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Best Hell in a Cell matches: Triple H vs. Cactus Jack (No Way Out 2000)

Foley, you fool! Don't you remember what happened the first time?!
Foley, you fool! Don't you remember what happened the first time?!

With WWE's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view (PPV) only days away, we thought this would be as good a time as any to take a stroll down memory lane and count down the best five in the gimmick match's short but brutal history.

Okay, okay, fair enough! These are what I personally think are the best five. But hey, that's what leads to discussion, right?

Up first and coming in at number five, is the sixth Hell in a Cell (HiaC) ever: Triple H defending the WWE Championship against Cactus Jack who had put his career on the line.

Let's soak in this classic and bloody brawl!

The build to this match was fantastic. Mick Foley, then wrestling under his Mankind persona, was feuding against Triple H and thought the only way he could defeat his enemy was to change; not evolve but regress.

That meant the smiles, the cheap pops, and even Mr. Socko were replaced by thumb tacks, steel chairs, and baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire.

Mick Foley devolved back into the most violent of his three personalities, Cactus Jack.

Triple H and Jack had a brutal Street Fight at Royal Rumble 2000 that saw "The Game" retain after hitting a Pedigree onto a pile of thumb tacks.

Undeterred, Jack demanded one more match against the champion to which Triple H obliged. "You can have any type of match you want," the champ arrogantly offered.

"Hell in a Cell," was the hardcore legend's response.

But "The Game" demanded Foley put his career on the line. If Triple H loses, the title is Foley's. If Cactus Jack were to come up short, he would have to retire.

Interestingly enough, Triple H and on-camera and future real-life wife Stephanie McMahon made their way to the ring and cage first despite "The Game" being the champion.

After Foley made his way inside the ring, the ominous steel structure was lowered to the ground. The two brawled to start with Jack getting the upper hand. He had been in this situation before numerous times. It was a first at the time for "The Game."

The hardcore legend made his desire to climb to the top of the cage obvious early on but the door was padlocked shut numerous times over. Instead, Jack opted to brutalize Triple H with a steel chair. It was at this point that the two began to really use the environment at their disposal. Irish whips to the turnbuckle on the outside and using the steel steps as a projectile served to remind the viewer that in a HiaC match, anything -- and everything -- goes.

Of course, Foley's patented chairshots directly to the skull were unfortunately on display and knowing what he know now about the kind of damage that sort of impact has on the brain, you can't help but cringe watching it unfold.

A spot where Triple H is thrown into the cage gives him the opportunity to get some color and we have the first -- but not the last -- hint of blood in this match-up. I'm not what some wrestling purists would call a "vampire." I don't crave blood in every single match that happens to have hard-hitting action. If a match wouldn't be enhanced by some color, it can actually have a negative effect if one or both wrestlers get busted open. But a match like the HiaC, some blood only serves to enhance the experience. It sells the danger, the brutality of the match.

There's an ingenious spot where Triple H, propped against the cage wall, narrowly avoided getting hit by flying ring steps after Jack chunked them "The Game's" way. The stairs collided with the chain link and ripped the panel off, allowing Jack to finally get outside of the structure.

Triple H -- now a bloody mess -- is then launched through the damaged panel as the action made its way to the announcing table where Triple H ate a piledriver in an awesome spot.

Jack teased climbing to the top but was stopped by McMahon, who was only trying to protect her boo. Jack pulled out a barbed wire-covered 2x4 and Triple H tried to esape through the audience. He takes a shot from the 2x4 and then started climbing up the cage to escape the punishment.

The hardcore legend followed suit but in a move that escaped logic, he tossed the 2x4 up to a waiting Triple H. "The Game" then ran the barbed wire across Foley's head and stomped on his hands, forcing Jack to lose his grip and fall through the announcer's table below.

The botched spot with the 2x4 and Jim Ross exclaiming, "Mick Foley is broken in half!" after the fall from the cage pounded my suspense of belief. I've seen what it takes to make Ross genuinely say that and falling from the side of the cage just doesn't cut the mustard. It seemed like they were trying to hit the same marks as Foley's infamous HiaC match with The Undertaker, almost like a reproduction of sorts.

They sell that Foley might be too injured to continue but sure enough, he got back to his feet. He tried -- three times -- to throw a chair to the top of the cage but failed. Finally, he just started climbing up and the action began atop the 16-foot high momument to malice.

The backdrop through the top of the cage came shortly after which saw Jack fall partially through the ring as well. He still wasn't out, however. One Pedigree later, he was. Boo.

The build up to this match -- including the match from Royal Rumble 2000 -- really helped put this match over some others that may have been better when just comparing the matches. The booking was wonky as Foley really should have gone over.

I mean, he came back the next month at WrestleMania 2000 so why not give him the strap and let him lose then? It's not like the company wasn't above hotshotting the title around at the time. And instead of making it its own match, they tried too hard to recreate the King of the Ring 1998 HiaC.

What do you Cagesiders think about this match and its placement on the list?

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