Hell In a Cell (HIAC) matches are specialty matches in which the ringside area is encompassed by a fence and the cage is topped. Similar to a steel cage match, these matches are won by pinfall or submission (because exiting the cage is not supposed to be possible). Shortly after its creation, the Hell in a Cell match replaced steel cage matches as the most violent stipulation by which to settle a long-standing feud, even though Elimination Chamber matches probably hurt a lot more.

The first HIAC match saw Shawn Michaels face The Undertaker in October 1997. The creation of the cell was done in order to ensure a winner for their rematch from the prior month where the two men fought to a double-disqualification. Shawn Michaels pinned Undertaker after Kane made his first appearance in the WWF, ripping the cell door off its hinges and flattening Taker with a Tombstone.

The second HIAC match saw Undertaker & Stone Cold Steve Austin fight Mankind & Kane on Raw Is War in June 1998. This match ended in a schmoz and it was mostly used to hype the upcoming HIAC match between Taker and Mankind at King of the Ring later that month. That match saw Undertaker destroy Mankind, and it is widely considered the most memorable HIAC match ever! A couple months later, Mankind wrestled Kane to a draw in another televised HIAC match. The fifth HIAC match saw Undertaker beat Big Boss Man in March 1999 at WrestleMania XV.

The first HIAC match for a championship saw Cactus Jack challenge Triple H for the WWF World title in February 2000 with his own career on the line. HHH won and Cactus Jack retired from the WWF.

The first multi-man HIAC match saw WWF Champion Kurt Angle successfully retain the WWF Championship against five challengers, i.e. Undertaker, The Rock, Stone Cold, Triple H, and Rikishi, in December 2000.

The first handicap HIAC match saw DX overcome the odds to beat Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, and Big Show in September 2006.

The first tag team HIAC match saw DX beat The Legacy (Ted DiBiase Jr. & Cody Rhodes) in October 2009. This event was the first pay-per-view under the "Hell in a Cell" name, and the event featured three cell matches. Undertaker beat CM Punk and Randy Orton beat John Cena in the other two.

In October 2010, World Heavyweight champion Kane beat The Undertaker in a HIAC match. This match was especially appropos since Kane made his first WWF appearance in the original HIAC match, costing Taker the match.

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