1. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker (Bad Blood 97) – 7
Am I the only one who finds it amusing that Mick Foley, now affiliated with TNA, is hosting this DVD? Anyway, Foley intros the disc and we’re off and running with the first-ever Cell match from 1997. Shawn’s bumping throughout the entire match was tremendous. Taker was controlling for the first ten minutes or so by just beating Shawn from pillar to post, or, as Vince stated on commentary, “a over t”. Shawn gained momentum after Taker fell into the cage after executing an Irish whip. This is where the volume started to turn up. Two ultra hard chair shots to the back and a skull-fracturing piledriver on the steps were the highlights of Shawn’s comeback. Taker returns though, firing Michaels over the top rope and onto a plant camera man, who Shawn summarily destroys. Now, the plot thickens. The referee opens the door so the cameraman can be helped out and they brawl through the cage. Taker slingshots Michaels twice into the unforgiving fence and rips him open from eyebrow to eyebrow. Michaels scales the cage and they brawl up top, across to the other side, and Michaels takes a sickening fall into the Spanish announcers table. Back inside, Taker grabs a chair, destroys Michaels with one shot, and out comes Kane! Kane rips off the door, kills the ref, and plants Taker with a pretty sick tombstone piledriver. Shawn crawls out of a pool of his own blood and gets the duke in a truly memorable match.
2. Stone Cold Steve Austin & The Undertaker vs. Mankind & Kane (Raw – 6/15/98) – 4
This wasn’t really a match as it was a wild brawl. The cell is lowering with Mankind, Kane, and Paul Bearer in the ring. Mankind recites a poem of vileness directed towards the Undertaker. Austin comes out and after two Undertaker introductions, starts brawling wildly with his two opponents. Up on the ramp, Kane executes a shitty back drop as Paul Bearer locks himself in the cage. Taker comes up through the ring and utterly destroys Paul, busting him open from ear to ear and chins to forehead. Kane climbs up top as Mankind and Austin slug it out some more. Two sickening chair shots to Mankind and Austin chases Kane up the cell and Raw ends right there. Umm, yeah … next!
3. The Undertaker vs. Mankind (King of the Ring 98) – 6
Saying this is the most famous Cell match of all time would be an understatement. This definitely one of the WWE’s most memorable matches in its long illustrious history that dates back to 1963. If someone says “Mick Foley” or “Hell in a Cell”, this is the match that comes to mind. To give you the shear scope of how violent this was, I’m going to throw in some quotes from Jim Ross, who was calling the match at ringside. We start off on top where Mankind is literally tossed off the top of the cage and lands on the Spanish announce table so hard that it separates his shoulder. JR: “Good God almighty! That killed him!! With God as my witness, he is broken in half!” After about five minutes or so, Mankind climbs back up where is greeted with a chokeslam through the top of the cage! JR: “Would somebody stop the damn match!” After that, the match is just some basic brawling and small moves to quiet down the crowd until the big finish where Mankind sprinkles and then pours thousands of thumbtacks all over the mat. With Mankind on ‘Taker’s back, he applies the Mandible Claw until ‘Taker wakes up and slams him into the tacks. JR: “My God, he’s a human pin cushion!” A chokeslam on the tacks and a tombstone later, Undertaker wins one of the most violent matches in WWE history.
4. Mankind vs. Kane (Raw – 8/24/98) – 4
There wasn’t really much substinance to this match. Mankind tried to get on top of the cell numerous times and almost crowned Jerry Lawler, who was on commentary, a few times with a chair when he was trying to fling it up on top. Undertaker came down to ringside with Kane. He grabs Mankind and sends him off the side of the cage into the commentary table in a pretty gnarly fall. Back inside, nothing really major happened unless you count Kane chucking the steps in Mankind’s direction. Mankind grabs a bag of tacks that barely gets used, Austin comes out from under the ring to brawl with Kane while the ref calls for a DQ. Huh? I thought there weren’t any disqualifications in a Hell in a Cell match! Two stunners on Kane and this one’s history.
5. Cactus Jack vs. Triple H (No Way Out 2000) – 5
Fellow writer Brian gave this match a “7”. Well, good sir, you are entitled to your opinion but I must respectfully disagree. While this match was bloody and violent, it seems to me that the only memorable moment from this was Jack going through the top of the cage and breaking the ring at the end. I do agree that the spot where Jack bumps himself through the cage, thus ripping his bicep open, was pretty ridiculous. JR calls a chair shot to HHH’s yambag “barbaric birth control”. Okay? The chair-assisted elbow was tits as was the fall from the side of the cage (what is it with Foley and falling off the cage?) where Jack crashed through the announce table. Wait, didn’t he do the exact same thing in the previous match? Anyway, Jack grabs the barbed wire board that’s hidden behind the ring announcer for an unknown reason, and crawls up on top of the cage with it. The finish sees HHH backdrop Jack through the roof where he breaks the ring when he lands, in what is perhaps the only truly memorable spot in the match. The match wasn’t bad but the ultimate legacy of this one has been tarnished with Foley’s repeated comeback attempts.
6. Triple H vs. Rikishi vs. Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker vs. The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (Armageddon 2000) – 5
This match was a raucous pile of shit. The only thing anyone could do at any time was punch, kick, and choke. Sure, there were some exchanges in the ring between the combatants but ultimately nothing to take note of. The most awkward moment was when Vince, Brisco, Patterson, and a demolition crew backed up a flatbed truck and started dismantling the cell. The truck rips off the door and Foley comes out to stop Vince as the combatants begin to make their way out of the cage where they brawl some more but this time bump on the junk cars that are piled up on the aisleway. HHH takes a pretty nice bump onto an Oldsmobile’s hood, courtesy of Austin, but that was after he gave The Rock a sloppy pedigree on the roof of a pretty tarnished Buick. They make their way back to the cage and HHH, Austin, Angle, and Taker scale the cage and brawl more up top. I seem to be noticing a trend in this match. Trips and Austin head back down after they become stricken with Vertigo and Rikishi begins to scale up. The big moment comes when Taker slams Rikishi off the roof and onto the bed of the aforemention truck. Did I mention the truck bed was covered in kennel bedding? Back inside, more lame ass brawling and Angle gets the pin. Not good. Not good at all, especially since this was the first time I’ve ever seen it.
All in all, the first disc was hit and miss. The Shawn/Taker and the Mankind/Taker matches are really the only two that deserve to been seen off of this disc. Since we’re at the end of the first disc, I’ll give a quick shout out to the awesome Best Buy cashier named Alicia who I had the pleasure of waxing philosophic with about Sunday Night Heat and the N.W.O. On to disc two …