July 3, 2011
The Powerdriver Review
Bloodbath: Wrestling’s Most Incredible Steel Cage Matches
Released: October 28, 2003
CRAZY FAST VIDEO MONTAGE! Mostly filled with various people from over the years flying off the rim of the steel cage and Ric Flair getting his face grated on the mesh. WOO!
Some current (for 2003) and older guys talk about what the cage match means. Gerald Brisco says the most by mentioning that cage matches promised violence and that the biggest difference between today’s cage matches that are both technical and violent and cage matches of the past that were just violent. In that case, today’s cage matches are a definite improvement.
Your host is Jonathan Coachman. Baha. Oh, those were the days. Since apparently no one knows where cage matches originated and most importantly the Coach doesn’t know since he’s our host and everything (many say the Paul Boesch territory a long time ago), we start in 1979 where Bob Backlund is our WWF champion.
WWF World Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund vs. Pat Patterson – Cage Match (9/24/79, Madison Square Garden)
Bob Backlund met Pat Patterson in four straight MSG main events in 1979 and this is the final match. Rare for the time considering most Backlund feuds only received three MSG matches. The last two matches ended in countouts and the only way to put an end to that happening was a cage match. Ironically, we only get a fourth of this match on this set. However, it is planned to be on the 3-Disc Greatest Cage Matches of All Time DVD set that releases (or was released, whenever you happen to be reading this) on June 28. Moving on! They show us what we come to expect from your old time WWE cage match: that’s blood and dramatic near escapes through the door. Plus, being thrown face-first into the steel. This goes back and forth for a while. Backlund intercepts Patterson as he tries to climb OVER the wall, but Backlund brings him back in for the dreaded RUNNING ATOMIC DROP. Backlund decides to climb even though walking through the door would be much easier. Patterson pulls out some taped knux from his nether regions. He tries to knock Backlund out while he’s straggling the cage, but Backlund ducks and elbows Patterson back down onto the top turnbuckle. Meanwhile, that gives Backlund a chance to hit the mat and start to crawl towards the door. Patterson gets kicked away every now and then, but Backlund still manages to fall out the door to regain the title and finally defeat Patterson once and for all. (4:40 shown) Yeah, there’s no way I can rate this match. Just wait until the new DVD set comes out for my final rating.
They skimp out on the Sammartino-Zbyszko cage match at Shea Stadium on August 9 1980. Boo. Gerald Brisco mentions how it was a phasing out period for Bruno.
WWF World Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund vs. Jimmy Snuka – Cage Match (6/28/82, Madison Square Garden)
They give us the wrong date, but whatever. This settles a three-match MSG feud for these two. We JIP ahead to where Snuka is in complete control. When he can’t get through the door, Backlund starts making his comeback and catapults a bloody Snuka into the cage. Headbutt on Snuka FAILS. Snuka hits a suplex and heads up to the very top of the cage for the amazing SUPERFLY SPLASH, but there’s no water in the pool! Backlund rolls out of the way and gets the heck out of the cage for the win. (6:42 shown) Over half of this match is cut out, so still no rating. Everyone remembers the dive on Muraco, but this one was pretty sweet too.
WWF Intercontinental Champion Don Muraco vs. Jimmy Snuka – Cage Match (10/17/83, Madison Square Garden)
The WWF is all about creating moments and besides this being a huge blood feud at the time, creating a moment that they won’t let us forget is what they do here. Nobody probably remembers much about the match, but wrestling fans have all seen the Superfly Splash off the cage onto Muraco. (5:18 shown) The finish comes off real well as Muraco flies out the door due to a high knee and it looked like a fluke win for Don Muraco as it was intended. Since Snuka did not feel he got the retribution he needed, he brings Muraco back into the cage and hits him with the SUPERFLY SPLASH FROM THE TOP OF THE CAGE. This was the night and the moment that inspired Mick Foley, Tommy Dreamer, and Bubba Ray Dudley to become wrestlers. **
NWA U.S. Heavyweight Champion Tully Blanchard (w/Baby Doll) vs. Magnum TA – “I Quit” Cage Match (Starrcade 1985, Greensboro, NC)
Back in July of 1985 during the Great American Bash tour, Tully defeated Magnum to win his only NWA U.S. title by having Baby Doll disguised as a police officer slip Tully a roll of quarters to KO the champ. Well, the feud escalated from there and now we’ve got not just a cage match, but an “I QUIT” match inside of a cage. It’s a brawl all the way until Baby Doll throws a wooden chair over the cage and into the ring to Tully. He breaks the chair and uses one of the broken parts like a spike to stab Magnum in the forehead – as if they aren’t both already bloody enough. The power of Magnum TA prevents himself from getting stabbed, but his hatred of Tully can’t stop him from using the wooden spike to jab Blanchard in the forehead. Well, that’s all that’s necessary to get Blanchard to say I quit. (4:10 shown) You got to hand it to Blanchard, he can sure sell a stabbing! It’s a small thing, but seeing Magnum walk over and threaten to jab Tully again by picking him up the hair is pretty awesome. If you’re not noticing the trend, this match gets cut way down. However, the full thing is a five-star match and the best match either one ever had.
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff (w/Bobby Heenan) – Cage Match (SNME #9, Hartford, CT)
Coachman calls this the most watched cage match in wrestling history. This SNME received a 10.6 rating, so it’s hard to argue that point. We’ve got a squeaky clean ref Joey Marella on one side of the cage and the untrustworthy ref Danny Davis on the other side. We JIP ahead to some near-escapes from both guys. One time, Hogan goes for the door and he’s REJECTED by Danny Davis. Joey Marella can’t get the door open in time for Hulk before Orndorff makes the save. After they send each other face-first into the cage, they both start the slow climb over the cage wall until they simultaneously land on the floor. Skip ahead to the restart of the match. It’s HULK UP time! Hogan sends Orndorff into the cage a bunch, hits the Big Boot, and the LEGDROP. Time to leave now. Wait a minute, in comes Bobby Heenan to distract. He grabs Hulk by the leg, who then decides to kick Heenan away. Instead of just climbing out, he drops down and gives Orndorff an atomic drop, followed by tossing Heenan for a crazy bump into the cage. Okay, now Hulk can leave. (9:28 shown) I might have been a little harsh on this match in my original SNME #9 review. It’s not all that bad and the simultaneous escape is pretty creative even if a tad unrealistic.
Next up, Coachman goes over Ric Flair’s cage match title win over Harley Race, his title loss inside the cage to Dusty Rhodes in 1986, and his other title loss inside the cage to Ronnie Garvin in 1987.
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ronnie Garvin vs. Ric Flair (w/JJ Dillon) – Cage Match (Starrcade 1987, Chicago, IL)
This is the infamous “Ronnie Garvin who?” match. I enjoy watching Ronnie Garvin, but he should have never been world champ. Not in a Vince Russo-David Arquette way, he just wasn’t main event. Great Flair promo shown before the match showing the scars Garvin left on him. We skip ahead to Flair’s face being raked on the mesh. Garvin is just all over him here. Slam off the top leads to Garvin’s figure four. They trade chops and Garvin connects with a flying bodypress for a nearfall. He follows up with the FLYING SUNSET FLIP that won him the belt in Detroit, but Flair won’t hit the mat and instead kneels down on Garvin’s shoulders thanks to some help from the ropes. Ref Tommy Young sees the tomfoolery and knocks Flair back for another nearfall. Tommy Young gets bumped and counts slow after Garvin pops Flair with his HANDS OF STONE, but then Flair catches Garvin off a whip and brings him back face-first into the cage to get the three-count and his fifth NWA world title. (6:15 shown) Not a very good Flair finish. The original title change was longer and better. However, this was rather disappointing. Check out my Starrcade 1987 review for the full-length synopsis.
WWF World Champion Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart – Cage Match (SummerSlam 1994, Chicago, IL)
Definitely the best cage match ever in terms of pure drama over violence. This match changed how cage matches should be done forever. We JIP forward where Owen and Bret are fighting at the rim of the cage. Imagine that. Owen brings Bret back inside with a back suplex and then punishes him some more with a nasty piledriver. They take turns trying to crawl and scrape their way out the cage door, but Bret ends up stopping all that with a catapult into the cage wall. Another edit and Owen stops Bret from climbing out before giving him a Spinning Heel Kick. They fight to the top rope where Bret kicks Owen’s hands free from the cage, but he still can’t climb out before Owen stops him. Skip ahead again and Bret is giving Owen a superplex from the top of the cage. Bret tries to crawl out the door, but Owen grabs him and applies the SHARPSHOOTER. Oh, but Bret reverses into one of his own. Another climb or two up the wall for these two. Once they make it over the cage wall, Owen gets his foot caught in one of the cage squares, and then Bret drops down to win the match. (11:19 shown) I just always loved how they worked their move set and used the cage to their advantage. It was just smart wrestling and in it’s entirety, its a definite five-star match.
They gloss over the Bret-Yankem cage match from October 1995 Raw where Jerry Lawler interferes and gets lifted up above the ring in the shark cage. Lawler lets us in on a secret that he’s got a deviated septum, so he rubbed the scab a bit to make his nose bleed for added effect. And that’s all we get here.
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) vs. Mankind – Cage Match (SummerSlam 1997, East Rutherford, NJ)
Chyna does everything she can to prevent Mankind from leaving the cage. From punching him in the balls while he’s up on the rim of the cage to slamming the door in his face, which Foley calls the most painful experience he EVER had. She throws a chair in the ring to give to HHH, but Mankind counters the PEDIGREE and catapults HHH into the cage which also knocks Chyna off the cage. After a DOUBLE-ARM DDT on the chair, Mankind starts to climb out and there’s really nothing Chyna can do now. He climbs out and almost makes it to the floor when he sees a chance to drop an elbow Jimmy Snuka style. The crowd is certainly encouraging him with “Snuka” chants. He drops the elbow from the top of the cage and then climbs out for real this time to win the match. (6:17 shown) If you pay attention, you can spot Chyna’s obvious timing issues in those six minutes.
WWF Champion Triple H (w/Chyna) vs. The Rock – Cage Match (Rebellion (UK), 10/2/99)
This seems kind of random. With the refs knocked out, these two fight all around ringside where Rock opens up HHH with a steel chair and then gives him a ROCK BOTTOM on the announce table. Since Rock’s feuding with Davey Boy Smith at the time, he runs down and costs Rock the match by sending him back into the cage for a continued beatdown. Rock fights off both HHH and Bulldog, but Chyna slams the door in his face. Rock tries to prevent Triple H from climbing out, but Davey Boy pulls Rock off the cage and that allows HHH to win the match. (4:18 shown) This was just really bizarre out of context.
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon – Cage Match (St. Valentine’s Day Massacre 1999, Memphis, TN)
The Austin-McMahon feud finally comes to this. If Austin wins, he gets a WWF title shot at WrestleMania. If he loses, no deal. You’ve probably seen the face smash that Austin gives McMahon while they are both on the cage that sends Vinnie Mac flying down onto the announce table. Vince gets carried out on a stretcher for that bump, but Austin isn’t done with this particular can he has opened up on him. Not by a long shot. He brings Vince back into the cage and beats the heck out of him some more. As he starts to leave, Vince gives him the bird. Austin does more of the same, Vince gives him the bird. Once Austin hits the STONE COLD STUNNER, Paul Wight (the Big Show) debuts and pops up from underneath the mat to toss Austin into the cage wall, which breaks loose and Austin lands on the floor to win the match to go to WrestleMania 15. (7:52) From bell to bell at least, the whole match is here. Not a great match, but it wasn’t going to be. It’s just fantastic booking and went exactly how it should have gone down. Probably the best thing Vince Russo ever booked in his entire life. *½
WWF Tag Team Champions Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz (w/Lita) – Cage Match (Unforgiven 2000, Philadelphia, PA)
We are right smack dab in the middle of the Hardyz-E&C-Dudleyz two year tag team feud. They have already had their WM2000 ladder match and the first TLC match happened the previous PPV at SummerSlam. JIP to Jeff Hardy already out of the cage. That leaves Matt alone with E&C. During one of their escapes, Jeff pulls a ladder from under the ring and tosses it into Christian to knock him off the cage to fall to the floor. Thus, leaving Matt alone with Edge. One thing leads to another, and Jeff is up on the rim of the cage to deliver Whisper in the Wind on both Matt and Edge. That’s what drugs will make you do, folks. Christian tries to climb the ladder Jeff set up to get into the cage, but Lita comes out and hurracanranas Christian off the ladder! Ouch. All of a sudden, I see two chairs in the ring. Edge throws one at Jeff and tries to climb out, but the Hardyz meet him at the top and a double chairshot sends Edge back onto the mat, allowing Matt and Jeff to drop to the floor and win the tag team titles. (4:58 shown) Took the Hardyz fourteen months to regain the tag belts, but they finally did it. Some fun insane spots here and there and that’s usually all you get from Hardy Boyz cage matches.
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit – Cage Match (Raw is War, 6/11/01)
A feud that basically started out of nowhere right before WrestleMania 17 now comes to an end two months later in the form of a steel cage match. Back then, Benoit was WWF champ Stone Cold Steve Austin’s #1 contender who would meet him at the King of the Ring for a title shot along with Chris Jericho. I say that to mention that Austin is sitting with JR and Paul Heyman doing color commentary. His commentary was just hilarious in this match. We now JIP with Angle going up and missing the MOONSAULT FROM THE TOP OF THE CAGE. Austin calls Angle a jackass because he could have won the match right there. Benoit proceeds to deliver NINE German suplexes and then when he tries to escape the cage, Austin stands on the floor wielding a steel chair waiting for him to come down. Screw that. Benoit gives Angle his signature SWANDIVE HEADBUTT FROM THE TOP OF THE CAGE. We’ve seen several times before in WCW, but this was pretty sweet just like the others. Angle tries to stop Benoit from crawling out the door with the ANKLELOCK, but Benoit kicks him away. Too bad Austin is there to slam the door in his face. And with that, Kurt Angle climbs over the cage on the other side to the floor to win the match and end the feud. (6:18 shown) They left out some good stuff, but most of the high spots are here. The whole thing is about ****1/2 in my book.
Edge vs. Kurt Angle – Cage Match (Smackdown!, 5/30/02)
Another match with a two month long feud, which was kind of long back then. If they had some competition and a bigger and better roster, it might would be like that again. Anyways, Edge won a hair match at Judgment Day 2002, and now Kurt Angle is donning a silly wig under some amateur ear guards. Two weeks after losing the WWE Undisputed belt to the Undertaker, Hollywood Hogan is at ringside watching Edge’s back and basically prevent him from losing, BROTHER. Skip ahead to Edge avoiding a corner charge and dropping Angle with his own ANGLE SLAM for a nearfall. They trade anklelocks with Angle getting the better of that exchange, but still can’t make it out the door. Angle starts to climb out and makes it over the cage, but Hogan opens the door and lets Angle crotch himself on the door! Edge grabs Angle by the wig and Angle goes with the wig to prevent being revealed to the world as a bald man. Back inside, Edge hits a charging Kurt Angle with the FLYING SPEAR for the win. (3:35 shown) You really can’t even get the essence of any kind of story for this match. No matter though since they give us the entire match in the extras.
And that does it for the program.
WWF World Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund (w/Arnold Skaaland) vs. Pat Patterson – Cage Match (9/24/79, Madison Square Garden)
We are JIP to loads of dramatic near-escape attempts through the door and over the cage wall. In between attempts, they brawl even to the point of Backlund getting busted open. Backlund makes his comeback and starts throwing Patterson into the cage a few times, but ends up throwing him one time too many as Backlund eats the steel. Patterson starts to climb out, but Backlund intercepts and hits the RUNNING ATOMIC DROP. That won’t be enough though as Patterson meets Backlund at the top of the cage with his taped knux. Backlund ducks the shot and elbows Patterson back into the ring as they both tumble back inside. Backlund lucks out with an easy opening to make it through the door. He crawls towards the door, but Patterson of course tries to stop him. Backlund kicks him back and uses the kick to launch himself outside the door for the win. (12:55 shown) I just don’t get why people seemed to flip out for this match. It’s pretty good, but just lots of standard cage stuff. I mean, it’s not a MOTYC by any means. **½
WWWF World Heavyweight Champion Bruno Sammartino (w/Arnold Skaaland) vs. Ivan Koloff – Cage Match (12/15/75, Madison Square Garden)
Nearly five years earlier, Ivan Koloff had become the first man to beat Bruno Sammartino to end his eight year reign as the champion of New York City. Here they are again in NYC with the title on the line. This was very little in the way of an action-packed cage match. Basically any time Koloff gets the upper hand, it’s only mere moments before Bruno is back in control with his boring punch-kick offense. He runs Ivan into the cage a few times to bust him open, but that’s really all we get. I just don’t understand Bruno’s appeal in the least bit. He’s not charismatic and he’s not all that fun to watch. Koloff tries to make a few escape attempts, but Bruno is right there to stop him, which means there’s little to no drama whatsoever. Bruno runs Koloff into the ringpost a few times and easily walks out the cage with his head held high to win the match. (9:39) The only reason this is on this DVD set is because it’s listed as the first cage match in MSG. ¾*
WWF Intercontinental Champion Don Muraco (w/Capt. Lou Albano) vs. Jimmy Snuka (w/Buddy Rogers) – Cage Match (10/17/83, Madison Square Garden)
From my History of the IC championship DVD review.Gorilla Monsoon and Pat Patterson are on commentary. This is the famous cage match where Snuka lands the splash off the cage on Muraco. He had tried it once before on Backlund, but missed and cost him the WWF title three years earlier. Odd to think of Buddy Rogers as Snuka’s manager because he’s supposed to be such a beast of a man and the collaboration doesn’t make sense. I see Mick Foley! Snuka controls to start with punches and chops. Muraco buries a knee and catapults Snuka into the cage to bust him open. Muraco grinds the bloody forehead into the steel, but runs into a knee in the corner. They fight up to the top turnbuckle ending with Snuka chopping Muraco away. Muraco winds up slamming Snuka down and heads for the door. Snuka tries to stop him when Muraco’s trick knee acts up again and Snuka’s balls get rocked. Instead of walking out the door, Muraco continues to punish Snuka. He pays for it with a hard whip reversal into the corner and then gets thrown into the cage so he can blade as well. Snuka gets fired up and slams Muraco for a flying fist drop off the middle rope. Muraco receives a Jumping Headbutt as he staggers back and falls through the door to win the match, making Muraco look like the luckiest man on the planet. (6:46) Snuka can’t believe he lost like that and brings Muraco back into the cage for the SUPERFLY SPLASH off the cage! That jolts MSG into a frenzy as they can not believe what just happened. Snuka takes the belt and holds it up over Muraco’s bloody and beaten body. Only some people remember the match, but everybody remembers the splash off the cage. **
WWF World Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund (w/Arnold Skaaland) vs. Stan Hansen – Cage Match (4/6/81, Madison Square Garden)
As usual with WWF MSG main events, the first match went to a draw and the second meeting ended in a countout, so now we get a cage match. Hansen is awesome here. As Backlund contemplates getting in the cage, Hansen yells for him to suck it up and just daring him to get in the cage with him. Hansen meets Backlund at the door, but Backlund flips the script on him and sends Hansen into the cage a few times. Hansen returns the favor, but then takes a piledriver. He stops Backlund from climbing out with a low blow, but Backlund fights back and starts grinding Hansen’s head into the cage to bust him open. Backlund low blows Hansen to stop a barrage of punches and goes for the door, but Hansen is there to stop him. Back elbow connects, but Hansen misses an elbow drop. HERE COMES BACKLUND! Hansen cuts off the come back and delivers a knee drop. He heads for the door, but Backlund grabs him by the leg which is just enough to pull Hansen back inside. Hansen tries to escape by climbing out and we all get a Coppertone moment out of that. In other words, Hansen butt cleavage. They fight on the top rope trying to get out, but just wind up tumbling back to the mat. Hansen tries climbing out on the other side of the cage, but Backlund is there to pull him down as he falls face first on the top turnbuckle. That’s enough revenge for Backlund as he walks out the door to win the match. (8:45) And boy is Hansen HOT over that. He runs the ropes and then stops to yell for Backlund to come back and get some more before throwing up the lariat sign. Definitely an impassioned brawl, but I think it could have gone a little longer. Still the best of the extras on disc one. ***
NWA U.S. Heavyweight Champion Tully Blanchard (w/Baby Doll) vs. Magnum TA – “I Quit” Cage Match (Starrcade 1985, Greensboro, NC)
From my Starrcade review. Back in July of 1985 during the Great American Bash tour, Tully defeated Magnum to win his only NWA U.S. title by having Baby Doll disguised as a police officer slip Tully a roll of quarters to KO the champ. Well, the feud escalated from there and now we’ve got not just a cage match, but an “I QUIT” match inside of a cage. The “stone cold” expression on Magnum’s face is awesome. They roll around on the mat for a bit clawing at each other until Tully goes to the eyes and unloads on Magnum. That just fires Magnum up as he comes back with shots. Tully blocks a cage shot and took Magnum into the steel instead. Magnum stands up out of a reverse chinlock and hotshots Tully, but then goes face-first into the steel. Tully grabs the mic and screams at Magnum to say I quit, but he refuses. Magnum fights back and applies a hammerlock before throwing Tully into the cage not once, but twice. Ouch, his arm is busted OPEN! Now Magnum shoves the mic in Tully’s mouth, but Tully refuses and headbutts Magnum in the groin. Magnum hammers away on Tully’s bloody left deltoid. Now Tully busts Magnum open, all while kicking him in the face. Tully grabs the mic, but since Magnum refuses to quit this time, Tully hits in the cut forehead with the mic. Tully takes Magnum into the cage again, and comes off the top rope (not cage) with a double axe handle. Tully asks Magnum if he wants to quit again, but Magnum still says no. Magnum fights back and asks Tully again if he wants to quit, but he’s still saying no as well, so Magnum waffles him with the mic. Now will Tully quit? NO! Both men claw on each other’s cuts! That’s just SICK! Magnum fires back and asks Tully if he wants to quit now, but Tully kicks Magnum away. Magnum nails Tully again and goes up for a ten-count corner punch, but Tully counters with an inverted atomic drop. Tully screams at Magnum to quit, but he still says no! Tully nails Earl Hebner and drops Magnum with some elbows as he waits for Baby Doll to throw a wooden chair over into the cage! Tully shatters it in the ring and takes a broken piece of it and tries to stab Magnum in his already badly lacerated forehead! Well that’s just CRAZY! Magnum blocks it, but doesn’t get Tully off of him completely, which adds some amazing suspense to the moment. Greensboro is FREAKING OUT! Magnum is able to knee Tully off of him and jab the sharp-edged piece into Tully’s forehead! OH MAN, Magnum screams at Tully over and over again, asking him, “DO YOU QUIT?” At this point, Tully has no choice but to scream YES several times in order to get this crazy dude off of him. This one is OVER. Magnum walks out with the last wrestling title he would ever hold. (14:43) A match FILLED with hatred capped off by one of the most insane finishes in American wrestling history. I think this match solidifies both men as two of the sickest mofos on the planet. *****
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes – Cage Match (7/26/86, Greensboro, NC)
From my Great American Bash review. Flair had gone through Road Warrior Hawk, Ricky Morton, Robert Gibson, Ron Garvin, Wahoo McDaniel, Magnum TA and Nikita Koloff during the Great American Bash tour and regained the title during all of those defenses – now he’s got to face Dusty with only a week left to go in the tour. Lots of cool little mind games being played in the early going by the masters. They lock up and Flair backs Rhodes in the corner, but he comes out peppering the champ with rights and a Bionic Elbow puts Flair down. Flair tries to toss Dusty into the cage, but it’s way too early for that and Dusty blocks with his foot. Flair whips out of an armbar, but Rhodes comes out with a hiptoss. They trade chops and Flair retreats to a corner. Flair goes low and chops away, but then Dusty reverses a corner whip and press slams (kind of) Flair to the mat. While Dusty is pounding away in the corner, ref Tommy Young tries to get Dusty out of the corner by blocking one of his punches so Flair seizes the moment and sneaks in a low blow. Dusty quickly comes back with a sleeper. It seems too early for that, but he’s just weakening Flair down for the BIG DUSTY ELBOW DROP! Cover, 1-2-NO! Flair goes low again to take control. Dusty meets the cage and he’s busted open just like that, followed by some old school cheese-grating cage action. Now that Flair has him hurt, he goes after Dusty’s ankle that he and the Andersons injured last year to set up their Starrcade ’85 REVENGE match. That leads to the FIGURE-FOUR in the middle of the ring. Back then, it still had huge credibility to win matches – but this time, Dusty turns it over and rolls into the ropes for the break. Rolling Knee Drop gets 1-2-NO! Flair sets Dusty up against the ropes and charges, but Dusty explodes off the ropes (or at least as quickly as Dusty can) with a Lariat! Cover, 1-2-NO! Flair’s foot was on the bottom rope. Flair chops, but it has no effect so he tries to climb out of the cage. Dusty stops that and bashes his head into the rim of the cage to bring him back down. Flair cowers away into the opposite corner to sucker Dusty in, but it doesn’t work and Flair goes face-first to the cage. Now both guys are busted open. Cheese-grating action follows. You know, I don’t think it’s a surprise that I HATE David Crockett’s commentary, but I think I kind of realize what he tries to do with his commentary. I believe at least in his mind that he’s trying to tell the story with as much anticipation as possible. Almost like he’s telling a campfire ghost story, because he starts out really quiet and then HE GETS LOUDER and you’re supposed to be more excited about what’s happening. Maybe it works with cub scouts, It doesn’t work with wrestling fans. But yeah, anticipation. He’s terrible, but at least I think I’ve figured out whatever it is he thinks he’s doing. Flair tries to climb out again, but Dusty is there to bash his head some more into the cage. Flair gets crotched on the top rope and then receives more cheese-grating on the forehead. Dusty misses a punch on Flair up against the cage and hits the cage instead. Face miscommunication? Like an IDIOT, Flair heads up top and of course gets slammed down to set up the Dusty Rhodes Figure Four. Flair makes the ropes and then gets chopped like crazy from Big Dust, which leads to the Flair Flop. Dusty gets a backslide for 1-2-NO! Lariat and a BIG DUSTY ELBOW DROP gets 1-2-NO! D’oh! Flair tries to escape a third time, but then he kicks Dusty away and comes off with a flying crossbody ala Starrcade ’83 for 1-2-NO! Flair attempts to toss Dusty into the cage, but Flair goes instead for 1-2-NO! BIG DUSTY ELBOW DROP misses, but Flair goes for a slam and Dusty counters with a small package for 1-2-3! (22:00) Of course, Dusty would lose the belt back to Flair in a week or so like he always does. I think his longest NWA world title reign was like two months if I’m not mistaken. Good back-and-forth old school cage match from these two. ***
NWA World Tag Team Champions The Rock N Roll Express vs. Ole & Arn Anderson – Cage Match (Starrcade 1986, Greensboro, NC)
From my Starrcade review. Johnny Weaver mentions that the RnR Express ASKED for this match to be in a cage. Why would you NOT want to be able to escape from Ole and Arn Anderson? Gibson starts off using a duck-and-run strategy on the Andersons which seems to just piss them off more than anything. Morton comes in which draws the ref’s attention away from the match for the Anderson to double-team Gibson. Haha, I love it. Arn attempts to take Gibson’s face to the steel mesh, but Gibson blocks and slams the back of Arn’s head into it instead. Arn gets caught between the Express and wisely stumbles back to his corner and tags in Ole. Morton tags in and since Ole can’t slow the Express down, he tags out to Arn. He tries to slow it down so he can catch Morton off-guard by taking him to the steel, but Morton blocks it. That is too awesome. Arn tries for a hammerlock, but Morton reverses and puts Arn down with a right hand. Now the Express try working the arm. Gibson tags in but then misses a charge in the corner and runs his knee right into the top buckle. Haha, Arn seizes the opportunity and makes it look INCREDIBLY easy. Gibson is caught up on the top buckle and gets his injured knee slammed into the cage three times. Ole tags in and stomps away on it. As my dad would say, “If Ole could, he would pull that leg off and eat it!” The crowd is shrieking in horror of what is happening to Gibson right now. Arn comes in for more of the same. Gibson attempts a comeback, but Arn cuts him off and makes the quick tag to Ole. Gibson tries to punch back, but Ole tackles him down and grinds on the knee some more. Gibson does however punch out of a spinning toe-hold, but once again Ole is able to keep him in their corner and make the tag to Arn. He continues to abuse the leg of Gibson like whether he walked again did NOT matter to him at ALL. Gibson finally connects with an enziguri kick and makes the MOLTEN HOT tag to Morton! Ole doesn’t give a CRAP and just rams Morton head-first into the cage. Ole does that once more before grinding his boot into Morton’s face down in the corner. We see the first sign of a video edit as we JIP to Ole wrenching on Morton before tagging in Arn. Morton ducks a clothesline but then runs right into a SPINEBUSTER! Hahaha! Arn truly believes he has it won, but Morton kicks out at two! Ole tags in and comes off the top with a well-placed knee to the elbow joint. Just to be incredibly cruel, he locks on a PAINFUL looking armbar. Morton kicks him off but that just leads to a double-KO. Arn tags in and cuts off Morton. He fights up out of a neck wrench and fires back while Arn wrenches his arm. Arn staggers and falls on his face, but still makes the tag to Ole. Morton slowly crawls over towards Gibson, but he gets side-swiped by Ole into the cage! Morton fires back on Ole and finally after about seven blows, Ole starts to stagger. He actually appears to be playing ‘possum and comes back with a knee to the gut. Morton surprised Ole with a small package, but Arn runs in to break it up after a two-count. Gibson comes in and destroys Arn long enough to keep him down so he can dropkick Morton onto Ole during a slam for the surprise three-count to retain the belts. (11:45) It appears that possibly up to eight minutes of Morton murdering went down that we didn’t see. Even for the twelve minutes I saw, this is some of the best tag wrestling ever from the masters. ****½
WWF World Champion Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart – Cage Match (SummerSlam 1994, Chicago, IL)
From my SummerSlam review. I believe the entire Hart family is at ringside, including the British Bulldog who makes his return to the WWF and also Owen’s sole supporter brother-in-law Jim Neidhart. Owen grabs Bret as soon as he steps into the cage and starts pounding him down in the corner. Bret blocks a cage shot and drills Owen with a DDT. Both guys make the climb out, but neither are successful. Bret brings Owen back into the ring with a back suplex and hits a running bulldog. Bret and Owen take turns crawling to the door. When one pulls the other back, the other makes a run for the door. Awesome! Owen slams Bret off the top rope when he tries another escape. Bret brings Owen back in from the other side of the cage, but gets kicked down for a front missile dropkick. He takes a minute to do it, but he still kips up! Owen makes a leap for the cage and almost falls out, but Bret meets him at the top to trade blows. They come back down to the mat where Bret stops Owen from crawling out the cage, so Owen yanks Bret’s leg out from under him to crotch him in the ropes. How he didn’t pull a groin I have no idea. Bret grabs Owen and prevents another crawl out the door. He misses a flying elbow drop, but still manages to bring Owen back over the top of the cage by his hair. Owen stops Bret this time and gives him a version of a fireman’s carry slam. Bret stops Owen from another climb and blocks a cage shot to send Owen into the cage instead. Owen pulls Bret back in and gives a Back Superplex off the cage! He follows up with a Piledriver and starts to climb. Bret grabs him just in time though. Owen punches Bret down, but slips and crotches himself on the top rope. Bret all but climbs out of the cage as Owen pulls on his legs. When Owen tries the same, Bret pulls him back in and catapults Owen into the cage! Owen stops another Bret crawl to the door and whips him HARD into the corner. What makes that even better is the sound the cage makes when it rattles as Bret gets run into the turnbuckle. After Owen slips out of a slam, Bret runs Owen face-first into the cage. Whoops, looks like Bret hit his knee too as he slid into the cage. Nice bit of added continuity. As Bret climbs over the cage, Owen pulls him back in by his wrist and then by his hair! He gets Bret back in the ring and delivers his Spinning Heel Kick. They meet each other on the top rope to climb out until Bret takes a chance by kicking Owen’s arms free from the cage. Owen is still able to bring Bret back in the ring just in time. Double KO spot ensues. Bret meets Owen at the top corner of the cage and brings Owen back in with a SUPERPLEX! Incredible! Owen stops a crawl to the door and applies the SHARPSHOOTER! He screams out that he’s going to break Bret’s legs so that he’ll never be able to walk again. That is until Bret reverses the SHARPSHOOTER into one of his own. He holds on until it seems Owen is knocked out and starts another climb, but Owen pulls him in by his hair. Owen punches Bret and they both fall from the top rope. Now they both start to climb out and it becomes a race to see who can reach the floor first. They battle on the OTHER side of the cage, but Owen gets his leg caught in the cage wall. Bret smashes Owen’s face into the steel and that leaves Owen hanging on the cage! All Bret has to do is drop down and he does just that to retain his WWF title. (32:11) Absolutely the best cage match ever. They broke the stereotype that cage matches have had for twenty years before for being nothing more than bloody brawls and thought outside the box to give us a technical classic. I’ve heard people gripe on this match because they say there’s a lack of action, but they more than made up for that with a phenomenal psychological performance. What happens next is nothing short of a Four Horsemen attack. Neidhart jumps the rail and clotheslines the British Bulldog and his wife Diana from behind. Owen and Neidhart take Bret back into the ring, padlock the door, and beat the crap out of him while at the same time try to keep the Hart family at bay. The British Bulldog finally gets into the cage and scares Owen and Anvil away, but the damage has been done. *****
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) vs. Mankind – Cage Match (SummerSlam 1997, East Rutherford, NJ)
Trivial question: has HHH met all three faces of Foley on PPV? Knowing the craziness of Mankind, HHH immediately makes a dive for the door. Mankind refuses to oblige him and pulls him back inside for cage violence. Pull-up Piledriver connects. Mankind applies the MANDIBLE CLAW, but HHH backs him into the cage to allow Chyna to save him by climbing up and choking Mankind through the bars. Mankind fights back and tries to climb out, but Chyna is there to stop him by punching him in the balls. With Mankind still up top, HHH brings his fat body down with a hard superplex! HHH denies himself the win to inflict more pain on Mankind. He throws Mankind into the cage a bunch and starts to climb, but Mankind stops him at the top. Once again, Chyna reaches in to save Helmsley with a right hand to Mankind. From there, Mankind proceeds to suplex HHH into the cage and then delivers a running elbow drop of sorts with HHH still hanging onto the cage! More cage violence from Mankind, but then HHH backdrops into the cage to end all that. They meet each other on the top rope trying to climb out, but HHH gets crotched and hung up in the ropes. Mankind crawls for the door and he’s almost out when Chyna slams the door in his face. She tosses a chair in the ring over to Hunter, but a PEDIGREE goes awry when Mankind counters and catapults Helmsley into Chyna. Gah, her timing for these spots are just awful. DOUBLE-ARM DDT on the chair looks to put HHH away as Mankind climbs over the top of the cage, but then crowd starts “superfly” of course alluding to his idol Jimmy Snuka and he just can’t resist. He rips his shirt open and delivers a FLYING ELBOW DROP FROM THE TOP OF THE CAGE! Again, Chyna screws up on the timing on the finish as you can plainly see if you’re watching the match. After Mankind hits the elbow drop, he climbs out for real this time for the win. (16:24) Afterwards, Dude Love’s music plays and Foley goes into Dude Love mode as a sign of things to come. I’m not really a big fan of this match simply because Chyna’s miscues make all the spots look so planned. Average stuff really with some moderately fun moments mixed in. **½
WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels (w/Diesel) vs. Marty Jannetty – Cage Match (8/17/93, White Plains, NY)
Although it seems like this type of match should have been a Raw main event, this one was filmed for Coliseum video. Jannetty is all over HBK to start using a t-shirt as his weapon of choice. Johnny Polo who is doing commentary mentions that Shawn looks a little pudgy here. Interesting! This is about a month before Shawn was accused and suspended of doing steroids, but I think it’s more of a donut problem than a needle problem. Unless he’s shooting up donuts, which I wouldn’t recommend. With Marty in total control, he goes for a pinfall to maybe remind the commoners about the rules of a cage match. HBK takes over, but Marty stops him with a catapult into the steel. Again, he goes for the cover and ref Bill Alfonso gets inside the cage and starts to count. WHAT. Jannetty tosses Shawn into the cage again and then goes for the door, which then Johnny Polo starts talking about the Doors to Gorilla Monsoon. You know, the band. Gorilla is absolutely clueless. So basically what we can take from this is the John Morrison character that debuted fifteen years later was not an old Gorilla Monsoon idea that WWE pulled off a shelf. Polo sings the chorus to “Light My Fire”. This is just getting strange. Oh yes! There’s a match going on. Jannetty avoids a corner charge and crawls for the door, but Diesel’s in the way. He kicks the door into Diesel, but Shawn yanks Jannetty back inside. HBK delivers some cage violence and tries to crawl over the cage, but Marty pulls his tights down to give everybody a look at Shawn’s behind. TEE HEE! Back to the mat, Jannetty fights out of a sleeper by running Shawn into the cage. Marty wins a slugfest and atomic drops HBK into the cage. Both guys have their moments to climb out the cage and Shawn winds up getting slammed down off the top. Here is Jannetty’s best opportunity to win, but Diesel climbs up and stops that from happening. Meanwhile on the other side, HBK crawls out the door to win the match. (13:14) I think these two need to be able to move to have a great match and maybe they felt constricted by being in the cage. Who knows. Definitely not their best work. **¼
Edge vs. Kurt Angle – Cage Match (Smackdown!, 5/30/02)
From the Kurt Angle mixtape. Edge took his hair, now Angle hopes to destroy Edge for realz in a steel cage. Angle’s wearing some headgear to hold his wig down. Lots of fast action to start. Edge tries to SPEAR Angle into the cage, but Angle moves and Edge runs face-first into steel. Angle hits a suplex and grabs a front headlock. Edge fights out and delivers an overhead belly-to-belly throw. Flying clothesline from Edge gets two. Angle EXPLODES to his feet and gives Edge a Hat Trick of Germans for 1-2-NO! He continues the violence by running Edge’s face into the steel like THREE times and then pounds on him down on the mat. All that leaves Edge busted open. Edge fights back with a catapult into the cage and catches Angle off guard with Edge-O-Matic for two. Backdrop and a Half-Nelson Bulldog gets two. Ref gets knocked down as they fight up to the top rope. Edge delivers a back superplex and starts to climb out. Oh, but Angle brings Edge down with a SUPER ANGLE SLAM! With Edge and the ref completely wiped out, Angle climbs out of the cage – only nobody knows it but him, the crowd, and…HULK HOGAN! He walks down and runs Angle into the cage before putting him back inside. WHAT. It’s not like Angle cheated to win? Commercial break. We come back to see Angle counter the EDGECUTION with an ANGLE SLAM for 1-2-NO! Edge avoids a corner charge and nails Angle with an ANGLE SLAM of his own! Cover, 1-2-NO! They trade anklelocks with neither man getting a tapout. Edge steps through the ropes and as Angle runs him into the cage, he falls and gets his knee twisted in the ropes right over by the door. With Edge in the way yet still tied up, Angle just decides to climb out. Edge gets loose and meets Angle at the top. Meanwhile, Hogan opens the cage door. As Angle stands on the cage door, Edge punches Angle causing him to crotch himself on the door! OUCH. Angle almost falls to the floor, so Edge grabs Angle by his hair and since Angle doesn’t want to be seen without the wig, he goes with the wig and gets pulled back into the cage. Edge shoves Angle to the mat from the top rope and baits him into a FLYING SPEAR. You see, Angle likes to run up the ropes and suplex you down, so it makes sense that somebody would finally counter that. Cover, 1-2-3! (14:21 shown) I think we could have done without Hogan here. But then we wouldn’t have this next match! Regardless, this was the usual goodness that we saw on a regular basis between these two at the time. ***¾
Final Thoughts: While I give this Bloodbath DVD a thumbs up, it had the potential to be even greater. At the time this was released, I believe they were still experimenting with just how to produce these type of DVDs.