The People’s Column: A Hellacious History

On Sunday night, for the first time ever, multiple Hell in a Cell matches will take place on one night.  This is one of WWE’s new theme-oriented Pay Per Views, which many have seen as hit or miss.  Last month’s Breaking Point had the same three main event matches as this month’s Hell in a Cell.  That being said, the Cell adds a new level of intensity to all of these rivalries.

It is difficult to look at Hell in a Cell without looking back at the first ever (and best) Hell in a Cell match.  The year was 1997.  It was a month before Montreal and the world seemed to be a more innocent place.  Attitude was rising and the WWE (than the WWF, but I got the F out back in 2002) was putting on some of their best shows since the Hogan era.

Two men stepped into the monstrous Cell for the first time.  Shawn Michaels was brash and arrogant.  He had the recently formed D-Generation X by his side for moral support.  The Undertaker was out for vengeance.  He was a man wronged by HBK.  With the aid of a steel chair, Shawn Michaels had cost The Undertaker the WWE championship.  Shawn Michaels had managed to avoid The Undertaker’s wrath through the maneuvering and defensive tactics of DX.

Going into the Cell, no one knew what to expect.  Perhaps it would just be another cage match.  It could very well have been.  Perhaps it would just be some weapons in the ring.  That was a distinct possibility.  What the match ended up being blew everyone’s mind.

If you have not seen it, you should.  If, like me, you believed that Undertaker vs HBK at Wrestlemania was spectacular than you should see what these two men could do 12 years earlier.

A case can be made for the Undertaker vs Mankind Hell in a Cell match to be the best, but if one watches the two back to back they will see that Undertaker vs Mankind is just a two spot match.  It is renowned more for its brutality than for quality.

As Hell in a Cell approaches, both men from the original Cell will once again step inside.  The Undertaker, again screwed out of the championship, will look to extract vengeance from a brash, young superstar; this time it’s CM Punk.  Shawn Michaels will team with another Cell veteran, HHH to take on the young upstart team of Legacy.

The last Cell match is perhaps the most intriguing of the three.  Randy Orton and John Cena will face off in the first Hell in a Cell match not to feature The Undertaker or HHH (and please do not comment about the Mankind vs Kane Cell on Raw in 1998 that never really had a true ending).  This means that this match may not be the traditional pace because it has two fresh Cell perspectives (Orton’s past experience was with Undertaker and at his pace).

This Sunday could be a classic Pay Per View.  It is sure to deliver brutality on a previously unforeseen scale.  The Hell in a Cell concept could get watered down.  At the same time, it could be enhanced.  Eight men will walk into the Cell on Sunday.  None of their careers will be the same after.  Two men will leave with championships.  Four men will be vindicated.  And four men may not be able to walk out at all.  See you next week!

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