It’s WWE Hell in a Cell season, ladies and gentlemen, which means that we here at Cultaholic are going to be covering just about as many angles regarding the cell as there are holes in the structure’s walls. Please make sure to keep on checking back to this illustrious website for more updates, as we kick off our coverage with what is not necessarily the best cell match of all time, but certainly the most memorable.
For the previous 27 months before this match, off and on, Undertaker had warred violently with the leather mask-wearing Mick Foley, together creating some of the most destructive matches seen in WWE to that point. Previously, most rivals of The Undertaker, unless they were already at a championship level, were simply mindless brutes that were lined up for WWE’s Grim Reaper to cast away into the great beyond with his usual stoic fury. Mankind was different – not only was he competently versatile enough to have enjoyable matches with ‘Taker, but he had the lasting power to make the ensuing matches interesting.
This is the story of how Undertaker finally met his match, how seemingly another ghoul in a long line of them gave Undertaker his greatest rivalry to date.
10. A Strong First Impression
After weeks of starring in dimly-vignettes, Foley’s Mankind was unleashed into the world on WWE Raw one night following WrestleMania XII. In his debut match, Mankind polished off Bob Holly in short order with what would be his signature move, The Mandible Claw. While elements of the old Cactus Jack were apparent in Mankind’s performance, it was clear that the harrowingly-deranged Mankind was a decidedly different character, a pronounced shift from Cactus’ self-aware insanity.
But Holly wasn’t Mankind’s only victim on the night. In the main event, Undertaker doled out a beating to young Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw (the future JBL, looking more like Chris Hero back in the day), but would be assaulted without provocation by Mankind. In the aftermath, Mankind delivered his ground-covering flying elbow from the ring apron, prior to neutralizing Undertaker with his unique Claw.