The 10 Greatest Spots in WWE Hell in a Cell History
For 23 years, the imposing Hell in a Cell has been a breeding ground for unforgettable moments.
The spots that have occurred within (and outside) the confines of the structure have captivated, amazed and, at times, sickened the WWE Universe.
In preparation for the 2020 edition of the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view extravaganza Sunday, take this stroll through the unparalleled destruction and unrelenting chaos of WWE's most popular gimmick match with this countdown of its 10 greatest spots.
10. Charlotte Powerbombs Sasha
Before the 2016 edition of the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, two women had never competed inside the storied walls of the steel structure. That changed when Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks not only battled for the Raw Women's Championship but main-evented the broadcast.
Their hard-hitting match reflected their desire to prove they belonged in that position—as did one notable spot.
Late in the match, the women fought to the outside of the cell. With Banks hanging from the side of the steel structure, Flair brought her crashing through the announce table with powerbomb. The crowed erupted and Banks crumpled in pain.
It was a moment the likes of which the WWE faithful had never seen out of two women and proof positive of their willingness to do what the men did to ensure the best and most memorable match.
The spot laid the groundwork for Banks and Becky Lynch to build off of three years later and will almost certainly be a source of inspiration for The Blueprint's match against best friend-turned-bitter rival Bayley on Sunday night.
9. A Chokeslam to Hell
The Undertaker vs. Edge from SummerSlam 2008 is one of the more underrated Hell in a Cell matches in WWE history. The result of a feud that began prior to WrestleMania XXIV, it was the perfect and appropriate conclusion to their program.
While there were plenty of dangerous, hard-hitting, high-intensity spots throughout, it was a spot that came after the bell that stands out most.
After pinning Edge for the win, Undertaker dragged his foe on to a ladder and delivered a chokeslam off of it, driving The Rated R Superstar through the ring. It was the second devastating chokeslam the 2012 Hall of Famer endured that night and served as a fitting exclamation point.
The Deadman, ever the showman, knelt down in his trademark pose as flames shot out of the spot Edge had just crashed through, writing him off the show for the next few months.
8. HBK Crashes and Burns
The inaugural Hell in a Cell match at In Your House: Badd Blood was the culmination of a three-month feud between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels that had seen HBK revert to his heel ways and escalate things with The Deadman with every passing week.
After the Ground Zero: In Your House main event that ended in chaos and with interference from Triple H and Chyna, the decision was made to place the warring rivals inside an impenetrable steel structure that would ensure a definitive winner.
Of course, they found a way out for a big high spot that saw Undertaker stomp on the hands of a dangling Michaels, sending HBK crashing through an announce table below.
It was exactly the crowd-pleasing moment that the match needed to escalate the violence that preceded it and provide fans with the buzz-worthy elements a new match of that significance needed.
It also continued Michaels' flair for the dramatic and set the stage for the wild table spots that would help define the Attitude Era.
7. Rikishi's Hellish Hayride
The most star-studded Hell in a Cell match in WWE history occurred on December 10, 2000, at Armageddon. In the main event of that spectacular, WWE champion Kurt Angle defended against Rikishi, The Undertaker, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock and Triple H in the first-ever Six-Pack Challenge incarnation of the famed gimmick bout.
As the contest reached its climax, Undertaker and Rikishi fought atop the steel structure, and an old-fashioned pick-up parked below. It was only a matter of time before the company made good on expectations and someone took a tumble to the ground below.
In this case, it was the 350-pound Samoan, who suffered a chokeslam from the edge of the structure on to the back of the truck, which conveniently had bales of hay there to break Rikishi's fall.
No matter how transparent the safety measures may have been, it was still an impressive spot. No one had seen a man that size take a bump from that height before. More importantly, it paid off expectations and left fans pleased by the barbarity they had witnessed in the much-anticipated cluster of a main event.
6. The Viper's Depravity
Randy Orton can be one sick individual when he wants to be, and never before was it on greater display than in the 2018 Hell in a Cell opener between him and Jeff Hardy.
Ignoring the high-risk high spot in favor of a grizzly and violent moment that would leave fans exclaiming "WTF?!", Orton grabbed a screwdriver from a toolbox under the ring. From there, he placed it in Hardy's pierced ear and twisted, contorting the lobe in positions that were not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach).
There were groans and jeers as fans denounced the sick and twisted arsenal of the former WWE champion.
Orton went on to win the match, but the outcome was far from the most memorable element of a match that was anything but what fans expected out of WWE's resident daredevil and its most venomous villain.
5. Shane McMahon's Leap of Faith
Shane McMahon has created a legacy of falling off of really tall structures. With every match comes a heightened expectation of some daredevil stunt that pops the crowd and makes social media posts around the world.
When a Hell in a Cell Match between he and The Undertaker was announced for WrestleMania 32, many fans expected some sort of ridiculous spot that would leave everyone's mouth agape and eyes widened at its risk.
They got their wish when McMahon blasted his opponent and left him draped over the announce table. From there, he scaled the side of the steel structure and looked out into the sea of 100,000 fans. Taking one last, deep breath, he launched himself off with a flying elbow—and smashed through the table.
With no protection or anyone to break his fall.
The Deadman had moved, leaving McMahon to crash and burn in spectacular fashion.
In seconds, live videos from fans in attendance hit social media. Twitter lit up in disbelief. It was a shocking moment, though expected, and one that remains a highlight of the recent WrestleMania offerings.
Though the match that accompanied it was overly long and not necessarily the classic some thought it might be, that one spot defined it and helped deliver that particular event a much-needed memorable moment.
4. DX Breaks Down the Streak?
The End of an Era match at WrestleMania XXVIII pitted Undertaker against Triple H for a second, consecutive match on wrestling's grand stage. Shawn Michaels, the Superstar The Deadman had retired two years earlier, served as the referee as WWE looked to write the final chapter of a four-year odyssey.
In a match defined by its drama, no moment was better or more memorable than HBK's Sweet Chin Music that rocked The Deadman right into a Pedigree from The Game.
The moment left the 78,363 fans in Miami and the millions watching at home certain they were about to witness the end of The Streak.
Instead, Undertaker kicked out in a wildly dramatic false finish that popped the crowd and added to what was an already epic encounter.
The moment was perfectly executed and timed and remains an excellent example of creating the same suspense of a high-risk spot without having to put any of the performers in unnecessary danger.
3. Through the Cell!
Following one of the most jaw-dropping moments in WWE history (more on that in a moment), Undertaker and Mankind found themselves fighting atop the Hell in a Cell for a second time at the 1998 King of the Ring pay-per-view.
With every fist to the face or boot to the abdomen, fans watched as screws and bolts fell from the ceiling of the steel structure as if it were not meant to be battled atop. Nerves abound and fans on the edge of their seats, they watched as Undertaker grabbed Mankind by the throat, hoisted him overhead and delivered a chokeslam...through the roof of the cell.
The steel mesh gave way under Mick Foley's weight, and the Hardcore Legend crashed into the unforgiving mat below, a steel chair following him down and knocking his teeth out in the process.
Referees and Terry Funk rushed the ring to check on a performer who had already suffered a terrifying fall moments earlier, and it appeared as though the match would come to a sudden halt.
Or so we thought.
Undertaker went on to defeat the hobbled Mankind in a match that eventually featured thumbtacks and a haunting image of Mankind's missing tooth hanging out of his nose.
You read that right.
2. "That's Gotta Be Kane!"
Months before the inaugural Hell in a Cell, Paul Bearer stunned the wrestling world by revealing The Undertaker's long-lost brother, Kane, was alive and that he would return to exact revenge for the fire that killed their parents.
The Big Red Machine did just that at Badd Blood 1997, stepping through hellfire and brimstone, ripping the door off the unforgiving steel structure that housed his brother and Shawn Michaels' bloody battle to come face-to-face with the Deadman.
In utter disbelief, Undertaker stood staring into the dark, lifeless eyes of his brother before Kane delivered a Tombstone Piledriver that would spark their rivalry and deliver HBK the unexpected victory.
The moment not only added an exclamation point to a successful first rendition of a now-classic gimmick match, but it also jump-started Kane's Hall of Fame-worthy run.
1. "By God! He Broke Him in Half!"
There is no spot that more defines Hell in a Cell than The Undertaker throwing Mankind over the edge and through a table at the 1998 King of the Ring pay-per-view.
That moment, emblazoned in the minds of those who watched it live and have witnessed it via the countless recaps, video packages and DVD releases in the 22 years since, elevated expectations for the famed gimmick match to impossible levels.
The shock and awe that engulfed the famous Igloo in Pittsburgh echoed in living rooms across the country, with viewers in disbelief of the barbarity they had just witnessed. Even more appalling? Mick Foley's determination to continue the match. Soon after the bump, he scaled the cell despite one of his shoulders hanging out of its socket.
It was an unforgettable moment that came to define the two men involved and would live forever in the annals of WWE, let alone the rich history of the Hell in a Cell match.