WWE Created Their Most Iconic Structure at 1997’s ‘Badd Blood: In Your House’.
“Hell In A Cell” means so much in WWE. Since the structures debut at ‘Badd Blood: In Your House‘, careers have been started, shorten, and stopped inside. No one can forget the incredible retirement match between Triple H and Cactus Jack or just recently when The Undertaker faced Shane McMahon at Wrestlemania.
But the “Hell In A Cell” debut with Shawn Michaels & Undertaker at 1997’s ‘Badd Blood: In Your House‘ is legendary.
“An absolute classic must-see match, probably ***** .”
–Dave Meltzer (Pro Wrestling Observer Magazine 1997)
Starting off, the line-up for the PPV was pretty weak. No match other than the main event had any real build and the undercard was filled with “Attitude Era” jobbers.
But the show was rocked with the news of wrestler Brian Pillman’s death. He was scheduled to face Dude Love but was found dead in his hotel room hours before the show. Pillman’s death was told to the audience during the pre-show before they went on air. WWE, then WWF, quickly scrambled to find something to fill time in the show to make up for the match.
Instead of Brian Pillman and Dude Love having a match, it was replaced with midget wrestling and an eight man tag with racial overtones…
‘Bad Blood: In Your House‘ shuffled along with five multiple man matches and Owen Hart winning a vacant Intercontinental Title. The announce team did the best they could with the madness in the undercard.
After sitting through a “Flag Match”, the time for The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels in “Hell In A Cell” was finally upon us.
“Michaels May Be Broken In Half”
–Jim Ross (Badd Blood: In Your House)
The match was a stunt show with Michaels proving he’d put his body on the line to get over with the fans. Also made Undertaker look like a complete beast. Shawn Michaels couldn’t do much against the deadly deadman but he held his own.
It’s always a pleasure to see the crazy bumping of Shawn Michaels. He allowed Undertaker to gain monster status but didn’t let himself get buried. The “Heartbreak Kid” had a few tricks of his sleeve but none worked. Even climbing on top of the cage to avoid Undertaker didn’t work as he was tossed around up there.
It wasn’t until Shawn Michaels was climbing down and crashed threw a table that the tide officially shifted towards Undertaker. The win was without a doubt his.
Then came one of the most memorable character debuts in WWE history. As Undertaker goes to finish off Shawn Michaels, the lights go out…
Enter Kane. Not only did Undertaker and Shawn Michaels put on a masterclass in entertainment, we got one of the best WWE debuts ever. Kane is the storyline brother of The Undertaker and was teased for weeks before. As the lights come back on, Kane rips open the door of the Hell In A Cell cage and stands face-to-face with Undertaker for the first time. Kane hits the Tombstone Piledriver on Undertaker, allowing Michaels to get the pin.
From start to finish, the entire match was a spectacle. It’s mind-blowing that a Dave Meltzer 5 Star Match came from an overall horrible show. The only 5 Star Match from WWE after this was in 2011 when CM Punk faced John Cena.
‘Badd Blood: In Your House‘ could have fallen into wrestling obscurity but this match has saved it for almost 20 years.