It’s not easy being part of the worst Hell In A Cell matches ever.
Hell In A cell is one of WWE’s signature matches, and it’s produced some bona fide classics. But it’s also produced some unequivocal disasters.
WWE announcers often make mention of bodies battered and careers shortened by the demonic structure.
They never seem to have much sympathy, though, for the house wasted by fans and dignity lost by wrestlers when it comes to the really bad ones.
Here’s our look at the five worst Hell In A Cell matches of all time.
5. Undertaker Vs. Big Boss Man (WrestleMania XV)
To this day, I’m not sure what they were going for here.
The Undertaker was in a weird netherworld with his character. He wasn’t quite a heel, but he wasn’t exactly a squeaky clean babyface. More of those “shades of grey” Vince Russo likes to talk about so much.
Undertaker was just on the verge of creating his Ministry of Darkness stable, and he was targeting Vince McMahon and family. Specifically, the target was hinted as being then-Daddy’s-little-girl Stephanie. So Vince sent his personal bodyguard, the Big Boss Man, to deal with the Deadman.
It worked about as well as you’d expect, and the result was a Hell In A Cell match between an Undertaker whose age was already starting to show and a Big Boss Man who was already well past his prime.
Exciting stuff. And not surprisingly one of the worst Hell In A Cell matches ever.
And then there’s the ending where, after picking up the win, the Undertaker and his goons literally hung Boss Man from the top of the cell.
No, literally. Hung. As in, “tied a noose around his neck from a high thing.”
CRASH TV, BRO!
4. Charlotte Flair Vs. Sasha Banks (Hell In A Cell 2016)
Being first isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Charlotte and Sasha entered the history books at Hell In A Cell 2016 as the first women to ever compete inside the giant steel structure.
They also went into the books for participating in one of the worst Hell In A Cell matches ever.
And it’s not even necessarily the fault of either Flair or Banks. For one thing, their rivalry didn’t seem personal to warrant a Hell In A Cell match.
Also, at least for that time in the women’s division, the proverbial balls-to-the-wall brawl wasn’t really the style. At that time, it was all about athleticism — mat wrestling, high spots, holds and reversals. That kinda thing.
Having said that, I can’t even say that this match was good for what it was. It was a directionless match born out of a directionless feud.
It’s more about poor execution and missed opportunities than anything else. But it’s still one of the worst Hell In A Cell matches ever.
3. Undertaker Vs. Kane (Hell In A Cell 2010)
Oh, man. Where to even begin with this one.
Let’s start with the participants. This wasn’t 1998. Not that either guy was particularly limber then either, but still.
The juice had long since been squeezed from this feud. Whatever was left was taken back at their WrestleMania XX match in 2004. And it was disappointing then.
The 2010 version is just sad. Add a stipulation, and you have one of the worst Hell In A Cell matches of all time.
And to be fair, no one expected this to be an all-time classic going in. But it was really depressing to see one of the feuds that kicked off the Attitude Era degenerate into such horrible schlock.
2. Kevin Nash Vs. Triple H (Badd Blood 2003)
On one side of the ring, you have Kevin Nash, whose mobility is questionable at best. In fact, Nash tore his quads three or four times in the time it took me to write the previous sentence.
And on the other side, you have Triple H, who became convinced by his 2000 and 2001 runs that he was a legend in the making and could make a classic match out of anything.
He was mistaken.
Nash lost almost all of 2002 to injury following the collapse of the attempt to bring the NWO to WWE. But WWE still wanted to get something out of their investment in him.
Triple H, as the member of the Kliq with the most backstage stroke at the time, took on Nash as his pet project. He thought he had the same talents that Shawn Michaels had in such abundance — that he could make anybody look great.
Again, he was mistaken.
Even enlisting Mick Foley into the feud to serve as the special referee couldn’t save this turd. Triple H bled like a crazy man in attempt to make this look like some kind of battle for the ages. But that’s a tall order when Nash is lumbering around so slowly you’d think he was wearing his Super Shredder costume from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II.
It didn’t work, and the audience saw it for what it was – one of the worst Hell In A Cell matches of all time.
1. Big Boss Man Vs. Al Snow — Kennel In A Cell Match (Unforgiven 1999)
Don’t even argue with me. This counts. If they’re using the Hell In A Cell cage, it counts.
So, some backstory. Pull up a chair, this’ll take a while. Plus, you’ll want to be sitting, lest the nonsense I’m about to describe send you crashing to the floor.
Big Boss Man’s gimmick through the second half of 1999 was terrorizing people for fun in the most tasteless ways imaginable.
Meanwhile, WWE found that Al Snow’s gimmick of carrying a mannequin head to the ring and asking the crowd if they wanted head wasn’t working anymore. For those not there at the time, yes, there was a time when it actually worked.
Instead, he started carrying his pet chihuahua, Pepper, around with him.
Long story short, Boss Man kidnapped Pepper but arranged to give him back to Al at a hotel. But first, Boss Man served him dinner. If you don’t know where this is going, just check out now. Yeah, Boss Man fed Al’s dog to him.
So, for Al’s revenge, the idea was a Hell In A Cell match, but there would be German Shepherds surrounding the ring. Not only did we get a crappy match, but we got dogs crappy. No, seriously, the dogs didn’t care about anything happening around them and did their business.
Right there, live and on pay-per-view.
Luckily, though, the dogs were at least able to beat the crowd to literally shitting all over the match. It’s a silver lining, but it doesn’t save this from being the worst Hell In A Cell match of all time
The elements that make a great Hell In A Cell match are pretty simple. It needs to be a feud so intense that only a battle inside the cell can settle it.
Based on the storylines for this year’s Hell In A Cell pay-per-view, WWE at least has that right. And this year’s matches stand a good chance of avoiding being among the worst Hell In A Cell matches ever.
Then again, WWE doesn’t have a great track record of learning from its mistakes. But as long as they keep dogs away from the show, it’ll be a step in the right direction.
All images courtesy of WWE.