Hell in Cell matches are the most brutal in all of WWE. Anything goes, so they are used to settle a rivalry when nothing else will work. They also come up when management wants to make sure the winner of a title cannot be disputed.
Though The Undertaker is the undisputed master of the cell, many superstars have had their most memorable career moments inside the structure. Time to step get in the cage for the five best and five worst Hell in a Cell matches.
10 WORST: JOHN CENA VS CM PUNK VS ALBERTO DEL RIO - HELL IN A CELL 2011
John Cena and CM Punk had a great series of matches during their feud. Though fans may differ on whether adding Alberto Del Rio to the mix helped or hurt, in this instance, it definitely didn’t help.
There were big stretches where this felt like a regular triple threat match. If we couldn’t see the cage we wouldn’t have known it was Hell in a Cell. Then it got even worse when Cena was locked outside the cage for the rest of the match. It makes no sense to completely take your most popular superstar, who’s also the champion, out of the match.
9 BEST: MANKIND VS THE UNDERTAKER - KING OF THE RING 1998
As one of the most infamous Hell in a Cell matches, it’s the one that WWE uses every year to show how anything can happen inside the cage. Over the years, Undertaker launching Mankind off the top of the cage has become one of the company’s signature moments.
Long before it was commonplace that the match would somehow end up on the roof of the cell, these two men took an unexpected approach and started up top. However, opening with the biggest spot of the match slowed things down and really made everything else feel anti-climatic.
8 WORST: ROMAN REIGNS VS RUSEV - HELL IN A CELL 2016
We didn’t doubt Roman vs Rusev would be a good match. However, at this point it was becoming clear what WWE had in mind for Reigns, so we knew going in Rusev probably wasn’t going to win.
The story of Roman embarrassing Rusev and Lana wasn’t particularly interesting, which meant the match lacked the stakes usually present inside the cell. While there were plenty of hard hits, the match itself was predictable and not especially memorable when compared to the superstars’ other matches.
7 BEST: CACTUS JACK VS TRIPLE H - NO WAY OUT 2000
Taking place at the height of the McMahon-Helmsley era, Triple H defended his WWF Championship against Cactus Jack, with the stipulation that Cactus Jack would retire if he lost. His rivalry with Cactus Jack is where Triple H really became the wrestler we know now.
Brutal, extreme matches are Mick Foley’s bread and butter, while Hunter was known for more technical, methodical contests. This is a perfect blend of both styles, great use of weapons and surroundings and brilliant storytelling. Triple H won, so Cactus Jack had to retire. Of course, Foley had plenty of other personalities to choose from.
6 WORST: STEVE AUSTIN VS THE ROCK VS THE UNDERTAKER VS KURT ANGLE VS TRIPLE H VS RIKISHI - ARMAGEDDON 2000
No matter how great the wrestlers are, or what kind of match it is, multi-competitor matches almost always end up being chaotic. Putting six of your top stars inside Hell in a Cell might have sounded good on paper, but in reality it was a bit of a mess.
The formula for these types of matches is two or three guys fight while the others take a break, then eventually everyone hits their finishers and someone wins. There are four hall-of-famers, and two future hall-of-famers in this match, and even they couldn’t make this watchable.
5 BEST: NEW DAY VS THE USOS - HELL IN A CELL 2017
Every time The New Day and The Usos face off, something magical happens. For pretty much all of 2017, these two teams traded the SmackDown tag team championships, and every single match was an instant classic.
This was set up to be the culmination of this feud, and wow these two teams delivered. Right out of the gate this was a fast paced, creative match, where we saw moves and weapons we had never seen in any previous Hell in a Cell. You couldn’t look away for a second, lest you miss something amazing. In all the awesome matches these two teams have had, this was their absolute best.
4 WORST: SHANE MCMAHON VS THE UNDERTAKER - WRESTLEMANIA 32
Shane McMahon’s return to WWE was met with excitement from fans. He was immediately thrust into a storyline where he had to defeat Undertaker to get control of Raw. Shane is known for big spectacular moves that audiences can’t stop talking about, but no one thought he had a chance in Hell in a Cell vs Undertaker at WrestleMania.
In the three years since this match happened, it’s mostly become about Shane’s leap off the cage. Here’s the thing, if you look at the rest of the match, it’s a very slow contest that at times loses the crowd.
3 BEST: THE UNDERTAKER VS TRIPLE H - WRESTLEMANIA 28
Following the back-to back classics that Shawn Michaels had with The Undertaker at the two previous WrestleManias, fans wondered how they were going to compete with those. The answer was by continuing the same story with Michaels’ best friend and partner Triple H.
After failing to defeat him the first time, Triple H became obsessed with a rematch. At this point, no one had been in more Hell in a Cell matches than the two of them and it showed in how they crafted and built the story of the match.
2 WORST: SHAWN MICHAELS VS TRIPLE H - BAD BLOOD 2004
The split between Shawn Michaels and Triple H went through every possible match and stipulation, so obviously Hell in a Cell had to be where it ended. Despite their obvious chemistry, this feud had been going on forever, so by the time we got to this match, we were feeling fatigued.
The weakness in this contest didn’t come from the superstars, it came from the bloated 47 minute time. Even two of the best to ever compete are going to have trouble sustaining the intensity of a Hell in a Cell match for that long.
1 BEST: THE UNDERTAKER VS EDGE - SUMMERSLAM 2008
Edge and The Undertaker had a rivalry that spanned months, featuring the pair trading the world heavyweight championship back and forth. The Rated R Superstar’s experience in TLC matches came in handy inside the cell. He put Undertaker through multiple tables and went through several chairs.
One of the best moments in the match’s history came when Edge speared Undertaker through the cage, then proceeded to spear him through the announce table. Fans knew how great Edge was, but this is the match that made him a legend. Plus, the ending is the most theatrical they’ve ever used.