The steel cage match. Its unforgiving structure and menacing steel sides give lend more danger and drama to a wrestling match. Cage matches have been around for nearly a hundred years. The first ever steel cage match took place in Atlanta, Georgia in 1937 when Jack Bloomfield defeated Count Rossi in a match surrounded by chicken wire. The wire was as much to protect the wrestlers from hurled objects out of the crowd as it was for any dramatic effect, but the innovative performers incorporated the structure into their match.
The cage match proved popular, and began to evolve. The chicken wire was replaced by iron bars, and then by cyclonic fencing, which proved to be the most popular due to the smooth edges and flexibility, though larger wrestlers had a hard time climbing such structures.
By the 1970s, steel cage matches were the epitome of violence in pro wrestling. When two men could not end their feud any other way, the steel cage was brought into play. Given the popularity of gimmick matches like the steel cage, there have been numerous other match types, such as the Texas bullrope matches, where the opponents are connected by a bullrope and have to drag each other and touch all four corners.
Still, steel cages remained the most popular 'feud ending' match types. By the 1990s, however, Vince McMahon was searching for a way to make cage matches more entertaining. He also was disgruntled that he could not trademark the name Steel Cage Match because it was public domain. The WWE creative team set to work crafting a bigger, bolder steel cage. This new cage would not only be the biggest in wrestling history, it would also be the first to encompass the ringside area, meaning the performers had a bigger canvas upon which to create their art.
Hell in a Cell was born, and the world of wrestling has never been the same since. Here are ten of the best Hell in a Cell matches:
Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker--Bad Blood, 1997
The inaugural Hell in a Cell is still regarded as one of the best. It featured Undertaker and HBK, two of the best of all time, in their primes battling in a unique match that had never been attempted before.
Never afraid of heights, both men climbed to the top of the imposing structure, taking their battle literally to the heavens. Steel chairs scrambled brain cells, power moves shook the ring, and blood was spilled before the end of the contest.
The first Hell in a Cell was so memorable, that a lot of folks forget that it was also the debut of the Big Red Machine Kane, who interfered and cost his 'brother' the Undertaker a certain victory.