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Hell in a Cell is a WWE pay-per-view, which replaced No Mercy on 2009 and has been a staple of the calendar ever since.

The name of the event comes from the eponymous gimmick match: two or more wrestlers or factions fight inside of a roofed, 20-foot-high (before Unforgiven 2006, 16-feet-high) steel cage surrounding the ring and ringside area. Although the original event featured all matches with this stipulation, in more recent times this wasn't the case and both standard matches and other Gimmick Matches also took place in the event.

The eponymous match type itself is a variant of the Steel Cage match. It involves a larger cage which Jim Cornette admits to stealing from (or researching from) a Memphis territory, that includes the majority of the ringside area in its confines, and also has a roof, ala Dusty Rhodes's war games. Escape rules don't apply; the match ends only via pinfall or submission, and usually only in the ring. In earlier matches, big falls from the side or top of the cage were fairly commonplace (most famously, by Mick Foley), but these have been toned down due to safety concerns.note 

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    HIAC matches outside of the PPV 

    HIAC matches of the PPV 
  • Hell In A Cell 2009:
    • The Undertaker d. CM Punk.note 
    • Randy Orton d. John Cena.note 
    • D-Generation X d. The Legacy.
  • Hell In A Cell 2010:
    • Randy Orton d. Sheamus.note 
    • Kane d. The Undertaker.note 
  • Hell In A Cell 2011:
    • Mark Henry d. Randy Orton.note 
    • Alberto Del Rio d. John Cena and CM Punk.note 
  • Hell In A Cell 2012:
    • CM Punk d. Ryback.note 
  • Hell In A Cell 2013:
    • CM Punk d. Ryback and Paul Heyman.note 
    • Randy Orton d. Daniel Bryan.note 
  • Hell In A Cell 2014:
  • Hell In A Cell 2015:
  • Hell In A Cell 2016:
  • Hell In A Cell 2017:
    • The Usos d. The New Day.note 
    • Kevin Owens d. Shane McMahon.note 
  • Hell In A Cell 2018:
    • Randy Orton d. Jeff Hardy.
    • Roman Reigns d. Braun Strowman.note 

The eponymous PPV and matches show examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    The pay-per-views (including non-HIAC matches) 
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The end of the John Cena vs. Wade Barrett at the 2010 edition. If Cena won, The Nexus would be forced to disband; if Barrett won, Cena would be forced to join The Nexus. After interference from two new Nexus members, Barrett won, and Cena was forced to join The Nexus.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Nobody, not Shane McMahon, not the audience, and not Kevin, expected Sami Zayn to pull Owens to safety during Hell in a Cell 2017. Not even Zayn himself expected the first heel turn in an over fifteen-year career to start with saving his biggest Arch-Enemy from a Leap of Faith.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: John "Bradshaw" Layfield showed this at the 2015 edition, expressing horror and disgust at The Wyatt Family beating down The Undertaker, saying "There was no honour in this." Before that he'd also demonstrated ample respect for Taker's role in the match against Brock Lesnar.
  • Face–Heel Turn: During the main event of the 2017 edition, after pulling long-time adversary Kevin Owens out of the path of Shane McMahon as the latter jumped off the top of the cell. After spending several moments seemingly in shock at saving Owens, he then dragged Owens on top of Shane for the three count.
  • Final Battle: Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt put an end to The Shield vs. Wyatt Family feud in a HIAC match on the 2015 edition.
  • Graceful Loser: When he was proved wrong by John Cena winning the World Heavyweight Championship at the 2013 edition, (JBL had previously dismissed it as impossible due to the speed of Cena's return from a major injury) JBL calmly admitted he was wrong, and led a round of applause for the new champion.
  • History Repeats: John Cena and Randy Orton have competed against each other inside the Cell twice in the cell, with Orton defeating him in 2009 and Cena defeating him in 2014.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The 2011 edition had R-Truth and The Miz beating the crap out of everyone, including the cameramen.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Cena's joining Nexus; practically everyone expected Cena to lose his match to Barrett due to prior advertising posters for the Bragging Rights PPV including the Nexus logo. Even worse, WWE aired one of these ads during Hell in a Cell, before the Barrett vs. Cena match took place!
  • Wolverine Publicity: R-Truth did the main promo for the 2013 edition (even appearing on the poster, in a suit, of all things) despite not being on the card. The only sense to make of it was the "hell" in the title and Truth's tendency to paraphrase The Bible "The Truth, Has Set Me Free".
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    HIAC matches outside of the PPV 
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • All three consecutive HIAC matches at Bad Blood were won by heels.
      • Shawn Michaels defeated The Undertaker after a debuting Kane interfered and tombstoned his brother.
      • Triple H had won the HIAC match in this event twice in a row. In 2003, he defeated Kevin Nash (with Mick Foley as the guest referee), and a year later defeated Shawn, ending their heated rivalry that lasted for almost two years.
    • Armageddon 2000 had Kurt Angle defeating Rikishi, The Undertaker, Triple H, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and The Rock in a 6-man HIAC match to retain the WWF Title.
    • No Way Out 2000: Triple H beats Cactus Jack inside the cell, thus putting an end to his career (albeit temporarily).
    • No Mercy 2002: World Heavyweight Champion Triple H defeated Intercontinental Champion Kane to unify both title belts (the IC title was immediately defunct until it was brought back in May 2003); Brock Lesnar defeated The Undertaker to retain the WWE Championship.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Shawn Michaels announced he'd be the special guest referee for the Triple H/Undertaker HIAC confrontation at 'Mania, and gloated he held the end of an era in his hands. What this actually entailed was watching his best friend and the man he respected more than any other giving each other an utterly brutal beating for half an hour. His expressions of utter misery throughout tell the story.
  • Blood Is the New Black: The first HIAC match between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker. Watch the spot with the Snake Eyes to the outside of the cage, and see if you can spot Shawn's amazing mid-air blade job. He's practically all-crimson by the time the match ends.
  • Broken Win/Loss Streak: Triple H was undefeated in one-on-one HIAC matches, winning 4 of them in his career until Vengeance 2005, when Batista defeated him.
  • Ceiling Smash: Inverted during the match between Mankind and The Undertaker at King of the Ring 1998, in which they brawled on the Cell's roof twice. The second time, 'Taker chokeslammed Foley through the roof, sending him crashing onto the ring below. And Foley still wanted to fight.
  • Death from Above: Taken to its absolute with Shane McMahon's performance at WrestleMania 32: Jumping from top of the Hell in A Cell cage - 20 feet! He missed his mark though, but goes to show how ballsy he can get. This is five feet higher than the one that almost killed Mick Foley, and Shane was 13 years older when he did it.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Batista became the first wrestler to defeat Triple H one-on-one inside Hell in a Cell in Vengeance 2005.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Edge's HIAC match with The Undertaker ended with him being Chokeslammed through the ring and flames rising out of it, the implication being that The Undertaker sent him to Hell.
  • Dramatic Sit-Down: Shawn Michaels does this in the third encounter at WrestleMania between The Undertaker and Triple H in their HIAC match, where Shawn was the guest referee. During the match, Undertaker told Shawn not to stop the match no matter what. This was after 'Taker had taken a few chair shots to the back and Triple H had just gotten the same in return, both men bleeding and disoriented at this point. Shawn was sitting in the corner of the ring having a nervous breakdown while Undertaker and Triple H were trying to get to their feet after a two count had occurred.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Kane showed what he was made of when he showed up at Bad Blood 1997, when he ripped the door off the cell.
  • Final Battle:
    • The HIAC match at Bad Blood 2003 between Triple H and Shawn Michaels served as their final encounter to end a long drawn out feud that started since July 2002. HHH's 2003 match against Kevin Nash was also this to a lesser extent since their feud lasted for about a couple of months.
    • In 2005, then-World Heavyweight Champion Batista and Triple H fought inside HIAC, which served as the culmination of their heated feud of that year.
    • The Undertaker and Randy Orton, who had been feuding during most of 2005, had their final confrontation inside the cell at Armageddon 2005.
    • The HIAC match between D-Generation X and the McMahons and The Big Show was the final battle of the DX/McMahons feud.
  • Heroic BSoD: During Undertaker vs. HHH III, at one point during the match, things had gotten to the point of Shawn being told by the Undertaker not to stop the match no matter what happened. This was after 'Taker had suffered a few chair shots to the back and Triple H had just gotten the same in return. Watching his best friend and one of his idols beating the tar out of each other was apparently too much; Shawn was sitting in the corner of the ring looking like he was having a nervous breakdown.
  • History Repeats: All the main events of Bad Blood have been HIAC matches. All three also involved either Shawn Michaels or Triple H.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Undertaker subjected Triple H to this at their WrestleMania XXVIII match. First, there's the match type in itself, considering Triple H himself set the stipulation, and is known for having the most victories in HIAC. Second, there's the ending: after a long beatdown that had shades of their match last year, along with multiple sledgehammer strikes to the Undertaker's face (and a Sweet Chin Music from Shawn Michaels that Hunter chained into a Pedigree, but that's beside the point), 'Taker finally got a hold of the sledgehammer, clobbered Hunter with it, and did the Tombstone Piledriver for the win.
  • How Much More Can He Take?:
    • Mick Foley in the King of the Ring 1998 match. He was thrown off of a sixteen-foot-tall steel chain link cell and through the Spanish Announcers Table. The fall was so devastating that he sustained a concussion, spinal damage, a dislocated shoulder and internal bleeding. The EMTs squeezed in to put him on a stretcher and wheel him away, which seemed to signal the premature end of the match. Instead, Foley got up off the stretcher and climbed back up the cell (faster than before his fall!) to resume the match. After some more fighting, Undertaker performed his signature choke-slam, which sent Foley through the chain link cell to the ring below, a steel chair following close behind to smash his teeth out of his mouth, one of which lodged in his nose. Foley was completely knocked out, nearly died, and has no memory of the next few hours...but he got back up and resumed the match, finally ending it after taking two hard falls onto a large pile of thumbtacks. And then, simply because he refused to be stretchered out twice, he got up and walked back up the ramp to a standing ovation.
    • The HIAC match between HHH and Shawn was like this as well, with Shawn taking 3 Pedigrees before finally going down.
    • Then came the HIAC match between Shane McMahon and The Undertaker at WrestleMania 32, where Shane-O-Mac tried to do his elbow drop through the announcers table onto Taker, willingly doing it from the top of the 20ft cell. But as Shane jumped, Taker managed to roll out of the way, causing Shane to crash onto the table, literally silencing the 100,000+ in attendance who were just cheering for him as he made the jump, enough to make them sincerely worry he might have gone too far and killed himself as the refs and medics went to check him out. Even Taker himself was in shock at this, until Shane finally showed signs of life and even gave him two "Bring it on" hand gestures, even knowing he was clearly out of it.
  • Loser Leaves Town:
    • No Way Out 2000's HIAC match between Triple H and Cactus Jack had the stipulation that if Cactus lost, he must retire.
    • The WrestleMania XXVIII between The Undertaker and Triple H with Shawn Michaels as guest referee was billed as an "End of an Era" match.
  • Made of Iron: Mick Foley was infamously thrown from the top of the cell during the 1998 event and finishes the match in spite of his injuries.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Armageddon 2000: The 6-man HIAC match which featured then-world champion Kurt Angle, Rikishi, The Undertaker, Triple H, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and The Rock.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Undertaker was genuinely afraid for his opponent's life when he accidentally sent Mankind through the roof of the cell during their match. He reported afterwards as feeling nothing but concern for Foley after the occurence. He still managed to avoid breaking character, however. At least until Mick gets up off the stretcher and runs to the Cell to climb it. Again. The match itself doesn't show it but some DVDs that discuss the match have a shot of Undertaker legitimately shocked.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The Undertaker had a real life one at the 1998 HIAC match. Not from the first fall, but upon seeing Foley climb off the stretcher, smiling, and running to the cage to climb back up. It's not shown during the match itself for more than a half a second on the King of the Ring 1998 VHS tape and DVD, but some video (such as "Eve of Destruction") shows Taker is legitimately shocked. The moment can be interpreted as either Kayfabe that Mankind wants more, astonishment that he was able to get up or a real life concern of what else can happen.
      • He definitely had another real one shortly afterwards, when he chokeslammed Mankind onto the top of the cage, only for the cage to give way and for Mick Foley to plummet to the mat on his back (with a steel chair following him down to land on his face). It's minor, but you can see Undertaker recoil in shock as the wire panel collapses under Mankind's body. Taker would later admit that at that moment he genuinely thought he'd killed Foley.
    • Edge had this reaction when Vickie informed him she had reinstated The Undertaker and booked Edge as his opponent at SummerSlam. The final icing on the cake was that it was a HIAC match.
  • Spanish Announcers Table: The famously-known example comes from the 1998 event where The Undertaker throws Mankind off of the cell and crashing on it.
  • There Can Be Only One: In Bad Blood 1997, HBK and The Undertaker fought inside Hell in a Cell for the right to face Bret Hart for his WWE Championship.
  • Wham Line: Every HIAC match booking prior to the instatement of the PPV, outside of WrestleMania.
    • A final match with one last catch...
      Triple H: Hell in a Cell? Alright, Hell in a Cell, you got a deal. But one stipulation.
      Cactus Jack: You name it.
      Triple H: I will go through Hell in the Cell with you, but I want YOUR CAREER ON THE LINE!!!
    • To wit, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
      Vickie Guerrero: When I was really, really mad at you, I did something that you might not like.
      Edge: OK, I understand that. Wha... what did you do?
      Vickie Guerrero: I reinstated The Undertaker.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After Undertaker defeated Edge at SummerSlam 2008, he pushed Edge off the top of a ladder through the mat - and the hole soon had flames coming up from it, symbolic of Undertaker sending Edge to be swallowed up by "the fires of Hell". Why had he done this? Because Edge had almost gotten him banned from WWE for life.
  • Worthy Opponent: After his plunge from the top of the Cell onto The Undertaker (sadly just missing him), he continued to tell the stunned Undertaker to Bring It even when he was obviously completely done. Undertaker lightly patted Shane on the cheek before planting him with the Tombstone to end the match.

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