In professional wrestling, great matches come and go, but there are certain moments within those matches that transcend and truly stand the test of time. Over the years, the WWE has devised a number of unique, yet barbaric matches in an effort to crank up the entertainment value and offer fans and performers a platform to create some of these special moments; the Elimination Chamber, TLC and even rarities like inferno matches come to mind.
But there is one type of match in particular that, since its conception 20 years ago, that has earned the reputation of consistently being the most merciless, and not coincidentally, a creator of many memorable moments: Hell in a Cell.
Bodies have been thrown off, into and through the cell, blood has poured and careers have both been made and undeniably cut shorter. Though not all the matches have been standouts -- I'm looking at you, WrestleMania 15 -- they have all illustrated a level of savagery that brings to life a feeling of excitement that few other match formats can provide.
Stated simply, Hell in a Cell matches have produced more memorable moments than any other match stipulation in history. As we look ahead to Sunday's pay-per-view, which will feature Shane McMahon's return to the Hell in a Cell against Kevin Owens and the first ever tag team title match contested inside the structure, let's look back at a few of the greatest examples:
'That's gotta' be Kane!': Bad Blood, Oct. 5, 1997
The Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels at Bad Blood '97 was full of firsts. To start, it was the first ever Hell in a Cell match. However, as good as the innovative bloodbath was, it was a moment near the bout's conclusion that would be replayed over and over for years to come.
Months prior to the event, Undertaker's longtime manager, Paul Bearer revealed that a storyline fire at a funeral home that killed The Undertaker's family left one survivor, his half-brother Kane, a claim to which The Undertaker refused to believe.
During the closing moments of the match, the lights went out and the eerie organ music that would become synonymous with Kane's entrance throughout the years played and Kane made his television debut in grand fashion.
As he approached the ring, decked out in a red and black bodysuit and a mask to match -- a look that quickly became one of the most iconic and recognizable in the WWE -- Vince McMahon on commentary infamously exclaimed, "That's gotta' be Kane! That's gotta' be Kane!"
Kane proceeded to rip the door off of the cell and cost The Undertaker the match, but this one moment led to many others over the course of the two decades that followed. Not only was it the start of a rivalry between Kane and Undertaker that would carry on through the rest of their careers, it was the beginning of what will undoubtedly be a Hall of Fame career for the "Big Red Monster."
'Good God almighty! They've killed him!': King of the Ring, June 28, 1998
No moment in WWE history has been replayed more than the iconic sequence that took place in the third-ever Hell in a Cell match between Mick Foley and The Undertaker.
The events that played out that night weren't just the defining moments of Hell in a Cell, but they became the defining moments of Foley's brilliant career.
Foley, as the deranged Mankind, met The Undertaker on top of the 15-foot cell, steel chair in hand. They exchanged a few punches, moved dangerously close to the edge, and in an unbelievable moment, The Undertaker tossed Foley off of the top of the enormous structure and through the Spanish announcer's table below.
"Good God almighty! Good God almighty! They've killed him," an overwhelmed Jim Ross exclaimed as Foley crashed through the table, laying motionless. "As God as my witness, he is broken in half!"
The surreal nature of what was unfolding didn't end there. After a swarm of WWE officials and doctors started wheeling him up the ramp on a gurney, he fought his way back towards the ring. Foley got his feet back underneath him and once again ascended the cell. After trading back and forth again with Undertaker, Foley received a chokeslam that sent him through one of the chain link panels at the top of the cell into the middle of the ring -- a fall that some would consider even more dangerous than the first. As if that all wasn't bad enough, the chair came down with him and hit him too, for good measure.
"That's it, he'd dead," Jerry Lawler said immediately following the second fall. He wasn't, thankfully, and Foley somehow finished the match on his way to cementing his legacy as the ultimate risk taker.
End of an era -- WrestleMania XXVIII, April 1, 2012
Unlike any of the other matches of its kind, the moment that's most remembered about the Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and Triple H, refereed by Shawn Michaels, at WrestleMania 28, came after the violence and in-ring clash was over -- tying an all-encompassing bow on four years of supremely engaging storytelling.
WrestleMania XXV and WrestleMania XXVI featured gripping stories illustrating Shawn Michaels' inability to end the Undertaker's undefeated WrestleMania winning streak, with his own career coming to an end instead. WrestleMania XXVII and WrestleMania XXVIII focused on Triple H's unsuccessful attempts to succeed where his best friend had failed. In the process, four masterpieces were produced, culminating with this match inside Hell in a Cell.
After a war of attrition, which saw Undertaker fight off the longest of odds to continue his undefeated streak, The Undertaker and Michaels assisted a beaten down Triple H up the ramp. When they reached the top, they turned around to acknowledge the audience who were giving them a standing ovation, not just for their performance on that night, but for the four-year journey. Respect, exhaustion and gratification were bundled into this single, lasting image symbolizing the comprehensive effort.
A leap of faith: WrestleMania 32, April 3, 2016
Shane McMahon likes to jump off of things. He is a self-proclaimed daredevil who had leapt from dizzying heights before, most notably the top of the old "TitanTron" video screen but also including a number of memorable moments from off of the top rope, ambulances and any number of other high places he could find. McMahon took things to an entirely different level in his match at WrestleMania 32 against The Undertaker.
As with everyone else on this list thus far, Shane found himself locked inside Hell in a Cell with "the Deadman". But with the help of a steel strapping cutter and a tackle from The Undertaker through one of the steel panels, they found themselves on the outside of the cell -- a structure that was far taller than the original version of the cage from which Foley had fallen.
After gaining the advantage on the outside and leaving The Undertaker laying on the announcer's table, Shane climbed the 20-foot cell and took the crowning leap of faith of his career -- plummeting through the commentary table as The Undertaker moved out of the way at the last moment.
"For the love of mankind!" Michael Cole yelled, an obvious tribute to Foley's history-making fall in 1998.
The stunt left the record-setting crowd at AT&T Stadium in awe, and it's become the clear-cut defining moment from the show.
History in the making: Hell in a Cell, Oct. 30, 2016
Over the past few years, women's wrestling has reached heights that have surpassed any era in the division's history within the WWE. The talent level has never been greater, and with that growth, the opportunities to shine in the spotlight have increased in kind.
Not only did the two four-time Raw women's champions become the first female superstars to headline a WWE pay-per-view event, but they did so in the first ever women's Hell in a Cell match.
Flair and Banks put forth an effort that helped raise women's wrestling even higher, and served as a key indicator that stipulation-heavy matches that had been previously exclusive to men's wrestling would not be so exclusive going forward.