Remembering Badd Blood: 15 years later

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October 05, 2012

A match for the ages

It may not have been on the grand stage of WrestleMania, or even during the blazing heat of SummerSlam, but 1997’s Badd Blood has become one of the most notable events in WWE history. It was a night of firsts in the ring — the very first Hell in a Cell Match and the very first sighting of Kane. While the event is mostly remembered for those occurrences, it was also the final pay-per-view to feature Mr. McMahon as a regular member of the broadcast team. Badd Blood’s lineup featured several bouts that were very representative of the early stages of the Attitude Era. The evening was a decoupage of tag team contests, title matches and highly unique battles. Badd Blood was a relic, an event of days gone by. (WATCH VIDEO PLAYLIST | VIEW PHOTO GALLERY)

Hell in a Cell has become somewhat par for the course to settle longstanding grudges in WWE, but in 1997, it was a sight to behold. Never before had WWE featured such an enormous structure, with a ceiling to boot! But the innovation was a necessary evil to contain the animosity between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. The match was to decide a No. 1 contender to Bret Hart’s WWE Championship, and was sure to be an intense, physical contest. (WATCH)

“Nowadays, Hell in a Cell is synonymous with Mankind and The Undertaker,” Natalya explained. “But back then, this was it. This was something more than just a cage.”

“It brought a new aspect to wrestling,” Kofi Kingston said. “I don’t think that people quite understood how much of an impact the Hell in a Cell Match would have as far as being a brutal, toll-taking match. But we knew that we were witnessing something special.”

Dolph Ziggler agreed. “It was a revolutionary match,” The Showoff said. “WWE was constantly going outside the box, drawing a line and crossing it.” Ziggler explained the impact of the match, “It was also gruesome and fun as hell to watch. From that point on, when you give the piranhas in the water a little drop of blood, they want more and more and more. And you have to outdo yourself and go to further extremes. And sometimes that could be good, or could be bad.” Ziggler’s analysis is spot-on. From that point forward, WWE became ensconced in the vicious cycle of the hard-hitting and usually shocking Attitude Era.

HBK’s D-Generation X cohorts inserted themselves into the action, but the true significant interference came in the form of the long-awaited debut of Kane.

“I remember the whole background,” Kofi recalled. “[The Undertaker’s longtime manager] Paul Bearer was making The Undertaker feel guilty about something that he had done in the past and everybody wanted to know what The Deadman had done. You never see Undertaker feel remorse. And the fact that Paul Bearer could make him feel remorse, you could see it in his eyes and see the look on his face, it was something that you never see out of The Undertaker. So you knew the news that Paul Bearer was talking about was devastating.”

But the sight of The Big Red Monster was far more shocking than any look on The Deadman’s face. “When Kane came out, it was just this bizarre giant, this gargantuan man with this mask on, walking with kind of a limp — just someone real freaky big,” Kofi recalled. “You knew he was big and powerful and some stuff was gonna go down.”

Led by Bearer, Kane tore off the door of the Cell, and confronted his older half-brother. “That was a heck of statement,” Kofi said. “He came in and just messed The Undertaker up. At that point, we didn’t really know exactly what had happened, but we knew there was a major story behind these two giants.” (WATCH)

Ziggler was equally enthralled by the first appearance of Kane. “To see him in that situation and realize he wasn’t just a giant monster, he can go above and beyond and manhandle The Undertaker. Who knows what would happen next?” (READ: KANE'S MOST DEMONIC DEEDS)

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