Wrestler of the Day – March 25: Undertaker

Today is Undertaker, so the timeline is thrown out the window again.

 

I could have just posted Wrestlemania matches here and this would have been the longest entry in the series.

 

We’ll start with a strange period in Taker’s career: the MMA Cowboy of Death and a very popular match against Kurt Angle at No Way Out 2006 for Angle’s World Heavyweight Championship.

 

Smackdown World Title: Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker

It’s the remix for Angle’s music here which I never liked. That title just looks AWESOME on him. He was a guy that was incredibly valuable to have on the roster for instances such as this. Batista was hurt and so they needed a credible champion. Angle is someone they could throw the title on and have it be completely realistic. That’s always a great thing and it worked perfectly here.

Taker literally takes four minutes for his entrance. Think he’s taking long enough? Cole’s voice sounds like it’s giving out. Angle tries to get a hold on him early on and Taker goes to the ropes. That’s a bit odd to see I’d think. Angle hits the floor when nothing works. Cole says neither of them have ever tapped. What the heck has he been watching for the seven years Angle has been in the company? He’s lost an Ultimate Submission match and Jericho made him tap on Raw once. Also Benoit made him tap multiple times. Yeah that’s nonsense.

Taker works a headlock which is odd to see him using. Off to the arm and a short arm scissors which gets him nowhere. They’re going back and forth here and it’s working for the most part. Definitely a slow build as we have nearly half an hour to go and no more matches. Old School connects and Taker busts out a Downward Spiral of all things for two.

Snake Eyes hit but Angle hits a SWEET release German for one. The dueling chants begin which makes sense as these are both faces. There’s some chick at ringside that screams louder than Melina. Taker gets knocked off the apron and into the railing. Angle dives at him and is caught before being rammed into the post. The apron legdrop is VINTAGE! Back in and Angle blocks a chokeslam with some kicks so Taker just hits him in the face to put him back down.

Angle goes for the knee and gets the post figure four. Solid stuff here so I apologize for the lack of humor. There’s nothing to make fun of. Patrick gives this big lecture to Angle about keeping it in the ring and Angle nods at it. Patrick turns around and Angle is right back out there which was rather funny. They’re building very slowly here but Angle is picking it up a bit.

Back to the floor again with Taker drilling him with knees. Taker’s knee is messed up a bit and this time he’s selling so we’ve got that going for once. It’s noticeable how much more swearing there is here. Angle grabs the legdrop on the apron this time and gets the ankle lock. Angle holds him on the floor against the ten count, breaking at seven and then breaking the count before going right back to the ankle. That’s sweet stuff there.

We hit the ring again and Taker is caught in another leg lock for a bit. More dueling chants start up. Taker counters mounted punching with a triangle choke and Angle is in trouble. Amazing that Fedor can’t last 10 seconds in one but Angle can last like 30 in it. We hit the floor again and Angle is in trouble. They’ve broken the count like 10 times so far which isn’t something you see that often. It adds some realism to the match as they’re not ignoring rules for the sake of convenience.

Taker clears off the announce table and then rolls in to break the count again, even though I’m not sure one was going on. Angle grabs Taker and puts him through the other announce table with the Angle Slam out of nowhere. Angle stops the count at 9 including some F Bombs. Back to the floor again with Angle pounding away. Taker wouldn’t have beat the count back in. He reverses Angle and sends him into the steps. GREAT match if you can’t tell that.

Taker goes up but gets caught and takes some punches. Angle sets for a suplex but Taker knocks him back. Angle is all like boy I said I’m suplexing you so I’m suplexing you and runs up the corner to throw Taker down in a belly to belly. Somehow that only gets two. Fans are way into this. Angle throws more punches so Taker kicks him in the face. Sometimes you can’t beat the simple stuff.

Chokeslam is countered into the ankle lock and Taker is reeling. Taker can’t shove him off so he pulls him in, grabs the head and locks on the triangle choke again. Angle reverses that and hooks the ankle lock one more time. Taker rolls through and finally gets out of it. Chokeslam mostly hits but Taker kind of dropped him which might have been intentional due to the ankle. That gets two as I’m loving this stuff.

Last Ride is reversed into a sunset flip and Angle grabs the ankle lock AGAIN for like what, the fifth time? Yeah two in the previous sequence and two on the floor. Dang man. Taker can’t get the ropes so he kicks Angle off AGAIN. Angle Slam connects for TWO. Sweet merciful crap this is awesome. Angle pulls down the straps as Taker sits up in a great visual.

They slug it out and Taker sends him in and grabs the Tombstone. Angle reverses and Taker reverses and ANGLE reverses into the SIXTH Ankle lock, this time with the grapevine attached. Taker raises his hand to tap and he’s in the middle of the ring. Taker rolls them over and kicks Angle in the face again to become the ONLY person I’ve ever seen to survive the grapevine ankle lock.

Angle slips up behind Taker as he gets up and hits ANOTHER Angle Slam (NINE freaking finishers from Angle if you’re keeping track) and Angle rolls him up but Taker busts out (and perhaps debuts) the Hell’s Gate (not called that yet and still called a triangle choke here. Thank you martial arts master Tazz) and Angle is in big trouble. Angle is almost out and after the second arm drop he pops up and jumps over into a cradle while the choke is still on and gets the three! Taker thinks he’s won and Angle is DONE. Post match Taker says he has Angle’s number. I guess he’ll text the rematch request.

Rating: A+. Screw Meltzer and his love of Japanese guys and his cruiserweight obsession. THIS is your match of the year. These two beat the tar out of each other and it was nothing but awesome the whole way. For some reason (Angle leaving for TNA) they never had the big rematch. THIS should have been the main event of Mania rather than a 9 minute triple threat with Angle dropping the belt to that freaking moron Rey so that Eddie could have his second moment at Mania.

Both guys looked awesome out there and they threw everything they had at each other and then the ending worked perfectly. Both guys more or less lost and it lets Taker keep his credibility. Much like the Benoit match at the 03 Rumble, Taker didn’t get beat so much as he got caught. That’s a very key thing and it helps a lot here. Excellent match and well worth going out to see.

 

Undertaker would of course have a ton of success at Wrestlemania, including main eventing Wrestlemania XXIV, challenging Edge for the title.

 

Smackdown World Title: Undertaker vs. Edge

Edge has Teddy wheel out Vickie who is in a wheelchair as always. The Canadian is defending here. The champ pounds away to start but gets clotheslined out to the floor. Back in and Taker comes back with a Stunner onto the top rope to put Edge down. Taker slugs away but charges into a boot in the corner, only to come back with the jumping clothesline for two. Old School is countered but Taker rolls forward and armdrags Edge down.

Edge sends Taker over the corner by avoiding a big boot, possibly injuring Taker’s arm in the process. A spear sends Taker off the apron and into the barricade to work over the ribs a bit. Edge hits a hard baseball slide to send Taker back into the barricade as the match slows down a bit. With Undertaker on the apron, Edge hits a running neckbreaker to snap Undertaker’s neck across the top rope.

Back in and Edge pounds away even more before hitting a spear into the corner for no cover. Instead it’s a dropkick to put Taker down again and Edge goes up, only to be shoved down to the floor with a sick thud. There’s the Taker Dive to continue the Wrestlemania tradition. Taker drops the apron legdrop and heads back inside for the Last Ride but his back won’t let him use it.

They head outside again and Edge drops Taker back first onto the barricade, sending the big man into the crowd. Off to a half crab by Edge followed by a very modified Indian Deathlock which Undertaker kicks away. Back up and they slug it out with Taker getting control and the cheers from Undertaker. The challenger gets the better of it and hits a running clothesline in the corner. Make it a pair of them followed by snake eyes but the big boot is blocked for two by Edge.

The chokeslam is countered into the Impaler DDT for two. The second chokeslam attempt works but it only gets a near fall as well. Old School is broken up again and Edge pounds away in the corner but has to counter the Last Ride out of the corner with a neckbreaker for two. These counters are getting awesome. The Last Ride (more of a regular powerbomb here) hits but it only gets two. Edge counters the Tombstone into the Edge-O-Matic for ANOTHER close two. The fans aren’t buying Edge’s near falls.

Back up and Taker’s big boot hits the referee before Edge takes down the Dead Man. A low blow breaks up a chokeslam bid and Edge blasts Taker in the head with a camera. Taker sits up and like a dolt, Edge tries a Tombstone. Taker reverses into one of his own and here’s another referee running a LONG way down the aisle to count two. Cue Hawkins and Ryder (as in Curt and Zack, the Edgeheads) to distract Taker and let Edge hit the spear for two. NOW the fans are fired up about the kickout. Another spear connects but Taker grabs the Hell’s Gate submission out of nowhere and Edge taps away the title to make it 15-0.

Rating: A. I kept hearing about how great this match was and while I remember it being good, I don’t remember it being this good. It’s pretty safe to say that this is Edge’s best non-gimmick match ever and it’s one of his best ever period. Great match here and it would set up a series of solid gimmick matches between the two over the summer.

We’ll stick with that Wrestlemania theme and go to the greatest show of all time for his underrated match against HHH.

HHH vs. Undertaker

Taker gets to do his long bike ride down the aisle, meaning he can speed it way up, which looks pretty awesome. I use that word a lot in this but it’s true. The fight starts on the floor with HHH losing a slugout. They break ANOTHER Spanish announce table with Taker still pounding away. We get in the ring for the opening bell where HHH hitting the jumping knee to the face. Taker has no interest in selling that though and pounds on HHH in the corner even more.

A big backdrop puts HHH down as do some clotheslines in the corner. Taker powerslams the Game down and there’s the jumping clothesline to do it again. HHH breaks up Old School though and hits a neckbreaker for two. A few elbows to Taker’s neck have him in even more trouble and there’s a neckbreaker for two. See what psychology is like? It’s not that hard. Taker comes back with rapid fire punches but gets caught in a facebuster.

HHH goes to the floor and gets the sledgehammer but the referee takes it away from him. Instead HHH loads up a Pedigree but gets catapulted into the referee, crushing him in the process. There’s a chokeslam to HHH but the referee is slow to count, meaning it only gets two. Taker beats up the referee to knock him out cold before throwing HHH out to the floor. HHH is backdropped into the crowd and the brawl is on. Taker punches him up to the tech area which is a very rare sight.

HHH tries to climb away to escape, but he climbs up higher and higher. Taker catches him anyway and pounds him in the head before sending him up to the next level. HHH finds a chair and blasts him ten straight times about the head and body. He loads up another shot to the head but Taker grabs him by the throat and chokeslams HHH off the tower onto something we can’t see. It winds up being a crash pad but the throw looked GREAT. Taker wants more and drops an elbow off the tower down onto HHH for good measure.

Before HHH can be taken to the back by EMTs, Taker beats him up even more and even knocks down the medics. We head back to the ring where the referee hasn’t moved for six minutes and hasn’t been looked at whatsoever. Back to the ring with HHH basically dead. Taker picks up the sledgehammer but HHH kicks him low to save his life. A big boot to the face of HHH takes him down though and it’s time for a slugout.

HHH loads up a Tombstone but since he’s not Kane (or Sid apparently, Taker easily counters into one of his own. There’s STILL no referee though as he’s been out cold for ten minutes (from a kick in the back and an elbow drop mind you). Taker finally shakes him back to life before loading up the Last Ride. HHH grabs the sledgehammer though and knocks Undertaker silly with it…..for two. I lost my mind on that kickout back in the day.

Taker is busted open and HHH is having a fit. The Game pounds away at the cut in the corner but makes the fatal mistake of going to the middle rope for more leverage, allowing Taker to grab the Last Ride to plant HHH and make himself 9-0 at Wrestlemania. Taker lays on the ropes after the match and the shot of him busted open but smiling is sweet.

Rating: A. This is one of the great matches that no one talks about for various reasons ranging from their rematches to the match that immediately followed it. It’s absolutely great though with both guys beating the tar out of each other and some excellent drama on the near falls. This was the match that made sure you knew Taker was still a player while keeping HHH strong at the same time. Great fight.

Then there’s that one time he beat Hogan for the WWF Title at Survivor Series 1991 in a big shocker.

WWF World Title: Undertaker vs. Hulk Hogan

Taker is “undefeated” here, which means overseas tours and house shows don’t count because Tito beat him in Spain and Warrior beat him on a bunch of house shows. Feeling out process to start with no one being able to get a real advantage. Taker shoulders Hogan and Hulk regroups a bit while Taker reaches to the urn. Back in and Taker chokes away in the corner in a shot you see in a lot of Taker video packages.

Bearer chokes Hogan a bit and Taker slams him. A big elbow misses and the place pops loudly. Hulk pounds away but he can’t put Taker down. A slam doesn’t work nor does an elbow to the head. Hogan clotheslines Taker to the floor where the dead man lands on his feet and pulls Hogan outside. Back in and Taker chokes away some more as does Bearer. Taker starts smothering him as you can see the Hogan super fan, a guy who dressed up like Hulk (including yellow trunks) sitting in the front row and freaking out.

This hold goes on for a good while, which is just Taker having his hand on Hogan’s face and doing nothing else. By long I mean like two and a half minuets. When the whole match is only thirteen minutes, that’s a long stretch. Hogan comes back with some shoulder blocks that don’t do much, only to have Taker clothesline him down again. There’s the Tombstone but Hogan is up before a cover. He pounds away on Taker and knocks him down to one knee which is a new thing for Taker.

Hogan gets a good slam as Flair is on his way to the ring. I miss that black and white robe. That thing was spiffy. Hogan takes out Flair with a right hand and big boots Taker, only to have Bearer grab his leg. Taker loads up the Tombstone as Flair slides in a chair. The piledriver on the chair gives us a new world champion and a decisive face pop for the dead man. Taker holding the title like it’s a coupon for a free coffee at a Shell station is a nice touch.

Rating: D. Yeah this match completely sucked but we have a new champion and a reason to watch Flair vs. Hogan, which never happened for various reason. Hogan would beat Taker for the title at Tuesday in Texas six days later, but the title would be held up and decided in the Rumble, where Flair would win it and set up Wrestlemania. Bad match, but a BIG moment.

To really mix things up a bit, we’re going to Michinoku Pro, a Japanese promotion, for a match against Jinsei Shinzaki (Hakushi) on October 10, 1997.

Undertaker vs. Jinsei Shinzaki

Hakushi is down in the ring to start which appears to be part of his gimmick. That’s fine with Taker as he grabs Hakushi as he gets up and nails a chokeslam. Some big right hands get two and Old School gets the same. Back up and we get a Flair Flip out to the floor with Hakushi in early trouble. Some right hands knock Hakushi onto the apron and a suplex back in gets two. Hakushi comes back with a quick hurricanrana for two and he goes after the leg. An (I assume) unnamed Bruce Pritchard is in Undertaker’s corner.

Undertaker is put in the Tree of Woe for all of two seconds before escaping to kick Hakushi in the face. More kicks to the leg drop the big man though and a top rope headbutt injures the knee even more. They head outside but Undertaker catches him diving off the top and drives him into the post a few times. Back in again and a powerslam gets two for the Dead Man but Hakushi goes after the knee again. Moonsault gets two but the headbutt hits mat as Undertaker sits up. Chokeslam gets two and the tombstone gets the pin.

Rating: D+. This wasn’t much to see but it’s probably my favorite period for Undertaker. He was slowly dropping the undead stuff and just started beating people up because he could. It helped that he was at war with Shawn and just about to start the Kane feud as well so good things were happening for him.

Speaking of the Shawn feud, here’s how it started for him. From Summerslam 1997, as Bret Hart was the top heel in the company after the Border War.

WWF World Title: Undertaker vs. Bret Hart

Remember that Shawn is guest referee. Bret hits Undertaker in the back with the belt to start and pounds away but Undertaker throws him away and out to the floor. The champion misses a charge into the post and is sent knees first into the steps by the Canadian. Bret tries to jump off the apron at Taker but is caught in midair and slammed into the post. Back in and Undertaker works on Bret’s back before sending him into the corner a few times.

Off to a bearhug on Hart followed by a big boot to the face, but Taker misses a legdrop. A second big boot misses though and Bret goes after the knee. Hart cannonballs down onto Taker’s knee and kicks the leg out from under the 6’10 champion. As a small sidebar, Vince says that you’re not 6’10 when you’re on the mat. I’m pretty sure he still is actually, but he just can’t use that height advantage.

Hart cranks on the leg even more and puts on the Figure Four for good measure. This brings out Paul Bearer for some reason which angers the champion. Undertaker turns the hold over to escape before going after Bearer. Bret uses the distraction to jump Undertaker from behind and send him into the barricade. There’s the Figure Four around the post by Bret as he stays on Taker’s leg. Owen Hart and Brian Pillman of the Hart Foundation come out to ringside.

Taker’s leg is wrapped around another post and Bret flips off a yelling fan. Shawn hasn’t been a factor as referee yet. Back in and Bret puts on another leg lock but Taker rolls it over and uses the good leg to kick Bret in the face. With no provocation, Undertaker drops to the floor and beats up Owen and Pillman. Back in and there’s the chokeslam but Shawn is watching for more Harts. Bret heads to the floor and rams Undertaker’s back into the apron and post to take over again.

Shawn tells Bret to get back inside or the match is over. They head into the ring again with Bret getting two off a backbreaker. A suplex puts Undertaker down again and there’s the middle rope elbow for two. Bret hits a DDT for the same but Undertaker drops him face first onto the turnbuckle for two of his own. Hart goes after the back again but can’t hook the Sharpshooter. The chokeslam is countered with a kick to the leg but Undertaker hits an uppercut to put Bret down.

Undertaker hits his jumping clothesline to take over again before whipping Bret chest first into the buckle for two. Bret tries to go up but gets chokeslammed down off the top for a close two. Old School is countered and Bret superplexes Undertaker down but he can’t cover. Instead he puts on the Sharpshooter but Undertaker kicks him away, which is the first time the hold has been completely broken. Another clothesline puts Bret down but he escapes the Tombstone and puts on the Sharpshooter around the post in a new move. Taker kicks him off and he crushes Shawn in the process though.

Bret brings a chair into the ring and lays out Undertaker with no Michaels to see it. Shawn limps back into the ring but the count only gets two. Bret erupts on Shawn and flips him off before pounding away in the corner again. Shawn picks up the chair and is spat on by Bret. Shawn swings the chair but knocks Undertaker out cold, giving Bret the pin and the title.

Rating: B+. This took a lot of time to get going but with thirty minutes to use they had more than enough time to waste. Hart winning was definitely the right move after he spent all summer on top of the company. This opened up a lot more options than Taker was providing, which is what a champion is supposed to do.

Post match Undertaker is FURIOUS and goes after Shawn. The Hart Foundation celebrates to end the show.

Now the first match between the two, from In Your House 17: Ground Zero.

Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker

 

Michaels’ entrance takes so long that his music starts over again. The lights go out, the thunder starts rumbling, and the crowd wakes up again. Undertaker turns the lights back on with a big crack and Shawn hides behind the referee. Undertaker stalks him around the ring but Shawn keeps hiding, so Taker punches out the referee. Michaels bails to the floor and tries to walk out but Commissioner Slaughter orders him back to the ring. Undertaker throws the referee onto Shawn to slow him down, and NOW the beating begins.

 

Shawn tries to run again but this time he can’t get through the door to the house set, allowing Undertaker to slam him down on the steel. Michaels is thrown into some shrubbery before being tossed back down the ramp. They get back to ringside with Shawn trying to crawl anywhere he can to escape. Undertaker chokes him by the timekeeper’s area with Shawn desperately trying to ring the bell to end the match.

 

Undertaker punches him onto the announce table then punches him right back off of it, knocking Shawn into the barricade. They head back inside for some elbow drops from Undertaker before he rams Shawn into the buckle. Remember that the match hasn’t actually started yet. Shawn is whipped into the corner and out to the floor as Slaughter sends out a second referee. Michaels actually begs the new referee to disqualify Undertaker but the referee values his life too much to do that.

 

Back inside and Shawn gets in a cheap shot to the knee when the bell FINALLY rings. Shawn pounds away in the corner but is easily shoved off. The same sequence happens again but Undertaker grabs Shawn by the throat. A kick to the knee gives Shawn a breather but he goes up top and jumps into a right hand, giving Undertaker control again. Shawn’s sunset flip is countered by a lifting choke with Shawn being thrown around again.

 

Undertaker whips him into the corner and Shawn lands stomach first onto the top rope. Some kicks to the ribs launch Shawn crotch first onto the top rope as the destruction continues. Undertaker cranks on the arm for a bit and drops a leg on it for good measure. Old School is broken up with Undertaker being crotched on the ropes to finally give Shawn a breather. Taker rolls to the floor but he catches Shawn’s dive in midair to ram his back into the post.

 

A backdrop gets two for Undertaker and Shawn is caught trying to escape again. Shawn comes back with a quick neckbreaker but Undertaker casually sits up. Michaels bails to the floor and grabs the chair that started it all, only to have Undertaker kick it back into his face. The referee finally remembers to do his job and takes the chair away, so Undertaker kicks him in the face.

 

Shawn pounds Undertaker down and hits a pair of long range elbow drops. Cue Shawn’s bodyguard Rick Rude to throw a pair of brass knuckles to Shawn, who knocks Undertaker out cold. A third referee comes in but Undertaker kicks out at two, earning him a beating from Shawn. HHH and Chyna come out to ringside as well with HHH getting in some cheap shots on Undertaker. The Dead Man’s knees are sent into the steps as the second referee is woken up again, only to be drilled by Shawn as well.

 

Michaels makes the huge mistake of letting Undertaker get back up though and they slug it out again. A clothesline puts Undertaker on the floor but he lands on this feet, only to have HHH and Chyna go after him. Shawn drops a top rope ax handle on Undertaker’s back and chokes with a cord as HHH gets in some shots.

 

Back inside and Sweet Chin Music is blocked and Undertaker throws Shawn into the corner for more punishment. A big right hand drops Shawn and Undertaker gets the brass knuckles. Michaels is laid out again and HHH gets a right hand with them as well. Undertaker actually actually covers but Michaels gets up at two. The referee gets a chokeslam and here’s referee #4 to FINALLY throw this out.

 

Rating: A. This wasn’t a wrestling match in the slightest but it wouldn’t have made sense for it to be. It was however probably the best fight you’ll ever see, with incredible carnage and a furious Undertaker obsessed with getting his revenge. There wasn’t a ton of blood, but we’ll get to that later. Excellent brawl though and even more proof of how great these two are at multiple styles.

 

It’s still not over as Undertaker isn’t done yet. He throws HHH at Shawn but Michaels is able to score with Sweet Chin Music, knocking Undertaker into the ropes with his arms tied up. The fourth referee is punched out and Shawn gets the chair, but Undertaker kicks it back into his face and loads up a tombstone, only to have HHH make the save.

 

Officials come in as HHH is tombstoned, leaving Shawn alone again. Wrestlers come in to try and break up the fight and Shawn is finally taken to the floor. Undertaker shakes the wrestlers holding him off and DIVES OVER THE TOP ROPE to get at Shawn, which was the debut of said dive. DX bails to the back and the show ends with Undertaker alone in the ring.

When that didn’t work, the solution was to lock them in a new kind of cage: Hell in a Cell. From In Your House 18: Bad Blood.

Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels

 

Inside the Hell in a Cell and the winner gets a shot at Bret next month at Survivor Series. The thunder starts to rumble and the gong goes off, bringing the crowd back to life for the first time in a long while. The entrance takes it sweet time as Shawn is forced to think about what’s coming. Undertaker turns the lights back on and Shawn is terrified as reality sets in.

 

The slow stalking around the cage floor begins before they head back inside, only to have Shawn launched across the ring. A ram into the buckle sends Shawn flying again so he tries some punches, only to be whipped HARD across the ring again. Undertaker rams his shoulder into Shawn’s before hitting Old School for no cover. A slam and legdrop get two on Shawn and some big right hands send Shawn down again. Michaels is thrown over the top and out to the floor as the pain is about to begin.

 

Undertaker continues to walk very slowly around the ring, hitting a single right hand after another. He tries a powerbomb on the floor but Michaels fires off right hands, only to be rammed back first into the cage wall. Now Undertaker picks him up and rams Shawn back first into the post, then the wall, then back to the post and back to the wall again. Shawn manages to escape being rammed in again and sends Undertaker into the wall, but Undertaker shrugs it off and punches Shawn down.

 

Shawn is sent face first into the steps and choked a bit but he FINALLY sends Undertaker into the post to get a breather. Since the outside doesn’t work at all for Shawn, he heads back inside, only to have his neck snapped across the top rope. A dive over the top takes out Undertaker and an elbow off the apron keeps Undertaker down. Michaels slams the steps down onto Undertaker’s back a few times before piledriving him down onto said steps.

 

A top rope ax handle sends Undertaker into the cage again and we head back inside. Shawn finds a chair under the ring and the fans are very pleased. Some chair shots to the back put Undertaker down for two so Shawn ties his arms up in the ropes. He doesn’t tie up the feet though and Undertaker kicks him down before backdropping Shawn onto the cameraman. Shawn beats up the cameraman, which becomes important later.

 

Michaels gets in a cheap shot on Undertaker to knock him to the floor before taking a breather. Back inside and the flying forearm and nip up make Shawn a little more cocky. The top rope elbow gets two as Slaughter has the door unlocked to get the cameraman some medical attention. Sweet Chin Music lays Undertaker out but he sits up. Shawn tries to run through the open door but Undertaker grabs him almost immediately. Michaels is catapulted into the cage wall (on the outside), cutting him open. Now the fun begins.

 

In one of the iconic shots of the match, Undertaker puts Shawn on his shoulder and rams him into the cage wall again. Shawn collapses next to the cage but Undertaker is just warming up. A quick low blow puts Undertaker down and with nowhere else to go, Shawn climbs up the side of the cage. He makes it all the way to the roof but Undertaker follows him. Undertaker counters a piledriver with a backdrop as we go to a wide shot to show how awesome this looks.

 

A gorilla press slam puts Shawn down on the roof again and a kick to the ribs sends Shawn to the edge. He tries to climb down, but in the really famous shot of the match, Undertaker stomps on his hands, sending Shawn flying off the cage and through the announce table. Undertaker still isn’t done and throws Shawn onto the other announce table as Shawn’s face is just covered in blood.

 

The stalking continues as the announcers are losing their minds at all this. Michaels crawls back into the Cell but can barely see through the blood. A running clothesline puts Shawn down on the mat before taking him to the top for a SUPER CHOKESLAM. Now we get to the poetic justice portion with Undertaker grabbing the chair. A big chair shot to the head puts Shawn down and Undertaker signals for the tombstone…..and the lights go out.

 

Organ music begins to play and Paul Bearer walks a huge man in red down to ringside. Vince: “THAT’S GOT TO BE KANE!” He rips the door off the Cell and climbs into the ring to stare down Undertaker. Undertaker is STUNNED as Kane raises his arms up and pulls them down, causing fire to shoot up from the ring posts. Kane tombstones Undertaker down and walks out, allowing Shawn to drape an arm over Undertaker for the shocking upset.

 

Rating: A+. This is one of the best matches of all time and the culmination of one of the best put together stories ever. While the brawling is incredible and the violence is off the charts, the storytelling carries this. Undertaker stalking Shawn to start and getting every single bit of punishment in that he could until Shawn used his speed and intelligence to get some control was brilliant. The torment Undertaker put Shawn through was perfect with Michaels being completely destroyed throughout the match and being dead to rites until the ending.

 

Kane making his debut here was perfect as well, with the story being just far enough in the past that people weren’t thinking about it but not far enough that everyone knew who Kane was as soon as he walked out. This set up a feud that went on and off for thirteen years between the brothers, but we’ll get to that later. By the way, I told you Fake Diesel would be worth something someday. He’s the guy playing Kane.

We’ll come back to Kane later on, because now we’re jumping forward about ten years to Wrestlemania XXIII, as Undertaker has won the 2008 Royal Rumble and is challenging Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship.

Smackdown World Title: Batista vs. Undertaker

Teddy Long does the intros here for some reason. We lso get the druids and the torches, which look AWESOME in the huge stadiums like this. The bell rings and Batista spears Taker down before pounding away in the corner. Undertaker fires off right hands of his own but Batista throws him right back into the corner. The fans are totally behind Undertaker here. They head to the floor with Undertaker being sent knees first into the steps as is his custom.

Back in and Batista hits a top rope shoulder for two. If you’re listening to Cole, you would think he had hit a 450. A big clothesline puts Taker down for two but Undertaker comes back with right hands and a running charge in the corner. The Snake Eyes and big boot combo puts Batista down and a legdrop gets two. Old School connects but Big Dave powers out of the chokeslam to huge booing.

The jumping clothesline puts Batista down again but only for two. Taker puts him on the apron for the elbow and legdrops before busting out the Taker Dive as is his custom at Wrestlemania. Taker pounds away even more but Batista counters to throw him through part of the barricade to take over. With Undertaker dazed, Batista loads up a powerslam from one announce table through the other, which actually isn’t countered.

Back in and that only gets two so the champion pounds away more for good measure. Batista loads up the Bomb but Taker plows him into the corner to counter. Dave comes right back with a belly to belly suplex for two. He pounds on Taker in the corner like a schmuck and of course there’s the Last Ride for two. Taker has a breather but walks right into the spinebuster.

Batista doesn’t cover though and gets caught in a chokeslam for a VERY close two. The Tombstone is countered and Batista hits the spear and Batista Bomb for an even closer two, shocking the champion. Batista loads up another Bomb but Taker backdrops out of it and avoids a spear, setting up the Tombstone for the title.

Rating: A. The idea is that these two were annoyed and decided to have an awesome match to show everyone up. These two would go on to have more great matches on shows where Batista actually had a chance to win. This was the feud of the year and it’s hard to argue as they could both work the power game like few others.

We’ll jump ahead a bit more for the final blowoff to Undertaker’s war with DX that ran over four Wrestlemanias. This was all about respect though and never was personal.

HHH vs. Undertaker

This is inside Hell in a Cell with Shawn Michaels as guest referee. Undertaker basically became Batman in his cave and wanted a rematch to prove he could beat HHH. As in like he already did. This is also billed as End of an Era, but what era that was never actually became clear. The announcement of the Cell was perfect as HHH said he wanted one more thing, which was presumed to be Streak vs. career. It’s a good lesson in letting the feud set the stipulations, not the calendar. Undertaker debuts his new mohawk here to a gasp from the crowd. The Cell is lowered to Memory Remains by Metallica.

Taker pounds away into the corner to start with “carcinogenic” right hands according to JR. HHH pounds away as well but gets thrown out to the floor soon thereafter. HHH is sent into the Cell a few times and a backdrop puts him down on the floor again. Taker sends him into the steel over and over as it’s one sided so far. Now it’s the steps instead of the Cell with Taker in full control. Back in and a facebuster is no sold and down goes HHH again.

Old School connects and we head back outside again. Shawn isn’t a factor yet. The steps go upside HHH’s head and set up the apron legdrop. Back in and HHH hits a DDT, which somehow makes us completely even. The steps are in the ring now so HHH slams Taker’s head into them a few times. A Pedigree onto the steps is blocked with a backdrop but HHH comes back with a spinebuster onto the steps, only to get caught in the Hell’s Gate. In an impressive power display, HHH lifts Taker up into a powerbomb to break the hold and get two as well.

HHH throws in a pair of chairs and cracks one of them over Taker’s back. Taker is whipped into the steps in the corner before they’re sent to the outside. JR says there are no laws in the Cell. Other than you win by pin or submission and all that. HHH goes off with the chair, DESTROYING Undertaker Austin/Rock style. Shawn takes the chair away and tells HHH to cover Undertaker because he’s not going to quit. Trips takes the chair back and shoves Shawn down before pounding on Taker even more. He tells Shawn to end it before he does.

Taker says do not stop it as he’s getting back up. He turns around though and is hit in the ribs and back by the chair but it only gets two. HHH is starting to get frustrated so he hits Taker in the back with another chair and it’s time for more pathos with Taker saying don’t stop it. Cue the sledgehammer for a shot to the head for ANOTHER two. HHH (who is cut over the eye) has no idea what to do now.

The Game pulls up the hammer to slam it down onto Taker’s head but Shawn pulls it away to prevent the murder. Shawn is ready to stop it as Taker can barely move. Michaels raises his hand but Taker pulls him into the Hell’s Gate to stop him. Trips breaks it up with a hammer shot but Taker comes back with a low blow and Hell’s Gate on HHH. There’s no referee though and Taker lets it go from exhaustion with his opponent out cold.

Another referee comes in as Taker hits a last effort chokeslam for two. Taker chokeslams the referee (I believe that’s the same referee he beat up in 2001 against HHH as well) but walks into the superkick into the Pedigree…..FOR TWO! I lost my mind watching that live because I really thought it was over. Now HHH shoves Shawn to the floor and Taker sits up to scare the life out of HHH. Taker erupts on HHH with a big boot and running clothesline, setting up snake eyes and another boot.

The Tombstone connects but HHH is up at two. Shawn has no idea what to do as both guys are slowly getting up. They slug it out from their knees before getting to their feet for more HARD punches. Another Tombstone is countered into the Pedigree for a VERY close two. HHH goes for the hammer but Taker steps on it to stop him. A HARD chair shot to the back puts HHH down and another one keeps him down.

Some more chair shots get two on HHH so Shawn screams at them to end this. HHH tries a hammer shot to the face but Taker easily blocks it. They stare each other down and HHH gives Taker a crotch chop. Trips walks out of the corner into a hammer shot to the head. HHH tries to climb up Taker’s body but the strap comes down, the throat is slit, and the Tombstone makes it 20-0.

Rating: A+. This is another reason why I’m not so wild on last year’s match: they’re capable of SO much better and this is proof. This match told a great story with both guys destroying each other with Shawn being stuck in the middle and trying to figure out what do do in each situation. It’s a great match, it’s a great fight, and it’s pure emotion the entire time. Great stuff here, and most importantly of all: there were moments where I thought it was over. I never bought that as a possibility last year.

After a few moments on the mat, Taker sits up but falls right back down. He pulls himself up on Shawn and they embrace. HHH is still out cold. Shawn and Taker lift him up and carry him out of the ring. They embrace on the stage in one of the most iconic images you’ll ever see. You don’t often get to use that word, but it’s true in this case.

 

Back to 1997 again for a match that people often forget. Few will argue that Mankind was one of Undertaker’s top rivals of all time. This is one of their only matches for the WWF Title, from In Your House 14: Revenge of the Taker

 

WWF World Title: Mankind vs. Undertaker

 

I think we’ve covered the backstory for this one enough already. For perhaps the only time in his career, Undertaker charges from the floor into the ring and the fight is on. Undertaker has a bandage on his head from where Mankind burned him recently. They slug it out to start and a running right hand to the head puts Undertaker down. The Cactus Clothesline puts both guys on the floor but Undertaker of course lands on his feet. A HARD whip sends Mankind into the barricade and a standing chokeslam does it again.

 

The third whip sends Mankind into the crowd and the Undertaker is in full control. Mankind is whipped into the barricade yet again as we head back to ringside. Back into the ring with Undertaker still pounding away and driving him down with shoulder blocks. Undertaker lets go of the hand on Old School so it’s a diving clothesline instead of a forearm to the back. Paul Bearer gets on the apron to prevent the tombstone and a quick shot with the urn gets two for Mankind.

 

The champion gets pounded down in the corner and a running knee to the head puts him down again. We hit the nerve hold on Undertaker before Mankind turns it into a reverse chinlock. The much stronger Undertaker is able to turn around though and fire off right hands to the ribs to escape. A very hard shot sends Mankind out to the floor and Undertaker sends him face first into the steps. Mankind comes back with a pitcher of water and shatters it over the champion’s face to put him back down. A chair to Undertaker’s head still doesn’t draw a DQ and JR demands to know why. Good question actually.

 

Mankind drops an elbow from the middle rope to the floor in one of his signature spots. The bandage is ripped off of Undertaker’s head and the injury is just ugly looking. Undertaker finally gets back inside where a pulling piledriver gets two for the challenger. The same move gets no cover but Mankind does screech a lot. Undertaker staggers around for a bit before hitting a jumping clothesline out of nowhere. The referee is knocked down and Mankind gets the Mandible Claw to knock Undertaker out cold.

 

Another referee comes in and gets the Claw as well for reasons of Mankind is insane. Bearer throws in a chair but Mankind wants the steps. In perhaps the only time in his career, Undertaker dropkicks the steps into Mankind’s face, and now it’s time to fight. A BIG chair shot to the head knocks Mankind silly and Undertaker throws him into the ropes to tie Mankind up by the neck.

 

The champion rips Mankind’s mask off and smashes the steps into Mankind, knocking him off the apron and head first through the table in a scary looking crash. Back inside and a chokeslam only gets two, shocking the crowd. Taker isn’t playing anymore though and it’s a tombstone to retain the title.

 

Rating: B-. This got really good once they stopped the pretense of a wrestling match and started fighting. A ticked off Undertaker is just fun to watch and this was no exception, especially when you had a human pinball like Mankind to bounce all over the place like he did. The match wasn’t particularly good, but it was fun which is what this show desperately needed.

 

Post match Undertaker goes after Bearer but has to fight off Mankind. Undertaker kicks something out of Mankind’s hands and kicks Mankind to the floor. Mankind dropped a lighter and flash paper, so Undertaker lights it up in Bearer’s face to burn him like Mankind burned Undertaker.

 

We’re going to jump even further into the past to see an earlier incarnation of the Undertaker. This is from the USWA from 1989.

 

Punisher vs. Steve Williams

 

Williams isn’t the Williams you’re thinking of. He’s a pure rookie here and would soon change his name to Steve Austin. Punisher is under a mask here and a member of Devastation Inc. Williams is thrown around to start but grabs a headlock. Punisher easily suplexes him down and nails the big clothesline, setting up the legdrop for the pin. Total squash. This was billed as Austin’s first match but I have a problem believing that.

 

Back to more modern times now as we see what might be the greatest match of all time. From Wrestlemania XXV.

 

Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels

Shawn comes down from the top of the set all in white, Undertaker comes through the stage in blackk, symbolizing heaven vs. hell. Now THAT is an entrance. Feeling out process to start with Shawn circling around Taker and sticking with a few jabs here and there. Michaels pounds away in the corner and hits a hard chop but taker catches an incoming right hand. Taker LAUNCHES him into the corner and nearly out to the floor, only for Shawn to jump off the top and over Undertaker to get away.

Shawn might have hurt his knee but he’s channeling his inner Bret by goldbricking. Taker will have none of that and throws Shawn into the corner for more punishment. Michaels comes back with chops in the corner but gets backdropped down to stop the momentum. Taker drives some shoulder into Shawn but Shawn takes him down with a clothesline. The reverse Figure Four (called a regular one by that idiot Michael Cole) has Taker in trouble but he finally slugs his way out of it.

Taker pounds way in the corner but has to stop to shake life back into his leg. Snake eyes and the big boot put Shawn down and a legdrop gets two (brother). A chokeslam is countered into the Crossface by Shawn but Taker rolls over onto his side to block a lot of the pressure. After an attempted rollup by Undertaker, Shawn cranks on the hold a bit more, only to have Taker fight up and hit a big side slam for two. Back up and they slug it out with Shawn taking over via a flying forearm.

There’s the nipup but Shawn doesn’t tune up the band. Instead it’s a pair of atomic drops and a clothesline but as Shawn goes up, he jumps into the chokeslam. He escapes THAT and tries the superkick but is too far away, meaning the kick only hits Taker’s chest. It puts Taker down so Shawn tries the Figure Four but Taker counters into Hell’s Gate. Shawn flails around and gets a foot on the rope for a fast break but he’s clearly staggered.

We head to the floor for a bit but Taker misses the apron legdrop. A baseball slide keeps Taker on the floor but as Shawn tries the moonsault to the floor, Taker moves and Shawn CRASHES onto the concrete. Back inside and Taker sits up and busts out the Taker Dive, only to overrotate and CRASH in a terrifying landing. Shawn thankfully pulled a cameraman in the way to block some of the impact but this scared me to death live.

Shawn tells the referee to count in a kind of mid-match heel turn but Taker makes it back in at nine. Another superkick attempt is ducked and a HUGE chokeslam gets an insanely close two. The fans are getting way into these near falls now. The Tombstone is countered, the superkick is blocked, the chokeslam is escaped and NOW the superkick hits for a very delayed two count. Shawn is up now and looks all ticked off.

Taker grabs him by the throat but the Last Ride is countered into a sunset flip bid, but THAT is countered into the biggest Last Ride ever for two. Watching this match for probably the fourth time I actually thought that was the finish. Think about that for a minute. Taker goes up top and misses a top rope elbow but as Shawn tries to skin the cat, Undertaker catches him in the Tombstone. He sticks the tongue out but THAT gets two, I believe making Shawn either the first or second guy ever to kick out of all three of Taker’s finishers.

Taker nearly collapses from the shock and has a look on his face saying he has no idea where to go now. Shawn spins out of a Tombstone bid into a DDT and both guys are down. Michaels slowly crawls to the top and drops the elbow for no cover. Instead he tunes up the band again and the fans are all over him as a result. The kick hits clean and Shawn covers almost immediately but it only gets two. These kickouts are getting better and better each time.

They fight up from their knees and use each other to pull themselves up before slugging it out with everything they’ve got. A big boot puts Shawn down but Taker charges into a boot in the corner to put him down. Shawn climbs up top and tries a moonsault press, but Taker somehow catches him in mid air for another Tombstone to make him 16-0, and that’s your match of the year.

Rating: A+. Masterpiece, excellent, classic, best match they’ve ever had, best match of all time candidate etc. Pick one, as they’re all appropriate. This is one of the only matches ever where I’ve been on the edge of my seat the entire time and lost my mind on the kickouts. Absolutely outstanding here and one of the best matches I’ve ever seen, and that covers quite a bit of ground.

Back to the Kane match, in their first showdown ever after six months of build. The backstory here is way more than I want to get into but Kane is Undertaker’s brother and is back for revenge after Undertaker accidentally burned their house down.

Here’s Pete Rose to be ring announcer. After getting a warm reception, Pete turns heel on the audience and rips on them for losing for so long. Pete sounds a bit drunk here but not too bad. He makes fun of the Red Sox and there go the lights, cuing Kane. We debut a three year long running joke of Kane beating up Pete, this time with a Tombstone, sending the crowd into delirium. There go the lights and it’s time for the mother of all Undertaker entrances. Druids come out carrying torches and we hear music that sounds like Gregorian chanting. Undertaker walks out under a tunnel of fire and we’re ready to go. AWESOME.

Undertaker vs. Kane

There’s the bell and they stare each other down before Taker pounds away with no effect. Kane shrugs them off and LAUNCHES Undertaker into the corner but Taker is too quick. Kane comes back with a clothesline but Taker immediately sits up. A tombstone doesn’t work for Kane so he puts Taker in the Tree of Woe and stomps away. This is only Kane’s second match in the company to date so we don’t have a lot to go on with him.

A clothesline in the corner puts Undertaker down again as Bearer talks trash. Kane draps him over the top rope and there’s a forearm to the back of the head. Back in and Kane pounds away in the corner but Undertaker covers up. Taker gets a running start at Kane and winds up on the red one’s shoulders, only to be (kind of) slammed face first into the mat. They head to the floor with Taker being dropped face first onto the barricade. A Paul Bearer distraction lets Kane drop the steps onto his brother’s back.

Paul gets in some stompings before Kane suplexes Taker back in. Taker says bring it on and hits a few clotheslines, only to charge into a chokeslam for two as Kane pulls his brother up. We hit the chinlock for over a full minute before Undertaker fights up with punches to the ribs. A back elbow puts him back down though and an elbow drop sets up another chinlock by Kane. Taker fights out of that one as well, only to try to crotch Kane on the top rope. That doesn’t quite work though as Kane bounces on the top rope and falls to the floor.

Instead here’s a Taker Dive but Kane throws him through the Spanish Announce Table in a spectacular crash. Back in and the top rope clothesline gets two for Kane and Bearer is shocked. Taker loads up a Tombstone out of nowhere but gets countered into one by his brother but it only gets two. Kane is TICKED so they slug it out with Taker getting the better of it.

A clothesline puts Kane down and there’s a chokeslam by Undertaker. The Tombstone hits Kane but it only gets two. You can hear the fans gasp at the kickout. There’s another Tombstone but THAT just gets two so Taker goes up for a top rope clothesline. The third Tombstone FINALLY ends it, even though Kane would have been up at 3.1.

Rating: C-. I’ve heard this called terrible and yeah it’s bad, but it’s definitely not horrible. They would have been better suited cutting out about two minutes but even without that missing this was still a solid power match. It was clear they were getting winded by the end, but this is one of the matches where the crowd carried things. There’s nothing wrong with that and it worked well here. Nowhere near as bad as I remembered it.

There’s only one match you can close out Undertaker with, and it’s from King of the Ring 1998.

Hell in a Cell: Undertaker vs. Mankind

Now this was an interesting case for several reasons. First of all, this had been done once before so people knew what it was like, but instead of having Shawn who would run from Taker in there, Foley was crazy and no one knew what he would do. Foley brings the chair to the ring, and in his own words or as close to his book as I can remember, makes his first big mistake of the match and starts the match on top of the cage like Terry Funk suggested.

That should have been a bad omen right there. In case you don’t like insane violence, I would advise you to leave. Once you go that, I would advise you to get over it and grow a set of balls. You’re a wrestling fan dang it now act like one. Even 11 years later I’m uneasy watching this match. There’s an eruption for the gong and when the lights go out the lighters go up which is always cool.

This was right around the time when Taker was becoming demonic thanks to Vince, leading to the Ministry period which Taker wasn’t incredibly fond of. And there goes Taker and you know what’s coming next. Foley punches him on his way up there, which is dangerous in its own right. Foley has a chair up there with him. The wide shot of this is just awesome looking.

Taker is grabbed by Foley and steps through the Cell a bit, which is bad sign number two. That gets a noticeable gasp from the audience. You could feel that something huge was coming and they’re setting up for it. And there it is. Taker grabs Foley from behind and throws him off the Cell where he falls 15 feet to land, actually make that crash, onto a table and then to the concrete.

Ross’ legendary shouting of As God as my witness, he is broken in half and They’ve killed him make the moment that much better. This bump changed wrestling forever, as this easily becomes the biggest bump in history and is still to this day the standard that everything tries to live up to. No one saw this coming and it scared the hell out of a lot of people, myself included.

I mean seriously, he got launched 15 feet to the floor. He does that even slightly wrong and he’s dead. Not injured or out of action. Dead. Taker legit thought he had killed him for a bit there and I can’t say I blame him. Ross and Lawler are STUNNED. You have to remember that Foley isn’t a small man. He’s about 6’2 and 300lbs going easy on him. That’s just completely mind blowing when you think about it.

Terry Funk is here and he takes the table off of Foley as Taker is still standing on top of the cage. I’ll even excuse Ross’ stupid line of this might be the shortest Cell match ever, as it’s the second of all time due to the situation at the moment. On the constant replays you can see the crowd rising up for it and it’s a completely awesome sight. Now something that isn’t notmally taken into consideration is Taker during this part.

Think about what he’s going through here. His character is that of an emotionless killing machine, and he’s possibly just killed a man or crippled him. He now has to stand up on top of the Cell and wonder what he’s just done. They raise the Cell to get Foley out as Taker is going even higher up in the air. To scare me to my core, Taker gets cheered for this. Attitude Era fans were bloodthirsty man.

They lower the cage and it hits the steps because they’re kind of stupid but whatever. And now just to blow whatever remains of the minds of everyone on the planet, Foley gets up and while smiling, climbs the cage again. His left shoulder is completely out of socket or he’s a great actor, and here we go again.

Taker is STUNNED. And now in the spot that allegedly did the majority of the damage to Foley and was COMPLETELY unplanned, Taker chokeslams Foley through the Cell to the mat and the chair falls with him, slamming into Foley’s head on the mat and knocking him completely out cold. Foley has said that the cage was loosened but not to that extent.

The idea had been to have it sag in the middle but not break and then have him fall from about 8 feet instead of what happened here. He also said he doesn’t remember most of what happened after that and didn’t remember it until he watched it on tape and still doesn’t remember all of it. Those two bumps both made Foley famous but also ended his active career eventually as he never completely healed from them.

Ross and Lawler again make the match with their calls of That’s it he’s dead and Will somebody stop the match! Again, remember that Taker didn’t expect his. Taker hops down to the mat and beats up Funk and then goes after Foley. They were supposed to end it almost immediately after that but Foley refused. Now somewhere in here, Taker breaks his ankle or he had it broken coming in so he goes really slowly.

Granted that helps Foley a lot because Taker goes a lot more slowly than usual so Foley can try to get something together. We get the famous shot of Foley with his tooth in his nose and him trying to put his tongue through the hole in his lip for some reason which makes him look like he’s smiling in probably the defining shot of the Mankind character.

Foley is somehow on offense here and knocks Taker to the floor, which I think is where he breaks the ankle. Somehow that’s a tiny injury. No he’s still walking around fine. Taker’s shirt is ripped to pieces here. Taker dives through the ropes for Foley but Foley collapses and Taker eats cage and now he’s bleeding. Yeah the foot/ankle is messed up now. Foley hits a piledriver on a chair for two. Foley’s arm might have popped back in as it’s looking better. Since this match hasn’t been insane enough, Foley goes under the ring and gets out a bag, comtaining thumbtacks.

You can hear in Lawler’s voice that he thinks this is insane. You also have to remember that this was something that hadn’t been done before. Abyss hadn’t made this a standard thing yet so this truly was shocking at the time. Taker counters into the Tombstone but Mankind counters into the Mandible Claw. Somehow Taker stands up with Foley on his back and there they go as he goes back first into them.

You could see a slight bit of padding under Foley’s shirt, but none over his arms. After the match in the locker room when they were being looked at, Foley asked if he got to use the tacks. Taker replied “Mick, look at your arm.” Then he gets a chokeslam on them. In a moment that’s overlooked, Foley more or less no sells the chokeslam and is up in about 3 seconds. The Tombstone mercifully, at least I guess you could call it that, ends it.

Jerry says that just after I type it so I win there. Foley’s wife more or less insisted that he retire after this but of course that didn’t happen. To say this was insane would be an understatement. It’s the most violent mainstream match in history and I don’t think it’s ever going to be topped. Yeah there’s more violent stuff in indy companies and in Japan, but that’s designed to be like that.

This was the WWF more or less saying screw you WCW, we can go to a place that no one is ever going to top and then they went out and did it. Also, the fans cared and weren’t in it for a freak show. That’s why this is different. Foley WALKS OUT. There’s being tough and being stupid and he passed stupid a few miles back. The fans give him a standing ovation and Foley is a legend.

Rating: A-. Now I’ve heard a lot of people criticize this match and say it’s garbage and what not, and the reply I always give is the same. Look at the name of the match: Hell in a Cell. Hell. Does that sound like a pleasant, old school, Lou Thesz vs. Dory Funk special? No not really. It sounds completely insane and violent. That’s the point of this and that’s what it was.

It was supposed to be completely over the top and crazy. You can’t grade this on the same scale you grade a traditional match on. Violence like this is effective as all hell when it’s in moderation, which is what ECW never learned. The violent matches are fine, but they need something to balance them out. Anyway, this was a classic in a sense, and it made both men all the more famous.

Undertaker has never been the top guy in the company but he’s been one of the few constants through several eras. He’s had a lot of different incarnations over the years but he’s at his best when he just starts breaking stuff. Undertaker can get violent with the best of them and even though the Streak is gone now, it’s always going to be remembered as something that went on for years and was amazing at times. For a glorified gimmick wrestler, Undertaker has had some great matches over the years and can play one of the best giants in wrestling history.

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13 comments

  1. M.R. says:

    Had no idea you thought so highly of the Taker/Angle match. It’s one of my favorite matches of all time and gets totally overlooked. It absolutely should have been Smackdown’s Mania main event.

    frank Reply:

    Would it be fair to say that undertaker, in your opinion is the best big man ever?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Depends on your definition of big man.

  2. M.R. says:

    The thing to remember about Undertaker is how shit he was for long stretches of his career, particularly during that AWFUL gimmick switch.

  3. The Wolf says:

    Why do you hate Undertaker, and underrate him in your lists?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I certainly don’t hate him. Just not the biggest fan.

    The Wolf Reply:

    Yet in your reviews he always rate higher than your favorites its just a weird thing I saw

    klunderbunker Reply:

    That doesn’t make sense. I hate him but I rate him higher?

  4. The Wolf says:

    His matches my bad, he has a lot of bad matches but his many of his matches are really good. You’ve always sounded like you hated him.

  5. The Wolf says:

    You’ve always been negative of the Undertaker on the forum and such, but your reviews sound like his matches are sweet I’m just wondering why.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I’m not a fan of his Attitude Era stuff at all. Everything since about 2005 has been mostly golden, save for the Kane feuds.

    The Wolf Reply:

    What about 1997, he was unstoppable back then. Or agains Mankind.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Most of that was awesome. I was meaning more like 98/99.