Back in 1997, when the creative session first took place, Hell in the Cell was meant to be nothing more than a specialty match that we would roll out from time to time, depending on who was working the match and whether or not the situation called for it.
Remember: the first Hell in a Cell match actually took place between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker on October 5, 1997, at a pay-per-view entitled Bad Blood. At that time, the event wasn’t even named after the spectacle because it was never meant to be a yearly staple of the company.
The truth is, the origin of the match was designed to give Shawn Michaels more room to work the match, as opposed to being confined to the “ring only” as the old school cage dictated. Expanding the cage to the ringside area would allow Shawn to showcase his talents with a more expanded repertoire.
As the discussion began the day of its inception, I remember that we were just looking to create a different type of match. To me, I would always at least make an attempt to come up with a concept that was different and special, much like Pat Patterson’s ingenious idea of the Royal Rumble. Once we came up with the cage, I just threw Hell in a Cell out there because, quite frankly, it was simple.
It’s interesting though, because as I did my research for this article, Wikipedia states that other names considered for the match were No Escape, Locked Up and Rage in a Cage. Truthfully, I don’t recall any of those names being bantered around. I remember agreeing on Hell in the Cell almost immediately.
In totally giving credit where credit is due, it was indeed Shawn Michaels who put the match on the map with the unforgettable match he had with the Undertaker. Shawn used the cell in a way that only he could. If you go back and look at this epic battle of 17 years ago, you would clearly see firsthand, that even with all the monumental matches Shawn had over his illustrious career, this may have been his finest.
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