Two weeks ago, Braun Strowman told Roman Reigns that he was cashing in his Money in the Bank contract on Sept. 16 at Hell in a Cell because it’s “the one place where your brothers can’t interfere.”
With those words in mind, I wanted to go through the full list of Hell in a Cell matches to see which ones had the security of the cell breached at some point, whether that means opening the door, busting through a cell panel, or through an inside job (like hiding under the ring). There have been roughly 39 Hell in a Cell matches in WWE history, not counting any dark matches. I have not gone back and watched every single one of these matches to confidently claim this is an exhaustive list of security breaches, but here are all the ones I have been able to identify so far, in chronological order:
Security Breaches in Hell in a Cell Matches
|Participants||Event Name||Type of Breach||Explanation|
|Participants||Event Name||Type of Breach||Explanation|
|Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker||In Your House: Badd Blood||Open door||The door was opened after a camera man was injured, allowing both men to escape. Kane debuted and ripped the door off.|
|Undertaker & Austin vs. Mankind & Kane||Raw, June 15, 1998||Inside job||Undertaker emerged from under the ring to attack Paul Bearer|
|Undertaker vs. Mankind||King of the Ring 1998||Busted panel||Mankind was chokeslammed through the roof|
|Mankind vs. Kane||Raw, August 24, 1998||Inside job||Steve Austin interfered after hiding under the ring|
|Triple H vs. Cactus Jack||No Way Out 2000||Busted panel||Cactus busted through a panel with steel steps. He was also dropped through the roof|
|Angle, Austin, Rock, HHH, Rikishi, Undertaker||Armageddon 2000||Open door||Vince McMahon used a truck to rip the cell door off its hinges|
|Triple H vs. Chris Jericho||Judgment Day 2002||Open door||The door was opened after a ref bump, allowing both superstars to ecape the cell|
|Undertaker vs. Randy Orton||Armageddon 2005||Open door||The door was opened after a ref bump, and Bob Orton entered the cell|
|Undertaker vs. Batista||Survivor Series 2007||Inside job||Edge interfered after disguising himself as a camera man|
|Undertaker vs. Edge||SummerSlam 2008||Busted panel||Edge speared Undertaker through a cell panel|
|D-Generation X vs. Legacy||Hell in a Cell 2009||Open door||Triple H used bolt cutters from outside the cell|
|Kane vs. Undertaker||Hell in a Cell 2010||Open door||The door was opened after a ref bump, and Paul Bearer entered the cell|
|Cena vs. Punk vs. Del Rio||Hell in a Cell 2011||Open door||Ricardo Rodriguez stole the key, opened the door, and gave ADR a pipe|
|Undertaker vs. Triple H||WrestleMania 28||Open door||The door was opened after a ref bump, but no outside parties entered the cell|
|CM Punk vs. Ryback||Hell in a Cell 2012||Inside job||Brad Maddox was a crooked referee|
|Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton||Hell in a Cell 2013||Open door||The door was opened after a ref bump, and Triple H entered the cell|
|Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins||Hell in a Cell 2014||Inside job||Bray Wyatt appeared in the ring after the lights went out|
|Shane McMahon vs. Undertaker||WrestleMania 32||Busted panel||Shane McMahon used bolt cutters from inside the cell|
|Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins||Hell in a Cell 2016||Open door||The door was opened after a ref bump, and Jericho entered the cell|
|Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens||Hell in a Cell 2017||Open door||Shane McMahon used bolt cutters from inside the cell|
The above table includes 20 examples out of 39 cell matches where either the door was opened, a cell panel was busted through, or a disguised/hidden wrestler inside the cell interfered to screw over an enemy.
There are a few entries on this list that I considered excluding. It could be easily argued that the infamous King of the Ring 1998 match should be omitted altogether from this study because the security of the cell was breached (the roof was busted) before the cell was ever properly secured with both men inside.
I included the Hell in a Cell 2012 match with crooked ref Brad Maddox on the list, but I did not include the Bad Blood 2003 match between Kevin Nash and Triple H, where referee Mick Foley attacked Triple H with the mandible claw. In the former case it was a planned inside job with a disguised bad actor to blatantly undermine the security of the cell, whereas the latter case was a spur of the moment incident with no disguises. I do understand that general referee interference might seem like a weak example of a security breach. The involvement of Maddox isn’t quite the same as a wrestler hiding somewhere inside the cell, so maybe Hell in a Cell 2012 should not count as a security breach.
I also included the WrestleMania 28 match between Undertaker and Triple H even though there was no outside interference. There was a ref bump and the door was opened, so for me that’s enough to qualify as a potential security breach. Any outside party could have entered the cell at that point, just like Jericho did in 2016. But I do understand if this seems like a weak example because there was no outside interference and neither man escaped the cell.
Even if every single adjustment that I just mentioned here is applied, that would still mean there have been at least 17 examples of security breaches out of 38 total cell matches.
One of the most common ways to breach the cell is to incapacitate the referee. In most cases, another referee will come down and open the door to check on the ref or take his place. Once the door is open, both wrestlers can escape the cage, or outside parties can enter the cell and interfere. The cell door was opened after a ref bump in at least seven different Hell in a Cell matches.
The easiest way to breach the security of the cell is to just use bolt cutters. This has happened at least four times, including one incident not described in the above table where the referees outside the cell used bolt cutters to open the door.
There have also been multiple cases where the wrestlers busted through a cell panel with destructive force. Considering that Braun Strowman is a force of destruction and Roman Reigns has a knack for spearing opponents through barricades, I’m guessing the chance for a cell panel to be destroyed in their match is higher than normal.
Braun Strowman didn’t want Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins interfering in his cash-in match, so he chose a Hell in a Cell match to keep them from getting involved. This is a highly flawed strategy, however, because roughly half of all cell matches have included some kind of security breach. Perhaps Braun realized this and that’s why he now has his own backup crew to neutralize Ambrose and Rollins. But that doesn’t change the fact that Braun’s initial cash-in strategy was not well planned.
If Strowman really wanted to ensure that he would cash-in on Roman Reigns in a one-on-one match without any interference, he probably should have just organized a locker room ambush to completely take Ambrose and Rollins out of the equation.