WWE Hell in a Cell 2018: Worst Matches in History of PPV
Hell in a Cell has been a staple of WWE's annual pay-per-view schedule for nearly a decade, with this year's event set to mark the 10th installment in its history.
Despite there no longer being a need for gimmick PPVs in WWE, that hasn't stopped the company from running them on a near-monthly basis. By holding the same shows at the same time every year, match concepts that were once anticipated, such as Hell in a Cell, no longer feel as special as they should.
The event itself has never been known to be among the most must-see pay-per-views WWE does annually anyway, with a majority of the matches on the card failing to feature anything above average. There are matchups that aren't remembered too fondly as a result of being forgettable, and then there are those that are remembered by fans—but for the wrong reasons.
Whether it was a case of bad booking leading up to the event or two competitors simply not sharing any in-ring chemistry, certain matches from Hell in a Cell's history wound up being worse than expected. Few of them actually took place inside the structure, and instead it was the lousy undercard that hosted these abysmal outings.
Here's hoping nothing at this year's Hell in a Cell on Sept. 16 comes close to being as bad as the following seven stinkers, which have earned the right to be called the worst matches to take place at the event since its inception in 2009.
Drew McIntyre vs. R-Truth (2009)
There was a level of anticipation from fans surrounding Drew McIntyre's return to a WWE ring at Hell in a Cell 2009 to see how well he would fare.
For weeks, he attacked R-Truth before they were scheduled to go one-on-one, and thus WWE held off until the inaugural Hell in a Cell PPV to have them clash for the first time.
However, it should be noted the McIntyre of 2009 was far from the same competitor fans are familiar with on Raw nowadays. He was extremely bland, boring and one-dimensional as a character at the time despite being touted as a "future world champion" by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
Unfortunately, he hardly lived up to the hype in his program with Truth on SmackDown. Their segments were basic and failed to elicit excitement from the audience, but the WWE Universe was curious nevertheless to find out just what made McIntyre so special inside the ring.
Once the bell rang at Hell in a Cell, you could hear a pin drop as McIntyre and Truth engaged in combat. Their five-minute flop ended with the Scot winning in decisive fashion, yet no one in the arena could have cared less about the contest.
In theory, it was smart to make McIntyre's return match feel like a big deal by saving it for pay-per-view, but this outing against Truth barely belonged on SmackDown, let alone Hell in a Cell.
The Undertaker vs. Kane (2010)
On paper, The Undertaker vs. Kane inside Hell in a Cell sounds like a dream match, one that should have happened in 1998. Instead, WWE decided to wait over a decade to make the matchup a reality, and as a result, it fell flat dramatically.
Once it was revealed Kane was the man who put The Undertaker on the shelf many months earlier, the two entered a program with each other in the final quarter of 2010 over the World Heavyweight Championship. Their No Holds Barred bout at Night of Champions (which was won by Kane) didn't set the world on fire, but they had a chance to redeem themselves with the rematch at Hell in a Cell.
This time around, Undertaker had the advantage over Kane thanks to the returning Paul Bearer and the power of the urn. Both of those things played a factor in the fluky finish, but even prior to that point, the match itself was largely a bore and produced nothing of substance.
Not only was Bearer turning on Undertaker and siding with Kane fairly predictable, the entire angle was executed poorly and left fans confused by what they had just witnessed. It was sports entertainment silliness at its worst, and it should come as no surprise that the World Heavyweight Championship never headlined another pay-per-view before its retirement in 2013.
When fans think of classic clashes inside Hell in a Cell from over the years, this one isn't likely to lead that list.
Eve Torres vs. Layla vs. Kaitlyn (2012)
Women's wrestling wasn't remotely close to being as great a priority to WWE in 2012 as it is today. That much was evident based on how nearly nonexistent the Divas division was back then and how it was almost a struggle for the women to land even five minutes on an episode of Raw or pay-per-view.
Thankfully, Eve Torres proved to be a beacon for women's wrestling in WWE when she turned heel for the first time in her career in February of that year. She was much more compelling as a character in that role and was eventually rewarded for her efforts in the form of a third Divas Championship run that fall.
Torres' first notable program as champion was with Layla and Kaitlyn, both of whom were gunning for her title in a Triple Threat match at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.
Kaitlyn was determined to get back at Torres for costing her a shot at the strap one month prior at the Night of Champions, though that storyline wasn't enough to earn the crowd's interest or attention.
To their credit, the three women worked hard to put together a decent match, but nothing seemed to click, and it all unraveled rather quickly instead. It didn't help that the commentators didn't take the in-ring action seriously, either, therefore rendering what we were watching irrelevant.
Torres retaining her title was the right outcome, but the lack of reaction from the crowd was hardly shocking and a reflection of how much of an afterthought the division was at the time.
Fandango and Summer Rae vs. The Great Khali and Natalya (2013)
Fandango's push to prominence in the first few months of 2013 ended almost as quickly as it started following his feud with Chris Jericho. He went on to do nothing of note for the remainder of the year except for competing in random matches with the likes of The Miz, Big E, and The Great Khali and Natalya.
The 2013 Hell in a Cell pay-per-view saw the highly anticipated in-ring debut of Fandango and Summer Rae as a team against Khali and Natalya in a mixed tag team match. However, there was no rhyme or reason behind the bout, aside from how the undercard was severely lacking and needed to be filled out somehow.
As one would probably expect based on who was involved, this was complete comedic relief. The issue was that none of it was entertaining, and instead it felt like it dragged on forever.
Summer showed signs of real potential during her time in NXT but to relegate her to a total throwaway such as this was a waste of her talent. On the bright side, she had a solid showing for herself against Natalya, but any goodwill they worked up with the audience was ruined whenever Khali tagged into the matchup.
If nothing else, Fandango and Summer walked away with the win as they should have, but the show would have been better off without this atrocity on the card.
Seth Rollins vs. Kane (2015)
Before he was burning it down on a weekly basis as intercontinental champion, Seth Rollins was ripping it up every night as WWE World Heavyweight champion for the better part of 2015. He defended his title against all comers, including the illustrious likes of Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Sting and John Cena.
Kane was Rollins' latest challenger at Hell in a Cell after The Big Red Machine returned from a multi-month absence from WWE programming. He had his sights set on exacting revenge on The Architect for treating him so poorly during their time together in The Authority.
Most fans were behind Kane in his pursuit of the prize, but it should be noted he was already in the twilight of his career by this point. While Rollins was widely recognized as the best wrestler in WWE in 2015, he wasn't a miracle worker, and thus it would be a tough task for him to get a passable match out of his opponent.
Sure enough, their ultimate encounter turned out to be a complete catastrophe. It essentially consisted of Rollins wrestling himself for 15 minutes and Kane doing everything in his power to keep up, not to mention the outcome was never once in doubt.
In the buildup, Rollins had been made to look inferior to Kane at almost every turn, so his clean win over the former world champion here was needed, yet it was not enough to justify the weeks of bad television and their lackluster championship clash.
Bayley vs. Dana Brooke (2016)
Hell in a Cell 2016 was a chore of a show to get through between the disappointing main event and forgettable undercard, which included this less-than-stellar showing from Dana Brooke and Bayley.
This event took place soon after the Brand Split was reinstated, giving us brand-exclusive pay-per-views for the first time in nearly a decade. SmackDown Live made the most of that opportunity and produced some stellar shows, but Raw struggled to put together a card consisting of matches and feuds fans were invested in.
With Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks taking center stage in the Raw women's division at the time, Bayley vs. Brooke was basically the leftovers and had nothing at stake. Their arm-wrestling contest on Raw served as a sad prelude for what we would see at Hell in a Cell when they faced off in singles competition.
Two months removed from her hot main roster debut, Bayley had already lost any momentum she may have had. Her mediocre match with Brooke did nothing to benefit either, although The Total Diva did have one of her better performances in recent memory.
Brooke targeting Bayley's arm throughout this bout wasn't exactly enthralling and led to the crowd in Boston that night showing complete apathy for the two women who deserved better than what WWE Creative was giving (or not giving) them.
Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (2017)
Jinder Mahal had no business holding the WWE Championship to begin with, let alone reigning as champion for six months. WWE should be applauded for its effort to try to make a new star out of someone, but his repetitive promos and lethargic matches proved he was the wrong man for the job.
Despite that, he ran through Randy Orton on multiple occasions before moving on to a rivalry with Shinsuke Nakamura. The King of Strong Style, who arrived on the main roster with a ton of buzz, should have been the one to dethrone Mahal as champ and save SmackDown Live from this dark age.
Instead, Nakamura was just another challenger for The Modern Day Maharaja to conquer, starting at SummerSlam when he failed to take home the title. He was also unsuccessful in his quest to become champion at Hell in a Cell, and if that wasn't frustrating enough, the match itself was dreadful.
In addition to the two lacking any sense of chemistry, Mahal being on offense for a majority of the matchup was painfully uneventful. Just when it seemed they would reach that next gear, The Singh Brothers made their presence felt per usual and allowed The Maharaja to hit his finisher on a distracted Nakamura for the win.
It was a deflating ending to an uninspiring affair, a bout so bad that Nakamura has not had the same aura about him since.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.