September 28, 2008
Badd Blood 1997, October 5, 1997, Kiel Center, St. Louis, MO
Announcers: Vince McMahon (Final PPV as an announcer), Jim Ross, & Jerry Lawler
Has it really been over ten years? Time flies, doesn’t it? While the show is famous for the first Cell match, it is also infamous for being the show that took place the day of Brian Pillman’s death. What happened there is a discussion for another time as this is simply a review of the show, but it must be mentioned. Many guys, specifically all the Harts, and Steve Austin, were working this show with very heavy hearts after hearing about the death of their friend only hours earlier. Pillman had been scheduled to wrestle Dude Love on this card, but that match is obviously cancelled and a couple of replacement bouts were added at the last minute.
Opening Match: Rocky Maivia, Kama Mustafa, & D-Lo Brown vs. The Legion of Doom
Ken Shamrock is supposed to be teaming with LOD, but he’s out due to injuries and they simply decide to go with no replacement. Hawk and D-Lo start with D-Lo getting fired off the ropes and Hawk hitting a hiptoss. He chases D-Lo outside, but gets caught with a boot coming in. D-Lo whips him off the ropes but puts the head down and gets kicked, then clotheslined. Tag to Rock, and the crowd is on him immediately with the “Rocky Sucks” chant, while Hawk also makes the tag. Rock bails to protest the chant, but eventually makes his way back in. He works over Animal, ramming him to the buckle as the chant continues. Animal ducks on an Irish whip and gets a flying shoulderblock, followed by a dropkick sending Rock out. Back in, Animal grabs a wristlock and tags Hawk, who comes in with a shot from the top. Rock escapes and tags Kama who whips Hawk to the corner, but misses a charge and gets clotheslined. Irish whip ends with them both clotheslining each other, but they both no sell. Kick by Hawk is caught, but he gets an ensiguiri and then snapmares Kama into a rear chinlock. Tag to Animal, who gets a powerslam, but Rock is in to even things up with a DDT. Kama nails a crescent kick and tosses Animal so Rock and D-Lo can work him over outside. Back in the ring, D-Lo gets the tag and keeps working Animal over with a corner whip and clothesline. Second try sees Animal get a clothesline of his own, but D-Lo still prevents the tag. Snapmare and a couple of legdrops get 2 for D-Lo. Tag to Rock, who also goes to the rear chinlock. Animal elbows out and comes off the ropes, but is caught with a knee for 2. Hawk is drawn into the ring, and while the ref puts him out they hit a low blow on Animal, which gets 2. Tag to Kama who hits a spin kick and corner whip but misses a charge. Rock comes in drawing the ref’s attention so that he misses Animal making the tag. As the ref puts Hawk out again, D-Lo nails a frog splash. That gets 2 for Kama, and Animal is tossed again for more double teaming outside, including being whipped to the stairs. Back in, Rock gets he tag. Animal ducks a clothesline attempt and gets one of his own. Tag is made to Hawk and he’s the house afire, getting a powerslam on Rock and a neckbreaker on D-Lo. D-Lo and Kama get dumped as Animal is back in. Doomsday Device is set up, but Faarooq runs in and provides the distraction needed for D-Lo to clothesline Animal outside. Kama kicks Hawk in the head and he walks right into a Rock Bottom (not yet named that) for the pin at 12:19. This was an acceptable match that the crowd was mostly into and gets the show off on a decent note. *
Mosaic & Tarantula vs. Max Mini & Nova
This is one of the replacement matches that has been added. I’m not going move for move here because they go pretty fast and constantly switch off making it a bit difficult to keep up. I do notice that several of the moves are botched, but really, they never stop moving so the timing aspect is made that much more difficult. Max Mini gets a crucifix on Tarantula for the win at 6:42. *1/2
WWF Tag Team Championship Match: The Headbangers vs. The Godwinns (w/Uncle Cletus)
Sunny is the guest ring announcer for this match, still looking pretty decent. They even somewhat acknowledge her past history with the Godwinns. Headbangers clean house to kick things off, and then we get going for real with Mosh and Phineas. But before we wrestle, we have a spitting contest. It’s as exciting as it sounds. Phineas hammers away and uses a corner whip, but Mosh takes him outside with a headscissors. Thrasher hits something on the outside which the camera misses, and Mosh follows up with a clothesline from the apron. Replay shows that Thrasher used a very poorly executed rana a moment ago. Mosh gets him back in and gets 2, then tags Thrasher. They hit a double flapjack for 2, but soon after, Phineas catches him with a knee and tags Henry. Thrasher drop toeholds him, but coming off the ropes, he gets hit with a shoulderblock. Rollup by Thrasher gets 1, but a second attempt at rolling him up fails. Dropkick hits and Henry is sent outside. Back in, he gets the tag to Phineas, who hooks a wristlock, but Thrasher reverses and tags Mosh. Slam hits and Thrasher gourdbusters Mosh from the top rope on to Phineas for 2. He tags Thrasher now who comes in with a clothesline off the top, but Henry is in to nail a clothesline himself. Tag is made to Henry who crotches Thrasher and then clotheslines him outside. Tag to Phineas who sends Thrasher out once more, and Uncle Cletus takes a couple cheap shots. Back in, Phineas drops some knees for 2. Irish whip, and Thrasher gets a sunset flip, but the ref is tied up with Henry. Finally it gets 2, but Phineas takes control right after, ramming him to Henry’s boot and nailing a slam. Thrasher gets dropped face first on the mat, which gets a 2 count as Mosh saves. Off the ropes they hit head to head. Henry gets the tag and is also able to prevent Thrasher from tagging. Corner whip, but Henry misses a charge and Thrasher gets a back suplex. Tag to Mosh who comes in and nails everyone including Cletus. Slam on Phineas sets up Thrasher powerbombing Mosh onto him for 2 as Henry saves. Mosh then tries a rana on Phineas, but gets powerbombed, and that’s good enough for 3 at 12:17. The Godwinns are the new champions, and they continue the beating after the match. Call me crazy, but I think the Headbangers were underrated. Although this certainly wasn’t the best example of their work. ½*
At this point they hold a nice little ceremony honouring some legends of St. Louis wrestling. Brought out here are: Gene Kiniski, Jack Brisco, Dory Funk, Jr., Harley Race, Terry Funk, Sam Muchnick, & Lou Thesz. They each get a short little video package and are presented a plaque as part of the ceremony.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Faarooq vs. Owen Hart
This is the final match of a tournament held to crown a new champion after Steve Austin was stripped due to injury. Owen defeated Goldust and Brian Pillman to make the finals while Faarooq lost to Ken Shamrock in the quarterfinals only to get the spot back due to Shamrock’s injury, and then defeated Ahmed Johnson in the semis. Speaking of Austin, he’s here on orders from Commissioner Slaughter to present the belt to the winner. Heel vs. heel is a very difficult style to work effectively, so I always have to question it when I see one booked, but in this case they have Austin running around ringside to keep the crowd occupied. Faarooq shoves Owen off a couple of times and dominates with power. Owen is sent off the ropes, but slides through the legs and gets a dropkick. Now Owen goes to work on the knee, while Austin harasses three languages worth of commentary teams. Owen tries a figure four, but Faarooq shoves him off and into the post. Couple of corner whips by Faarooq set up a powerslam for 2. Bodyslam fails due to the bad knee and Owen gets 2, but Faarooq is back up, and now he does get a slam. 2nd rope legdrop misses, so Owen tries the Sharpshooter, but Faarooq kicks him off. Irish whip is reversed and Faarooq gets a powerslam for 2. Jim Neidhart makes his way ringside as Faarooq gets a spinebuster for 2. He chokes Owen on the ropes, but misses a rope straddle. Austin, out of nowhere, then nails Faarooq with the belt and Owen gets the pin to win the title at 7:15. The announcers don’t play up the “Austin wants to win the belt back from his enemy” idea, which just makes the finish nonsensical and completely out of nowhere. Also not helping things was that Owen and Faarooq seemed to have no chemistry whatsoever. DUD
Los Boriquas vs. Disciples of Apocalypse
This is our second replacement match as I guess Pillman/Love and the angle that no doubt would have taken place with Goldust must have been scheduled for quite a bit of time. Was there anything duller then the Gang Warz? So many worthless 8 man tags. Skull and Jose start out with Skull getting a corner whip reversed, but Jose hits the elbow on the charge, and gets clotheslined. Tag to 8-Ball and they get a double big boot, but can’t stop the tag to Miguel. 8-Ball gets a clothesline and a powerslam for 2 and tags Crush, who gets a headbutt but is soon caught in a headlock and Miguel gets the tag to Savio. He whips Crush to the corner, but Crush gets the boot up and hits a slam for 2. Tag to Chainz, who gets a big boot before Savio tags Jesus. Irish whip is reversed and Chainz gets a press slam. Another Irish whip is reversed and Jose catches Chainz with a knee from the apron to give the Boriquas control. They work him over, including a spot where they all whip each other in to Chainz in the corner ending with Savio getting a spin kick for 2. Jose is legal now, and he gets a rear chinlock with his feet on the ropes. The Boriquas get in more illegal double, triple, and quadruple teaming. Tag to Savio, who misses a clothesline, but nails a spin kick for 2. Slam and he tags Jesus who comes in with a top rope dropkick for 2. Tag to Miguel who is back to the rear chinlock. Chainz elbows out, but runs into a knee. Tag to Savio, who misses a splash in the corner finally allowing Chainz to make the tag to Crush. All of DOA is in now to clean house, with Jesus taking a big boot, but the ref is unavailable to make the count. Jesus recovers to hit a DDT on Crush for 2. Off the ropes, Jesus gets nailed by Chainz on the apron, and walks into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Crush for 3 at 9:11. Nothing match, just time filler. ½*
Flag Match: Bret “Hitman” Hart & The British Bulldog vs. The Patriot & Vader
Shawn uses his backstage influence here to ensure that World Wrestling Federation Champion Bret Hart is put in a spot where there’s no chance Bret will outshine him. Although, under the circumstances, it would have been hard for Bret to put on any kind of classic with anyone. On another note, I know Bulldog is higher up the star power scale, which is probably the main reason they went with him, but if they had to do a meaningless tag match like this, I think Bret should have teamed with Anvil once more for old time’s sake. How cool would it have been to see the old Hart Foundation spots one more time? And in one more pre-match note, the rules have just been changed so that the match can be won by pin or submission in addition to capturing the flag. Big brawl on the outside to kick the match off. Bret and Bulldog pretty much take the worst of that. We finally get things in the ring and get a bell to start for real. Patriot goes for the flag, but Bulldog stops him. Shoulderblock gets 2 for Patriot, followed by a snapmare and knee to the back. Suplex sets up another attempt at the flag, but Bret saves. Irish whip and Bulldog tries a hiptoss, but it’s reversed and the tag is made to Vader. He gets a bodyblock and clothesline before Bulldog tags Bret. Vader wins a slugfest and nails a short clothesline. Corner whip, but he misses a charge allowing Bret to get a clothesline. Russian legsweep hits and Bret goes for the flag, but Vader is back with a low blow to save. Vader hits a backdrop, and then Bret tries a sunset flip, but Vader sits on him for 2. Both teams tag off and Patriot hits a dropkick for 2. He rams Bulldog to the buckle, hits a slam, and climbs, but Bret stops him. Across the ring, Bulldog climbs, only to be cut off by Vader. Patriot whips Bulldog to the corner, but hits the post on the charge. Bret takes advantage to hook the ringpost figure four until Vader makes the save. Bulldog tags Bret in and he slams Patriot, and then drops an elbow. Vader and Bulldog both come in as Bret hooks the Sharpshooter. Patriot reverses (to quote Vader’s pre-match promo “That’s bullshit”), and Bulldog saves. Bret now tags the Bulldog and they hit a Demolition Decapitation. Davey doesn’t quite hit the elbow correctly, but it’s essentially the same move. That gets 2 and Patriot is able to crawl for the tag. Vader is in and hits a bodyblock for 2. Bulldog grabs a side headlock, but Vader suplexes out and gets a splash for 2. He climbs, but Bulldog pulls him down. Patriot attacks and Vader tries to climb again, but now Bret saves. Bulldog gets a snapmare and reverse chinlock before tagging Bret. Back suplex sets up the Sharpshooter, which he hooks, but Patriot saves. Vader drops an elbow and goes for his own Sharpshooter, but Bulldog breaks that up. Vader switches off with Patriot with no tag (Those cheating bastards!) and Patriot gets a shoulderblock, then hooks a figure four, but Bret is close enough to the corner to tag Bulldog. Delayed suplex on Patriot gets 2. Irish whip is reversed and Patriot gets a powerslam for 2. Patriot climbs, but Bulldog saves and makes the tag to Bret. Kneedrop, suplex, elbowdrop and legdrop set Bret up to climb, but Vader stops him. Both guys tag and Vader gets a slam on Bulldog, which sets up a moonsault. Bulldog moves, but Vader (almost) lands on his feet. Since Bulldog has rolled out, Vader climbs, but Bret hooks the ankle. This leads to everyone brawling outside where Bret nails Vader with the bell, and runs him to the post. In the ring now, Bret gets tagged in and even though he’s not a guy noted as being any kind of a powerhouse, he comes in and nails a bodyslam on Vader like it’s nothing. It makes me chuckle to watch that, and then think about all those dramatic failed bodyslam spots Hogan did throughout his career with not only Vader himself, but many guys even smaller then Vader. I wonder if Bret had that in mind here, of if he just did it without thinking? And yes, I know that making the bodyslam look easy is more down to the opponent cooperating with you than anything else, but that’s besides the point. Couple of elbows and a DDT gets a 2 count. Tag to Bulldog and they send Vader off the ropes, but he clotheslines both of them. Tag to Patriot, who beats up both guys. Uncle Slam on Bret gets 2 as Bulldog saves. A fan hits the ring now, but is easily taken care of by the ref, with Bulldog getting in a kick for good measure. Bret is sent off the ropes and shoulderblocked down, right in place for Vader to nail a Vader Bomb. Bulldog takes Vader out and they brawl while Patriot tries a rollup on Bret, who reverses and gets the 3 count at 21:16. Vader and Patriot attack after the match. And they’re supposed to be the faces? The flag match stip ended up being meaningless, as they may as well have done a regular match here. Nothing special overall and the climbing spots just killed any momentum the match may have been gaining. **
Next, Shawn Michaels cuts one of the most self-centered, delusional promos I’ve ever heard. First, he basically spits on the “coveted” (the exact word he uses, without even trying to cover the fact that he’s saying it as sarcastically as he can) European Title, which he insisted on winning in the first place for no conceivable reason other then that he was power tripping. Then, he proceeds to bury everyone else in the company not named Hunter under the weight of his own ego. It amazes me what this piece of garbage was able to get away with in 97. Oh, and speaking of Hunter, what a freaking tool that guy was. Say what you will about how he turned out, but he never, ever, would have gotten the chance to show anything had he not spent the first three years of his WWF career with his face planted square in the middle of Shawn’s ass. The guy owes literally everything he has to the fact that Shawn graciously allowed him to leech heat for years until he was finally able to develop some of his own. It’s also kind of funny how the current version of the WWE Approved History Textbook™ portrays the original DX as Shawn and Hunter being equals in the group when really it was a vehicle to get Shawn over as a heel, while Hunter was a total stooge for him, and his only purpose was to assist in drawing the heat for Shawn. But we’ll talk more about Hunter another time, this is Shawn’s night. I think the Shawn Michaels of 1997 is easily my most hated wrestler ever over a short term period. Overall, I hate Hogan more, but he can’t get my blood boiling like 97 Shawn. That being said, my overall view of him is higher due to the fact that I do have tremendous respect for the Shawn that existed prior to about 95, when he was just climbing the ladder, and the Shawn that has existed since 2002 when he came back as what I feel is a legitimately changed man. Also note that my personal feelings will not prevent me from viewing his matches from this time period in an objective way as you will see come the end of the next match. Sorry to go off on a tangent there, but once I got on the tracks, it just kept rolling, and it didn’t feel right to stop it.
Main Event, Hell in a Cell Match: Shawn Michaels (w/HHH, Chyna, & Rick Rude) vs. The Undertaker
This is, as mentioned earlier, the first ever HIAC match, brought about after these two had a wild brawl last month at Ground Zero. The idea was that the Cell would contain them and allow a clear cut winner to emerge. Shawn is the European Champion, but the belt is not on the line, however a shot at the WWF Title at Survivor Series is up for grabs. DX is out with Shawn for moral support, but as soon as Undertaker’s music hits, they flee. They’re locked in the cage now, with nowhere for Shawn to hide. Taker stalks him around the ring. Shawn tries charging off the ropes, but runs into a big boot. He gets rammed to the buckle a few times, but when Taker tries a chokeslam, Shawn fights out. Corner whip is reversed and Taker nails him with a clothesline for 2. Wristlock and Taker drives the shoulder a couple times before going for the ropewalk, which hits. Headbutt, slam, and legdrop get 2. Next he gets a backdrop, but Shawn ducks a clothesline attempt only to be knocked down on the rebound. He tosses Shawn outside where he chokes him against the cage. Shawn is just getting murdered on the outside, being sent to the cage several times, and rammed from pillar to post. Taker tries a powerbomb, which Shawn tries to punch out of, but Taker just runs him right to the cage again. Finally Shawn reverses a run to the cage…..only to have Taker no sell and come back off with a clothesline. Taker whips Shawn to the stairs and again to the cage, but this time he misses a charge allowing Shawn to finally get a bit of offence in with some punches. Getting back in the ring, Shawn shoulderblocks Taker off the apron and into the cage and follows up with a dive to the outside. He climbs the cage and drops an elbow, nails a clothesline off the apron and uses the stairs as a weapon a couple of times. Now he gets a piledriver on the stairs and gives the cameraman crap about being in his way. Top rope double axhandle hits and now Shawn goes for a chair. Two chairshots get a 2 count, but Taker soon recovers and a slugfest breaks out. Shawn gets Taker tied in the ropes and goes to work, but soon runs into a big boot. Then he charges and gets backdropped outside, landing right on the cameraman. He gets angry and beats up the poor guy. This is a work of course, but it plays up Shawn’s well known tendency to act like a four year old kid when something doesn’t go his way. Back in the ring, Shawn gets the flying forearm and kips up, then drops the elbow off the top. Commissioner Slaughter orders the cage be opened so that the cameraman can be helped out as Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music. Taker sits up immediately, so Shawn takes advantage of the open door to run away. Taker catches him and they fight in the aisle. Shawn gets a dropkick, but on the second try Taker catches him and catapults him to the cage. Shawn is now busted open, and it’s a good one too. Taker runs him to the cage a couple more times before Shawn counters with a low blow. He climbs the cage to escape, but Taker is right on his heels. They fight on top of the cage, with Shawn taking a backdrop and press slam on the fence. Taker knocks Shawn over to the edge, and then stomps his hands sending him crashing through the Spanish table. He tosses Shawn around the tables for a bit before they make their way back around to the door. Back in, and the cage is once again locked. Taker gets a clothesline and a chokeslam off the top rope. Now he gets a chair and nails Shawn with it. But just when things look to be going his way, the lights go out, some unknown music hits, and out comes Paul Bearer with the debuting Kane. Kane rips the door off the Cell and has a staredown with Taker, who appears to be in shock. He drops Taker with a tombstone and leaves, allowing Shawn to crawl over and cover Taker for 3 at 29:56. This is just a spectacular match, with a great story being told, a human pinball performance from Shawn Michaels, Undertaker more than carrying his end of things, and everything just clicking perfectly. Only flaw here is the screwjob finish, but given that Kane’s debut was the culmination of six months of storylines, rather then a random thing done for no good reason, I’m going to forgive it. ***** Love him or hate him, and as stated, I don’t love him, this was an amazing performance from Shawn, and truly one of the highlights of not only his career, but Undertaker’s as well. The original HIAC match still stands up today as the best one ever done.
Wrapping things up here, obviously a ***** match makes the show an automatic thumbs up regardless of what else is on the card. The undercard really is a waste of time though, and given that the best match is available on both “Shawn Michaels: From The Vault”, and “Tombstone: History of The Undertaker”, as well as the soon to be released HIAC DVD, having the whole show is not really essential as long as you get one of those. The stigma of Pillman’s death also haunts this event as you can tell it’s affecting some of the guys, and probably lowering their ability to perform. It gives the show a bit of an eerie feeling, especially considering it was just the first of many young deaths to come. Shawn, of course, was unaffected, but that’s to be expected from him. So yes, Shawn/Taker is must see, but the show itself can be avoided if you get that one from a different source. In any case though, Thumbs Up for Badd Blood 1997.