Hell in a Cell: The surprising story
behind the Reddit meme / Forum

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Shawnturner's picture

It goes like this. Someone posts a link, image or question on Reddit. A thread starts and comments pour in. A Redditor named Chris chimes in with a message that reads like a thoughtful, relevant addition to the discussion. Then his comment takes a sudden swerve, always ending with the same line: "...in nineteen ninety eight when the undertaker threw mankind off hеll in a cell, and plummeted sixteen feet through an announcer's table."

That seemingly cryptic sentence refers to a 1998 pay-per-view pro wrestling match that pitted feuding fighters The Undertaker (a sort of proto-goth character) against Mankind (a deranged lunatic). The two duked it out on top of a massive cage called Hell in a Cell as more than 17,000 fans in the audience shouted and cheered. In a clip of the infamous moment, you can hear the announcer shout, "As God is my witness, he is broken in half!"

If you spend any time on Reddit, an online community with more than 250 million users, there's a decent chance you've read one of Chris' Hell in a Cell curveballs. The self-described old-school wrestling fan, who goes by the Reddit handle "shittymorph," has dropped over 140 Hell comments in the past year in Reddit threads on everything from leaf insects to corn chips and coal miners.

Since he started posting Hell in a Cell comments, Chris has gotten private messages saying he should get cancer or his dog should die. "I was kind of hoping you'd realize you're a pathetic loser and had committed suicide," one reads. "No such luck." Because of messages like those, Chris doesn't want his last name used. He did share it with me, however, and I was able to corroborate his identity.

"I think some people get pissed about my posts due to the time waste," he says via Reddit private message, his preferred method of communicating with me as we talk over several weeks. Getting Hell in a Cell'ed is a lot like getting Rickrolled, where you click on a link expecting to find a relevant website, but instead land on a video of '80s pop singer Rick Astley crooning "Never Gonna Give You Up."

Plenty of Reddit fans revel in Chris' bamboozle, though, and they message him telling him what his Hell in a Cell comments mean to them. "Sometimes I just have really hard days," one college student wrote him. "Sometimes on those days I'll happen to see one of your posts, and it helps a bit." Another Redditor messaged him from a hospital bed, thanking Chris for making him laugh at a time when could barely lift a spoon to feed himself.

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