A2Z Analysiz: Hell in a Cell – The Greatest Hell in a Cell Matches of All Time

DVD Release Date: October 14, 2008

MATCH #1: Hell in a Cell Match – Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, Badd Blood, 10.5.97

Michaels’s nervous bouncing around and concern about the padlock perfectly set the tone for this match. They finally both get in the ring and Undertaker hits a big boot to the face and starts throwing Shawn around. He tries an early Chokeslam but Shawn is able to block that. He hits some punches from the second turnbuckle and tries an Irish whip but Undertaker reverses it and hits a clothesline when Shawn comes out for a near fall. He starts working on Shawn’s arm and hits Old School. He continues to beat on Shawn, hitting a back body drop that goes so high Shawn’s feet hit the ceiling of the cell. Undertaker punches Shawn down, to which Vince says Shawn got knocked “A over T,” which I find hilarious. Undertaker then just tosses Shawn over the ropes to the floor, and chokes Shawn up against the cell. Shawn thumbs Undertaker in the eye and tries to climb away but gets pulled back down to the floor. He whips Shawn into the cage and then hits another clothesline. He does the same on the other side. He goes for a powerbomb but Shawn grabs the cage to avoid going down, so Undertaker rams the back of his head into the cage. He then rams Shawn’s back alternately into the ring post and the cell. Undertaker goes to torpedo Shawn into the cell but Shawn avoids it, and then gets knocked down with a clothesline. He rams Shawn’s face into the steps and drives an elbow into the forehead. He chokes Shawn up against the cage and then whips him into it. This time Shawn avoids the clothesline and delivers a few punches to the head.

Shawn gets back in the ring and Undertaker snaps his neck off the top rope. He is then able to knock Undertaker off the apron and into the cell. He hits a tope and then climbs up the cell to deliver an elbow drop. He grabs the steel ring steps and slams them into Undertaker’s back. King claims that the steps weigh at least 150 pounds. Shawn then hits a piledriver on the steps and it makes a cool sound. Shawn has been pushing nosey camera men around all night. He hits an axe handle off the ropes to the floor. They go back to the ring and Shawn brings a chair with him. He cracks Undertaker in the back with it, and a second time. Undertaker comes back and backdrops Shawn over the ropes and he lands on a camera man. Shawn goes nuts and beats the guy up just for being in his way. Heel Shawn is so good. Meanwhile back in the ring Shawn is setting up for Sweet Chin Music and he hits it. Undertaker sits right up though, and Shawn goes out the door that was opened to remove the injured camera man. Undertaker follows him and Shawn hits a dropkick, but Undertaker catches him on the second one and catapults Shawn into the cage to bust him open and it looks like a gusher. He capitalizes by ramming Shawn’s face into the cage twice. Shawn comes back with a kick to the junk. He then climbs to the top of the cell, and Undertaker follows him right up. Shawn tries a piledriver but gets back dropped instead and the crowd is going bananas.

Undertaker rubs Shawn’s face into the cell, and follows up with a gorilla press slam. Shawn tries to climb down but Undertaker stops him. He stomps on Shawn’s hands and he goes crashing through the Spanish Announce Table. I can see why Shawn retired from back problems. Undertaker comes down and hip tosses Shawn onto another table, and then slams him back down to the floor. They make their way back into the ring and they re-lock the door. Shawn is just easy pickings now. Undertaker hits a Chokeslam off the top rope. Man he busted out so much cool stuff for this match. He goes to the floor and grabs a chair. He absolutely clobbers Shawn in the head (no hands up) and signals for the Tombstone. Then the lights go out and some ominous music hits. Kane makes his first appearance alongside Paul Bearer. He rips the door off the hinges and gets eyeball to eyeball with Undertaker. They stare at each other for a while before Kane sets the ring posts on fire and then hits a Tombstone Piledriver on his older brother. Moments later, Shawn crawls over to get the three-count at 29:59. Eleven years later this match still rules, with all kinds of great offense from Undertaker and sick bumps from Shawn. They set the bar unbelievably high for future Hell in a Cell matches. The match only loses a little bit for the finish, and not because I think all interference is bad, but it took so long for the whole thing to happen that it wound up slightly anticlimactic. Even if I did give it the full five stars I don’t think it’s the match of the year because for me that is Bret Hart versus Steve Austin from WrestleMania 13. This is probably Undertaker’s best match ever, and pretty high on the list for Shawn.
Rating: ****¾

MATCH #2: Tag Team Hell in a Cell Match – Stone Cold Steve Austin & Undertaker vs. Mankind & Kane, Raw, 6.15.98

Paul Bearer, Mankind and Kane are in the ring waiting to see if Austin & Undertaker would accept their challenge. After a few minutes Austin’s music hits and he makes his way down. Undertaker’s music plays but he’s nowhere to be found. Mankind gets tired of waiting so he charges Austin on the floor and eats the cage a couple of times for his trouble. Austin and Kane fight up the ramp and Mankind comes up to join them. Paul Bearer locks himself in the ring to stay safe, but little does he know that Undertaker was under the ring! Undertaker starts pounding on Bearer, but Kane and Mankind can’t come to his aid because the door is locked. Kane climbs to the top of the cell while Austin and Mankind brawl on the entrance ramp. Kane keeps trying to pull the cage roof apart but he can’t make it in. Bearer is bleeding pretty badly now. Austin levels Mankind with the WWE Title belt. Gee Kane, why don’t you just rip the door off the hinges like the last time you idiot?

Austin cracks Mankind in the back with a steel chair. He then hits him right the face with the same chair. Undertaker grabs the steel steps and hits Bearer in the head with them. Austin climbs to the top of the cell to pummel Kane. The crowd is going ballistic. The show goes off the air with no winner at around 5:05. Well it was hardly a match, as the only two people who fought in the cage were Undertaker and Paul Bearer (which was more of a butt-kicking, really), and Undertaker never even came in contact with his two actual opponents. That being said, it was a great segment to close Raw and did a good job setting up for the pay-per-view and was just good chaos.
Rating: **½

MATCH #3: Hell in a Cell Match – Undertaker vs. Mankind, King of the Ring, 6.28.98

My friends and I watched this match roughly 10,000 times back in the day. Mankind climbs to the top of the cage and waits for his opponent. Undertaker agrees to start the match up there, and Mankind hits him in the back with the chair he brought up there. They start walking towards the edge and they almost fall through the ceiling. Mankind looks to be going for a suplex but Undertaker fights that off and grabs Mankind and simply hurls him from the top of the cage to the floor! Ten years later that still looks unbelievably sick and dangerous. No matter how many times I see it it’s still amazing. Terry Funk is the first one to come out to Mankind’s aid. The match is at a standstill as Mankind gets checked out by the trainers. They raise the cage with Undertaker still on top, so they can get Mankind to the back. Vince McMahon is even out now and he looks legitimately concerned. They lower the cage and Undertaker starts climbing down. They wheel Mankind back on a stretcher, but about halfway down the aisle Mankind gets up and starts making his way back towards the ring! He climbs back up to the top of the cage and invites Undertaker to do the same. They meet up top once again and this time Undertaker chokeslams Mankind through the ceiling and down to the mat! I can totally see that bump hurting worse than the one on the table.

The trainers and referees rush into the ring as Undertaker climbs down. He chokeslams Terry Funk right out of his shoes. Undertaker starts going to work on Mankind, albeit slowly, and the referees lock the door and we’re going to have a match! Undertaker tries Old School but Mankind knocks him down. He forearms Undertaker off the apron into the cell. He follows him out and tries to lift the steel steps but his arm is too injured from the falls to lift them. Undertaker grabs them instead and rams them into Mankind’s shoulder three times. He tries a tope but Mankind moves and Undertaker’s face hits the cell. He’s busted open now. Back in the ring Mankind hits a piledriver on the steel chair for a near fall. He hits a chair-assisted legdrop to the face for two. He hits the Double-Arm DDT and goes outside and grabs a bag of thumbtacks and spreads them out. Of course it backfires, and Mankind is the one who gets dropped back first onto the tacks. Undertaker then chokeslams him on the tacks, and then hits the Tombstone Piledriver for the win at 16:00. I think I went through a period of not liking this match because I got to uppity for my own good, but when I look at it now I definitely think it’s one of the greatest spectacle matches ever in WWE, and one of the defining matches of the era.
Rating: ****½

MATCH #4: Hell in a Cell Match – Mankind vs. Kane, Raw, 8.24.98

The video package for this match makes it look like it would have been big enough to go on pay-per-view rather than free TV. Kane is accompanied by the Undertaker. Mankind tries to climb up to the top but the referees stop him and get beaten up for it. Mankind slams the cage door into Kane’s head and then hits a running knee to the face. Mankind tries throwing a chair to the top of the cell. He can’t get one up there but he starts climbing anyway. Undertaker climbs up there with him and pulls him down, and you can see Mankind’s head land hard on the floor. Kane is obviously in control after that, and they make their way back to the door of the cell, and Kane slams it into Mankind’s chest. They go back in the ring and they padlock the door. Kane uses the steel steps to beat on Mankind, who rolls to the floor. Kane nails Mankind with a dive over the top rope. Kane goes to throw the steel steps on Mankind, but Mankind had crawled under the ring. He comes up with a chair and a bag of tacks.

Mankind cracks Kane in the head with the chair and starts to spread the tacks. Kane stops him but Mankind comes back with a piledriver and Kane sort of lands o the tacks. Mankind goes to the top rope for some reason and Kane hits him with the chair. Kane hits a chokeslam, and then the Tombstone Piledriver. Kane doesn’t go for the cover; instead he drills Mankind in the head with the chair twice. Mankind gets up and Kane hits the Tombstone and goes for the cover, and all of a sudden Stone Cold Steve Austin comes out from under the ring and starts beating on Kane. Undertaker can’t get in the ring to help, and Austin taunts him then hits Kane with a Stunner. Undertaker is able to break through the roof, but before he can climb down, Mr. McMahon raises the cell, so as not to give away the main event to SummerSlam six days before the show. Austin settles for another Stunner on Kane. The match was nothing too special, but did feature Mankind taking another sick bump to the floor.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #5: Hell in a Cell (Cactus Jack’s Career is on the Line) WWE Championship Match – Triple H vs. Cactus Jack, No Way Out, 2.27.00

Triple H has been the champion since 1.3.00, and this is his fourth defense. Their match at the Royal Rumble the month prior to this is one of my favorite matches of all-time. Cactus has promised to jump off the top of the cage, but HHH has rigged the door with tons of padlocks, so it will be tough for him. They start throwing hands in the ring and Cactus takes the first advantage. Cactus really wants to go out the door but he still can’t, and HHH delivers a low blow and takes the advantage. Cactus dumps HHH over the ropes and they fight around the ringside area. HHH uses the ring steps and a steel chair to abuse the challenger. A DDT by HHH gets a near fall. He tries to hit Cactus with the chair again but Cactus gets a fist to the midsection and then slams the chair into HHH’s groin. He hits a Double Arm DDT on the chair but HHH kicks out. HHH comes back and clotheslines Jack over the ropes. He tries a Pedigree on the steps but Cactus counters to a catapult into the cage wall. HHH is busted open now. Cactus stays in control and hits the Cactus Elbow with the help of a steel chair. He throws the steps at HHH and he moves, but it hits the cage wall and opens it up, giving Cactus the opening he needs; and good for the crowd for popping for it.

He runs himself through the door and cuts his arm open, and then throws HHH through it as well. Cactus hits a piledriver on the announce table. Cactus brings out the barbed wire 2×4 and hits HHH in the face with it. HHH climbs up the cage to escape and Cactus follows. He gets near the top and stupidly throws the 2×4 up there, and HHH uses it against him. He knocks Cactus off the cage through the Spanish Announce Table below. Cactus tries to throw chairs up on the cage, but climbs up without one anyway. HHH is waiting for him up there. He nails Cactus with the 2×4. Cactus comes back with a low blow and slugs away at the champion. HHH almost accidentally falls through the cage. Cactus suplexes HHH out of the corner and follows it up with a Double Arm DDT. Cactus gets a lighter out and lights the 2×4 on fire. He motions for a piledriver on the flaming 2×4, but HHH back drops him and Cactus falls through the cage and the ring breaks on impact. HHH climbs down and surveys his damage. Cactus moves his hand and he’s still alive! HHH hits two punches to the face and then ends the match with the Pedigree at 23:57. The ending was a little anti-climactic, but the bulk of the match was a great brawl with some creative spots and a fitting swan song (if only) for Foley.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #6: Six-Man Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship – Kurt Angle vs. Rikishi vs. The Rock vs. Undertaker vs. Triple H vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Armageddon, 12.10.00

Austin attacks Angle on the outside and everyone starts out brawling, with Austin and HHH pairing off, Undertaker and Angle, and Rock and Rikishi. They all take turns in the ring, as the action is pretty hard to follow the cameras pretty much just stay with the ring. Lawler and King get a dig on Lloyd’s of London. I wonder what kind of things I must have missed like that on commentary when I was a kid. Rock and Angle are wrestling in the ring now. Now everyone is outside the ring. Angle hits a baseball slide on Rikishi. Over on the other side of the ring Austin works over Triple H, while Rock and Undertaker join Angle and Rikishi. I believe Triple H is the first one to bleed, so Austin rakes his face across the cell. It’s not long before everyone starts hitting big finishing moves, with everyone else frantically trying to break up the pins. Vince McMahon comes down with a truck to try and pull the cell down to stop the match and save his million dollar investments (the wrestlers). Commissioner Mick Foley comes out to thwart them and has security haul Vince away.

Austin and Triple H are out of the cell and they fight down the aisle way and onto the decorative cars. Everyone else follows and the cars take a beating. It’s hard to call this match because they’re always jumping around trying to follow everyone. Rock is busted open now too. Everyone gets to the top of the cage and fights up there. I sure hope they reinforced the roof. Undertaker and Rikishi are left on top of the cell and Undertaker chokeslams Rikishi into the bed of McMahon’s truck, which just happened to be filled with plenty of nice cushy sawdust. If you have to pad the bump that much it’s not a bump worth taking. Austin and Rock wind up face to face in the ring and the crowd goes nuts. Austin winds up hitting Rock with the Stunner but HHH pulls him off and hits a neckbreaker. In the meantime Angle gets his hand on top of the Rock to get pin and retain the title at 32:14. Well the action never stopped but with six guys it was kind of hard to follow. I certainly enjoyed the match but it’s not a very memorable one, and the Rikishi bump was just silly.
Rating: ***½


MATCH #7: Hell in a Cell Match – Triple H vs. Chris Jericho, Judgment Day, 5.19.02

Triple H dominates early and throws Jericho to the floor. Jericho makes the comeback inside the ring and chokes HHH. They continue to go back and forth with HHH taking a majority of the offense. Jericho comes back by whipping HHH into the corner, and he goes flying to the floor. They fight outside the ring and Jericho’s shoulder is bleeding. He catapults HHH into the wall, and then grabs a ladder. He uses it to beat on HHH, and also uses the ring steps. The Game is busted open now, and Jericho stays in control, even hitting a bulldog onto the leader. He brings the steps into the ring and tries to hit HHH, who gets a drop toehold and Jericho’s face eats the steel. HHH hits a neckbreaker and a facebuster. He straight up throws the stairs at Jericho’s arm. They go outside the ring and HHH is throwing Jericho around now. Back in the ring the referee gets violently bumped off the apron and hits the cell. That caused a legitimate injury that ended his referring career. I think he still works in the office somewhere though. Jericho pours salt in the wound by throwing White into the cell and punching him. Even the referee gets color!

Jericho thinks White cost him the match, but I don’t even see in kayfabe terms where he’s getting that from. Back in the ring Jericho eats a spinebuster. HHH introduces the sledgehammer and drills Jericho with it, but all the referees are occupied with Tim White so no one can make the count. Jericho rolls to the floor and crawls out the door left open by the referees. They fight outside the cell and over to the announce table, where Jericho tries a Pedigree on HHH, who reverses it to a DDT. HHH Finds a barbed wire 2×4, so Jericho climbs to the top of the cell to avoid him. The board has a handy carrying handle, so he climbs to the top to meet Jericho. For some reason HHH lets Jericho pick up the board and he this him over the back with it. He hits him again, and then puts on the Walls of Jericho. Referee Mike Chioda actually climbs to the top of the cell to ask HHH if he gives up. Hell yeah Chioda, way to climb that cell! HHH frees himself and Jericho almost falls off the cell. He picks up the board again but this time HHH slugs him in the balls. He goes for the Pedigree but Jericho back body drops him. This time the cell doesn’t break! HHH commandeers the board and hits Jericho in the head with it. He covers for two. He finally gets the Pedigree and that’s enough to get the pin at 24:31. That’s the only Hell in a Cell match to end at the top of the cell. The match had effort and blood, but the feud never really seemed to call for this match so the whole thing seemed like they were trying too hardy to put something there that just wasn’t. This would be Jericho’s last trip to Hell as of this writing.
Rating: ***

MATCH #8: Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship – Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar, No Mercy, 10.20.02

Lesnar has been the champion since 8.25.02 and this is his second defense. Michael Cole reveals that entrance order is the champion’s prerogative, so now you have an answer for anytime someone asks “why are the champions coming out first?” Undertaker has a cast on his broken hand. Both men are cautious of each other, and Lesnar strikes first blood when he powerslams Undertaker for two. Undertaker comes back as Tazz explains that Undertaker had his hand numbed before the match. Lesnar briefly tries to go out the door but realizes it’s padlocked. Back in the ring he goes to work on the hand, and Undertaker screams so we establish that he feels pain in the hand. Even so he comes back on the champion with a punch to the face, and then another shot to the head. The cut on Lesnar’s forehead has been reopened. They fight out on the floor and Undertaker throws Lesnar around and scrapes his face across the cell. Falls do count anywhere, for those keeping score at home.

Undertaker climbs to the top rope and hits a sort of knee to the head while Lesnar lies prone on the apron. He kicks Heyman down and throws Lesnar hard into the steps. He goes back to Heyman and grabs him by the tie and busts open his head. Lesnar comes charging and Undertaker moves, so Heyman takes the impact. Lesnar comes back by hitting a flapjack into the cage, and then ramming Undertaker’s back into the ring post. Heyman takes off his belt and gives it to Lesnar to use as a weapon. He uses it to tie Undertaker’s hand to the cage and then abuses it with a steel chair, and keeps hitting him until the belt breaks! Then he tries to rip the cast off, so Undertaker fights back with a bunch of punches with his broken hand. Lesnar FINALLY gets the cast all the way off. He sets Undertaker up on the top rope and then climbs up with him, and uses the ceiling for leverage to kick the challenger in the face a couple of times. Undertaker comes back with a low blow and shoves him down. He hits en elbow off the top and gets a two count. He knocks Lesnar off the apron and the back of his head cracks against the support beam. He’s bleeding from the back of his head now too, while Heyman screams “Brock we’re losing!” That’s great. Undertaker tries a tope but Lesnar moves. Undertaker recovers and tries to grab the steel steps but he can’t because of his hand. It’s nice to see him finally sell that broken hand. Lesnar comes back with a big clothesline, and then he is able to use the steel steps and bashes Undertaker in the face. Undertaker is GUSHING blood at this point, easily the worst blade job I’ve ever seen in WWE, at least until Eddie in 2004.

Back in the ring Undertaker fights back with his broken hand. Lesnar responds with a spinebuster. When Cole says that blood is “literally pouring from his head,” it may be the first instance of a WWE commentator using the term “literally” correctly. Undertaker continues to punch with his broken hand, and Cole justifies it by saying he just doesn’t feel pain anymore. He goes up for Old School but Lesnar pulls him off the ropes. Lesnar tries the F5 but Undertaker slips out and delivers a chokeslam, with the broken hand. Undertaker goes for the Last Ride but Lesnar runs him into the corner and drives his shoulder into the gut. He goes up for mounted punches, and Undertaker predictably hits the Last Ride. When he covers Lesnar the blood is dripping off his head into Lesnar’s mouth. That’s disgusting. Lesnar grabs the ropes to avoid getting pinned. The crowd bought that. Undertaker tries the Tombstone but Lesnar reverses it and throws Undertaker into a fireman’s carry and hits the F5 to retain the title at 27:18. If you read my review of the match you’ll see how often I noted Undertaker using his broken hand as offense. If you take that stuff out of this match there would be nothing I didn’t like about it. It was sick and brutal had all kinds of cool spots and gore. I still think it’s a great match but if Undertaker had found different things to do besides throw right hands and maybe use his other hand for the chokeslam, it would be rated higher.
Rating: ****

MATCH #9: Hell in a Cell Match for the World Heavyweight Championship – Kevin Nash vs. Triple H, Bad Blood, 6.15.03

Triple H has been the champion since 12.15.02, and this is his eighth defense. This is his fourth appearance in the Cell, Nash’s first, and Foley’s fifth. The video package shows that Foley and Triple H had way more heat and chemistry than Triple H and Kevin Nash did. HHH talks trash to Foley, so Nash attacks and they go right to the floor. HHH avoids getting slammed face first into the cage, but can’t avoid right hands to the face back inside the ring. Nash unloads some forearms, and then HHH comes back by snapping Nash’s neck off the top rope. He tries abusing Nash in the corner but gets shoved back into Foley, who acknowledges that HHH didn’t intentionally take him down. They go back to the floor and Nash rams HHH’s back into the ring post. Nash whips him into the cage and hits a back body drop on the way out. Back in the ring Nash continues to work on the back, and even brings a chair in to further weaken the champion. They go outside the ring and Nash throws him around some more. He tries to throw the steel steps but HHH avoids them. He takes control and finds a toolbox under the ring, and hits Nash in the knee with a hammer, and then in the head. Foley takes the hammer away from him and then shoves the World Champion down. I hate when the referees do stuff like that in a match with no disqualifications. HHH can do whatever he wants with any weapon he wants. Nash is busted open.

HHH joins him on the floor and rubs his face against the wall of the cell, and then into the ring steps. Back in the ring HHH uses a screwdriver to damage Nash’s face. HHH then introduces the barbed wire 2×4, but Nash gets to use it before he does. He delivers Snake Eyes onto the board set up in the corner. HHH is a bloody mess now. Nash brings the steps into the ring and HHH rolls to the floor. Nash reaches for him, and HHH busts a wooden crate on his head. That’s a weapon I haven’t seen used before. HHH grabs the sledgehammer, and Foley tries to take it away from him so the champ drops him on his ass. He tries to hit Nash with the steps but Nash gets a drop toehold and a near fall. HHH picks up the steel chair and cracks Nash in the head with it. He then turns and whacks Foley with it, and now the referee is bleeding! Foley pulls out Mr. Socko and shoves it in HHH’s mouth. Nash tries to hit HHH with the steps but hits Foley instead. Foley gets knocked off the apron and HHH goes for the Pedigree. Nash counters it to a catapult and HHH’s face goes right into the barbed wire board. Nash hits the Jackknife and Foley makes it back in to count but only gets two. HHH comes back and hits Nash with the sledgehammer and then the Pedigree. That’s enough to get the pin and retain the title at 21:01. That was much better than expected, but I think they overdid Foley’s involvement and relied pretty heavily on him. I’m sure this is the best match Nash ever had in WWE in the non-Diesel years.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #10: Hell in a Cell Match – Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H, Bad Blood, 6.13.04

This is Triple H’s fifth Hell in a Cell match, and Shawn’s second. They stare at each other lovingly before tying up, and then they exchange strikes in the corner. Michaels takes the first advantage. They go back and forth and the crowd is dead. HHH is the first one to bleed. They go inside and outside the ring, with HHH going to work on Shawn’s back. He brings a steel chair to the ring, looking to deliver a backbreaker on it. Shawn fights out of that and avoids a chair shot to the head. They go back to the floor and HHH slams Shawn’s back into the cell and the ring post over and over again. HHH hits a backbreaker onto the (folded and on the mat) chair. He then unfolds the chair and hits another backbreaker on it. He continues to use the chair to beat on Shawn’s back. Shawn won’t quit though, kicking out at every cover. HHH goes for the abdominal stretch but Shawn hip tosses him over the ropes and both men are down. Back in the ring HHH tries the Pedigree but Shawn fights out and hits a low blow. They fight back out to the floor and Shawn throws HHH into the steel ring steps. How often do you guys REALLY listen to JR on commentary anymore? The man truly says some bizarre things. Michaels tries to piledrive HHH but he gets back dropped instead. They go back to the ring and the steps and the chair are both used. Shawn tries Sweet Chin Music but misses and grabs his back. HHH takes the opportunity to smash Shawn in the face with the steps and he’s busted open. HHH does the gentlemanly thing and hits him again. Shawn kicks out of multiple covers, so HHH gets in the mount position and unloads with punches. They go back outside the ring and HHH is in control still. Back inside it’s more of the same. HHH wants to ratchet up the excitement so he puts on a sleeper. Shawn escapes and runs HHH into the top turnbuckle to break the hold. Shawn counters a Pedigree into a DDT. He hits HHH in the face with the chair. HHH is bleeding now too.

Michaels goes outside the ring and grabs a ladder while HHH tries to make his blood flow harder. Shawn hits him in the face with a ladder. He continues to use the ladder on the Game, and they go back to the floor. HHH brings a table into the ring, but Shawn is the one who is able to set him up on it. He hits the Macho Elbow from the ladder through the table, and then Tunes Up the Band. This time HHH counters it by a punch directly to the groin. He follows up with the Pedigree but Shawn kicks out! He gets up and hits Sweet Chin Music and both men are down. Shawn crawls over to makes the cover and HHH kicks out at two. They get up and HHH hits a second Pedigree. They lay on the ground for something like forever, and then they both start getting up to silence. HHH hits a third Pedigree and that’s FINALLY enough to end the match at 47:26. There was NO REASON for those two to go out and have that ridiculously boring match. They could have had the match in half that time and been much better, but this was just long for the sake of long and the crowd was barely ever into it. If not for Undertaker versus Boss Man this would be the worst Hell in a Cell ever.
Rating: **


MATCH #11: Hell in a Cell Match for the World Heavyweight Championship – Batista vs. Triple H, Vengeance, 6.26.05

Batista has been the champion since 4.3.05, and this is his third defense. HHH attacks right away but Batista quickly makes a comeback and nails a side slam. They go to the floor but HHH doesn’t want to fight Batista out there so he gets back into the ring. Batista doesn’t care what the challenger wants though, and they go back to the floor and the champ whips him into the cage walls. HHH comes back and rams Batista into the ring post. Back in the ring HHH drops Batista’s neck on the top rope. HHH runs at Batista with an elbow and knocks him off the apron. He continues to control the larger champion, and goes under the ring to grab a chain from a helpful toolbox. He whips Batista with the chain a few times. Batista comes back and gets control of the chain, and he gives HHH the same treatment. HHH rolls to the floor and Batista follows him out and rams his back into the post, the wall, and then the post again. HHH’s face gets rammed into the cell, and now he’s busted open. He comes back with a spinebuster though. He goes out under the ring and finds a steel chair wrapped in barbed wire under the ring. He nails Batista in the back with it. He hits him one more time and Batista’s back is bleeding now. They trade some maneuvers, and both go down when Batista levels HHH with a clothesline. He gets up and grabs the barbed wire chair and levels HHH in the face with it. He rubs it in HHH’s face, literally.

They go back outside the ring and Batista rubs HHH’s face against the wall of the cell. Back in the ring Batista rams his shoulder into HHH’s midsection, but then misses a charge and his shoulder hits the ring post. HHH goes for the Pedigree on the barbed wire chair but gets back dropped instead. He powerslams HHH on the barbed wire chair and it only gets two. Batista goes back to the chain. HHH reverses it to a DDT onto The chair and both men are down. Batista is busted open now as well. HHH pulls out the sledgehammer. Batista knocks it out of his hand and they slug away. Batista goes for the Batista Bomb but HHH back drops him. HHH hits Batista with the sledgehammer but he kicks out. HHH goes to hit him again but Batista kicks him in the groin. Batista gets the hammer now but HHH had wrapped the chain around his fist and he levels Batista with it but once again he kicks out. HHH goes up to the top rope with the chain but Batista sticks the sledgehammer up in his chin. Batista whips HHH into the corner and he flips to the floor. Batista brings the steel steps into the ring and sets them up in the corner and bounces HHH’s face off them a few times. Batista goes for the Batista Bomb but HHH goes low and hits the Pedigree. Batista kicks out! HHH sets up the steps and goes for another Pedigree, but Batista counters it to a nasty spinebuster on them. HHH grabs the sledgehammer but Batista is able to hit him with the Batista Bomb first, and that finally gets the pin at 26:53. That has to be the best match Batista will ever have, and it was brutal and nasty and awesome. I was worried this one might not hold up over time, but it really has and it’s one of the best WWE matches of 2005.
Rating: ****½

MATCH #12: Hell in a Cell Match – Undertaker vs. Randy Orton, Armageddon, 12.18.05

Orton is accompanied by his dad Cowboy Bob, who’s carrying Undertaker’s urn. This feud had been going on since about February, with a little break for Orton’s injury. Orton looks slightly uneasy. Undertaker starts off aggressive and Orton tries to run away. Undertaker goes on offense and dumps Orton to the floor and this is a rough position for Orton to be in. He tries to run Orton’s head into the cage but Orton slips out of it and goes back to the ring. Orton unloads some punches in the corner but Undertaker pops out and returns the favor. Undertaker stays in control and they go to the floor. Orton eats the steel steps and Undertaker grabs a chair. He swats Orton in the head with it. Orton is busted open and Undertaker hits him in the gut, and then again in the head. He rakes Orton’s face across the wall of the cell. Orton finds a chain somewhere but Undertaker rams his head into the steps again. Undertaker gets the steel chain and wraps it around Orton’s neck. They go back outside and Undertaker runs Orton’s face into the side of the cell. Undertaker pulls up the ring steps and Orton finally fights back with punches and then kicks.

Orton commandeers the steps and tries to hit Undertaker with them, but they get booted back into his arm. He goes back to the ring and when Undertaker gets on the apron Orton hits a modified RKO (snapping the neck on the top rope). Orton follows Undertaker outside and goes to work on him. He grabs the ring steps and this time he hits Undertaker with them. That’s a smart move, because that’s what busted Undertaker open the last time he was in this match (against Brock Lesnar). It busts him open this time too, and Orton goes to work on the forehead. He grabs the steel chain and wraps it around Undertaker’s neck. Back in the ring Orton hits the bloody head of the Undertaker with the chair. Undertaker rolls to the floor and brings Orton with him. He throws Orton into the cell and charges in with a big knee. Back in the ring Undertaker tries the elbow off the top rope that he hit on Lesnar but Orton moves out of the way. He goes to the floor and brings a table into the ring. He knocks Undertaker to the floor and sets up the table. Cowboy Bob grabs Undertaker’s hair from the floor and holds him in place for his son to hit him. Undertaker fights back and grabs Cowboy Bob’s hand through the cage and pulls him into it a few times, hits a big boot, and then Randy runs into his dad. Cowboy Bob is bleeding now too. A lot of this match seems borrowed from the Undertaker versus Lesnar match. Back to the ring Undertaker tips the table over and takes a few uppercuts. He fights back with the flying clothesline. He goes up and this Old School and then a Flatliner for two. He hits Snake Eyes and a boot to the face, followed by a legdrop. If Undertaker was Hulk Hogan the match would be over by now. Undertaker hits a chokeslam but Orton gets his leg over the bottom rope. Undertaker hits a flying knee in the corner, but misses a second one. Orton then delivers a low blow with the steel chain, which I think is awesome. He sets Undertaker up on the table and hits a Superfly Splash and the table only sort of breaks. That gets a two count. Orton does the mounted punches in the corner but Undertaker shockingly counters with a Last Ride. Orton slips out, and ducks a punch, causing Undertaker to hit the referee instead.

Undertaker tries a chokeslam again but Orton counters to an RKO. Referee Nick Patrick is bleeding on the floor, so the door is opened so the other referees can check on him and one can replace him. Orton gets a cover but Undertaker kicks out at two. Cowboy Bob sneaks into the cage as Undertaker fires up on Orton. He hits a thunderous Last Ride but Cowboy Bob pulls the referee to the floor. Undertaker has had enough of him, so he goes to the floor and beats up the WWE Hall of Famer. I think it was after this that everyone found out that Cowboy Bob has Hepatitis C, which I might have told my employer before I agreed to bleed on other people. Undertaker tries a Tombstone but Orton reverses it to one of his own and Undertaker sits up at two. Tazz says he’s never seen anyone do that to Undertaker before, but that’s just ridiculous. Orton tries to punch Undertaker down, but it doesn’t work and Undertaker tries a chokeslam. Cowboy Bob comes in and tries to hit Undertaker with the urn, but Undertaker grabs it and hits both Ortons with it. Cowboy Bob takes a tombstone piledriver, and then Randy takes one and Undertaker gets the pin at 30:31. That was actually better than I remember it, and actually could have been really good if it was a little bit shorter and had a little bit less Cowboy Bob. Undertaker throws the urn on top of the cell and goes up there to celebrate.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #13: Hell in a Cell Handicap Match – D-Generation X vs. Shane McMahon, Mr. McMahon & Big Show, Unforgiven, 9.17.06

Big Show is the current ECW Champion. The heels come out separately but D-X comes out together. They enter the ring and immediately double kick Show in the groin and then go after the McMahons. Michaels has his elbow taped up. Shawn throws Shane to the floor and Vince soon follows. Show finally gets up and D-X hits another double kick to the balls, this one from behind. Triple H beats on Vince while Shawn abuses Shane. Shawn throws him into the cell, which apparently doesn’t taste like quiche tonight. JR is so weird, dude. Shane is busted open. Vince soon follows suit. HHH abuses Vince’s bloody forehead with a screwdriver. JR gets frustrated with King’s inability to understand the rules after having called so many of these matches. King wonders what Shane’s blood type is, and JR responds “blue chip.” It’s almost a sport trying to decode what the hell that man is talking about. Show finally recovers and avoids taking another shot the junk and beats up on both members of D-X. I don’t think there’s ever been a one-on-one match between Shawn and Show, which I think would be really good.

Everyone’s back in the ring and Show once again goes to work, and Shane clotheslines Shawn to the floor. HHH is alone in the ring and Show hits a Chokeslam on him but no one goes for the cover. Instead Show grabs Shawn on the floor and headbutts him. He then alley-oops Shawn’s face in to the cell and drops him down. Shawn is busted open, so Show hurls him like a javelin into the cell. JR calls the cell the “javelin catcher,” as if that’s something that exists. In fact, just think about someone trying to catch a javelin and not, like, dying. I totally lost interest in the match just picturing that and laughing. Anyway we’re back to Shane hitting the garbage can-assisted Coast to Coast dropkick on HHH’s ear, and Show’s taunting of HHH has Dr. Pepper coming out of my nose. HHH’s ear is bleeding again. Show heaves Michaels back into the ring and both members of D-X are looking worse for wear. Shane goes outside and starts moving the ring steps around. He gets up on the steps and catapults HHH into the cell, but it looks like Shane would have taken a nasty bump on that too. Back in the ring Show hits a Vader Bomb on Shawn. Vince covers him but pulls him up at two to teach him a lesson and humiliate him. Show hits the Cobra Clutch Backbreaker and keeps the hold on. He picks Shawn up and hits the Hog Log. Vince goes for another cover and pulls Shawn up again. That gives HHH enough time to get back in the ring and dump Show to the floor. He hits a facebuster on Vince and goes for the Pedigree but Shane picks him up on his shoulders for presumably a backbreaker, but HHH slips out and hits a neckbreaker. Shawn recovers and hits Shane with an enziguiri.

The bad guys take control and Vince pulls his pants down and wants Show to throw Shawn’s face into his ass. He doesn’t notice HHH enter the ring and break it up. Show knocks him down, and then goes for a splash on Shawn but he pulls Vince in the way and Show hits him instead. D-X grabs Show’s legs and pulls him nuts first into the ring post. JR says something about Donkey Kong and Ping Pong. D-X beats both McMahons down and the crowd is getting back into it. HHH brings steel chairs into the ring and Pillmanizes Shane’s head for Shawn to hit the elbow drop on and Shane is coughing up blood. If a bad guy did that to a good guy JR would be losing his shirt right now. Show recovers and pulls Shawn to the floor and snaps HHH’s neck off the top rope. He puts the steel steps into the ring and pulls his strap down. HHH hits him in the gut before Show can use the steps, and when his head falls right onto the steps HHH cracks him in the back of the head. Shawn gets back in the ring and hits Sweet Chin Music, and Show is hung up backwards on the top rope. D-X pulls Show’s tights down and Vince suddenly realizes what’s about to happen. They rub Vince’s head deep into the Big Show’s ass. HHH goes and grabs the sledgehammer. Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music, and then HHH breaks the sledgehammer on the back of Vince’s head. That’s enough to get the pin at 25:04. That had some good action in it but the heat segment went on far too long, and I’m not really that invested in a feud in which the payoff is someone’s head getting shoved into the Big Show’s ass. I certainly can’t fault the effort involved though.
Rating: ***

MATCH #14: Hell in a Cell Match for the World Heavyweight Championship – Undertaker vs. Batista, Survivor Series, 11.18.07

Undertaker won the match at WrestleMania 23, they had a draw at Backlash and later on Smackdown, and then Batista won at Cyber Sunday so this is the ultimate rubber match. Both men start off aggressively with strikes, and Undertaker tries an early chokeslam but Batista fights out of it only to take a clothesline. Undertaker goes on offense, eager to regain the World Title. He hits Snake Eyes and the running boot to the face. I hate the phrase “Vintage Undertaker” by the way, Michael Cole. They make their first trip to the outside and Undertaker continues beating on the champion. “Vintage Undertaker” count – two. Undertaker drives a steel chair into Batista’s throat, and he’s bleeding from the mouth now. Back in the ring the challenger continues to hammer the champion. Batista comes back with a clothesline. He drives his shoulders into Undertaker’s midsection and follows with a powerslam for two. They go back outside the ring again and Batista hits another clothesline. Undertaker comes back and runs Batista’s face into the cell.

They go back to the ring where Michael Cole unleashes the “best pure striker in the history of the WWE” for Undertaker. They go back outside and Undertaker grabs the ring steps but Batista blocks the attempt and rams Undertaker’s head into the ring post. Batista gets the steps now and cracks Undertaker in the head with them, busting him open. They go back to the ring and Batista stupidly goes for the punches in the corner and Undertaker comes out with the Last Ride. I dare Undertaker to work a match without that spot. That gets two. Undertaker hits a Chokeslam for two. Undertaker tries a Tombstone but Batista counters to a spinebuster for two. Batista brings a table in the ring and powerbombs Undertaker through it, but even that’s not enough to get the pin. Batista tries a Batista Bomb on the steep steps but Undertaker back drops him instead. Batista grabs the ropes to avoid that pinfall. Undertaker sets up a Tombstone and hits it, but Batista even kicks out of that. He tries another one but this time stands on the ring steps and hits it! But Edge comes in from out of nowhere and pulls the referee out of the ring and this Undertaker in the face with a camera. He puts Undertaker’s head on the steps and smashes it with a steel chair. He then pulls Batista on top for the pin at 21:23. The match was good and had cool spots in it and stuff, but it felt much more like the start of the Undertaker / Edge feud than the end of the Undertaker / Batista one. Edge smacks Undertaker in the face with a chair one more time on his way out.
Rating: ***½

The Pulse: Five of the matches reach four stars or higher, and most of them are in the three star neighborhood, so that’s an easy recommendation. Hell in a Cell is one of WWE’s defining matches and has created some very memorable moments, and it’s nice to have them all (minus Undertaker/Boss Man) on DVD, so I don’t see any reason to not recommend this one.

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