September 25, 2001
MATCH #1: Hell in a Cell Match – Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, Badd Blood, 10.5.97
Michaels’ nervous bouncing around and concern about the padlock perfectly set the tone for this match. They finally both get in the ring and Undertaker hits a big boot to the face and starts throwing Shawn around. He tries an early Chokeslam but Shawn is able to block that. He hits some punches from the second turnbuckle and tries an Irish whip but Undertaker reverses it and hits a clothesline when Shawn comes out for a near fall. He starts working on Shawn’s arm and hits Old School. He continues to beat on Shawn, hitting a back body drop that goes so high Shawn’s feet hit the ceiling of the cell. Undertaker punches Shawn down, to which Vince says Shawn got knocked “A over T,” which I find hilarious. Undertaker then just tosses Shawn over the ropes to the floor, and chokes Shawn up against the cell. Shawn thumbs Undertaker in the eye and tries to climb away but gets pulled back down to the floor. He whips Shawn into the cage and then hits another clothesline. He does the same on the other side. He goes for a powerbomb but Shawn grabs the cage to avoid going down, so Undertaker rams the back of his head into the cage. He then rams Shawn’s back alternately into the ring post and the cell. Undertaker goes to torpedo Shawn into the cell but Shawn avoids it, and then gets knocked down with a clothesline. He rams Shawn’s face into the steps and drives an elbow into the forehead. He chokes Shawn up against the cage and then whips him into it. This time Shawn avoids the clothesline and delivers a few punches to the head.
Shawn gets back in the ring and Undertaker snaps his neck off the top rope. He is then able to knock Undertaker off the apron and into the cell. He hits a tope and then climbs up the cell to deliver an elbow drop. He grabs the steel ring steps and slams them into Undertaker’s back. King claims that the steps weigh at least 150 pounds. Shawn then hits a piledriver on the steps and it makes a cool sound. Shawn has been pushing nosey camera men around all night. He hits an axe handle off the ropes to the floor. They go back to the ring and Shawn brings a chair with him. He cracks Undertaker in the back with it, and a second time. Undertaker comes back and backdrops Shawn over the ropes and he lands on a camera man. Shawn goes nuts and beats the guy up just for being in his way. Heel Shawn is so good. Meanwhile back in the ring Shawn is setting up for Sweet Chin Music and he hits it. Undertaker sits right up though, and Shawn goes out the door that was opened to remove the injured camera man. Undertaker follows him and Shawn hits a dropkick, but Undertaker catches him on the second one and catapults Shawn into the cage to bust him open and it looks like a gusher. He capitalizes by ramming Shawn’s face into the cage twice. Shawn comes back with a kick to the junk. He then climbs to the top of the cell, and Undertaker follows him right up. Shawn tries a piledriver but gets back dropped instead and the crowd is going bananas.
Undertaker rubs Shawn’s face into the cell, and follows up with a gorilla press slam. Shawn tries to climb down but Undertaker stops him. He stomps on Shawn’s hands and he goes crashing through the Spanish Announce Table. I can see why Shawn retired from back problems. Undertaker comes down and hip tosses Shawn onto another table, and then slams him back down to the floor. They make their way back into the ring and they re-lock the door. Shawn is just easy pickings now. Undertaker hits a Chokeslam off the top rope. Man he busted out so much cool stuff for this match. He goes to the floor and grabs a chair. He absolutely clobbers Shawn in the head (no hands up) and signals for the Tombstone. Then the lights go out and some ominous music hits. Kane makes his first appearance alongside Paul Bearer. He rips the door off the hinges and gets eyeball to eyeball with Undertaker. They stare at each other for a while before Kane sets the ring posts on fire and then hits a Tombstone Piledriver on his older brother. Moments later, Shawn crawls over to get the three-count at 29:59. Eleven years later this match still rules, with all kinds of great offense from Undertaker and sick bumps from Shawn. They set the bar unbelievably high for future Hell in a Cell matches. The match only loses a little bit for the finish, and not because I think all interference is bad, but it took so long for the whole thing to happen that it wound up slightly anticlimactic. Even if I did give it the full five stars I don’t think it’s the match of the year because for me that is Bret Hart versus Steve Austin from WrestleMania 13. This is probably Undertaker’s best match ever, and pretty high on the list for Shawn.
MATCH #2: Undertaker vs. Kane, WrestleMania XIV, 3.29.98
They’re actually moving pretty quickly in the early going, with Kane initiating most of the offense and Undertaker being forced to counter him. Kane works Undertaker over, sending him to the floor and using the ring steps as a weapon. Bearer gets some cheap shots in too. Kane gets an early Choke Slam and pulls Undertaker up at two. He continues the punishment for a while, until Undertaker dumps him to the floor. He tries a big dive and Kane sidesteps him, and the announce table takes the brunt of the impact. Back in the ring Kane hits a clothesline off the top rope for two. Kane hits a Tombstone for another two-count. Undertaker recovers and hits a Choke Slam. He follows with a Tombstone but Kane kicks out! He hits another one and Kane kicks out again! Undertaker goes to the top rope and hits a flying clothesline. A third Tombstone is enough to get the pin at 16:58. The match was slow and plodding, and the crowd only popped for the big spots. Bearer and Kane beat Undertaker down after the match, with Kane hitting a Tombstone on a steel chair.
MATCH #3: Inferno Match – Undertaker vs. Kane, Unforgiven, 4.26.98
The visual of the inferno match is admittedly pretty cool. Undertaker attacks first and does what he does. Kane fights back and does what he does. The flames periodically shoot up higher, and that’s just about the only time the crowd pops. Bearer throws a chair into the ring and Kane lands an unprotected shot to the head. Then nothing happens and they go back to doing the same old crap they were doing before. Kane controls for a while but the crowd starts to pick up when Undertaker comes back, only to be cut off by a Kane choke slam. Undertaker gets up and hits one of his own. Then, again, nothing happens. Kane goes up to the top rope and Undertaker crotches him. He follows up with a superplex, and then throws Kane over the ropes to the floor. Kane goes back towards the locker room, but Vader comes out and forces Kane back to ringside. Undertaker dives over the ropes onto both of them and the crowd pops big. Bearer hits Undertaker with a chair to no effect. He takes the chair and hits Kane with it instead, twice. Now he turns his attention to Paul Bearer, and chases him back to the stage where Jeff Jarrett performed earlier this evening with Sawyer Brown. In a goofily memorable moment, Undertaker smashes the bass drum over Bearer’s head, and he’s busted open. He then walks back to the ring and kicks Kane backwards into the fire and wins the match at 16:01. The structure of the rules resulted in a lot of “dead time,” so to speak, as it was hard to build drama to a finish when the choke slam had no chance of actually ending the match. It’s memorable because it’s the first and had a couple of cool spots, so at least it’s more entertaining than their WrestleMania XIV match.
MATCH #4: Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle, Fully Loaded, 7.23.00
Undertaker skips his entrance and attacks Angle in the aisle. Angle tries to use a wrench but gets nowhere with that strategy. Undertaker throws Angle through the crowd and around ringside. They make it to the ring to finally start the match officially. Undertaker continues to dominate. Angle tries a Sleeper but gets nowhere with it. He then goes after the leg and has more success with that. That goes on for a little bit until Undertaker tires of it and hits a Chokeslam. Undertaker follows with the Last Ride to get the pin at 7:36. That was a glorified squash and a curious way to treat the guy who just won King of the Ring and was being groomed to be the next WWF Champion. Undertaker was not very much fun to watch at this point.
MATCH #5: Undertaker vs. Triple H, WrestleMania X-Seven, 4.1.01
The fight begins on the floor and both men are tearing into each other. They make it to the ring to start the match proper. Right hands aplenty are flying from both men. HHH hits the Harley Race high knee and Undertaker gets right up. Undertaker hits a back body drop and a powerslam. He misses an elbow drop. HHH fires off some right hands but Undertaker cuts him off with the flying clothesline. Undertaker goes for Old School but HHH throws him down to the canvas. HHH hits a neckbreaker for two. He takes control now, keeping Undertaker down. HHH hits the Facebuster and then goes outside for his sledgehammer. The referee stops him from using it. HHH goes for the Pedigree but Undertaker sweeps the legs and catapults the Game right into the referee. Undertaker hits a Chokeslam but only gets two. The referee recovered rather quickly. Undertaker is mad though, so he kicks the referee and then drops an elbow on him. They take the fight to the floor and Undertaker backdrops HHH into the crowd. They fight through the crowd and into an eagle’s nest type area with lots of tech equipment. HHH hits Undertaker with a chair repeatedly. Undertaker recovers and grabs HHH by the throat and Chokeslams him off the eagle’s nest. He follows the Game down with an elbow drop. They fight back through the crowd and make it back to the ring. Undertaker finds the sledgehammer. He tries to hit HHH with it but HHH kicks him in the nuts. HHH tries to use the hammer now but Undertaker delivers a big boot. They trade right hands now. HHH tries the Tombstone but Undertaker reverses to one of his own but there’s no referee to count. Undertaker goes for the Last Ride but HHH had picked up the sledgehammer and he drills Undertaker with it! The referee has recovered to make the count but Undertaker kicks out! Undertaker is busted open. HHH delivers mounted punches in the corner but Undertaker counters to the Last Ride to get the pin at 18:19. That match gets a lot of love but I’m not enamored with it. It is enjoyable and the crowd heat is good, but the spend a lot of time outside the ring and that wasn’t all that thrilling. The final minutes were great though, and while I hate that finish now it wasn’t nearly as overused in 2001 so it totally works.