There have only been three Badd Blood PPV’s in WWE history, and all three have been capped off by “Hell in the Cell.” The match debuted in 1997 with Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. Since then the match has become legendary, and many were anticipating what last nights main event would be. It should have been an epic, incredible cap off to the two-year feud between Shawn Michaels and Triple-H inside the steel structure that both men have had classic battles in. Instead, a dead crowd combined with them trying to do a “WWE Style” match as opposed to a Hell in the Cell match resulted in nearly 50 minutes of boredom as opposed to the classic many were expecting.

I realize that in order to reduce injury and such, the WWE is trying to tone down the big spots and train the audience to enjoy more basic matches. This has worked to a degree, but a match like this is such a rarity that in order for it to work it has to go a bit farther. The perfect example is the match between Mick Foley and Randy Orton at Backlash – both men went far beyond a regular match because it was not a regular match, in order to make it special they needed to pull out some of the hardcore gimmicks that Mick Foley has made famous. Afterwards, Orton could go back to wrestling his regular style. The point is that for one match that had so much build up, they pulled out all the stops to make it special, something Michaels and Hunter failed to do. The match would have been far better without the cage and half the time.

That isn’t to say that the match didn’t have its moments. Michaels’ stellar selling in the early going of the match had us seriously concerned that he was legitimately injured. The two brawled in the early going, and in a big error by the WWE production crew, Hunter rebounded from being sent into the cage and walked by the camera noticeably hitting himself in the forehead to try and draw blood. Both men did end up a bloody mess, especially after some harsh chairshots on Michaels. The crowd finally came alive when Michaels, with an evil grin on his face hauled a ladder out from under the ring. Hunter responded by pulling out a table, and minutes later the crowd gave its first big reaction of the match when HBK splashed HHH off the ladder.

Another amusing moment and production gaff saw referee Mike Chioda ask “What do you say Hunter” and HHH clearly responding “F— Me.” The crowd continued to sit on their hands as the two battered at each other, before Hunter ducked sweet chin music and connected with a low blow and a pedigree. After what felt like hours, he finally covered for a two count. Michaels came back with the superkick, and another two minutes with zero movement also resulted in a two count. A second pedigree and more exhaustion, followed by a third pedigree. Hunter lay out on the mat, then slowly rose one arm in the air, and held it there as our group of viewers yelled “Just drop the damn arm!” He did and it resulted in the three count.

I actually felt bad for both participants because they did put in the effort and went for a long time. However the crowd just didn’t care and it translated to the TV audience. As Jim Ross tried to push the match, the crowd started to file out. The show ended with what seemed like Michaels waiting for the crowd to start chanting his name, only they didn’t. If the WWE was trying to recreate one of those special moments, such as Benoit & Guerrero’s title wins, or the standing ovations that Chris Benoit (vs. Kurt Angle) and Edge & Christian (Ladder Match at WM 2000) the lesson here is that you can’t force it to happen, it just does.

Chris Benoit’s title defense against Kane ended up being one of Kane’s best matches and a solid outing. The match played to both men’s strengths – Kane as the monster who kept pounding away at Benoit, with Benoit being the underdog technician champion who kept finding a way to come back and derail his foe’s momentum. Early on Benoit made a number of failed attempts at locking Kane in submission moves. After 8 minutes of being dominated, Benoit came back against the leg and managed to finally snare the sharpshooter, but Kane made the ropes. Benoit connected with two sets of triple-germans and the flying headbutt. The crossface was shoved out of, and a chokeslam only got a two count. When Kane went for a flying clothesline off the top, Benoit reversed into the crossface. Kane powered out of it, so Benoit grabbed the other arm and tried to power Kane down, then turned it into a Oklahoma roll for the three count.

It’s interesting to note one flaw in the booking, as four matches ended in roll-ups. Benoit’s was the only one that was well thought out, and if your title match is going to end in that manner then on a show with only 7 matches you would think they could come up with more original finishes.

The next WWE PPV is Sunday, June 27th when Smackdown presents “The Great American Bash”


La Resistance (Champions) vs. Chris Benoit & Edge (Challengers) – WWE World Tag Team Title Match.

As expected, the show kicked off with the tag title match in order to give Benoit ample time between matches. Rob Conway is now announced with the French pronunciation of “Robert.” A decent opener and formula tag match that saw the champions in control of Edge for more than five minutes. When Edge went to make the tag, Benoit had been knocked to the floor, but soon was back up and tagged in. Edge almost accidentally speared Benoit but was able to stop in time. Grenier was locked in the crossface while Edge speared Conway out of the ring. Just as it seemed Sylvain was about to tap, Kane’s pyro went off and he hit the ring and caused an intentional DQ, assaulting the challengers and softening Benoit up for their title match.

Winners: Chris Benoit & Edge via DQ at 10:15

Rating: 5 / 10

Coach prepared for his match as Eric badmouthed Eugene. Of course, poor Eugene had heard it and Eric tried to take his words back, trying to convince Eugene to quit because his Uncle Eric doesn’t want him hurt like his hero’s Chris Benoit and Triple-H were. Eugene still wanted to wrestle.

Chris Jericho vs. Tyson Tomko.

Tyson did ok, but this wasn’t an impressive debut for Tomko, who wrestled like every other tall muscular tattooed wrestler from Goldberg to Batista. Jericho spent the early part of the match avoiding Tomko’s power offense before being caught in a chokeslam and a bearhug. Tomko kept cutting off Jericho’s offense, avoiding the lionsault and powering out of the Walls of Jericho. Tomko accidentally ran into Trish, allowing Jericho to hit the running enziguri and roll up Tomko for the three count.

Winner: Chris Jericho at 5:57.

Rating: 5 / 10

Randy Orton cut a killer promo about his greatness, before heading into the crowd to badmouth them. Awesome stuff, that leads to Shelton Benjamin hitting the ring.

Randy Orton (Champion) vs. Shelton Benjamin (Challenger) – Intercontental Title Match.

Benjamin nearly scored the win seconds in with a roll-up. A good back and fourth match that was very fast-paced in the early minutes with Shelton dominating before Orton dodged a Blinger Splash and tossed Benjamin to the outside. Ric Flair came to ringside and watches as the two men take each other out. A Gutwrench Diamond-Cutter got a two count for Orton. Benjamin came back and seemed to have the belt won after a splash but Flair put Randy’s foot on the ropes. A chase ensued and Flair ended up in the ring. JR noted “Flair has been on the receiving end of a few of those” after Benjamin pays homage to Sting in the corner, and the crowd boos as Benjamin puts Flair in the figure-four. Shelton small-packaged Orton for a two count while Flair was still in the hold. A top rope bodypress by Benjamin was rolled through and Orton held the tights for the three count.

Winner: and still Intercontinental Champion – Randy Orton at 15:02.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Matt Hardy and Lita bonded in her locker room but Eric Bischoff showed up with security to escort Hardy out of the building and prevent him from interfering in the World Title Match. He said he was just there to watch his Girlfriends match, so Bischoff gave him a choice, he could stay but Lita would be out of the Woman’s Title match, or he could leave. He choose to leave.

Victoria (Champion) vs. Trish Stratus vs. Gail Kim vs. Lita (Challengers) – Woman’s Championship Match.

Tomko accompanied Trish to ringside but was soon kicked out. Another so-so womans match, as Victoria has been killed off, Lita still looks bad, Trish hasn’t wrestled in months and Gail Kim is still working on improving. Lita hit a DDT on Kim and went for the pin, but Trish came out of nowhere with, you guessed it, a roll-up to win the Woman’s title. Why they put the belt on her, I do not know. It’s not that she isn’t a good champion, but she hasn’t been an active wrestler for months. It seems like they are still using the “When we don’t know what to do with the Women’s division we will put the belt on Trish Stratus” strategy.

Winner: .. and new WWE Woman’s champion – Trish Stratus at 4:43.

Rating: 2/10

Eugene Dinsmore vs. Jonathan Coachman

The match had its amusing moments, but for the most part was really, really bad. Regal was banned from ringside. Coach ran the ropes as Eugene left the ring and accepted a teddy bear from a woman at ringside. At another point Coachman had a beauty come down to ringside with a tray of cookies, and then slammed Eugene’s head into it. (No, I am not kidding.) This angers Eugene who hulks up in the ring with chocolate chips on his face. He also did the JYD headbutts and faked peeing on The Coach. Cade hit ringside and tore the head off of the teddy bear (I can’t believe I am typing all of this) and holds Eugene for a cheap shot. He ducks, hits Coach with a Rock Bottom and a People’s Elbow for the pin. He then gives both Cade and Coach stunners.

Winner: Eugene at 7:37

Rating: 0/10

Chris Benoit (Champion) vs. Kane (Challenger.) – WWE Championship Match.

Winner: …and Still WWE Champion – Chris Benoit at 18:12

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Triple-H vs. Shawn Michaels – Hell in a Cell.

Winner: Triple H at 47:25

Rating: 5 out of 10.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 10.

Event Time: 2 hours and 52 Minutes