Where Does Hell in a Cell Rank Among Best Gimmick Matches in WWE?
WWE Hell in a Cell has become a yearly staple since 2009. The stipulation is one of the company's signature matches and became so popular that WWE created an event to make sure we get at least a couple of these bouts every year.
At times, it feels as if HIAC has supplanted the traditional steel cage as the structure WWE likes to lock rivals inside to settle their differences.
Hell in a Cell is not the only match type that has its own event. TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs features all three of the items mentioned, in addition to the TLC match that combines all of them. Money in the Bank has its own show, and so does Extreme Rules.
WWE has a long list of different match types to choose from, but where does Hell in a Cell rank among these kinds of matches? Let's take a look at the most popular stipulations in WWE and rank them by significance, popularity and excitement.
6. No Disqualification and Variations
By far, the most frequently used stipulation in pro wrestling is the No Disqualification match and the many variations it has spawned.
No holds barred, hardcore and Extreme Rules are other types of No DQ matches we see on a regular basis. In fact, we can barely go a week without seeing such a bout.
While the vagueness of the stipulation gives the Superstars a lot of leeway to create whatever kind of match they want, being the most common kind of bout also makes it less exciting.
Unless The Dudley Boyz are involved, a standard Tables match is often anticlimactic, especially if the table breaks when it's not supposed to and the match ends early.
This doesn't happen often, but it has happened enough times for WWE to only use the stip on rare occasions, such as the TLC PPV.
The long, banquet-style table has become an iconic weapon in pro wrestling, but since it has to be set up and remain stationary, it can sometimes feel like a lot of work is put into a spot that doesn't look as cool as intended.
4. Last Man Standing/I Quit
Last Man Standing and I Quit matches are similar to the No DQ stipulations mentioned earlier, but they provide more thrills because winning requires someone to do a lot more damage than they would usually need to inflict just to get a pin.
Seeing two people fight all over the arena in an effort to make the other person fail to meet a 10-count or utter the words "I quit" doesn't always lead to a good match, but more often than not, these bouts end up getting the winner over in a big way.
This type of contest is the perfect way to cap off a deeply personal feud such as the one we have seen between Seth Rollins and the Mysterio family.
3. Hell in a Cell
Hell in a Cell was introduced in 1997 at Badd Blood: In Your House when Shawn Michaels faced The Undertaker. It was also the night Kane made his WWE debut.
This is essentially a steel cage that has been made larger to encompass the ringside area with a top to keep the Superstars inside. Or at least that is what is intended to happen.
Because the structure is so tall, anyone who scales it runs the risk of being thrown off. Mick Foley, Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens are just a few of the people who have taken that fall and lived to tell the tale.
The size of the cage also allows WWE to pack more Superstars into a match without it feeling like they are crammed in. Anything more than three people in a standard cage seems like too much.
HIAC became important enough to have its own PPV, and it has helped numerous WWE Superstars look tougher because if you can survive Hell in a Cell, you can probably make it through anything.
2. TLC/Ladder/Money in the Bank
The Hardys, Edge, Christian and the Dudleys are some of the only Superstars in WWE history who can claim an entire stipulation and a PPV dedicated to it are a result of their hard work.
The TLC concept was introduced at SummerSlam 2000. Each weapon was representative of one of the three teams involved. The Hardys had ladders, the Dudleys had tables and chairs were Edge and Christian's signature weapon.
Over the years, this has become one of the favorite stipulations of the WWE Universe because so many things can happen from bell to bell.
The Money in the Bank variant has also become popular enough to earn its own event on the WWE calendar. A standard ladder match is great, but when you put six or more people in that kind of bout, it becomes even more chaotic when everyone starts reaching for the briefcase.
We have seen career-defining stunts, and we have almost seen career-ending botches. But risks like that are what make certain wrestlers stand out from the pack. These kinds of matches allow them to do that and then some.
1. Steel Cage
Back in the '60s, '70s and '80s, regional wrestling promotions around the country would air ads on local stations to advertise their shows. One of the biggest attractions on any card was a steel cage match.
This is the most iconic stipulation in pro wrestling history. It dates back to the '30s, when the fights were still believed to be real by most onlookers. Kayfabe was alive and well.
HIAC is similar, but the confined space inside a standard cage means nobody can run from their opponent. They are stuck until somebody climbs over the top or beats the opponent in a traditional way. It feels more claustrophobic.
It is one of the few stipulations used by promotions big and small because a cage is not that expensive to make and can be set up quickly at the end of a show for the main event.
All of the greats have competed inside a cage at one point in their careers. If a classic steel cage match can't make a feud more exciting, it wasn't a good storyline to begin with.