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'He Is Broken In Half': Wild 'Hell In A Cell' Moments Throughout WWE's History
Who could forget Mankind's performance against The Undertaker in their 1998 "Hell in a Cell" match?
WWE’s upcoming Hell in a Cell promises to be an eventful one. Fans will get to see if Seth Rollins can finally beat Cody Rhodes with whom, it's fair to say, he's been obsessed in recent weeks. The June 5 event will also feature a much-anticipated triple threat match for the Raw Women's Championship, pitting current titleholder Bianca Belair against challengers Asuka and Becky Lynch.
WWE began Hell in a Cell matches in 1997. The staple of the match is a massive steel enclosure surrounding the entire ring. While the cell used to be 16 feet tall, it's since increased in size to 20. The match's popularity ultimately led to its own event in 2009: "WWE Hell in a Cell." Ever since, the Hell in a Cell event — in which there are typically one to three Hell in a Cell matches — has been held every year.
A typical Hell in a Cell match a no-holds-barred affair, which means it has made for some of WWE’s wildest and most historic moments. Here’s a look back at some of the most memorable.
Charlotte Flair versus Sasha Banks, 2016
This was a groundbreaking moment in WWE history, as it represented the first-ever women’s Hell in a Cell match. With this match, Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks, each four-time Raw women's champions, also became the very first female Superstars to ever headline a WWE pay-per-view event.
The fighting was impressive, breaking out before the cell was even lowered around the ring. Flair even power-bombed Banks through the announcer's table, after which she was put onto a stretcher and was being taken away. But after realizing she was about to lose by forfeit, Banks rallied and defiantly made her way into the ring. In the end, she lost to Flair, but the battle marked a historic moment for WWE, especially its female competitors.
The New Day versus The Usos, 2017
This fight marked the first in which a WWE tag team title was defended in a Hell in a Cell match. It was also featured some good-natured weirdness, thanks to New Day, who employed a comical arsenal of weapons – including a trumpet, unicorn kendo sticks, a cowbell, and a gong – to swing the match in their favor.
But this was no gong show and the New Day's musical act only lasted so long. In the end, the Usos won to be a record three-time SmackDown Tag Team Champions.
Becky Lynch versus Sasha Banks, 2019
This match marked the time that Banks took Becky Lynch down a few notches. Lynch had been in the ascendancy as one of the biggest stars over the past year, particularly after defeating legends like Ronda Rousey and Flair. Banks then took on Lynch in the Hell in a Cell match, marking the second time female Superstars fought within the cell.
The match started off viciously as a determined Banks attacked Lynch as the cell was still being lowered around them. Throughout the match, the two dragged out a table, a ladder, and plenty of steel chairs from under the ring. At one point, Banks drilled Lynch with a Meteora into a ladder propped up in the corner of the cell. But while Banks certainly had her moments, Lynch showed her true power. Toward the end of the match, Bank threw about a dozen chairs into the ring and Lynch used this to her advantage: she executed an Exploder Suplex on Banks from the second rope onto those very same chairs, leading to her triumph.
The Armageddon Hell in a Cell, 2000
This match was before "Hell in a Cell" and its own event, but it was nonetheless a once-in-a-lifetime event that featured six of the biggest names in WWE history. This match pit then-WWF Champion Kurt Angle against "Stone Cold" Steve Austin against The Rock against Triple H against The Undertaker against Rikishi. Mick Foley, then-commissioner, decided that all six should face off to settle their differences: all the Superstars had some degree of gripe with everyone else.
This brawl was absolutely wild. The Undertaker choke-slammed Rikishi from the top of the cell all the way down into a truck bed of saw dust. Vince McMahon even brought a demolition crew out to ringside to tear down the structure mid-way through the match in order to save the Superstars. There were moments it looked like Triple H, The Rock or Steve Austin could have won this match, but Kurt Angle managed to pin The Rock after Stone Cold hit him with a stunner to retain his title.
Triple H versus Chris Jericho, 2002
Chris Jericho and Triple H certainly took advantage of this match's lack of rules during an event entitled Judgment Day. There were chairs used, of course. A ladder? Check. How about a sledgehammer? You bet. And a 2x4 wrapped in barbed wire? Why not. What really enshrined this bout in the pantheon was when the two took the fight up to the top of the cell, where the Superstars traded blows with the 2x4. In the end, this manic match was decided when Triple H pinned Jericho after performing a Pedigree on top of the cell.
The Undertaker versus Shawn Michaels, 1997
This match marked the very first match wrestled under the "Hell in a Cell" moniker, and it also marked the very first appearance of Kane, The Undertaker’s half-brother. For months leading up to the match, The Undertaker's manager Paul Bearer had claimed that the funeral home fire that killed The Undertaker's family left one survivor: Kane.
Kane showed up during the event and ripped the cell door off its hinges to come face to face with his sibling, who had just beaten a bloodied Shawn Michaels. The monstrous Kane then took a very shocked-looking The Undertaker down, leaving him lying on the floor next to his opponent.
The Undertaker versus Mankind, 1998
It’s one of the most iconic moments in all of WWE history. The Undertaker and Mankind were facing off atop a 16-foot steel cage. The crowd was on the edge of their seat as the structure strained under the weight of each Superstar.
Mankind, aka Mick Foley, held a steel chair as the two exchanged punches. And then came the infamous moment. The Undertaker threw Foley off the top and through an announcer's table below.
"Good God almighty! Good God almighty! They've killed him," Jim Ross exclaimed. "As God as my witness, he is broken in half!"
It will go down as one of the all-time moments in WWE history.
You can stream WWE's "Hell in a Cell," June 5 on Peacock.