Most Legendary Moments in WWE Hell in a Cell PPV History
The WWE Hell in a Cell pay-per-view is geared around its namesake match.
Two or more individuals are locked inside a massive cell that encompasses the ring and the area directly surrounding it. Unlike in a steel cage match, there is no winning by escaping; you win by pinfall or submission.
The first two Hell in a Cell Matches in WWE history set the bar high—so high, in fact, that no one should hope or try to top them. The Shawn Michaels versus Undertaker match at Badd Blood (1997) featured the debut of Kane, who ripped the doors off the cell to attack his kayfabe brother. And the Mankind versus Undertaker match at King of the Ring (1998) featured two falls from the top of the cage and thumbtacks.
A PPV based around this match seems like a good idea on paper. But in practice? It hasn't gone quite as well. Narratively, something is lost when you have such a dangerous match at a scheduled time each year. What if the feud hasn't reached the pitch needed to justify such a match? And also, not everyone on the WWE roster has a Mick Foley-style death wish. Every HIAC match lives in the shadow of the masterpiece.
But still, there have been more than a handful of memorable moments at Hell in a Cell. Here are six that stand out.
The Cell Lowers on the First Women's HIAC Match
It might be a bit strange for a legendary moment to include no combat and no words, but this deserves a special mention. Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks were competing in the first women's Hell in a Cell match in 2016. And as the cell was being lowered toward the ring, the tension reached a boil. Both women stared up in fear. The crowd started chanting "this is awesome."
And suddenly, Charlotte took a swing at her opponent before the bell rang. The women rolled out under the lowering cell and brawled outside—a clear tribute to the Mankind vs. Undertaker classic. Banks even got up off a stretcher to insist on continuing.
Brock Lesnar and Undertaker Get Down to Bare Wood
Neither Brock Lesnar nor the Undertaker (especially the latter) was the same performer he was when the two first battled in Hell in a Cell at No Mercy (2002). And for their 2015 rematch, both men, rather than work a wrestling match, decided to slug it out, which made it easier to hide their respective shortcomings.
Brock ended the match by tearing up the mat and F5'ing the Undertaker on bare wood. This contest was no work of art. But it was masterful for what it was, and both men worked with what they had to put on a convincing, brutal-looking brawl.
Shane McMahon Tempts Fate
Shane McMahon jumps off tall things. That's his entire schtick, and he's sticking to it. And one his most recent death-defying stunts was at Hell in a Cell, when he flew off the top of the cell and aimed for Kevin Owens.
A returning Sami Zayn, however, made the last-minute save, and McMahon went crashing through the announce table. And gimmicked or not, a table doesn't tickle.
Shawn Michaels Superkicks the Yes Movement
In hindsight, how did we not see this coming? True, Shawn Michaels was Daniel Bryan's mentor. But of course the Heartbreak Kid would side with his brother-in-arms, Triple H, when push came to shove.
Michaels delivered Sweet Chin Music to Bryan at the worst possible time in the 2013 Hell in a Cell title match, allowing Orton to pick up the win. Paired with Triple H's betrayal at SummerSlam, this was a rough couple of months to be a Daniel Bryan fan.
Imagine if Bryan and Michaels had faced each other in the aftermath of this betrayal. Unfortunately, Michaels was retired by that point. And there was no Saudi Arabia money yet to dangle in front of his face.
The Miz and R-Truth Came to Play
What made this moment work so well was how unexpected it was. After the Triple Threat between CM Punk, John Cena, and Alberto Del Rio at Hell in a Cell 2011, there was no music and no foreshadowing. We just saw two guys with pipes climb into the ring and start beating everything in sight.
And then it got taken to the next level. The entire locker room came out, adding to the chaos. The police arrested Miz and R-Truth, who kneeled in the ring with their hands over their heads. And Triple H blew a gasket. This was the perfect way to end a PPV and left the fans wondering, "now what happens?"