Ranking WWE's Best Hell in a Cell Matches Ahead of Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2022

Ranking WWE's Best Hell in a Cell Matches Ahead of Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Upon its inception in 1997, Hell in a Cell was viewed as an upgrade over the Steel Cage match in that it would prevent interference, encourage violence and serve as the blow-off to blood feuds.

    Nearly 25 years and 50 installments later, it has become an annual staple in the WWE calendar, though not nearly as menacing as it once was due to getting a pay-per-view of its own instead of being utilized only when necessary.

    That said, Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins inside The Devil's Playground this Sunday at the same-titled event should be one of the better Hell in a Cell clashes in recent years. The two have had excellent matches since WrestleMania 38, and that tremendous chemistry should translate to the demonic structure as well.

    The bar was set extremely high with early installments of the match in the late 1990s. Since then, many notable names have done battle inside the confines of the cage and contested countless instant classics.

    Although Hell in a Cell becoming its own event has made the stipulation significantly less special, there have been a handful gems in recent years as well.

    Where will Rhodes vs. Rollins rank among the greatest Hell in a Cell matches of all time?

Honorable Mentions

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    Bayley vs. Sasha Banks (Hell in a Cell 2020)

    It took over five years, but the inaugural WWE women's tag team champions were finally able to rekindle their rivalry from NXT on the main roster in the fall of 2020. Their first major singles bout was contested inside Hell in a Cell, and it was an outstanding affair. The only thing that causes this contest to be left out of the top 10 is the fact that there was no audience in attendance to give it the reaction it deserved.


    The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar (Hell in a Cell 2015)

    Spoiler alert: You'll see a Hell in a Cell match between Undertaker and Lesnar a little later on this list. However, the sequel from Hell in a Cell 2015 deserves props as well. As arguably The Phenom's last truly great non-cinematic match, they went all-out and showed their chemistry was as strong as it ever was.


    Batista vs. The Undertaker (Survivor Series 2007)

    Batista and 'Taker had a stellar series of matches in 2007, culminating in an exceptional Hell in a Cell clash at Survivor Series. The Animal proved he was on The Deadman's level with a win here, and Edge's interference (disguised as a cameraman) was masterfully done.


    Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins (Hell in a Cell 2014)

    It isn't often that actual grudge matches are held inside Hell in a Cell, which is why Ambrose vs. Rollins was so refreshing. They had been at odds for many months, and this was the big blow-off. It was slower-paced at times, but the hate they had for each other was palpable.


    The Usos vs. The New Day (Hell in a Cell 2017)

    This is without a doubt the best tag team Hell in a Cell match ever. Granted, there isn't a lot of competition, but the chemistry these two teams have is amazing and putting them inside the cage was genius. The many innovative spots made this one stand out.

10. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks (Hell in a Cell 2019)

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    Hell in a Cell 2019 will forever be remembered for having one of the worst endings in WWE PPV history due to the debacle involving Seth Rollins and "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt.

    However, it will also be remembered for featuring the best women's Hell in a Cell match to date between Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks.

    The Boss returned from her hiatus with a bang by attacking Lynch and immediately setting her sights on the Raw Women's Championship. Their initial encounter at Clash of Champions ended indecisively, and the only way for them to settle the score was inside Hell in a Cell.

    Banks had already stepped inside the structure once before with Charlotte Flair, but this had a completely different dynamic. For a feud that wasn't overly personal, this was a wonderful match filled with drama and intensity.

    They went to the extreme and battered each other with everything they could find in an attempt to leave as champion. It was far more physical than fans were expecting and an absolute blast to watch.

    The unpredictable outcome added to the excitement as well. Lynch ultimately reigned supreme with her title reign intact, but only after Banks gave her the fight of her life.

    This was far and away one of the best bouts of 2019.

9. Angle vs. HHH vs. Rock vs. Austin vs. Taker vs. Rikishi (Armageddon 2000)

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    The largest Hell in a Cell in history also happens to be the only one of its kind.

    The Attitude Era was so stacked with star power that the only way to determine who the best was at that point was by putting them all inside Hell in a Cell, closing the door and letting them duke it out. The talent included The Undertaker, Triple H, Rikishi, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock and then-WWE champion Kurt Angle.

    This was complete and total madness from bell to bell. Although it feels like an unorganized mess at times, it was exciting to follow and everyone played their roles to perfection.

    Of course, the biggest highlight of the contest came when Rikishi was sent spiraling off the structure on top of a truck bed below, courtesy of 'Taker. It was thrilling knowing it could end at any second and any outcome could be considered the right one.

    In the midst of all the exhilarating action, Angle managed to secure the three-count on The Rock to retain his title, beating all odds in the process.

    WWE hasn't attempted anything like this since, and it's probably for the better seeing as how it would be a tall task to top the original.

8. The Undertaker vs. Edge (SummerSlam 2008)

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    The Undertaker and Edge mastered the art of long-term storytelling. What made this match at SummerSlam 2008 so fitting was that their feud ended in the same place it began nine months earlier: Hell in a Cell.

    The Deadman had, of course, competed in his fair share of Hell in a Cell matches by that point, but Edge was new to the stipulation. That said, his inexperience didn't faze him and instead motivated him to win that much more.

    Edge was a crazed individual at the time, and it showed throughout the bout through his picture-perfect mannerisms and facial expressions. He busted out every signature spot in his arsenal only for Undertaker to power out and somehow grow stronger.

    The finish was exceptionally executed with The Deadman hitting Edge with everything that Edge did to him leading up to that encounter. This included clobbering him with a camera, using his own move against him and sending him straight to Hell.

    This was the last Hell in a Cell match before the inception of the titular pay-per-view in 2009, and it couldn't have been a better bout to end that era on.

7. The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar (No Mercy 2002)

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    From the moment he arrived on the WWE scene in 2002, Brock Lesnar was practically unstoppable.

    He wasted no time in winning the King of the Ring tournament and eventually the WWE Championship by beating The Rock. He jumped ship to SmackDown but had to overcome Undertaker to prove he was worthy of that top spot.

    Chaos ensues any time these two have shared a ring together, and Hell in a Cell was the only structure that could keep them contained. Despite the cage surrounding the ring, Paul Heyman still found a way to interfere and aid The Beast Incarnate whenever possible. He was ultimately bloodied by 'Taker for his efforts.

    You would never know Lesnar was only six months into his main roster run from watching this match. He endured everything The Phenom dished out and inflicted some pain and punishment of his own.

    This match was a major milestone for The Beast, who won decisively to retain the WWE Championship. No one had conquered The Phenom quite like this before, so if Lesnar wasn't already legitimized, he sure was after this dominant performance.

6. Edge vs. Seth Rollins (Crown Jewel 2021)

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    As previously noted, classic Hell in a Cell matches are hard to come by nowadays. Not only is that because there have been so many of them in the last two-and-a-half decades, but the gimmick has also been watered down from what it once was due to it being held at the same time every year.

    WWE staged a record five Hell in a Cell matches in 2021, but thankfully, the best was saved for last, although it didn't take place at the PPV of the same name. Rather, it was Crown Jewel that hosted this incredible clash between Edge and Seth Rollins, the final installment of their trilogy.

    Edge took home the first win at SummerSlam, and Rollins reigned supreme in the rematch on SmackDown several weeks later. Shortly after, the rivalry escalated with Rollins invading Edge's home and attempting to end his career for good.

    This was a brilliant blow-off to their long-running rivalry. Despite being the 50th Hell in a Cell match ever, they still captivated the crowd at several points with awe-inspiring spots and spectacular storytelling.

    The atmosphere in Saudi Arabia for this was off the charts, and the attention to detail from both performers was phenomenal. This is what every modern-day Hell in a Cell match should aspire to be, as it checked all the boxes and had the ideal ending with the babyface standing tall.

5. The Undertaker vs. Triple H (WrestleMania 28)

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    The careers of The Undertaker, Triple H and Shawn Michaels have all been synonymous with Hell in a Cell since 1997, and so it was only appropriate they closed out this chapter of their story inside the structure at WrestleMania 28.

    Undertaker vs. Triple H that night was a rematch from the year prior, which alone felt like an attraction. However, adding Shawn Michaels as special guest referee and the Hell in a Cell into the mix made matters infinitely more interesting.

    This was also at a time when The Deadman was still undefeated at The Show of Shows and both members of D-Generation X were unsuccessful twice before in ending it. It was impossible to be certain that 'Taker would win and that added to every suspenseful near-fall.

    Both men were past their prime at this point, yet they excelled at telling a riveting story. The crowd was into everything they did and provided the perfect symphony for this masterpiece.

    Triple H put forth a valiant effort, but The Streak remained intact. It may not have been an "end of an era" since all three men wrestled after that, but the stunning visual of them standing atop the ramp together more than made up for that.

4. Batista vs. Triple H (Vengeance 2005)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    With wins over Cactus Jack, Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels, Triple H had made a name for himself in Hell in a Cell in the early 2000s. At Vengeance 2005, it was Batista's turn to do the same.

    Their story had been told over the course of a few years dating back to the formation of Evolution in early 2003. Batista breaking away and winning the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 21 was what caused Triple H to seek retribution by any means necessary.

    After losing to Batista twice, he determined the only way he could best his former pupil was inside Hell in a Cell. Plenty of blood was shed in this bout and neither fighter held anything back, but Batista had an answer for everything The Game threw at him.

    That included a thumb-tacked steel chair, which was smashed into Batista's back several times over. Before Triple H could use his signature sledgehammer, The Animal planted him with his finishing powerbomb to pick up the biggest win of his career.

    It was rare that Triple H lost clean to anyone back then, let alone on three consecutive occasions. Batista was a made man coming out of that event, and Hell in a Cell served its purpose in not only concluding a feud but also creating a new star.

3. The Undertaker vs. Mankind (King of the Ring 1998)

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    It's difficult to rank this as a match considering it was more of a drawn-out story than a truly competitive contest, but it's so remarkably memorable and monumental for a variety of reasons that it must be placed toward the top of the list.

    The Undertaker and Mankind had a string of matches throughout 1996 and the latter won a majority of them. But none were as iconic as this, specifically for that one spot which saw Mankind sent spiraling off the side of the cell and through the commentary table below.

    That was obviously after they had journeyed to the top of the structure and traded blows there. It was a scary sight to behold, but it left an indelible mark and is still talked about to this day.

    The rest of this matchup was a wild ride, to say the least. Mankind refused to stay down, and in stupidly doing so, Undertaker kept hitting him with everything imaginable. He sent the message that he was willing to win regardless of what it took and that Mankind was a glutton for punishment.

    Being chokeslammed through the top of the cell onto the mat combined with a Tombstone on thumbtacks were what finally did Mankind in. The aftermath was unforgettable, and it was one of those matches where fans will never forget where they were when they watched it all unfold.

2. Triple H vs. Cactus Jack (No Way Out 2000)

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    If you want to see the match that solidified Triple H's status as a star and an undeniable main event player in WWE, look no further than his Hell in a Cell clash with Cactus Jack at No Way Out 2000.

    What's interesting is that Triple H was already the WWE champion coming into this match. He won the title for the first time a few months prior and had an impressive rise to the top that included wins over multiple established competitors, but he was still missing that one performance to take him to the next level.

    Fans got that outstanding outing from him here. Amazingly, it marked the first time he had stepped inside Hell in a Cell, and not only did he come across like an equal to Hell in a Cell vet Mick Foley, but he also managed to beat him as well (albeit by the skin of his teeth).

    They had a lot to live up to following their incredible Street Fight the month prior at the Royal Rumble, but this match was something special. From their use of flaming barbed wire to taking their fight to the top of the cage, this was a wild, bloody brawl that embodied everything Hell in a Cell is about.

    Foley falling off the side of the cell against Undertaker in 1998 is an iconic image for obvious reasons, but him falling through the top of the structure and onto the mat below in this match comes close.

    The Game standing over the fallen Foley (in what was supposed to be his sendoff) was a spectacular visual that capped off their rivalry with a bang and cemented Triple H's place among the elite.

1. The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (Badd Blood: In Your House 1997)

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    While not impossible, it's unlikely the original Hell in a Cell match will ever be surpassed as the best of all time.

    Everything about The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at Badd Blood: In Your House 1997 clicked. It was beautifully crafted from the buildup to the hectic pace to the unadulterated violence to what happened at the end and everything else in between.

    Quite simply, it was the perfect storm. More impressive is the fact that no one at the time knew how important it was for this to be a success but they knocked it out of the park, anyway.

    Michaels' selling for Undertaker was especially great and added to the aura this new gimmick match had. This would have been stupendous regardless, but Kane's highly anticipated debut was what put it over the top.

    Before 'Taker could put Michaels away, the lights went out, and when they came back on, Kane was shown menacingly walking toward the ring alongside Paul Bearer. After ripping the cage door off its hinges, Kane laid out his brother with a devastating Tombstone, which was also enough to earn Michaels the victory.

    Had this failed, Hell in a Cell likely would have never become the beloved match type that it has, but those involved delivered big time and ensured it would still be around for the next 25 years and beyond.

    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.