell to his full advantage. Michaels was a fountain of red towards the contest's conclusion, as blood rapidly ran down the face of the Heartbreak Kid.
Luckily for Michaels, he was able to score the shocking victory following the monumental debut of Kane, who ripped the cell's door right off his hinges and entered the fray. Following a Tombstone that was heard around the world, Michaels picked up the scraps and picked up the inaugural Hell in a Cell win, a feat which no one else can ever say they've achieved.
Although it's highly unlikely they booked it so far out in advance, I love the fact this ruthless rivalry between the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels ended at WrestleMania 28 in the same structure they fought in 15 years prior.
For nearly three years, Evolution ran rampant on Monday Night Raw. The stable consisted of Triple H, Ric Flair, Batista and Randy Orton for the longest time before Orton was ultimately exiled from the sadistic stable.
After winning the 2005 Royal Rumble match, Batista went on to WrestleMania 21 to defeat his mentor, Triple H, to win his first World Heavyweight Championship. However, the feud between the two was far from over at that point and continued on over the next few months.
The ruthless rivalry finally culminated at the Vengeance event, where they battled inside the infamous Hell in a Cell. By this point, Triple H was still undefeated inside Satan's structure, which further stacked the odds against the Animal going into this matchup.
The former Evolution stablemates pulled out all the stops, but it was Batista who was the last man standing by the end of it. The attack the Game took at the hands of Batista that night was so brutal that he was left lying in a pool of his own blood, rendering inactive from in-ring competition indefinitely immediately afterwards.
Batista wasn't the only Evolution member to have a strong showing at WrestleMania 21, as Randy Orton challenged Undertaker and his illustrious streak at the very same event. Although he came up short, the feud between the two continued for the remainder of 2005, where it eventually culminated at Armageddon in December.
Despite having his father at ringside, Orton was in for the beating of his life during his debut inside Hell in a Cell. The ring was showered with Orton's blood by mid-match, but once the Viper took control of Taker, he too was shedding red.
Hell, Taker even managed to force Orton's own father to bleed after bashing the WWE Hall of Famer's face into the side of the cell. The Deadman may have scored the victory, but Orton proved by the vast amount of crimson that night that he was capable of hanging with the main event players in WWE.
Speaking of Armageddon, the event held in 2000 also featured a Hell in a Cell match that was contested over the WWE Championship. For the first (and only) time in history, six competitors competed inside Hell in a Cell involving the likes of Undertaker, Triple H, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Rikishi and then-WWF Champion Kurt Angle.
As chaotic as it was, all six seasoned veterans had their time to shine inside Satan's structure. One notable spot included Rikishi being tossed off the top of the cell by Taker, landing in the back of truck parked at ringside.
The blood shed by The Rock, Triple H and Stone Cold throughout the course of the match also helped enhance the bout effectively. It was an extremely enjoyable match that saw Angle walk out with his title still intact.
After returning from a near year-long injury in January 2002, Triple H won his first Royal Rumble shortly thereafter and defeated Chris Jericho to win the Undisputed Championship at WrestleMania 18. The ruthless rivalry didn't stop there, however, as the two continued to rival months following the event.
By May, the feud ultimately reached the point where the score needed to be settled inside Hell in a Cell. Triple H made sure Jericho paid for his sins by forcing him to bleed by mid-match, but Y2J wasn't the only one who shed crimson that night.
In typical Triple H fashion, the Game also bled quite excessively during the course of the contest. They even battled atop the cell, but it wasn't until HHH scored the Pedigree and the valiant victory that the historic feud was finally put to rest.
Of all the furious feuds that transpired over the course of 2007, Undertaker vs. Batista was certainly the most memorable. It stretched from the start of the year to the tail end of the year, with both Smackdown stars scoring victories over one another at various points in time.
Once the score was tied one to one, the rubber match between the two was scheduled for that year's Survivor Series event inside Hell in a Cell. They produced a quality matchup, but it was the sight of the blood dripping down the faces of Batista and Taker that truly made the bout feel personal.
In the end, Edge shockingly returned by posing as a cameraman at ringside, interfering and costing Taker the World Heavyweight Championship. This would also be the final Hell in a Cell to occur before WWE went PG, meaning that this would be the last time we'd ever see a significant amount of blood inside Satan's structure.
Over the course of 2006, Mr. McMahon was determined on making Shawn Michaels' life a living hell after losing to him at WrestleMania 22. Once Triple H reunited with Michaels to reform D-Generation X, their aggravating (and hilarious) antics made Vince all that much angrier, which forced him to call upon his son, Shane McMahon, as well as Big Show to do his dirty work.
The two teams were set to do battle at Unforgiven inside the first-ever Handicap Hell in a Cell match, pitting DX against the tandem of the McMahons and Big Show. The inclusion of the then-ECW Champion certainly made things a bit more difficult for the ever-controversial team, which was evident by the substantial amount of blood covering their faces.
The McMahons, too, were sporting masks of crimson after taking excessive abuse at the hands of DX. Although we've seen some sadistic sights inside the Hell in a Cell, Michaels and HHH shoving Vince's face up the arse of Show was certainly the worst.
Before they faced off in a Ladder match at last year's TLC event, Triple H and Kevin Nash were once close friends that eventually parted ways in mid-2003. While they were scheduled the settle their differences at the Bad Blood pay-per-view, the match also happened to be over the World Heavyweight Championship since HHH was the reigning champ at the time.
During the brutal contest, two men were busted open inside the Hell in a Cell. One was, of course, Triple H, who shed a vast amount of blood after Nash let loose on his former friend.
The second person who began to bleed was not Nash, but instead, Mick Foley, who served as the special guest referee for the high-profile bout. Foley probably took more bumps than both HHH and Nash, and he wasn't even officially involved in the bout!
Foley was sent flying into the cell door at one point, which eventually led to him gushing blood a short while later. His attempts to avenge longtime rival Triple H were unsuccessful, as the Game eventually scored the pin-fall on Nash to maintain the World title and his undefeated streak in Hell in a Cell matches.
This Sunday, Paul Heyman will be in the corner of WWE Champion CM Punk as he defends his title against Ryback inside Hell in a Cell. This, however, will not be the first time that Heyman will be involved in a Hell in a Cell, as it was almost exactly a decade ago that he aided Brock Lesnar inside Satan's structure as well.
The match between Lesnar and Undertaker at 2002's No Mercy event started off slow, but quickly escalated once Taker busted Lesnar open following some aggressive antics. Heyman attempted to intervene at ringside, but was instead choked out by Taker through the steel structure with his very own tie (cue Daniel Bryan and Justin Roberts).
With both Lesnar and Heyman already bleeding profusely, it was only a matter of time before the Deadman did as well. After targeting the broken hand of Taker, Lesnar eventually forced him to shed red as well, making all three combatants a bloody mess.
Surprisingly enough, it was the Next Big Thing who emerged victorious that night to successfully retain his WWE Championship.
During the first few years of his WWE career, Triple H was never seen as a legitimate star in the eyes of the fans. That is, until he feuded with Mick Foley, a.k.a. Cactus Jack, in early 2000.
By this point in time, Mick Foley had already competed in a handful of Hell in a Cell matches, making him the match's No. 1 combatant and most experienced athlete. HHH needed this victory to prove to both the fans and the people in the back that he was indeed the future of the industry, whereas Foley was winding down his illustrious career and agreed to set foot inside Satan's structure once again.
In what was the most brutal and hardcore Hell in a Cell match to ever occur (in my personal opinion), Cactus Jack did he does best and brought to the match to new limits by exhibiting extreme maneuvers that surely inflicted pain on the Game. Nonetheless, HHH ultimately outlasted Foley and emerged victorious, leaving Foley to tangled mess inside the cell.
Although Foley competed many more matches following this infamous incident, he'd never again be same after being dominated and destroyed by the Cerebral Assassin.
If you haven't noticed by now, Triple H has been the first one to shed blood in almost every Hell in a Cell match he's competed in during the course of his career. That being said, maybe it's a technique he picked that up from his former mentor Ric Flair.
In all seriousness, the Hell in a Cell match contested between Triple H and Shawn Michaels at the 2004 Bad Blood pay-per-view was a prime example of that statement. This unforgettable rivalry had history dating back to HBK's return to WWE in 2002, where his former friend HHH turned his back on him in one of the most shocking heel turns in quite some time.
By this point, their feud had become personal and was no longer focused on the World Heavyweight Championship, but rather, seeking vengeance over one another. This brutal bout also happened to be the longest Hell in a Cell to ever occur, as both seasoned veterans put it all on the line over the course of 45 minutes.
The extreme amount of blood that was seen gushing from the faces of both HHH and HBK was absolutely unbearable and only enhanced just how personal this feud had become. During the contest's conclusion, Triple H scored the pin-fall and left Michaels lying in a bloody heap, a sight that will forever be engraved in the minds of every fan who's ever seen this monumental matchup.
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