July 3, 2011
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

The Greatest Cage Matches of All Time
Three-Disc Set
Released: June 28, 2011

DISC TWO

Josh Mathews considers Ric Flair as the true gladiator of cage matches.

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair (w/Woman) vs. Lex Luger – Cage Match (NWA Capital Combat, 5/19/90)
From my original Capital Combat review. Just to show what a dedicated babyface Luger has become since Sting’s knee injury, he’s decided to wrestle this match “against doctor’s orders” as to not let his fans down. You see, Luger’s knee had been beaten up SO badly by the Horsemen, that he had to spend the last two weeks in the hospital. By the way, there was rumor that Terry Funk would be special referee for this match, but he left the NWA again a few weeks back. Luger NO-SELLS everything Flair throws at him to start and gets a near-fall off a clothesline very early into the match. Luger hits a stalling suplex and a pair of press slams. Flair comes back with forearms, but it has no effect. Flair chops away, but Luger does a little pex-flex action to show he’s not impressed. Flair decides to climb out of the cage (which I should mention is the Thunderdome-hell-in-a-cell type cage where you can walk around on the floor instead of the cage that sets on the ring), but its all just to set up Luger and kick him back down. Luger tastes the steel before going back in the ring. Flair goes after the knee, which definitely effects the US champ. Rolling knee drop follows. Flair hits a suplex, but Luger pops right back up. Ten-count corner blows leads to a Flair Flip. He runs down the apron and comes off the top, but Luger catches him on the way down. Flair tries to climb out the cage again, but Luger follows him up and smashes Flair’s face into the cage. Once they’re back on the floor, Flair goes face-first into the ringpost to bust him open. Back in, Flair begs away as Caudle’s hoping Luger takes the belt tonight. Luger tries another ten-count corner punches. Flair fights out with an inverted atomic drop, but it misses the mark and Flair gets nailed with a clothesline for two. They go to the floor again where Flair’s head is smashed into the cage a few more times. Back in again, Luger NO-SELLS a running forearm from Flair. Luger delivers the superplex, but he jars his injured knee when he hits the mat. Flair sees it and rips into Luger’s knee like a monkey on a cupcake. He gets the FIGURE-FOUR and grabs the ropes for leverage. Ref Mike Atkins catches him and calls for the break. The Horsemen come down to cheer on their champ as Luger fights back. Hard clothesline from Luger gets 1-2-NO! Luger hits the press slam and his knee seems to be okay now. Here comes Sting! He beats up Ole and Arn while Sid just stands there looking goofy in a tuxedo. The debuting 7-foot-7-inch El Gigante walks down to save Sting and send the Horsemen running just due to his mere presence. Meanwhile in the ring, Luger hits a powerslam on Flair. Also, the cage starts to rise up just enough for Barry Windham (who returned from the WWF a week prior to this show to replace Ole as the fourth Horsemen) to sneak in and attack Luger to call for the DQ. (17:21) This is like the only cage match I’ve ever seen that ended in a DQ. Isn’t being able to do anything part of why it’s a cage match? Much like Sting/Flair, there’s a Luger/Flair formula that just produces good matches due to good chemistry. This match was like the condensed version of the Luger/Flair formula. Post-match, all of the Four Horsemen get in and beat up Luger until Sting and El Gigante chase them off again. BLOOD COUNT: Ric Flair. ****

WWF World Champion Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude (w/Bobby Heenan) – Cage Match (SummerSlam 1990)
From the original SummerSlam review. This probably should have gone on before Hogan/Earthquake. Since Rude enters the cage first, he dares Warrior to climb up the cage to get to him. Warrior obliges and goes right after Rude, but Rude’s the one who winds up getting beat back down to the mat. Warrior finally enters the cage and comes off the top with a double-ax handle. Rude tastes the steel a couple times – busting him open in the process. Warrior wants to splash him into the cage, but Rude falls out of harm’s way. Rude tries to climb out, but Warrior grabs his foot. He gets kicked away and Rude comes off the top rope with a sledge. Rude pounds away and goes for the RUDE AWAKENING, but Warrior powers out and levels Rude with a clothesline. WARRIOR SPLASH hits knees, and then Rude gets the RUDE AWAKENING. He climbs to the top of the cage and comes down on Warrior with the single sledge. Probably the most memorable moment of the match. He tries another, but Warrior catches him on the way down. Warrior tries to crawl out the door, but Heenan slams the door in his face! Heenan has that look on his face that says, “Boy that felt good.” Rude covers him for 1-2-NO! Double-KO spot ensues. Now Rude tries to crawl out the door and Bobby tries to help, but winds up getting pulled in along with Rude. Kind of like Hogan did years before, Heenan takes an atomic drop out the door. Warrior turns around into a clothesline, but then starts to WARRIOR UP! He hits the clotheslines, the GUERILLA PRESS SLAM, pounds his chest, then climbs out the cage with no problem. (10:04) You got to hand it to Rude. Only a handful of people came off the top of a cage back then, and he’s one of those guys. Rude coming down on Warrior was a great visual, but the match itself just isn’t that good. Rude would talk junk about Bossman’s mom, then he left the WWF for the rest of the Heenan family to deal with Bossman. BLOOD COUNT: Rick Rude and Ultimate Warrior. *

Ultimate Warrior vs. “Macho King” Randy Savage (w/Queen Sherri) – Cage Match (Madison Square Garden, 1/21/91)
To set the stage, this takes place two days after Randy Savage cost the WO-YAH the WWF title to Sgt. Slaughter at the Royal Rumble. Easily one of my favorite WWF feuds. As you would imagine, the Warrior is quite pissed. By the way, Sean Mooney and Brother Love on commentary. I like the Brother Love character and all, but he can be quite irritating to listen to for long periods of time. Tons of clotheslines in this one from both competitors. Apparently pinfalls are allowed, but ref Earl Hebner has to open the door and get inside the ring in order to make the count. MACHO ELBOW connects for 1-2-NO! Warrior presses Savage off his chest and starts to WARRIOR UP! More clotheslines set up the GUERRILLA SPLASH, but Savage brings up the knees to block and climbs out the cage. He gets about half way down on the other side when Warrior grabs him by the hair through the bars. In order to save her king, Queen Sherri opens the door to the cage and wraps her blouse around Warrior’s neck. During the brief tussle, Savage slips out of Warrior’s hands and falls to the floor to win. (10:33) Meanwhile, Sherri falls backwards down to the mat and now she’s all alone with the Warrior. Like I’m sure how most women would feel, they soon regret spending ANY time with this man. She gets her clothes ripped off trying to escape, which leaves her in nothing but black lingerie. Savage helps Sherri get away, but takes a huge beating that not even the referees can stop as Warrior shoves them all around. The Nasty Boys come out to try and stop the Warrior, but they fail. More suits come out and can’t stop him. Once Savage is finally out of the cage, Sherri gets grabbed and given a GUERRILLA PRESS SLAM before Warrior makes his exit as only he can do. Lots going on, but don’t think this is anything like the retirement match at WrestleMania 7. BLOOD COUNT: None. *½

WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels (w/Diesel) vs. Marty Jannetty – Cage Match (White Plains, NY 8/17/93)
From the Bloodbath DVD review. 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. BLOOD COUNT: None. **¼

Mankind vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) – Cage Match (SummerSlam 1997, East Rutherford, NJ)
From the Bloodbath DVD review. 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. BLOOD COUNT: None. **½

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon – Cage Match (St. Valentine’s Day Massacre 1999, Memphis, TN)
From the Bloodbath DVD review. 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) Fantastic booking that went exactly how it should have gone down. Probably the best thing Vince Russo ever booked in his entire life. BLOOD COUNT: Vince McMahon. *½

WWF Champion Triple H vs. The Rock – Cage Match (Rebellion (UK), 10/2/99)
This happens just a week after Triple H regained the WWF title at Unforgiven in the six-pack challenge match. JR and Michael Hayes are on commentary. Rock cuts a promo before the match on HHH and brings up Willy Wonka. He just seems to be spitballing it here and not making a whole lot of sense. I must say, I do miss Triple H’s “My Time” theme song. Rock lays the Smackdown to start. When Rock tries to climb out and can’t, HHH catches Rock in the gut on the way down. High Knee takes over. After a little bit of cage violence, Triple H delivers the Facebuster. HHH nearly escapes over the cage wall, but Rock brings him back inside and slings him off the top turnbuckle. Triple H still manages to stop Rock from climbing out though. They end up brawling on the top rope and crotch each other over it. While standing up on the top turnbuckle, Triple H kicks Rock away only to fly down into the ROCK BOTTOM. HHH prevents Rock from another escape attempt with a back suplex, but then runs into a powerslam. Triple H elbows away a shot at the ROCK BOTTOM and then delivers the PEDIGREE. He makes it half way out the door when Rock grabs hold of his legs. As he pulls HHH back in, Triple H brings a chair inside with him. Ref Earl Hebner gets the chair away from Hunter, but then gets punched out for it. With Hebner now down and out, Rock and HHH both escape the cage and start brawling around ringside. After a bunch of guardrail action, Rock delivers a gift to all his fans there in Birmingham: a chair shot straight down on Triple H’s head. That busts him open. While he blades, Rock puts on a third headset and starts talking his usual smack. “It’s not the people’s blood, it’s MONKEY PISS.” Hilarious. Rock beats HHH down onto the one announce table and comes off the side of the cage on him with an elbow to turn the table over. Back inside, Rock starts working the cut and bounces HHH’s face off the cage a bunch. A DDT looks to be enough to win, but Hebner is still down. Here comes the British Bulldog who all along wanted Rock’s title shot tonight since they are in his motherland and all. He beats Rock back inside the cage. Shane McMahon comes down to stop Bulldog, but ends up taking a RUNNING POWERSLAM on the floor for his troubles. Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson try and stop him, but can’t. Now Bulldog makes it inside the cage and has the total run of the place. Rock slows him down with a low blow and delivers another ROCK BOTTOM to Triple H. Rock heads for the door, but here comes Chyna to slam the door in his face! As Triple H climbs over the cage wall, Rock tries to stop him and does a pretty good job until the British Bulldog pulls Rock back down to the mat to cost him the match as HHH climbs down to win the match. (22:11) This was overbooked, but done right as everything meant something and made the match more entertaining. Bulldog’s interference just made sense since he always feels he deserves to be in every main event when they tour England. Afterwards, Vince McMahon comes down and locks the cage door so that Rock can get his revenge on Bulldog with a ROCK BOTTOM and the PEOPLE’S ELBOW to send the crowd home happy. BLOOD COUNT: Triple H. **¾

Final Thoughts: With the exception of Bret-Owen at SummerSlam, straight cage matches in the 1990s (excluding Wargames and Hell in a Cell matches, of course) pretty much sucked. The top two promotions in the US cut back on a lot of the violence that wrestling fans might had become used to seeing in the 1980s, which meant cage matches were used a lot less frequently than they had been, and that leaves us with a lot less to choose from here. Alright, let’s see what disc three has for us.

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