And Shawn inside the Cell.
In Your House 18: Badd Blood
Date: October 5, 1997
Location: Kiel Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross, Vince McMahon
This is a very bittersweet show, as it’s the day that Brian Pillman, who was scheduled to have a match on the show, passed away. There’s still no clear decision as to whether or not letting the show go on was the right call, but Vince decided “it’s what Brian would have wanted.” I’ve hated that term for a long time but that’s how it goes. Anyway, your main feud is still Shawn vs. Taker, this time in the Hell in a Cell.
The poster for this event is just freaking creepy, as Taker is standing in front of shadows holding…his own severed head. It really does a good job of being freaky. Also tonight Owen and Farrooq are in a tournament final to determine the new IC Champion that Stone Cold had to forfeit due to his neck being screwed harder than Paris Hilton on a drinking binge.
The main event is also a #1 contenders match, with the winner going to Montreal to face Bret for the title. Yeah, nothing of note will happen at that show. Just a run of the mill title match. Let’s dig into this.
Very basic opening video which talks about the big feud. The theme music here would become that of Steve Blackman, before he became the Lethal Weapon. At least they were saving some money I suppose. Not a word about Pillman so far. There it is, as the Nation’s music is playing and they’re in the ring. Not a moment of silence, not a formal announcement, nothing at all. Seriously, at least show his picture. Now that I’m ticked off, let’s do this.
Nation of Domination vs. LOD
So we have NOD vs. LOD? That’s…..really nothing of note. It’s 3-2 and I think the ramp is the shortest of all time as I turned my head for about 4 seconds and the LOD was in the ring. The NOD here is Kama, D’Lo and Rocky. Shamrock is out with an injury which is making this a handicap match instead of a six man. After a brief intro we get a funny spot as D’lo tries to backdrop Hawk.
Hawk stops right in front of him and when Brown gets up he gets kicked in the face. I love it. Somewhere in between some of the PPVs, Ahmed joined the Nation and was kicked out about a week later. Rocky took his place. After the LOD beat on Rocky for awhile, Kama is tagged in. For those of you that don’t know, he’s more commonly known as the Godfather or Papa Shango. LOD’s offense is still just as basic as ever, but Hawk does break out an enzuguri.
Eventually Rock is back in and you can see the master in him starting to come out. His style is really starting to take form including the signature punch. The crowd has started the Rocky Sucks chants which would become a big part of his feud with Austin later on in the year. We get a beatdown on Animal who gets hit by the Low Down, which is I think my all time favorite splash.
It just looks sweet every time it’s thrown. For the second time in the match we get a double knockdown based on a double clothesline. That simply can’t be a good sign. The fact that the first one happened after four minutes isn’t a good sign either. Farrooq runs out to stop the beatdown on Rocky, leading to him hitting “a devastating maneuver” on Hawk to get the pin. It’s the Rock Bottom for those of you interested.
Rating: C-. It’s ok I guess and with Shamrock hurt it was all they could do on short notice, but who thought it would be a good idea to put the LOD in a nearly thirteen minute match against a rookie, a guy that was newly heel and Kama? At least put someone out there that can carry a match if need be. Their offense ran dry after about three minutes, but they were so over that it made up for it.
We go to the commentators to be told that this was when Pillman was supposed to face Dude Love. It’s quieter this time and far more serious. While it’s still not what I’d hope they would do, this is light years better than what they had earlier. They say they have another match instead of that one for us, and while I’m willing to bet it won’t be anything great, it has to be better than nothing. At least they were something close to respectful here. This does make up a bit for earlier.
Max Mini/Nova vs. Tarantula/Mosaic
This time, we’re lucky enough to get four of them. I suppose this is ok since they had only a few hours to get this together. The first team weighs a combined 169lbs. Awesome Kong’s gut weighs more than that. Hokey smoke Max Mini got a freaking pop! What in the world is going on??? Mini gets the Taz line as Lawler says he looks a lot bigger on the Lucky Charms box.
Upon watching another of these I really do have to say that it’s better on second viewing. Some of the stuff that they do really does work, but the match is light years better as it’s less than seven minutes long as opposed to the nearly 13 minute one from the previous show. The key to these things is to not have them run that long so the novelty doesn’t wear off. In this shorter format I was actually getting into this a bit.
Now it’s not something I want to watch on a regular basis, but it was far from awful like it was last time. This is much like a WCW cruiserweights match in that it’s based more on flash than on substance. That’s fine if they don’t rely on it too much. There’s not a lot that can be said here as it’s just fairly random spots all over the place with little if any flow to it. The crowd seems into it though so that’s a good sign. After a pretty basic speed based tag match, Max gets a roll up for the pin.
Rating: C+. What an improvement over last month’s match. I actually was liking this a bit and while it was shorter, it didn’t need the extra time. Everything was fairly random but it never seemed like they were just trying to kill time. I can’t stand matches like that where it’s just moves for the sake of filling in the allotted time. This was decent and while I don’t think I’d want to watch it on a regular basis, I didn’t hate this. Definitively not that bad.
Sunny comes out to one of the greatest theme songs of all time with I Know You Want Me. Of course she looks insane. She’s your ring announcer for the tag title match.
Tag Titles: Godwinns vs. Headbangers
The hog guys have a new uncle as Cletus comes with them to the ring. These guys as heels simply do not work. They don’t work now and they didn’t work when they first arrived. The Headbangers continue to be a very original gimmick to say the least. Cletus is the former TL Hopper, a wrestling plumber. That’s the brilliance of the writing in the early and mid 90s for the WWF.
Lawler and Vince’s arguments are the best part of this match so far. Lawler talks about how Vince hates southerners. Vince mentions that he was born in North Carolina which messes Lawler up to no end. The Headbangers really weren’t that bad in the ring actually. The gimmick is all that’s remembered about them though. Their gimmick was that they were alternative and punk music fans. They wear shirts of acts like Marylyn Manson, White Zombie etc.
At the time it was a cool idea and they were fairly successful. They wore skirts in the ring and had all kinds of paint and tattoos which actually was very unique looking. Ross has a great line about how in the world do mountain men like that learn to do clotheslines? That brings up some very amusing images in my mind of the Godwinns in the ring learning to wrestle in full blown kayfabe.
There’s a great series of segments in there somewhere. It’s an untapped area of wrestling. You see Shawn and Angle training. Why not see someone with an over the top gimmick learning to wrestle? There could be some decent comedy in there. Henry does a lifting wheelbarrow move that I really like but follows it up with a terrible one where he and Thrasher allegedly slam heads but it looks like they just run into each other.
The finish here is just flat out bad. I think it was a botch and if it does it helps a lot. Mosh’s finisher was a seated senton from the top, the same move that Rey uses from a springboard where he sits on the guy’s chest. Phineas was supposed to catch him in a powerbomb to finish the match. Instead he just kind of drops him onto his back to end it. It really looked bad. Post match they beat up the former champions.
Rating: C. This was passable I suppose, but seriously: punk rockers vs. evil rednecks? That just goes to show you how truly bad the tag division was at the time. Two days later the LOD would take the belts and hold them for about a month and a half. The New Age Outlaws would form and bring some life into the division for awhile, but the division wouldn’t right itself for about a year and a half though.
We get a video package on what Austin has done throughout the time since his injury. This basically amounts to beating up announcers. Oddly enough, Slaughter takes the Stunner in a way that I like as much as any I’ve ever seen. He throws his body out like he’s getting an RKO so when Austin stuns him he just stops dead.
It looks really sweet actually. Vince is of course terrible as he rolls over Austin and convulses like he’s being electrocuted. Tomorrow Austin has to make a decision about what he’s going to do with his injury.
Owen says he’s sick of hearing about Austin and will sue him if he can. I didn’t think it was possible, but Michaels Cole somehow looks dumber than ever before with what I think is a fade haircut. WOW.
I don’t know if this is to kill time because of Pillman but it’s nice to see. We get a ceremony honoring some of the great St. Louis area wrestlers over the years. The following are honored:
Gene Kiniski– Known as Canada’s Greatest Athlete, he held the NWA title for over three years, taking it from one Lou Thesz in Thesz’s home town of St. Louis. He also refereed the main event of the first Starrcade in the cage match with Race vs. Flair.
We’re even getting a video package of each guy. This is really something that’s impressing me. They’re even giving them plaques. This is awesome.
Jack Brisco– This guy gets a big pop. While his brother is more famous as one of the Stooges, this guy is far better in the ring. He held the NWA Title twice for a combined reign of over two years in his own right, beating Race and Baba to get it. Check out him and his brother against Youngblood and Steamboat at Starrcade 83 which was a great tag match.
Dory Funk Jr.- HOLY GOODNESS they’re breaking out some big guns for this. Held the NWA Title over four years and somehow is the brother of the wildest wrestler of all time in Terry Funk. His reign is the second longest in history after only Thesz’s epic one. He took the belt off of Kiniski.
Harley Race– Now that guy got a POP. You can tell he’s a pure legend in his town and the reaction proves it. Seven time champion but more famous for being the guy that gave Ric Flair (who is mentioned in the video package) his main event rub in 1983. Race is without a doubt the main influence on HHH’s current style with the use of his knees and the King of Kings mantra.
Terry Funk– Race just got outpopped. Terry’s reaction is like a modern day main eventer and he had actually just lost the ECW World Title about two months before this, back when he was only middle aged at about 52 years old. You all know about Funk’s career so I won’t bother you with the details of it.
Lou Thesz– Go read a Gelgarin post. I couldn’t do this man justice.
Sam Muchnick– Imagine if Paul Heyman had made it work. Now take away the hardcore and you have Muchnick. Muchnick was a promoter for about 35 years and made St. Louis a Mecca of wrestling to say the least. The reason Race and all those other guys are legends of St. Louis are because of Sam. Go read about him. You’ll likely learn something.
This was VERY cool and got some time as it went on for ten minutes or so. There was no goofy storyline or run in to it, but rather just the men out there being honored. I really indeed an impressed with the WWF on this one. Very nicely done.
In the back Doc talks to Farrooq and asks about how Austin will influence the match which Farrooq says he doesn’t care about him.
The announcers say that Pillman may have died of a drug overdose. If I remember correctly that wasn’t the case. He had drugs in him but they were a normal amount of prescribed drugs. It turned out to have been heart disease.
Intercontinental Title: Owen Hart vs. Farrooq
You can see that Owen isn’t all there. He’s wearing an Owen 3:16 shirt which brings out Austin, who is supposed to present the belt to the winner of the match. This is the tournament final to determine the new champion due to Austin’s forfeiture. Austin steals Vince’s headset and is so on it’s hard to believe here. Vince tries to talk and Austin looks at him and just says shut up in that trademark voice.
He keeps stealing the headsets and giving them back so we have a rotating commentary team. Dang it he left. Now I actually have to pay attention to the match. Austin steals the security guy’s walkie-talkie and is talking to someone. Ross gets his hat knocked off as this is one of the most entertaining things I’ve seen in a long time. He looks so casual about the whole thing that it’s hard to describe.
As far as the match goes, it’s a strength vs. speed matchup which is something that nearly always works well and considering the two guys you have in there should work very well indeed. Ross of course is ticked off about his hat so he takes the chance to do what he does best after commentating: whine about something. Seriously, someone get JR a bottle before he whines all night.
I love some of his stuff and even most of his stuff, but DANG he needs to just get over himself sometimes. Austin takes a Spanish headset and starts doing Spanish commentary. One of the other commentators says a big long thing in Spanish and Austin says you can say that again with no clue what he just said. Tito Santana is one of the commentators and Austin says Tito is talking trash about him.
Tito backs off like a scared chicken which was rather funny. In what has to be the dumbest line Vince and JR have ever used, they say Austin is being disrespectful to the match by making sure the attention is on him.
Ok, let me make sure I have this straight. A man standing up at ringside and talking on the Spanish commentary, which we have never once heard is stealing the spotlight, but the people that are talking about him and have a freaking split screen camera shot to make sure we see Austin have nothing to do with stealing it? Sometimes the pure idiocy of the commentators makes me shake my head.
Man they’re STILL talking about him going to the French commentators about how he’ll be in Montreal for the Survivor Series. After about six minutes we hear I think the second thing about the match itself, but remember, the commentators DID NOT disrespect them by not talking about them.
Neidhart runs out to distract the referee but Austin blasts Farrooq in the head with the belt to give Owen the belt. No one gets this but it would later be revealed that Austin wanted to take the title from Owen and no one else as he would continue to help him keep the title.
Rating: C. The match itself is just kind of a sideshow to Austin. He’s on fire here and would easily get an A if this was about the segment as a whole. The match is ok at best as there’s really no focus on it. The whole point was to get to the finish where Austin causes Owen to get the title.
We get a recap of the really bad Patriot/Vader vs. Hart Foundation mini feud. Seriously, this was just a filler and nothing more. Even Ross says that the only thing Vader and Patriot have in common is they’re Americans. That’s not a lot to go on. Apparently you can win by getting the flag or the traditional pin/submission so the gimmick in this match is completely stupid.
Boricuas vs. D.O.A.
Allegedly this is another fill in match due to Pillman. How long was this Dude Love match supposed to go on for anyway? This is a run of the mill 8 man match, but why would I want to watch this? No one has ever heard of any of the Boricuas other than Savio. So far it’s just standard punching and kicking as JR says DOA isn’t good for much more than boots, fists and clotheslines.
Other than that, you’re not missing much. And now I’m pissed off. JR and Vince ask about where Marlena is. If you remember correctly, she was with Pillman in storyline terms. That is just flat out wrong. The man passed away EARLIER IN THE DAY but we HAVE to hear about kayfabe right? That would be a tragedy if we gave it a break for one day. Seriously Vince, screw you. That is absolutely pathetic, but not as pathetic as the next night when he interviewed Brian’s wife.
She agreed to it, but do you think she was thinking clearly at the time? I highly doubt it. Vince got a yes but he had no right to ask about that at all. It amazes me that wrestling can piss me off so much sometimes. After a break I’m back now. As for the match, the biggest thing here is Lawler says that there’s a new Attitude in the company as of late and they discuss the gang wars that were going on at the time. DOA wins with a tilt a whirl.
Rating: F. Commentary is a big part of a match, and that was disgusting to me. The match sucked too.
Bret and Bulldog are in the back as they insult America and say they’ll win tonight in the flag match.
After their intro the faces talk about how they’re going to destroy the Harts with Vader slipping in some swearing which is apparently panic inducing to the commentator jerks.
Flag Match: Hart Foundation vs. Vader/Patriot
Angle’s music does work for the Patriot. He was gone shortly after this so it wasn’t heard for about two years which makes it safe I guess. Vader as a face simply is an epic fail. We get a big brawl before the match actually starts which lasts about three or four minutes. Towards the end Patriot, being the real American that he is, hits Bulldog with a flag pole and lets the flag fall to the ground, which for those of you uneducated is a BIG negative.
Vader absolutely beats the living tar out of Bret with punches as I fail to comprehend how they screwed up with him. Seriously, look at him and look at what he can do in the ring and explain to me how you could screw Vader up. Dang Patriot botches a lot. He’s messed up such basic moves as a backdrop and a dropkick. That’s hard to do. At least when Jeff messes up stuff, he messes up big spots or high risk moves that are complicated.
Patriot is messing up bare basics of moves. There’s an angle where you can see the cage above the ring which is good as from a regular angle you can’t see it. The mystery surrounding the cage is such a nice touch. Bret gets the figure four on the pole but it’s clear that there’s no torque on the correct knee and it’s just pulling on his leg.
Eventually Bret gets the sharpshooter on him and Patriot uses the exact same counter that Bret was supposed to use on Shawn to put Bret in the hold (which he messes up also). Vince says this has been much more enjoyable than the people thought it would be. That amuses me very much. “We thought it would suck but it’s actually only sucking a little.” Great faith there Vince.
The problem I have with this match is that’s it’s really just a tag match. Adding the pins and submission rule is just a waste of a gimmick. Either make them go get the flags or don’t make them go get the flags, but pick one. Blast it Patriot, if you can’t do these moves right then don’t try them. To be fair though, no one gets the figure four right for the most part aside from the mayor of Woo-Ville.
Vader goes for a moonsault but Smith moves. Instead of crashing, Vader adjusts in the air and nearly lands on his feet. For someone his size, that’s VERY impressive. On the floor a few minutes later, Bret hits a solid shot with the bell right to Vader’s shoulder. Dang that would knock him out wouldn’t it? Bret slams Vader to no reaction from Vince or Ross but Lawler, his enemy, is surprised as I am.
The more I see of Bret the more impressed I am as he breaks out a DDT. Has anyone ever seen him use one of those before? It wasn’t great but it was good enough to get by on. Patriot REALLY needs to change the name of the Uncle Slam as a fan is thrown out of the ring. Bret uses the tights to get the pin and afterwards Patriot shows great American sportsmanship and beats up Bret for a bit. The flags aren’t even touched the whole match so the gimmick is completely wasted.
Rating: D. It was a decent tag match but a terrible flag match which is what I’m basing the rating on. The flags made no difference in the match at all and it was just pointless to have them up. Decent for a regular match though but if that’s what it was then this would be a B- or so.
The Cell is lowered just as we get a promo for Survivor Series: Gang Wars. What a great name for a show, Gang Wars.
In the back Shawn says that he’s great.
Recap of the feud and of Shawn’s turn. This could have been a minute or two shorter.
HIAC: Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
Vince says it might be the last time Shawn steps into a WWF ring. No that would be in about 6 months (it was WWE when he came back). We get the lightning, the thunder, the smoke, and everything else that makes the Taker’s entrance sweet. The fans break out the lighters also to make this even sweeter than usual. It’s just cool to see all those little flames going up around the arena in praise of one man.
I jumped when he brought the lights back up with that explosion. This is just a great character to put it mildly. I’ve seen this match many times and I remember it being very good all around. Shawn is bumping like a madman as usual which is a lost art in the main event anymore. JR says Shawn’s feet hit the top of the cage. No they didn’t Jim. The basic idea here is Shawn is absolutely getting annihilated by Taker and it’s punishment for his actions in the past.
Some credit has to go to Shawn here as he’s just taking this beating but making Taker look great as it happens. It sounds easy but that makes things much better in a match. Ross points out that Shawn has beaten Diesel and Sid. He fails to mention they beat him first in both feuds. Shawn makes a comeback in a realistic way as he uses simple offense and a lot of the cage to fight back with the highlight of his offense being a piledriver onto the stairs which looked like it killed Shawn dead.
It was nicely done as Shawn’s offense looks like that of a person who was weakened and hurt. That’s a very nice touch to this match or any match for that matter. He slowly starts to pick up steam with his moves as they become more and more powerful until Taker starts his comeback. Shawn is thrown over the top rope and lands on a cameraman, who Shawn beats up.
As the announcers scream about how it’s legit, the cage door is conveniently opened. Shawn does the nip up which never gets old either. So far the cage usage has been limited which works fine. The star to the match should be the wrestlers and not the environment they’re in. Shawn hits SCM but Taker is sitting up within two seconds in a cool looking spot.
As the photographer is trying to get out, they break out and we get the famous visuals of this match, mainly of Shawn being rammed into the cage and the blood freely flowing. I didn’t remember there being two instances of him going face first. Shawn’s counter: a basic low blow. That makes sense here as he’s in big trouble and it’s the most basic move there could be in that situation.
Shawn then makes the mistake of climbing up the cage. The race is on as we go to the top of the cage. This was absolutely mind blowing at the time as neither the cage had ever been used before and no one had ever been that high off the ground in a wrestling match before. Taker then gorilla presses him up there which would have scared the living heck out of me.
The most famous shot of the match then happens when Shawn is climbing down and Taker steps on his hands to send him flying to the ground. The way it looks, Shawn might have missed the table completely which makes him getting up and finishing even more impressive. What amazes me more than anything is that compared to what Taker and Foley did, this somehow is nothing.
Shawn’s face is pretty much destroyed at this point as part of Becca’s soul dies. Shawn gets chokeslamed from the top which is an awesome sight with his legs just flying through the air limp and slamming into the map. Taker lands a great chair shot and signals for the tombstone. And then, it happens. The organ kicks on, and the arena is bathed in a red light.
A man in a red and black mask walks down the aisle with Paul Bearer and Vince says “That’s got to be Kane!”, and he was right. Kane rips the door to the cell off, gets in the ring for the staredown, does his trademark fire thing, and tombstones the Undertaker to death. Shawn crawls over as he leaves and pins him to end the match. DX comes to get him and as Taker is trying to get up we go off the air.
Rating: A+. There is not a thing wrong with this match. It was intense, the buildup was great, the match itself was great, all kinds of violence, everything fit perfectly in the match, it furthered the major storyline of Paul Bearer vs. Taker and introduced Kane to set up the mega match at Wrestlemania 14. All in all, this is an absolute classic to put it mildly.
Overall Rating: C-. This card is remembered for one match and one match only, and there’s a very good reason for that: the rest of the card more or less sucks. Aside from the main event, everything was average or worse. The only thing worth seeing is the Legends Ceremony. Match wise, the flag match is ok at its very best. Other than that, watch the main event and move on. That one match literally carries this show.
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