WWF Badd Blood: In Your House (October 5, 1997)

WWF Badd Blood 1997.jpg

I’ve decided to take a look back at Badd Blood: In Your House. This is the PPV that gave us the first ever Hell in a Cell match as well as the debut of Kane. It was also, unfortunately, overshadowed by the unexpected death of Brian Pillman, which was discovered several hours before the show took place.

I watched this live on PPV back in the day, but outside of the three things I’ve mentioned I have no memory of anything that took place on this show. So let’s check it out and see what sort of hidden classics I’ve forgotten about since 1997.

We get a brief video package about the bad blood between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker before heading to the Kiel Center in St. Louis, Missouri for action. The music that would become the entrance music for the most electrifying entertain in the history of our sport, Steve Blackman, plays as we check in with our hosts for the evening: Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, and Jerry “The King” Lawler. The internet tells me that this show was Vince’s last PPV as the lead commentator. If that is the case, this is not one of his better nights on the mic.

Match 1: The Legion of Doom vs. The Nation of Domination
Handicap Match

As The Nation makes their way down to the ring Vince informs us that earlier today they learned that Brian Pillman was found dead in his hotel room. I remember being utterly poleaxed by this announcement when I saw this live and not thinking it was real, but that did not prove to be the case.

This was supposed to be a six-man tag team match with Ken Shamrock joining the LOD but Shamrock was on the receiving end of a spinebuster from Faarooq that had him spitting up blood and then further aggravated his injuries by facing Vader in Japan a few days earlier and thus was unable to compete.

The LOD get on the mic and say that they couldn’t get anyone to replace Shamrock so they’re going to make this a 3 on 2 handicap match.

D’Lo Brown and Hawk start things off. Hawk destroys D’Lo for a bit before tagging in Animal for more of the same. D’Lo tags in Rocky for the requisite “Rocky Sucks!” chants. Rocky bails to the floor to stall for a bit while JR claims that Rocky is upset that his alma mater, the Miami Hurricanes lost at football yesterday because everything is related to college football in Jim Ross’ world.

Rocky heads back in where Animals proceeds to wreck his shit too. Vince talks about LOD being the best team in the WWF and then remembers that they aren’t champions and is like, “Uh…even though they don’t have the belts right now…”

Animal tags in Hawk who ends up in the Nation’s corner, but he spins out of there with a quickness as The Supreme Fighting Machine, Kama, comes in. He and Hawk do a double clothesline spot and then both proceed to not sell it, popping back up instantly.

Hawk tags Animal back in who proceeds to powerslam Kama causing the Ultimate Fighting Machine to make the tag to The Rock who comes in an nails Animal with a DDT to take over on offense.

Animal plays the face in peril as the Nation works quick tags and takes turns beating on Animal and preventing him from making a tag to Hawk as Vince calls the Nation “a pack of bears” before realizing that bears don’t usually hunt in packs. Animal levels D’Lo with a clothesline but he’s unable to make the tag.

Rocky gets tagged in though and he proceeds to work Animal over with shitty looking stomps in the corner. The referee tries to stop him so The Rock menaces him with his fist. This brings in Hawk in which distracts the referee, giving Rocky a chance to punch Animal in the dick which earns him a near fall.

Animal gets to the corner and makes the tag, but the referee didn’t see it so he sends Hawk back out while Animal gets triple teamed with Rocky and Kama holding Animal down so D’Lo can hit the Low Down. Kama covers but only gets two.

The action ends up spilling out to the floor where Animal gets sent into the steel steps before being sent back into the ring. Animal finally makes the HOT TAG to Hawk who proceeds to clean house, hitting a reverse neckbreaker on D’Lo as Animal disposes of Kama.

The Legion of Doom then call for the Doomsday Device and Animal I think hurks up Rocky but then out comes Faarooq! Somehow his mere presence is enough to distract Animal who drops The Rock to go look at Faarooq. D’Lo clotheslines Animal out to the floor.

Back in the ring Hawk goes for a flying clothesline on Rocky but misses. Kama kicks Hawk into The Rock who hits a Rock Bottom to pick up the win.

Winners: The Nation of Domination

The match was more or less a fine, if a bit long (though not without reason) and somewhat formulaic, but the ending was very stupid. The Legion of Doom more or less had the match won until Faarooq appeared and just stood there, causing Animal to throw The Rock down before hitting the Doomsday Device for absolutely no reason, causing the Legion to lose the match for no good reason. [*⅔]

Meanwhile at the Announce Table…

We check in with the announce team where a extremely somber looking Vince McMahon informs us that Brian Pillman vs. Dude Love was supposed to take place next but would not being happening because Brian Pillman had been found dead earlier in the day in his hotel room. Vince offers his condolences to Pillman’s family and friends and then informs us that if they had more information they’d let us know.

The show must go on though, so Vince tells us that they’ve got a great replacement match lined up for us and that match is…

Match 2: Mosaic & Tarantula vs. Max Mini & Nova

Minis. We are replacing Foley vs. Pillman with minis…

We start with Nova doing a dive only to get taken down by the bigger Tarantula. This is sloppy with both guys seemingly mistiming things early on. All four men end up out on the floor and brawl as Jerry Lawler makes bad dad jokes about their size.

Back in the ring Max Mini tosses Mosaic around with hip tosses before hitting a back body drop. The announcers don’t seem to understand lucha libre tag team rules. Tarantula comes in and goes for a flip but completely misses it.

Max then gets a near fall off a hurricanrana but is quickly overpowered by the larger rudos. Mosaic and Tarantula work Max Mini over and Tarantula connects with a top rope splash. They then head back out to the floor where we get the one cool spot of the entire match as Tarantula gorilla press slams Max Mini onto the announce table directly in front of Jerry Lawler much to his delight.

Back in the ring Max Mini continues to get wailed on by his bigger adversaries. Eventually though Max Mini begins to rally, and ultimately pins Tarantula with a botched looking crucifix roll up that it looks like Tarantula kicked out of at two. The ref raises Max Mini’s hand anyway, bringing the match to a close.

Winners: Max Mini & Nova

I’ve seen some good minis matches in my life time, but this was not one of them. The guys did a lot of stuff but it was sloppy and the commentary shit all over it with Vince declaring that he had no idea what was going on or what various botches were supposed to be multiple times over the course of the match. [⅛]

Match 3: The Godwinns (w/ Uncle Cletus) vs. The Headbangers (c)

Sunny’s music hits and she comes out to do ring introductions for the tag team championship match because she’s got nothing better to do I guess.

As the champions make their way out, JR wonders what Muchnick and Thesz think of the Headbangers. The match begins with the Headbangers cleaning house before we get a goddamn spitting contest between Mosh and Phineas. Mosh then sends Phineas out to the floor with a hurricanrana.

Thrasher then goes for a hurricanrana of his own off the apron that the camera misses initially. Vince demands a replay and when we get it it’s clear that he completely fucked it up.

Back in the ring Phineas gets flapjacked and lands directly on his head. He tags in Henry who does a whole lot of nothing in the ring with Thrasher before tagging Phineas back in. The Headbangers do a bunch of double team moves on Phineas while Vince McMahon loses his shit over Thrasher’s pierced tongue.

Thrasher skanks so Henry sneaks into the ring and levels him with a clothesline allowing the Godwinns to take control. He gets dumped out to the floor where he’s double teamed by Henry and Uncle Cletus. He gets sent back into the ring where Phineas drops a series of knees onto him for a two count.

Thrasher comes back with a desperation sunset flip on Phineas but Henry distracts the referee so he only manages a two count. Lawler does the Jeff Foxworthy “if x you might be a redneck,” shtick but replaces “redneck” with “Godwinn,” as Henry gets tagged in.

Henry hits a wheelbarrow facebuster thing that earns him a near fall. We then get a double down. Henry is the first back to his feet and he manages to tag in Phineas who prevents Thrasher from making the tag to Mosh.

Phineas sends Thrasher into the corner and goes for a charge but misses. Thrasher hits a back suplex and makes the HOT TAG to Mosh who comes in a house of fire and takes out all the Godwinns, including Uncle Cletus. Thrasher then powerbombs Mosh into Phineas for a near fall.

Thrasher goes after Henry and Uncle Cletus as Mosh comes off the top rope with the Mosh Pit. What I think was supposed to happen was Phineas was supposed to catch him for a powerbomb. What actually happens is Phineas just kind of drops Mosh straight down onto the mat. It looked like shit. Phineas covers and The Godwinns are your new WWF Tag Team Champions. The crowd goes mild.

After the match the Godwinns beat on the Headbangers some more because this goddamn match hasn’t gone on long enough yet. There is an announcement that if they don’t leave the ring immediately the referee will reverse the decision and strip them of their titles. The Godwinns then leave.

Winners: The Godwinns

This went way too long and wasn’t particularly good to begin with. Granted some of these matches probably got more time than they would have originally because of the Pillman match being taken off the card, but this match would have been better if it were half as long as it was. [*]

Highlights for Children!

We are shown a video package of Stone Cold giving a bajillion WWF authority figures the Stone Cold Stunner. Tomorrow on Raw Austin has to decide what he’s going to do about his injured neck.

Meanwhile Backstage…

Michael Cole interviews Owen Hart who stumbles through his promo to say that he is sick of hearing about Austin and wants Commissioner Slaughter to keep Austin away from him during his match so he can do what he came here to do and win the Intercontinental Championship.

Honoring St. Louis Wrestling…

We then get a little awards ceremony to honor some of the legends of St. Louis wrestling. This is actually very classy and well done. Each honoree gets a plaque and a little video package about their accomplishments and contributions to St. Louis wrestling. Gene Kiniski, Jack Brisco, Dory Funk Jr., Harley Race, Terry Funk, Lou Thesz, and Sam Muchnick are all honored.

WWE always does a good job with video packages and stuff so these were all very well done.

Meanwhile Backstage…

Dok Hendrix is with The Nation of Domination. He asks Faarooq about Steve Austin getting involved with Nation business which pisses off Faarooq leading to him storming off.

Meanwhile at the Announce Table…

A nervous looking Vince McMahon tells us that no foul play was involved with the death of Brian Pillman. Authorities are looking at whether or not this was an overdose of either prescription or recreational drugs but they wouldn’t know for certain until the results of the toxicology report were released the following week.

The fact that they are doing this during the show makes the entire thing feel like it’s an angle rather than something that’s actually happening, but we all know that this was 100% real which makes Vince talking about overdoses and stuff even wilder.

Match 4: Owen Hart vs. Faarooq

This is for the Intercontinental Championship that Stone Cold is being forced to vacate due to his neck injury.

Owen Hart comes to the ring with a Canadian flag and his two Slammy Awards. He plays to the crowd a bit but you can tell he’s really not into the match.

We get the sound of breaking glass as Austin comes out and flips off Owen Hart before sitting down ringside with the title belt. I guess Austin was ordered to sit there and award the title to the winner of the match by Sgt. Slaughter as an ironic punishment or something, but it ends up going about as well as you’d expect.

Austin angrily rings the bell to start the match much to the confusion of everyone involved. He then steals Vince McMahon’s headset and starts yelling at Owen and Faarooq to wrestle. He tells Jerry Lawler not to talk any trash about him and then gives Vince his headset back and sits back down next to Slaughter.

Owen and Faarooq do some stuff in the ring, but none of it is really of any consequence because out at ringside Austin is randomly shown talking into to a production guy’s microphone. Austin then knocks off JR’s hat and goes over to the Spanish announce table where he steals Carlos Cabrera’s headset and yells some stuff. Tito Santana continues doing Spanish commentary and Austin gets pissed off at him and threatens him when he hears Tito say the word “loco.”

Austin then goes over to the French announce table and tells them to tell the viewers in Quebec or France or wherever that next month he’ll be in Montreal and he’s going to be pissed off when he gets there.

Back in the ring Owen goes for a Sharpshooter but Faarooq kicks him off and hits a powerslam for two. He follows with a spinebuster which causes Jim Neidhart to make his way down to the ring. Sgt. Slaughter goes to deal with Neidhart which gives Austin a chance to blast Faarooq in the head with the Intercontinental Championship for some reason. Owen then covers Faarooq to win the match and the vacated Intercontinental Championship.

Austin hurls the belt into the ring at Owen who holds it up victorious as Austin stares daggers at him. As Owen leaves the ring he proudly declares, “I did it all by myself!”

Winner: Owen Hart

The match was pretty much an afterthought here with Owen and Faarooq going through the motions while Austin did this shtick at ringside. I honestly don’t remember a single thing that happened in the ring besides the two or three moves that lead up to Neidhart coming out to the ringside area for the finish of the match.

Austin was kind of hilarious on commentary, acting like a kid with ADD, but it was clear that both him and Owen were not entirely into this due to Pillman’s passing. [*]

Highlights for Children!

We see clips from the September 29th episode of Raw where the Hart Foundation laid out The Patriot and Vader and then proceeded to drape Canadian flags over their bodies.

Match 5: Los Boricuas vs. Disciples of Apocalypse

Apparently this is another replacement match thrown together because Brian Pillman died.

In the early going of the match JR informs us that if we like clotheslines this was the match for us because we were going to see a lot of them. Vince later declared that the match was going to be nothing more than “fists, boots, and clotheslines,” neither man was far off the mark.

Miguel Perez, the hirsute memeber of Los Boricuas, starts things off against one of those fucking Harris Twins. DOA makes tags and each member clubbers Perez for a bit before tagging out.

Perez eventually gets to his corner and tags Savio in for more of the same. The bikers work him over with clubbering and clotheslines. Eventually Chainz tags in and the Boricuas take over on offense.

Fake Undertaker plays biker in peril for nine hundred years as the Boricuas swarm him in and outside the ring anytime the referee is distracted. The work him over in the corner and then hit a trio of clotheslines (JR was not kidding) capped off with a spinning heel kick by Vega that only gets two on the biker.

Chainz comes back with a cross body that earns him a two count. He then gets back to his corner and tags the big Hawaiian, Crush, in. Things immediately break down into an eight-way with dudes brawling all over the place.

Crush nails Jesus with a big boot, but the referee is busy with other dudes and doesn’t count the pin. Crush gets up and gets the referee’s attention only to end up getting planted by Jesus with a DDT for two.

Jesus then gets sent off the ropes where Chainz, who is out on the apron, clotheslines him in the back of the head before Crush catches the Los Boricuas member for an ugly tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to pick up the win.

The audience explodes, but whether that was because wrestling fans of 1997 loved the Gang Warz shit or because this awful match was finally over I can’t accurately say.

Winners: Disciples of Apocalypse

This was god awful. The bulk of the guys in this match were never any good, and those who were capable of having good matches were not motivated to do so due to the fact that they were involved in this shitty angle.

When people today talk about how good the Attitude Era was I think they forget that the bulk of any given card was shit like this: bad workers having bad matches for stupid reasons. [⅓]

Meanwhile Backstage…

Michael Cole is standing by with Bret Hart and The British Bulldog ahead of their Flag Match. Hart says that they’re going to prove that the Hart Foundation is better than any two Americans and there’s nothing the America fans can do.

Elsewhere Backstage…

Dok Hendrix gets some comments from the duo of The Patriot and Vader. The Patriot says that he’s going to settle his issues with the Hart Foundation once and for all tonight. Vader then gets on the mic and says that Bret Hart’s claims of being the best there is, was, and ever will be, “is a bunch of bullshit.” He the says he’s tired of big mouth Canadians talking trash about America. IT’S VADER TIME!

JR and Vince feign shock and dismay that Vader said “shit.”

Match 6: Bret Hart & The British Bulldog vs. The Patriot & Vader
Flag Match

Bret Hart and The British Bulldog make their way out and head into the ring. Vader and The Patriot then head out. I had forgotten that The Patriot used the music that would later be made famous by Kurt Angle so that’s weird.

We get a huge brawl at ringside before the match actually begins because national pride was a huge issue in 1997. Bret and Vader pair off while The Patriot and The British Bulldog brawl in the aisle.

They’re using the flags that they brought out with them as weapons, wailing on each other with flagpoles and stuff. At one point The Patriot strangles The British Bulldog with the American flag. This is goddamn insane.

Vader and The Patriot more or less dispatch the Hart Foundation and head into the ring and the bell is rung. The Patriot and Vader then just stand there for a few moments before it dawns on them that they can just climb the ropes and grab the flag to win the match. The Patriot eventually realizes what the rules to the match are (or he heard Jerry Lawler yelling about it on commentary) and starts to climb for the flag, but it’s too little too late and Bret blasts him in the cock to cut him off.

Patriot and Bulldog trade some shots in the ring, but nothing of note really happens until they tag in Vader and Bret respectively. Vader mauls him in the corner but misses on an avalanche and gets dropped by a clothesline from the Bulldog.

Bret hits the Russian Legsweep and then heads up for the flag, but Vader gets back to his feet and punches Bret in the dick. Hart goes for a sunset flip, which is a bad idea and results in Vader sitting on him for a two count.

Both men tag in their partners, bringing in Bulldog and Patriot. Patriot goes for a dropkick that he completely whiffs on and the goes for the US flag. Bret and Bulldog have different ideas though and beat him down. Bret then proceeds to choke the Patriot on the apron while Davey Boy goes after the Canadian flag.

Vader cuts him off and slams him to the mat. Bulldog gets sent into the corner and Patriot goes for a corner charge, only to miss and run his shoulder into the ringpost. Bret then heads over to slap on the dreaded ringpost assisted figure four. Vader comes over to break the hold so Bret spits at him because Bret Hart is the best.

Back in the ring Bret locks on the Sharpshooter. The Patriot kind of reverses it into a sloppy looking version of the hold. We then get the Patriot climbing over a heap of humanity in an effort to grab the flag but ends up getting pulled off by the Bulldog.

The Hart Foundation pulls out the Demolition Decapitation for a two count on the Patriot but Patriot crawls back to his corner and Vader gets the HOT TAG. He trucks through Bulldog and covers, but Bulldog kicks out at two. He follows with a splash for another near fall.

Bret gets the tag and hits a back suplex on Vader and then goes for a Sharpshooter only for Patriot to come in and break it up. The Patriot then gets Bret in the figure four leglock in spite not being the legal man in the match. Bulldog comes in and breaks it up and then suplexes Patriot for a two count. I don’t know if either man is legal.

Patriot gets worked over for a bit before tagging Vader back in, who I think was actually the legal man at this point. I don’t even know any more. Vader goes for the Vadersault on Bulldog who moves at the last second. Vader, however, manages to correct midair and kind of land on his feet in a pretty impressive spot.

Bulldog gets clotheslined out to the floor and we get some more ringside brawling between Davey Boy Smith and Vader. Bret grabs the ring bell and blasts Vader with it in front of the ref but it does not draw a DQ. He sends Vader back in and slams him and hits a flying elbow before dropping him with a DDT for two.

Vader comes back with a double clothesline that drops both men and then makes the HOT TAG to the Patriot who comes in and runs wild. The Patriot hits one of the greatest named moves in all of professional wrestling when he hits an Uncle Slam (full nelson slam) on Bret for a near fall but Bulldog makes the save. An idiot fan chooses this moment to try to get into the ring. The referee rolls him back out to the floor while The British Bulldog kicks him and looks like he wants to jump off the apron to murder the guy.

Back in the ring, Vader hits Bret with a Vader Bomb. Patriot then goes for an O’Connor roll but Bret reverses it and grabs a handful of tights to pick up the win, rendering the entire stipulation of the match completely pointless.

Afterwards Patriot beats on Bret some more because he’s a good sportsman.

Winners: Bret Hart & The British Bulldog

There were parts of this that were very good, namely the opening brawling stuff and the back half of the match, but it went on too long and I’m not sure why they changed the stipulation to allow for pinfalls and submissions. If they wanted the match to end via pinfall they should have just had it be like that Hulk Hogan flag match from Saturday Night’s Main Event II where it was just a standard match and the winner got to wave their flag since the flags never came into play other than as reason for guys to repeatedly get punched in the cock while attempting to climb the turnbuckles.

It wasn’t a great match by any stretch of the imagination, but on this show it was probably the second best match on the card. [**]

Meanwhile Backstage…

As the cell begins to lower we head backstage to check in with Dok Hendrix is standing by with DX. Shawn sarcastically declares that he is relieved that his prestigious European Championship isn’t on the line tonight. He talks about how no one else is crazy enough to do this job and tonight he’s going to show everyone again why he’s the number one guy in the business. Triple H then begins to talk only for to be cut off as we head back to the arena.

Highlights for Children!

We get highlights of Shawn Michaels recent transformation into a self-centered heel who only cares about himself and his feud with The Undertaker.

Match 7: Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
Hell in a Cell Match

Before the match begins, Sgt. Slaughter checks under the ring with a flashlight to make sure no one is hiding under there. This is great and adds to the realism of the match.

Shawn’s out first, he still does all his posing and stuff, but once DX leaves the ringside area, and the Undertaker’s music hits he starts to look a little panicked. The door to the cell is locked and Undertaker stalks Michaels who proceeds to come of the ropes and run right into a big boot.

“This is not going to be pretty,” opines one Vincent K. McMahon.

Taker goes for an early chokeslam attempt but Shawn kicks away. He gets some mounted punches on the Dead Man in the corner but Taker just whips him into the corner for the trademark Shawn Michaels bump.

Taker hits Old School but Michaels gets back to his feet, only to be back dropped out to the floor. Taker goes out after him and Michaels attempts to escape by climbing the wall, but Taker just pulls him down and whips Shawn into the steel repeatedly occasionally clotheslining the fuck out of him to break up the monotony.

Undertaker then picks up Shawn and slams him spinefirst into the ringpost and then the corner of the cell. He does this a few times and then unloads on Michaels with a series of massive rights and lefts to the gut.

Taker then attempts to javelin Shawn into the wall of the cage headfirst, but Shawn slips out of it and shoves Taker into the wall instead. Taker no-sells this and takes Michaels head off with a clothesline. Taker then misses on a charge and ends up running into the cage and knocking himself silly.

Michaels heads back into the ring, but Taker gets up on the apron an hot shots him off the top rope. With Taker in position, HBK runs and hits a suicide dive that sends the Dead Man into the wall of the cell. He follows with an elbow drop from the cage and then connects with a flying clothesline from the apron that drops Taker. Shawn gets the ring steps and slams them into the Undertaker’s spine repeatedly.

Shawn then drags Taker over to the bottom half of the steps he pulled apart and delivers a piledriver onto them with a sickening crunch. Michaels then screams at a cameraman to “Get the fuck out of my way!” for being too close to him. Michaels continues with his offensive flurry by hitting a double axe handle.

Shawn then goes under the ring and, in a callback to the thing that begot this entire feud, gets a chair before heading back into the ring. Michaels proceeds to wail on Taker’s back with the chair but only manages a two count. Taker gets back to his feet and unloads on Michaels with a barrage of punches before back body dropping Shawn out to the floor onto one of the cameramen.

Shawn throws a temper tantrum and beats the shit out of the cameraman as JR and Vince bellow, “That cameraman has a family! He’s just trying to do his job!” The referee pleads with Shawn to stop beating up this defenseless jacked up cameraman.

Shawn eventually does and heads back into the ring as a ringside photographer checks on his coworker and calls for help. Sgt. Slaughter heads out as a somber Vince McMahon says, “We apologize to the…family.”

Back in the ring, Shawn takes over on offense, hitting a flying forearm and a top rope elbow drop on the Dead Man. Michaels warms up the band for Sweet Chin Music as Slaughter has the referee unlock the door to remove the injured cameraman. Michaels levels Taker with Sweet Chin Music right in the mush, but Taker no-sells it and does the zombie sit-up.

This is too much for Michaels to bear and he decides to bail. He shoves Slaughter out of the way so he can escape through the now opened door, but Taker is right behind him. They brawl a bit on the ramp with Shawn throwing dropkicks until Taker catches him mid-kick and catapults Michaels into the side of the cage, busting him open. Taker then throws the bloodied Michaels face first into the cage like a javelin a couple times before Michaels kicks him in the dick to cut him off.

Michaels attempts to flee by climbing up onto the roof of the Cell but Taker goes up after him. The crowd is going absolutely apeshit. Michaels attempts a piledriver but gets back body dropped by the Dead Man. Taker then proceeds to grind Shawn’s face into the chainlink fence that makes up the roof of the Cell, causing Shawn’s blood to drip down onto the camera lens (and undoubtedly the face of the cameraman holding said camera) aiming up at them from below.

“Aw shit!” shouts the cameraman.

Taker then gorilla press slams Shawn on top of the cage which, having seen what happened to Foley in the next Hell in a Cell match now seems even more batshit insane than it did when I watched this live.

Michaels attempts to escape back down to the floor, but Taker stomps on his hands as he dangles off the side of the cage, causing Michaels to go crashing through an announce table. This prompts JR do deliver the demo version of his infamous call of the Taker vs. Mankind Hell in a Cell match when he declares, “My God, he may be broken in half! Michaels may be broken in half!”

Taker heads down and joins Michaels on the floor. Michaels tries to crawl away from the Undertaker, but the result of the match is pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point. Taker throws him onto another announce table and slams him off it.

Michaels gets back to his feet and makes his way back into the ring. He’s dripping blood everywhere as Slaughter and the referee lock the door again and the Undertaker continues to beat on Shawn Michaels.

The Undertaker works him over in the corner and then puts him up on the top turnbuckle. Taker goes up with him and hits a SUPER CHOKESLAM off the top rope that lays Michaels out. Taker, however, does not go for a pin. Instead he goes under the ring and pulls out a steel chair.

Back in the ring he blasts Michaels in the head with it and the signals for the Tombstone when the lights suddenly go out. An eerie red glow then fills the arena as strange music plays and Paul Bearer makes his way out with a masked giant.

Vince McMahon ejaculates, “THAT’S GOTTA BE KANE!” a half dozen times and Kane and Paul Bearer make their way down to the ring.

Kane proceeds to rip the door off the Cell and then hurl the referee into the wall of the cage to take him out. He climbs into the ring as Taker stares on in disbelief. Kane and Undertaker stare at each other for awhile until Kane summons fire out of three of the four ringposts, distracting Taker. Kane hits a Tombstone Piledriver on Taker and then leaves with Paul Bearer.

Michaels crawls over and draps his arm over Taker’s body as the referee starts to come to. After an extremely long three count the bell is rung and Shawn Michaels music begins to play.

DX rushes down to the ring and help their bloodied cohort out of the ring and up the ramp where Triple H does crotch chops as Shawn Michaels continues to bleed all over the goddamn place. Back in the ring the Undertaker begins to move as Vince signs off and the show comes to a close.

Winner: Shawn Michaels

It’s kind of a shame that this Hell in a Cell has kind of been overshadowed by the more iconic Mankind vs. Undertaker Cell the following year since this is an absolute classic of a match. The in-ring psychology. The pacing. Even Kane’s debut. Everything here was just perfectly done. [*****]

Final Thoughts

Talk about a one match show. While the Hell in a Cell match will rightly go down in history as one of the greatest matches in the history of professional wrestling, nothing else on the card was really any good.

As I wrote above, some of it was undoubtedly due to people not being entirely into performing the day they learned of a friend’s untimely death or being in matches that were thrown together to replace Pillman’s death or given more time than needed to make up for the canceled match. Outside of the main event, the only match that isn’t complete garbage is the flag match, and that is probably about 10 minutes longer than it needed to be.

Check out the Hell in a Cell match between Michaels and Taker, but otherwise skip this show since there’s nothing worth watching.

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