Ranking the Best 5 WWE Hell in a Cell PPVs of All Time

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistJune 3, 2022

Ranking the Best 5 WWE Hell in a Cell PPVs of All Time

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    Credit: WWE.com

    It was a quarter of a century ago that WWE introduced Hell in a Cell to the masses through the instant classic that was Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels. The match became such a celebrated staple of WWE in the years that followed that it was eventually given its own pay-per-view starting in 2009.

    The annual event has featured anywhere from one to three Hell in a Cell matches per installment, though some have been more memorable than others. That's largely due to the gimmick getting watered down by being held the same time every year.

    Utilizing the concept only when necessary would be a much better route to take compared to devoting an entire event to it, but it's unlikely WWE will turn back now after nearly 13 years.

2014 Installment

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    Full Card:

    • Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro (2-out-of-3 Falls match for Intercontinental Championship)
    • Brie Bella vs. Nikki Bella
    • Goldust and Stardust vs. The Usos (WWE Tag Team Championship)
    • John Cena vs. Randy Orton (Hell in a Cell match)
    • Sheamus vs. The Miz (United States Championship)
    • Rusev vs. Big Show
    • AJ Lee vs. Paige (Divas Championship)
    • Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins (Hell in a Cell match)

    An uninspiring undercard puts Hell in a Cell 2014 behind the other installments, but the same-titled matches for this year managed to earn this event a spot in the top five.

    The 2-out-of-3 Falls match between Dolph Ziggler and Cesaro for the intercontinental title was an all-around excellent opener. Granted, the battle of the Bella Twins was nowhere near being on the same level, but they made the most of the time they had.

    The rest of the midcard matches were average at best albeit nothing offensively bad. Sheamus vs. The Miz, Goldust and Stardust vs. The Usos, AJ Lee vs. Paige and Rusev vs. Big Show were all adequate, but John Cena vs. Randy Orton was way more entertaining than it had any right to be.

    The main event was must-see in its own way. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins had been built up wonderfully as a grudge match befitting of the Hell in a Cell stipulation, and their bad blood felt genuine.

    Bray Wyatt randomly resurfacing to cost Ambrose the win was a bit of a flat finish, but it was a thumbs-up matchup otherwise and will be what this event is best remembered for.

2015 Installment

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    Full Card:

    • John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio (United States Championship)
    • Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt (Hell in a Cell)
    • The New Day vs. The Dudley Boyz (WWE Tag Team Championship)
    • Charlotte Flair vs. Nikki Bella (Divas Championship)
    • Seth Rollins vs. Kane (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
    • Kevin Owens vs. Ryback (Intercontinental Championship)
    • Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker (Hell in a Cell)

    A show headlined by Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker in another Hell in a Cell match (coming off their classic from 2002) had no business being as enjoyable as this one was.

    It was far from the perfect card from top to bottom, though. The midcard bouts were mostly mediocre and featured nothing out of the ordinary, but there was nothing wrong with a majority of the booking decisions made.

    Where this show really shined was with its Hell in a Cell matches. Lesnar vs. Undertaker was terrific and capped off their long-running rivalry perfectly, while Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt had a strong layout and captivated the crowd with its entertaining action.

    Alberto Del Rio returning to WWE in shocking fashion to answer John Cena's U.S. Open Challenge was another notable highlight. That kicked off the evening in exhilarating fashion and set the tone that anything could happen (even though almost everything went the way you'd expect it to).

    Seth Rollins vs. Kane was by far the worst match on the show and took the overall event down a notch, especially with it being for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

2010 Installment

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    Full Card:

    • Daniel Bryan vs. John Morrison vs. The Miz (Submissions Count Anywhere match for United States Championship)
    • Randy Orton vs. Sheamus (Hell in a Cell match for WWE Championship)
    • Edge vs. Jack Swagger
    • John Cena vs. Wade Barrett
    • Michelle McCool vs. Natalya (Divas Championship)
    • Kane vs. The Undertaker (Hell in a Cell match for WWE Championship)

    Sometimes, shorter cards can pack the biggest punch. That was the case with the six matches that took place at Hell in a Cell 2010, making for a fun show overall.

    The Submissions Count Anywhere affair between Daniel Bryan, John Morrison and The Miz was one of the first (and only) of its kind, and they delivered an exciting opener.

    Randy Orton and Sheamus had a much more hard-hitting affair inside the cage immediately afterward for the WWE Championship and had no issue keeping the crowd engaged.

    Although Edge wasn't advertised for the event, he appeared anyway and took aim at the anonymous general manager of Raw at that time. That led to an impromptu match with Jack Swagger, who he promptly defeated much to the delight of the audience in attendance.

    In an intriguing turn of events, Wade Barrett beat John Cena in an above-average match to force him to join The Nexus. Michelle McCool vs. Natalya for the Divas Championship didn't quite measure up, but it was perfectly passable.

    The only true dud on the show was the Hell in a Cell main event between The Undertaker and Kane, which you'd think would have been better considering the circumstances.

    The match was no good from an in-ring standpoint, though Paul Bearer betraying The Deadman (again) was an unexpected twist.

2011 Installment

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    Full Card:

    • Sheamus vs. Christian
    • Sin Cara Azul vs. Sin Cara Negro
    • Air Boom vs. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger (WWE Tag Team Championship)
    • Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton (Hell in a Cell match for World Heavyweight Championship)
    • Cody Rhodes vs. John Morrison (Intercontinental Championship)
    • Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix (Divas Championship)
    • John Cena vs. CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio (Hell in a Cell match for WWE Championship)

    This installment of Hell in a Cell was a weird one in that it had a few forgettable matches to start, but the second half was significantly stronger thanks to the pace picking up.

    Sheamus vs. Christian was well-wrestled, but the first truly important match on the card came when Mark Henry defended the World Heavyweight title against Randy Orton. It was unknown whether the champion would be able to beat The Viper clean for a second time but he managed to do just that.

    While not advertised ahead of time, Cody Rhodes vs. John Morrison ended up being a fun affair while it lasted and featured the return of the classic intercontinental title belt. Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix wasn't nearly as crisp but was fine while it lasted and had the right outcome with the latter becoming the Divas champion.

    The Triple Threat Hell in a Cell match was all over the place, but it was mostly an entertaining outing.

    The chaos that closed the show with Awesome Truth (The Miz and R-Truth) attacking everyone in sight and helping Alberto Del Rio win the WWE Championship caused quite the stir and left everyone wondering what was next.

2018 Installment

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    Full Card:

    • Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy (Hell in a Cell match)
    • Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch (SmackDown Women's Championship)
    • Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins (Raw Tag Team Championship)
    • AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe (WWE Championship)
    • The Miz and Maryse vs. Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella
    • Ronda Rousey vs. Alexa Bliss (Raw Women's Championship)
    • Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman (Hell in a Cell match for Universal Championship)

    Despite having one of the most despised finishes in Hell in a Cell history, there was a lot to like about the 2018 installment.

    The first four matches were simply stellar. Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy had a chaotic grudge match inside The Devil's Playground to kick things off followed by Becky Lynch besting Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women's Championship in the kind of quality contest you'd expect from them.

    The Shield then had an absolute gem of a match against Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre for the Raw Tag Team Championship. As if that wasn't enough, AJ Styles and Samoa Joe turned on the style as they always did with the WWE Championship for grabs, culminating in The Phenomenal One retaining his title.

    The last three matches on the show weren't nearly as hot, but they were still serviceable and accomplished what they needed to. Unfortunately, the Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman main event fell short of expectations due to Brock Lesnar's interference, but his shock return was exciting enough to end the night on a high note.

    While not the greatest WWE PPV ever, this was certainly the strongest Hell in a Cell card the company has produced yet, although Sunday's show has a real chance of topping it.

    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.