Badd Blood: In Your House
October 5, 1997
Kiel Center, St Louis, MO
This PPV is remembered for two reasons, one good and one bad. The good - we have the first ever Hell in a Cell match in WWF history, as after the wild chaos we saw last month at Ground Zero, Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker step inside the devil's playground to settle their differences and also determine who will face WWF Champion Bret Hart at the Survivor Series. Speaking of Bret Hart, he's an afterthought once again tonight as he teams with the British Bulldog to battle Vader & The Patriot in a flag match. As far as the bad news goes, the day of this PPV, Brian Pillman was found dead in his hotel room. The initial announcement was made on the Free for All but I'll get more into it later, but it was really the first of the well documented tragedies that are sadly too common in this great business. Anyway letís get on with the show, and as always, follow me on Twitter at
Our opening video package highlights the Hell in a Cell match tonight and the ongoing issues between the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. We then head into the arena to our announcing team of Vince McMahon, Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. This would be McMahon's last PPV in the commentary position as Jim Ross would take over as the voice of the company going forward. As the participants in our opening match head on out a noticeably shaken Vince mentions Pillman's passing and tells us that the details are not all clear yet but he will update us when he can.
Legion of Doom vs Rocky Maivia, D'Lo Brown & Kama Mustafa This was supposed to be a six man tag with Ken Shamrock teaming with the LOD but he was recently injured by Faarooq on Raw is War and so its 3 on 2 here after the LOD agrees to go at it alone. This version of the Nation is definitely an upgrade from the original and really was a good way to get over the new heel character of Rocky Maivia. The name change would come soon. No sign of Faarooq here since he is competing later on. I'm not really sure of any major issues going on between these guys, so I'm fairly certain that this is just here to put over the new incarnation of the Nation, and Rocky in particular as the star of that group. The match isn't very good though. The LOD are quickly deteriorating in the ring with their best days long behind them. On the other side of the ring, Rocky is still getting into the swing of things, D'Lo is still very green, and Kama just never was that great ring wise. Very basic stuff here and probably not the best choice for an opener. Faarooq ends up heading down to ringside to distract the LOD leading to Rocky picks up the win for his team as expected, as he hits Hawk with the still unnamed Rock Bottom to score the pinfall at 12:16. Nothing special here at all, but it was simply here to showcase Rocky.
Back at the announce position Vince gives the official announcement regarding Pillman's death and offers his condolences to Pillman's family. He tells us that since Pillman was scheduled to face Dude Love tonight we will have a replacement match coming up next. To conclude the Pillman/Marlena storyline, Dude was wrestling Pillman tonight wanting to defend the honour of Goldust and Marlena's love after Marlena was forced to spend the past month with Pillman. Supposedly Goldust and Marlena were set to renew their wedding vows the next night on Raw, but Marlena would turn heel and unite with Pillman once and for all. Its one of those storylines that we'll sadly never know. Rest in Peace Brian Pillman.
Max Mini & Nova vs Tarantula & Mosaic Again this was thrown together at the last second to fill in time due to the tragic Pillman situation, so you can't really criticise this one. Of course, its the Max Mini brigade so this is going to at least be mildly entertaining. For what it was, this was decent enough, although it sadly just reminds us that Pillman is no longer among us. The rules in this one require tags to be made, but all you need to do is get to your corner for another midget to come in. Anyway not much to talk about here. Mini picks up the win for his team with a crucifix on Tarantula at 6:44. Decent enough filler given the circumstances.
Before our next match, Sunny makes her way out to ringside to serve as the guest ring announcer. She looks amazing as always, but she hasn't done anything of note in a year now.
WWF Tag Team Championship:
The Headbangers (c) vs The Godwinns w/Uncle Cletus The Godwinns get their tag title shot here after picking up a non-title victory over the champs on Raw is War. That victory came thanks to the interference of their debuting manager Uncle Cletus, who was basically just another crazy hillbilly. He wouldn't last very long and I think this could even be his only PPV appearance. Phineas takes issue with Sunny being at ringside so its nice to see a bit of continuity there. The crowd really does not care about this match though, and its pretty bad. Its very sloppy and just a terrible match all round. The champions come up short here, as their brief title reign comes to an end when Phineas hits a powerbomb on Mosh to pick up the win at 12:18. This was a train wreck of a match and the Godwinns are now the new WWF Tag Team Champions.
We now go to a video package that focuses on Stone Cold Steve Austin's actions since injuring his neck at Summerslam. This is the time period in which he truly developed the anti-authority persona that made him so successful as he's just been going around stunning everyone. Of course the most important of these stunners was delivered on a recent episode of Raw is War to Vince McMahon himself, who sold it as though he had been shot. We now go to Michael Cole who is standing by with Owen Hart. He demands that the WWF officials keep Austin away from him in his match tonight or he will resort to legal action.
Back at ringside, Jim Ross and Sunny honour the St Louis legends in attendance this evening. Those honoured include Gene Kiniski, Jack Brisco, Dory Funk Jr, Harley Race, Terry Funk, Lou Thesz and promoter Sam Muchnick. Neat little segment here as each gets a brief video package and a plaque presented to them. This was in a time where history wasn't really acknowledged so its pretty cool.
We now go back to Dok Hendrix, who is with Faarooq. He says he's going to take Owen out and become the I.C Champion tonight. He also doesn't care about Austin Back at the announce position, Vince tells us that it appears Pillman's death may have been due to a drug overdose, but we don't have all the details yet.
WWF Intercontinental Championship:
Owen Hart vs Faarooq So Austin had been stripped of the title due to his neck injury and a tournament has been held to crown the new champion with this being the finals. One problem here - its heel vs heel which rarely ever works since the crowd don't have anybody to get behind. Owen is wearing his classic Owen 3:16 says I just broke your neck shirt which brings Austin out to ringside. He gets on commentary for this one as he steals McMahon's headset and is all over Vince. Commissioner Slaughteris also out here to ensure Stone Cold doesn't get involved in the match. Austin's antics at ringside taking announcer microphones (even joining the Spanish and French commentary teams) so he can talk is far more entertaining than what is actually going on in the ring here, so at least this isn't boring. Owen seems out of it tonight, but thats understandable considering his friendship with Pillman. Austin on the other hand is doing a good job at not letting it show as he's trash talking as always. After a pretty basic match, Austin ends up making his presence felt as Jim Neidhart comes down to ringside and he and Slaughter get into a confrontation distracting the official. With all this going in, Austin comes in and whacks Faarooq with the I.C title belt which allows Owen to pin his opponent at 5:51. The idea here was that Austin wanted Owen to win so that he would be able to take the title back from him when he returned to action. After the match Austin goes after Owen but Faarooq is not happy either. This definitely would have been a lot worse if not for Austin's shenanigans.
Now we get a brief recap of the events leading to our flag match later on. Before we get there though we have another bonus match to fill in the extra time. Yep its Gang Wars time.
Disciples of Apocalypse vs Los Boricuas We saw this at Summerslam and we've got it again. To be fair, this was also just thrown on to the card to eat up time, but the Gang Wars are really overstaying their welcome at this point since its just the same old stuff every time. At least the Boricuas have changed their outfit and are no longer wearing their terrible original attire. The match is just more of the same though which really renders the whole thing pointless as this feud never went anywhere. At least the Nation have pretty much moved on to better things. This time its the DOA who emerges victorious, as Crush pins Jesus Castillo following a 360 degree backbreaker thanks to the assistance of fellow biker Chainz. Crush scores the pinfall at 8:04, but he'll be gone from the company following the events of next month. This long and never ending rivalry between the factions will continue though. Ugh.
We now hear from Bret Hart and the British Bulldog who are in action up next. They say they are better than any American wrestlers and that is why the Canadian flag will be raised tonight. We then go to Vader and the Patriot. Vader says Bret calling himself the best there is, was and ever will be is a load of bullshit as Vince apologises for his choice of words.
Vader & The Patriot vs Bret Hart & British Bulldog So after being a total afterthought ever since winning the WWF title back at Summerslam, Bret doesn't even defend his title tonight. Vader joined Patriot in his battles against the Hart Foundation since turning face and ran off Bulldog during Patriot's match with Bret at Ground Zero. Apart from that there isn't much to say at all about this feud as its really just the Hart Foundation hates America, although the Foundation did beat down Patriot and Vader on Raw is War heading into this show. I felt as though the face turn for Vader was a good idea, but the idea of him being all patriotic seems a little forced. Anyway there is a US flag in one corner and a Canadian flag in the other for this one. You can win this one by pinfall, submission, or grabbing your flag. The match is decent but a bit long for a match like this, but I can forgive the guys here as Pillman's passing had to have shaken them up, especially Bulldog and Bret. Some idiot fan jumps the rail towards the end of the match and tries to get in the ring during this one only to get thrown out by security. In the end Bret rolls up Patriot and uses the tights to score the cheap win at 25:07. I would have preferred a match between Vader and Bret or even a Bret/Patriot rematch here instead of this as this seems like something that could have been done on Raw instead. After the match, Patriot and Vader beat up Bret and Bulldog to get their heat back. At least that got something of a pop from the crowd. Oh yeah, no flags even get raised here - why was this a flag match again?
As the Cell is lowered, we get a brief plug for Survivor Series next month in Montreal. Oh thats going to be an eventful tonight. We then head to the back for a brief word with the ever cocky Shawn Michaels who says he is the only guy crazy enough to get into the Cell with the Undertaker after their war last month. We then get a recap of the events leading to this match going all the way back to Shawn's heel turn at Summerslam. Alright, lets save this show shall we?
Hell in a Cell Match:
Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels w/Triple H, Chyna & Rick Rude Theres not a huge amount to talk about here storyline wise that hasn't already been covered. Shawn cost Taker the title back at Summerslam and these guys have been going at it ever since. They fought last month at Ground Zero to a no contest when all hell broke loose so tonight they step inside the first ever instance of the most demonic and brutal match in company history - Hell in a Cell. The winner of this match also faces Bret Hart for the WWF Championship next month at the Survivor Series. Shawn is also the reigning European Champion after beating Bulldog back at One Night Only in England, and he makes his way out to huge heat here, along with his yet to be named team of Degenerates. Undertaker follows and the place explodes out of their seats. The door os locked behind him and Commissioner Slaughter heads out to eject the future DX members from ringside. Shawn freaks out and tries to run, but Taker catches him and we are set to go. The early part of the match sees Taker absolutely annihilate Michaels, using the cell to his advantage to inflict even more pain on his hated opponent. Shawn tries to escape by climbing up the inside of the Cell, but Taker pulls him right back down. Shawn gets a few shots in, but for the most part Taker is destroying HBK here. Shawn brings a chair into play and takes the fight to the Phenom. Moving on, Shawn ends up landing on a camera man at ringside and proceeds to beat on him out of frustration. This results in EMTs coming down to the ring and unlocking the cage door to get the camera man out of there, which allows the action to spill to the outside of the Cell. They fight against the side of the exterior for a bit and Shawn starts to bleed like crazy as he blades mid-move. After that impressive feat, he lowblows Taker and climbs to the top of the cell as the crowd is going insane. They fight on top for a bit, with Taker doing even more damage until Shawn is left hanging from the top of the cell on the announce side. Taker steps on his fingers, sending Shawn falling through the Spanish table in a huge bump that would only be followed by something more insane next year. The crowd is going insane as JR says Michaels is broken in half. They finally get back into the ring and Taker looks set to put Michaels away, when suddenly the lights go out and the now famous organ music hits. Bathed in red light, Paul Bearer heads out with the Undertaker's brother Kane, making his first appearance. Now Vince is going crazy - "that's gotta be Kane!". Kane rips off the door, takes out the referee and stares down Taker and sets of his ring post pyro. Taker makes the mistake of looking away briefly and Kane levels his brother with a tombstone. Before they leave, Bearer wakes up the referee and then heads to the back with Kane. An incredibly bloody Michaels now slowly crawls on top of Taker and the referee counts the three at 29:57. Absolutely incredible match here that started perhaps the greatest gimmick match of all time. We close the show with Taker laid out as the future DX members make their way back out to carry Shawn to safety.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a show carried by the main event, which by all accounts was simply legendary. It was a very good first Hell in a Cell match that effectively blew off a heated rivalry and kick started what would become one of the Undertaker's most famous feuds. After surviving Hell in a Cell thanks to the assistance of Kane, Shawn Michaels heads to Survivor Series to do battle with Bret Hart for the WWF Championship, a match that will go down as probably the most controversial in WWF history. Outside of the main event, there's really nothing to go out of the way to see here, with the only remotely good match being the flag match (or not flag match), but even that was only average. Having said that I can't fault the guys on the card too much here, as they had just lost one of their colleagues earlier in the day. Overall though, a below average show saved by an incredible main event. Kind of strange that both matches that I have given five stars to this year have been on relatively unspectacular cards (the other of course being Austin/Bret from Mania). Good thing we had them to save the day huh?
Three Stars of the Night: 1. Shawn Michaels - incredible showing here as he took an insane amount of punishment and was absolutely destroyed in the main event. The massive blade job added to the brutality as well
2. Undertaker - likewise, a very good effort inside the cell dishing out the punishment on his hated adversary
3. Bret Hart - he did his best here despite not having a lot to work with in a meaningless tag match.
FINAL GRADE: 4 out of 10
ALL TIME PERFORMANCE: What I do here is add the three stars of the night with each review so as to keep track of who we can say overall is the greatest PPV performer to any given time. First place scores 3 points, second 2 and third 1. The list is put together from all the shows I have reviewed thus far. No change to the rankings this time around.