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10 hellacious scenes from the Cell
Every time Hell in a Cell descends from the ceiling of a WWE arena, the landscape of WWE is guaranteed to change. So many of the most brutally mesmerizing images in WWE history have come from Hell in a Cell’s unforgiving confines that it is a foregone conclusion a new lasting one will be burned into the WWE Universe’s collective consciousness this Sunday.
Ahead of the destruction that assuredly waits the brave competitors entering the Cell on pay-per-view, WWE.com looks back at 10 particularly thrilling scenes from the harrowing structure that is famous for altering Superstars’ careers.
The Miz & R-Truth: Hell invaders
In the long and cruel history of Hell in a Cell Matches, many Superstars have exploited the steel structure’s locked-down nature. Yet, perhaps no one executed this strategy more effectively than the hell-raising Awesome Truth duo of The Miz & R-Truth.
The Miz & Truth, who had been fired from WWE shortly beforehand, made their way to the ring as the Cell began to ascend following the WWE Championship Match between John Cena, Alberto Del Rio and CM Punk at Hell in a Cell 2011. Dressed in jeans and black hoodies, the duo wielded weapons as the Cell mysteriously began to descend, ostensibly trapping the three exhausted match combatants inside the Cell with the unpredictable Awesome Truth pairing.
The WWE roster, led by COO Triple H, spilled out of the locker room in protest and tried to pry their way into the Cell, to no avail. Once the structure was finally raised again, it was The Miz & Truth who found themselves trapped … in handcuffs. Police officers escorted the two out of the arena, but not before Triple H landed a few punches on the irreverent duo.
By the time Triple H and Batista stepped foot into Hell in a Cell at Vengeance 2005, the two were more than ready to bring each other to their absolute limits. The result would be one of the most frantic and chaotic Cell matches of all-time.
The former Evolution members were rabid in their attacks, not stopping at any lengths to inflict pain and gain a tactical advantage that could help secure them the victory. Steel chairs, steel chains, steel steps, sledgehammers — nothing was off limits for either competitor.
One of the first vivid examples of Batista’s mean streak shone through on this night, however. The then-World Heavyweight Champion struck The Game with his own patented sledgehammer to take control of the contest and followed that with a vicious Spinebuster onto the steel steps. The Batista Bomb that followed was simply an exclamation point. Batista won the contest and retained the championship, but both men lost a piece of themselves along the way.
In 2009, Triple H and Shawn Michaels were scheduled to face Legacy members Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase in the first Hell in a Cell Tag Team Match. However, Rhodes and DiBiase had their own idea of how the match would actually take shape.
Legacy attacked DX from behind during their entrance, leading to a massive brawl on the outskirts of the Cell. The team warfare carried on for several minutes until Legacy was successfully able to lock both themselves and Michaels in the Cell, while Triple H remained on the outside looking in.
Rhodes and DiBiase proved their mettle as then-protégés to Randy Orton as they swarmed and pummeled Michaels like a new generation of vipers for 14 minutes before The Game finally found a point of entry to get inside. From there, he and the resilient Michaels were able to overcome The Legacy’s attack by, ironically, locking DiBiase out of the cage and finishing Rhodes off with the aid of a steel chair and sledgehammer.
A different kind of Samoan Drop
Rikishi was the unfortunate soul whom The Undertaker chose to “make famous” the night of Armageddon 2000.
“You can see the end of the world from here,” WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross proclaimed as Rikishi and The Deadman brawled atop the Cell, battling ever closer to the edge of the structure. Meanwhile, parked right next to the Cell 15 feet below was the back end of a construction truck that, minutes earlier, Mr. McMahon had commandeered in an ill-fated attempt to tear down the Cell mid-match.
After plastering Rikishi with severe right hands, The Undertaker clutched the super heavyweight’s throat and pushed him off the cage. Rikishi’s massive frame landed miserably onto the truck bed, sending up a cloud of wood shavings and ending the big man’s night in the worst way imaginable.
Through hellfire and brimstone — Kane!
It is hard to believe anybody, or anything, could have shown up the main event of WWE Badd Blood 1997. After all, the headline bout saw Shawn Michaels (aka, The Showstopper) take on WWE’s one and only Phenom, The Undertaker, inside the never-before-seen, career-altering structure known as Hell in a Cell.
Unthinkably, though, the precedent-setting Michaels-Undertaker conflict took a backseat that night in October to another historic scene: Kane’s debut.
The Big Red Monster’s first appearance before the WWE Universe was the culmination of a summer’s worth of speculation over The Undertaker’s presumed-lost brother — a shocking revelation brought to light by Paul Bearer. The monstrous 7-footer floored fans by showing up during the main event, tearing the Cell door off its hinges and then decimating the most respected and feared Superstar in history, The Undertaker, with The Phenom’s own Tombstone Piledriver. Hell in a Cell — and, for that matter, WWE — would never be the same again.
Cactus Jack collapses the canvas
At No Way Out 2000, Triple H’s quick thinking may have spared him a fiery meeting with a two-by-four, but it came at the expense of Cactus Jack’s spine.
Not long after the opening bell sounded, both Superstars found their way to the top of the structure. At one point, a weak section of the Cell’s ceiling gave way under the weight of the combatants and one of Triple H’s feet sunk through. It was a sign of things to come.
Once both Superstars gained their footing, Foley decided he needed to further weaponize a nearby two-by-four — which was already wrapped in barbed wire — by lighting it on fire. Foley landed one strike with the object before tossing it aside and setting up Triple for a piledriver. That decision would immediately betray The Hardcore Legend, as The Game backdropped Foley onto the cage. The momentum of Foley’s 300-pound frame was too much for the Cell’s roof to bear, and his body broke through the cage and hurled onto the ring, collapsing the canvas below.
Edge and The Undertaker break down the wall
The SummerSlam 2008 Hell in a Cell Match between Edge and the returning Undertaker was, simply put, epic. They trashed each other’s bodies and arguably set a new standard for brutality inside Hell in a Cell — which is no small feat.
However, years later, the one moment that stands out most occurred just outside the ring. With The Deadman’s back to the Cell, The Ultimate Opportunist methodically lined up steel steps in front of his opponent. Then, with a running start, Edge leaped off the steps and Speared The Undertaker, back-first, into the structure. Only, the impact was so great that both Superstars crashed through the wall of the cage.
The actual, physical Hell in a Cell structure has seen its fair share of battle damage over the years, but Edge’s wall-crashing Spear ranks near the top.
The Era ends with a mean streak
Billed as “The End of an Era,” The Undertaker and Triple H’s contest from WrestleMania 28 was guaranteed to be ruthless. Yet, no one could have guessed just how draining — both physically and emotionally) — the contest would be actually be.
With Shawn Michaels (the man The Undertaker retired at WrestleMania XXVI) as the special guest referee, many believed that HBK’s bias would be the toughest obstacle The Phenom would have to overcome to advance to 20-0 at WrestleMania. That proved to be false.
Instead, The Cerebral Assassin gained possession of a steel chair and attempted to end not only the Era, but also The Phenom’s career, as he unforgivingly whaled on the back of The Deadman a senseless amount of times.
The Undertaker appeared defenseless, with both Triple H and Michaels pleading with the WWE Legend to stay down. Despite his back showing the wounds of war, The Undertaker was able to mount an unbelievable comeback, ultimately obtaining the victory, but not before sustaining the worst beating of his career.
Ambrose and Rollins take the plunge from Hell
WWE Superstars tread in dangerous territory when a rivalry ascends to no longer being about competition, but personal vendettas. A crystallized example of this is Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose from Hell in a Cell 2014. Blindside attacks, mind games and pure savagery had become the trend between the two, and their duel in WWE’s demonic structure was intended to be their final battle.
The two wasted no time releasing their aggressions upon each other during the course of the contest. They both eventually scaled the side of the Cell and, after exchanging strikes, Ambrose connected with a headbutt that sent both men soaring off the side of the cage onto the announcer’s table below.
Incredibly, both men were able to continue and finish the contest (that Rollins ultimately won), but the result pales in comparison to the sacrifice the Superstars made with their awe-inspiring plunge.
The Undertaker sends Mankind flying … repeatedly
Against Shawn Michaels in 1997, The Undertaker set the punishing tone for Hell in a Cell Matches. But it was The Phenom’s WWE King of the Ring 1998 clash against Mankind that established Hell in a Cell as WWE’s most unforgiving fighting venue.
Two scenes transpired that day that will never escape the collective memory of the WWE Universe.
The first incident, when The Undertaker launched Mankind from the Cell’s roof, broke new ground in that it was the first time that Superstars ventured to the top of the Cell. Unfortunately for Mankind, it was also the first example of a Superstar taking the long tumble from that steep height.
Mankind’s frightful experience was far from over. Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy returned to the top of the Cell to face the waiting Deadman. Soon, Mankind would again take a mean fall — only this time, he was chokeslammed through the Cell’s roof. Upon hitting the mat, Mankind’s body folded in half, and a chair that had been resting on top of the cage landed squarely on Mankind’s face. For the first time in his career, the man beneath the leather mask, WWE Legend Mick Foley, had been knocked out cold.
Of course, he fought on.