In Your House: Badd Blood
Kiel Centre, St. Louis, Missouri; October 5, 1997
Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
My second of five reviews on the Shawn Michaels/Undertaker feud and matches they brought. This was my favourite match of all five they had. Not only that but it was the first ever Hell in a Cell match up and it is still to this day the best one of all time in my opinion. Two PPV's in a row where the WWE Champion didn't main event, in fact it wasn't even contested at this PPV, funny actually that it was the European Champion main eventing Badd Blood.
This was the final result of Summerslam 1997, where Shawn Michaels reffed the title match between The Undertaker vs. Bret Hard, ended up hitting Undertaker with a chair, yada yada yada, you know how it went. They had a pretty wild match at Ground Zero as I've already reviewed. After another couple of weeks of incredibly obnoxious antics on Shawn’s part, this match was signed, a match to end all feuds, a never-seen before match up where there will be nothing but Hell in a Cell. The general concensus was that Shawn Michaels was dead meat basically. D-Generation-X tried to accompany The Heartbreak Kid, but get sent back, this couldn't get any worse for Shawn could it? Wrong. Michaels tries to avoid The Undertaker early on who ends up slowly stalking him around ringside. He runs into the ring and right into a big boot. The Undertaker rams him to the turnbuckle, and again, which Shawn sells big time, only like Shawn Michaels does! He goes for the chokeslam but Shawn kicks him in the shin and hammers away at Taker. The Undertaker gets Michaels in a wrist lock, and he slams into Michaels' shoulder a few times, then does the ropewalk, sorry "old-school". Shawn oversells again in that wonderful way he does. Shawn gets up so Taker knocks him on ass several times, and then tosses him over the top rope in a wicked bump for Michaels. He chokes Shawn against the cage, prompting Shawn to try to climb out of the cage, there is no way out up there HBK! The Undertaker pulls him down to the floor, another wicked bump, by now you're wondering where can he possibly go from here, but the best is yet to come. The front row starts yelling “Make him bleed” and this is fucking PG!! Just demonstrates though how hated Shawn Michaels was at this point, man I miss heel Michaels, anyway enough rambling. The Undertaker whips him into the cage, and then tears his head off with a hellacious clothesline coming back. Again. Great bumping by Shawn. The announcers are totally selling the idea of The Undertaker taking his time and destroying Shawn bit by bit, JR at his best basically. The Undertaker just continues to hammer away on Shawn, and rams him back first into the ring post, then to the cage, then to the ring post, to the cage again. The crowd at this point are eating this up, an absolute shit kicking of the highest order. Shawn tries to push The Undertaker into the cage, but The Undertaker simply clotheslines him on the way back. He smashes Shawn into the stairs. The tide starts to turn now though, The Undertaker whipped Shawn into the cage, but Shawn used the momentum to nail Taker on the way back, giving him the advantage.
He wisely rolls back into the ring to escape the Undertaker. He nails him a few times on the way back in, but The Undertaker pulls Shawn’s neck on the top rope on the way down. Michaels comes back and knocks The Undertaker off the apron into the cage. Shawn tries a top suicide, sending Taker crashing into the cage, then he climbs halfway up the cage and drops an elbow to The Undertaker on the floor but Taker isn't staying down, he gets straight back up again, so Shawn clotheslines him off the apron. Shawn, quite clearly getting desperate, grabs the stairs and rams them into Takers back a few times. He piledrives Taker on the remains of the stairs and rolls back into the ring to escape again, sounded painful to be honest! He comes off the top rope with a double-axehandle to The Undertaker on the floor. Back in the ring, and Shawn finds a chair under the ring before returning, one of those nice blue chairs you used to get, the proper steel ones, not the ones with the padding on it like nowadays, anyway a shot to the back puts The Undertaker down again. Once again, Taker gets up, so Michaels knocks him down again. Notice the story here guys? The Undertaker controlled for the first portion, while Shawn Michaels had to use his brain and every advantage possible to come back, classic! The Undertaker tries to come back, but gets caught in the ropes and pummelled by Michaels. Shawn charges and eats a boot to the mouth, and charges again and gets backdropped over the top, onto a cameraman, didn't look too good. He nails the cameraman and injures him, what is it with officials getting hurt during these two's matches!? The medical crew opens the cage to give the guy assistance as Shawn hits Taker with the flying forearm back in the ring. Shawn with his beautifully executed elbow before he starts up the band. Sweet Chin Music, but The Undertaker sits up. So typical Shawn runs out of the cage with the door open.
The Undertaker follows and they fight in the aisle. Shawn dropkicks Undertaker, but on a second attempt gets caught and catapulted into the cage. If you actually watch this bit in slow motion, you can see Michaels quite clearly rip the blade across his forehead in mid-air. It’s not noticeable, though, otherwise, the blading of an experienced blader, hats off to you Mr. Michaels. The Undertaker rams Shawn into the cage a few times like a battering ram. Shawn kicks him in the midsection though to get some breathing space. The bit we were all waiting for when they got outside, The Heartbreak Kid then began to climb the outside of the cage to escape the increasingly crazed Undertaker, was he going to follow? Of course he was going to follow! They fight on the roof, and Shawn attempts a piledriver, reversed by The Undertaker for a huge pop from the crowd. Taker grates Shawn’s face into the mesh as a great camera angle from below lets us see it, props to the camera man, even the one that got fucked up. Taker military presses Shawn onto the cage, then nails him, sending Shawn scurrying to the edge to run away. He starts to climb down the cage, so Taker does the logical thing and stomps on Shawn’s hands until he crashes to the table below, this spot doesn't get enough credit, it's like Foley's but just a few inches lower, considering Michaels isn't the "hardcore legend" Foley is, it's a pretty awesome bump. The Undertaker climbs down the cage then press slams Michaels on the remains of the Spanish table. Shawn is just bleeding all over the place here, it's crazy, his whole face is literally red. The Undertaker then literally kicks Shawn’s ass around the cage, and tosses him back into the ring. After clotheslining him, he puts Michaels on the top rope and chokeslams him off. Taker then finds his own beautiful looking blue chair and smashes it into Shawn’s face, one of the most vicious looking unprotected head shots you'll see, then cuts his throat with his hand in the typical Undertaker way before the lights go out, what the FUCK is going on?..
The now-familiar music and red lights start, and Kane makes his first appearance. "THATS GOTTA BE KANE, THATS GOTTA BE KANE!", Vince McMahon at his usual worst, classic!! The menacing figure rips the door off the hinges, does the pyro thing, and tombstones Undertaker awkwardly after moving around the ring wondering where the hell to tombstone him, then leaves whilst Bearer pours gasoline over the hapless referee. Shaw Michaels somehow pulls his blood-soaked carcass off the mat, rolls over with his last ounce of strength, and covers for the pin. Triple H and Chyna run down to the ring and drag him out of the ring before the Undertaker can wake up and finish killing Shawn basically. But my god, I am out of breathe, what an absolute classic of a match!!
I give this match FIVE STARS ***** , Why am I giving this match five stars? Simple, it's perfect. The storyline and psychology was just there. You could literally FEEL how close Michaels was to pissing his pants in fear every time The Undertaker no-sold one of his best shots and kept coming back for more like a crazed psycho. The psychology of the match itself was solid. Shawn's signature moves, the elbow, the Sweet Chin Music are all just shrugged off by the Undertaker, forcing Shawn to resort to weapons and timely running away, to the point where Shawn has to invent new ways of running away. Taking out a cameraman was a brilliant idea in order to escape, for instance. Shawn's dive off the side of the cage was awesome, there was no waiting around after that though like another certain Hell in a Cell match, Michaels just took more punishment. Plus the interference was very well utilized, I saw it as a way to establish that the ONLY way Michaels could beat The Undertaker was to have his demonic half-brother do his own finisher to him, it made Undertaker look strong and Michaels ended up becoming the number one contender for the WWE title, just a brilliant match, Highly recommended.
Up next, Royal Rumble 1998, the Casket match.