WWE will bring back one of its most brutal matches this weekend as the company presents Hell in a Cell 2020 on Sunday. The 12th Hell in a Cell event has five announced matches as of this writing, with three of them taking place within the confines of the fully-enclosed cage.
The first Hell in a Cell match took place at the Badd Blood pay-per-view on October 5, 1997 between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. The match was made to put an end to the feud between the two men that started at that year’s SummerSlam, giving the winner a match with WWF Champion Bret “Hitman” Hart at the 1997 Survivor Series. The first Hell in a Cell match is easily one of the best ever, with Michaels getting the win after the Undertaker’s brother, Kane, made his debut and hit the Deadman with a Tombstone.
It’s His Yard
As is the case with most gimmick matches in the mid- to late-1990s, the Hell in a Cell match was used mainly to help get over the feuds involving the Undertaker. The Deadman wrestled in 4 of the first 5 Hell in a Cell matches and 6 of the first 10. Overall, the Undertaker has wrestled in the Cell 14 times, winning 8 of those matches. The Phenom’s final appearance in the Cell took place at 2016’s WrestleMania 32, when he beat Shane McMahon.
Some of the most iconic Hell in a Cell moments involve The Undertaker, including his loss to Michaels; throwing Mick Foley off the roof of the cell and through an announce table at ringside in 1998; losing to Brock Lesnar in 2002; beating Edge at SummerSlam 2008; and putting Triple H down with Shawn Michaels as a special referee at WrestleMania XXVIII in 2012.
Coming in second in Hell in a Cell appearances is Triple H with 9 matches (and 6 wins) in the enclosed cage.
The first title to be on the line in a Hell in a Cell match was Triple H’s WWF Championship, when he defended against Mick Foley at No Way Out 2000, the sixth-ever Hell in a Cell. In exchange for the championship opportunity, Foley put his career on the line against his bitter rival. Even though Foley lost, he would be back in the main event of WrestleMania, just four weeks later.
Of the 42 Hell in a Cell matches since 1997, a title has been on the line 22 times. Surprisingly, the champion going in to the Cell match has retained the title 16 times. Randy Orton, The Undertaker, Alberto del Rio, Charlotte Flair and the Usos have all won championships inside the Cell, with Orton winning two.
The Viper was also the first man to walk into the Cell as a challenger and walk out with a championship, beating John Cena in the 18th Hell in a Cell match in October 2009. Four years later, he would win the vacant WWE Championship match in the Cell against Daniel Bryan.
Long and the Short of It
The longest Hell in a Cell match was – not surprisingly – between Triple H and Shawn Michaels at Bad Blood in June 2004. The former DX partners went more than 47 minutes in a match that Triple H won. The next-longest Hell in a Cell match is, somewhat surprisingly, a 39-minute Falls Count Anywhere Cell match where Kevin Owens beat Shane McMahon in 2017.
The shortest Hell in a Cell match was a 5-minute match that saw John Cena defend the WWE Championship against Alberto del Rio, CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger in a dark match after the September 26, 2011 Raw. The shortest televised Cell match was also at Raw – Mankind and Kane went to a no contest at the August 24, 1998 Raw in just under 8 minutes.
There Must Be A Winner?
In addition to the Kane-Mankind match already mentioned, Hell in a Cell matches have resulted in no contests just two other times. In 2018, a battle for the Universal Championship between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman – which saw interference from Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler – was finally called when Brock Lesnar interfered and left both men laying.
One year later, in another Universal Championship defense, champion Seth Rollins defended against The Fiend Bray Wyatt. Rollins’ increasingly violent attacks against Wyatt got him nowhere, as The Fiend continued to kick out of every pin attempt. After Rollins finally hit Wyatt with a sledgehammer as Wyatt was covered with a variety of other weapons. The referee finally had enough of the carnage and stopped the match without a winner.
Who Will Win?
The three Hell in a Cell matches planned for the 2020 edition of the show are all for championships: Drew McIntyre defends the WWE Championship against Randy Orton; Bayley puts her SmackDown! Women’s Championship on the line against former bestie Sasha Banks; and Jey Uso tries to wrest the Universal Championship away from Tribal Chief Roman Reigns in and “I Quit” Cell match.
Orton is looking to win a championship inside the Cell for the third time while McIntyre is making his first appearance in a Hell in the Cell Match. Bayley has also never been inside a Cell match, though her opponent, Sasha Banks, has never won a Hell in the Cell. She lost her Raw Women’s Championship to Charlotte Flair in 2016 and then failed to knock off Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch last year.
On the other hand, neither Reigns nor Jey Uso have ever actually lost a Hell in a Cell match. Sure, Reigns had that no contest against Braun Strowman, but he’s also defeated Bray Wyatt (2015) and Rusev (2016) in the enclosed cage. In 2017, Jey entered the Cell with his brother Jimmy to win the SmackDown! Tag Team Championships from the New Day.