Every Inferno Match In WWE History, Ranked

The WWE has come up with some wild match types over the years. Some are dangerous, others are straight-up ludicrous. The inferno match, which debuted in 1998, falls somewhere in between.

The concept of the inferno match is simple: The two competitors start off in the ring like normal, and then the outside of the ring around the top of the apron is set on fire. The loser is the first wrestler to become set on fire. Easy enough, right?

It's a crazy concept, for sure, and requires lots of careful planning by WWE beforehand. The wrestler unluckily booked to be set on fire usually wears some sort of flame-retardant to keep from actually being harmed. Still, it's such a risky gimmick match that it doesn't happen very often. There have been only four inferno matches in WWE history, plus two close variations of the match. There was also something called a "Human Torch match" in WCW between Vampiro and Sting back in 2000, but we won't talk about that abomination. Instead, this list ranks all four inferno matches in the WWE plus its two variants thus far.

6. Triple H vs. Kane, SmackDown 1999

Out of the WWE's six inferno-type matches, Triple H vs. Kane on a 1999 episode of "SmackDown" was really the only dud.

It was sort of a one-off with no real buildup. Triple H wanted to participate in an upcoming six-pack challenge title match at Unforgiven, but Vince McMahon wanted to make Triple H's life as difficult as possible by placing him in a series of gimmick matches that night in order to earn his spot. One of the matches was an inferno match against Kane, who had already been in two inferno matches in his career.

The match didn't last very long — only about three minutes — and didn't feature much action. The Undertaker, Viscera, and Mideon interrupted the match and distracted Kane by bringing out a bloodied X-Pac. Kane jumped out of the ring and fought Viscera and Mideon and was pushed into the fire, burning his glove and causing him to lose the match.

There was no real story to tell with the match itself — it was more of a building block to get Triple H into the title match at Unforgiven. That makes this the worst and most forgettable inferno match in history.

5. The Undertaker vs. Kane, Raw is War 1999

The second inferno match in WWE's history was also the second inferno match to feature Undertaker vs. Kane.

This one didn't have much build to it either. Instead, it was part of a larger (and confusing) storyline brooding between the Ministry of Darkness and the Corporation. On a 1999 episode of "Raw is War," Vince McMahon made Undertaker — the leader of the Ministry — face Kane, who was a member of the Corporation at the time, in an inferno match. The match itself was actually decent despite its short runtime of around seven minutes. It featured a big dive from Kane from the top rope to outside of the ring, where he landed on the announcer's table.

While the match wasn't bad, it took a backseat to the overarching story being told. During the match, Paul Bearer delivered a teddy bear to McMahon. After Kane's foot was set on fire, Undertaker took the bear from McMahon and lit it on fire as McMahon sobbed, scared about the possible message it delivered.

4. Bray Wyatt vs. Kane (Ring of Fire match), SummerSlam 2013

Bray Wyatt vs. Kane at SummerSlam 2013 was technically a "Ring of Fire" match. It was basically the same thing as an inferno match, with the only exception being that the object of the match was to win by pinfall or submission. The fire surrounding the ring was more about adding to the danger than outright winning the match.

This was Wyatt's in-ring debut on the WWE's main roster. The Wyatt Family (Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan) had been tormenting Kane an others leading up to the event. The in-ring action didn't go very long, but Wyatt was able to show off some moves in a limited amount of time. Harper and Rowan ended up finding a way into the ring thanks to a flame-retardant blanket and helped Wyatt beat down Kane and capture the win. After the match, Harper and Rowan laid Kane down on steel steps in front of Wyatt as the latter lit his lamp.

Overall, this wasn't a great match, and it was the only match on this list that didn't end with a wrestler getting set on fire. But this match did give fans a glimpse into who the Wyatt Family was and the power they would hold over other wrestlers.

3. Kane vs. MVP, Armageddon 2006

After three inferno matches in two years, WWE took a bit of an inferno hiatus. Seven years later, it seemed like a good time to bring the match back.

Kane participated in his fourth inferno match at Armageddon 2006, and this time it was against MVP who had defeated Kane in a couple of matches prior to the pay-per-view. Then-general manager Theodore Long decided it would be best to blow off the feud with an inferno match. In terms of in-ring ability, the match actually holds up. MVP put up a decent fight and took a similar dive from the top rope to the announcer's table like Kane did seven years prior.

The storytelling was solid, too — MVP played the scared heel role perfectly, and got what was coming to him at the end when Kane pushed him back-first into the flames. It was a great visual and further solidified that Kane was still a dominant (big red) machine.

2. The Undertaker vs. Kane, Unforgiven 1998

Oftentimes, the original ranks among the best with certain match types. That applies to the inferno match as well.

The first inferno match, which was held at Unforgiven 1998 between Undertaker and Kane, could easily rank No. 1 on this list. It's a classic. The kayfabe brothers were in the middle of a long feud which saw Kane tormenting Undertaker with the help of Paul Bearer, Kane's kayfabe father. Bearer challenged Undertaker to an inferno match on behalf of Kane, and the two put on a hoss fight in front of a crowd in awe of the flames surrounding the ring.

The match produced an awesome moment of Undertaker diving over the ropes (and fire) to attack Kane, who fought a returning Vader outside of the ring. It ended with Undertaker delivering a big boot to Kane who fell into the flames and caught his arm on fire. The crowd roared in shock as Kane panicked and ran to the back with his arm ablaze. The moment was shocking and entertaining, and fit perfectly in an era that thrived on unpredictability.

1. Randy Orton vs. The Fiend Bray Wyatt (Firefly Inferno match), TLC 2020

Over 20 years after the original inferno match, the WWE brought the match back with another twist.

Randy Orton and "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt faced off in a "Firefly Inferno" match at TLC 2020 inside the WWE's ThunderDome. The lack of fans physically present in the arena allowed WWE to use camera tricks to tell their story and put together a compelling and shocking matchup. Also, instead of the outside of the ring being on fire, it was the outside of the barricades that were set ablaze.

The action between Orton and Wyatt started off in the ring but quickly went off the rails (in a good way). Wyatt poured a line of gasoline up to a rocking chair and tried to light a sitting Orton on fire. Eventually, a panicked Orton shoved Wyatt into flames, lighting Wyatt's whole back side on fire. Wyatt ran into the ring and Orton immediately dropped him with an RKO.

The match could have ended there and it would have been good enough, but WWE took advantage of the lack of physical fans to do something truly over the top and memorable. Orton brought a gas can into the ring and poured gas over Wyatt, lit a match and set his whole body on fire. The show closed with Orton doing his signature stance as Wyatt's (fake) body burned.