PPV REVIEW: WWF In Your House 18: Badd Blood

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - Event poster
October 5, 1997,
Kiel Center, St. Louis, Missouri.

By October 1997, the In Your House events had become a staple of the World Wrestling Federation calendar, cropping up every month to bridge the gaps between the big five.

Yet up to this point, that's basically all they'd been - filler events designed to move the story along and get us to Wrestlemania, King of the Ring, Summerslam, Survivor Series or the Royal Rumble, where the really big stuff - the dramatic title changes and huge, game-changing moments would occur.

If there's any event that changed that, it was this one - Badd Blood: In Your House 18

For the first time ever, we would see two of the company's biggest stars - Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker go head to head in a brand new concept known as Hell in a Cell, but as we were about to find out - the cage itself wasn't the only thing making its first appearance in the World Wrestling Federation.

And yes, I'm deliberately avoiding talking about the one thing I really don't want to talk about on this show - I'll be sad enough when we get to it.

Tonight, it's Hell in a Cell

Our show tonight opened with one of the WWF's always-impressive video packages, this one telling us what an asshole Shawn Michaels had become since transforming into a fully-fledged heel, and how much a thorn in the Undertaker's side he'd been since Summerslam 1997.

Tonight, said our narrator, Michaels new allies, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Chyna, and Rick Rude were unable to help him, because he and The Undertaker would be locked inside the demonic structure known as Hell in a Cell.

Not only was tonight the first Hell in a Cell match ever, but it was also the first In Your House event to use a regular entrance way instead of the special house set.

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - Vince McMahon's last PPV as a commentator
That became evident as we went into the arena for the usual pan of the crowd and the trademark growl of Vince McMahon, who was commentating on his last ever WWF PPV.

McMahon welcomed us to the show and introduced us to Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler as The Nation began making their way to ringside for our opening match.

3 vs. 2 Handicap Match The Nation (Rocky Maivia, D'Lo Brown, and Kama Mustafa) vs. The Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal)

Here, we had D'Lo Brown competing in his first WWF PPV match ever, Rocky Maivia competing in his first since Wrestlemania 13, and Kama Mustfa competing in his first actual PPV match (excluding the 1996 Royal Rumble) since Summerslam 1995, when he lost to Undertaker in a casket match.

Tonight, the three had been set to take on The Legion of Doom and Ken Shamrock, but apparently, they had injured Shamrock on Raw, leaving Hawk & Animal to fight The Nation alone.

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - The Nation - Kama, Rock, and D'Lo
Apart from a hot finish which saw Farooq arrive to stop the LOD from getting the upset, the match was fairly tedious and by far one of the most boring PPV opening matches of 1997.

The only notable thing to happen was McMahon informing us early on that Brian Pillman had passed away.

You know, to this day I've never forgotten October 5th, 1997 as the day that Brian Pillman died, and I kind of wish Vince had picked a more opportune and sombre moment to inform us of the sad news rather than dropping it in at the start of a pro wrestling match.

Speaking of the match, Rocky Maivia won with a move that hadn't yet been called The Rock Bottom.
Your Winners: The Nation

Afterwards, The Nation celebrated whilst LOD looked on, frustrated and exhausted.

Sunny and Doc Shill the Superstar Line

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - Doc Hendrix & Sunny urge you to call the Superstar line
As the Bad Blood theme music played (the same theme music that would later be used by The Lethal Weapon Steve Blackman), Sunny and Doc Hendrix urged us to call the Superstar Line.

I must admit, I'd rather have Sunny try to sell me an overpriced phone call than Mean Gene Okerlund.

Brian Pillman Has Passed Away

Finally, Vince took the time to give us the proper, to-camera announcement about The Loose Cannon's passing, passing his condolences on to the family before telling us that in place of the match Pillman had been advertised for, we'd get a special attraction:

A minis match.

Tarantula & Mosaic vs. Max Mini & Nova

Nova was, of course, another mini wrestler, and not Simon Dean.

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - Tarantula teamed with Mosaic to face Max Mini & Nova
In a way, I suppose the light relief provided by this lucha libre rules match was just what was needed after hearing the tragic news about Pillman.

Though not quite as fun as Max Mini's In Your House: Ground Zero outing against El Torito, this was still entertaining in its own way.

A fun little throw-away match which was just what the doctor ordered at this point.

Max Mini and Nova won, which was nice for them.
Your Winners: Max Mini & Nova

After the match, we got Michael Cole (though at first, I thought it was Todd Pettengill) voicing a commercial for Stone Cold Steve Austin's best-selling Austin 3:16 t-shirt, following which Vince McMahon told us that the crowd of 21,151 was likely to be a new arena record.

Sunny is Your Guest Ring Announcer

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - Sunny is your guest ring announcer for the tag title match
Playing off her history as the manager of tag Team Champions, Sunny made her way to ringside to provide guest ring announcing duties for our next match.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher) vs. The Godwins ( Henry O. & Phineas I. Godwin w/ Uncle Cletus)

For those wondering, Uncle Cletus was Dirty White Boy Tony Anthony, also briefly known as T.L Hopper.

The fact that they played up Henry and Phineas Godwin's past history with Sunny as the challengers entered the ring was a nice touch.

On another note, Mosh wore a Type O Negative T-shirt, which I just have to point out because Type O are one of my favourite bands.

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - The Headbangers lost the tag team titles to The Godwins
Both of these facts are more interesting than anything that happened in the ring.

This was dull, and occasionally very sloppy, culminating in a win for The Godwins when Phineas caught Mosh coming off the top and caught in him in a horrible looking sit down powerbomb.

A three count later, and we had new Tag Team Champions.

The crowd, all 21+ thousand of them, went mild.
Your Winners and New Tag Team Champions: The Godwins

Afterwards, The Godwins continued to attack their fallen opponents, then ranted and raved at ringside when it was announced that they'd be stripped of the titles if they didn't leave the ring.

Austin vs. McMahon - It Begins

Tonight, Vince McMahon was commentating on his final PPV. After this, we would see the transformation of Vince McMahon - Lead Announcer into Mr. McMahon - Evil Billionaire.

That same Mr. McMahon character would go on to have a legendary feud with Steve Austin, but the seeds of that feud had already been sewn.

After injuring his neck at Summerslam 1997, Stone Cold had been out of action, having to give up his half of the tag titles at Ground Zero: In Your House.

Now he was being urged to give up the Intercontinental Championship he won from Owen Hart in that ill-fated Summerslam bout but, Austin being Austin, he preferred to compete instead.

McMahon had originally told him he wasn't allowed and received a Stone Cold Stunner for his troubles.

The following week, McMahon had given Austin three options:

1: Get medically cleared to return to the ring

2: Return to the ring but absolve the WWF of any responsibility

3: Get fired.

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 Review - Owen Hart had choice words for Stone Cold Steve Austin
This was all retold to us in one of the company's always-awesome video packages, after which we cut to a scrawny, nerdy little dweeb called Michael Cole.

Cole was interrupted by Owen Hart, who demanded that Austin both come out and give him his belt back but at the same time stay far away from the ring. I love Owen, but I'm not sure he thought that one through.

Honouring St. Louis Wrestling Legends

In a ceremony akin to a mini Hall of Fame event, Gene Kiniski, Jack Briscoe, Dory Funk Jr., Harley Race, Terry Funk, Lou Thesz, and Sam Muchnick were each called out by Jim Ross, had a brief video package shown, and were then handed a commemorative plaque by Sunny.

In a way, it was oddly fitting - one last farewell to the oldest of the old guard before taking pro wrestling boldly into new territory with the advent of the Attitude Era.

Farooq is Mad

Backstage, Doc Hendrix pissed off Farooq by suggesting that Steve Austin might help him beat Owen Hart for the vacant Intercontinental title.

Farooq, flanked by Nation members Rocky Maivia, D'Lo Brown, and Kama Mustafa, was irate at such a suggestion, and mumbled his way through a garbage promo in which he let Doc -and all of us- know just how irate he really was.

An Update on Brian Pillman

Prior to our next match, Next, a very nervous-looking Vince McMahon informed us that Pillman may have died of an overdose. It was hard to tell if Vince was more upset about Pillman than he was about the potential damage to his company an overdosing employee could do. Vince told us that drugs were a problem in all sports, in other words - not his fault.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
Farooq vs. Owen Hart

WWE / WWF - Badd Blood: In Your House 18 - Owen Hart (w/ Jim Neidhart) celebrates being a 2 time Intercontinental ChampionI'd never realised this, but Owen Hart already had the new theme music that he had post-Montreal. I'd always assumed he had the classic Rocket theme until then.

Prior to he and Farooq tying up, Austin stormed to ringside with the Intercontinental title, took a seat next to Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter and rang the bell, then stole McMahon's headset to basically go on an epic Stone Cold rant for a few minutes.

Austin then moved around ringside, talking first to the Spanish and then the French announcers.

Why am I telling you about this and not about what happened in the ring? Because the WWF decided that Austin's outside shenanigans were more interesting than anything going on between the ropes.

Owen and Farooq must have known this, and thus didn't put a great deal of effort into their short and forgettable encounter.

In the end, Austin drilled Farooq with the title belt, allowing Owen to get the win and his second IC title.
Your Winner and New WWF Intercontinental Champion: Owen Hart

Afterwards, everyone seemed confused about why Austin would help Owen even though it seemed blatantly obvious that Stone Cold was setting himself up for a rematch with the King of Harts for the title.

Flag Match Update

Next, we were shown footage of the Hart Foundation attacking Vader and The Patriot, following which, Vince and JR told us that the rules for the upcoming flag match had been altered so that the match could be won by pinfall and submission as well as capturing the flag.

Confusingly, we then went on to a different match entirely.

Los Boricuas (Savio Vega, Miguel Perez,  Jose Estrada Jr., Jesus Castillo) vs. D.O.A (Crush, Chainz, Skull, 8-Ball)

WWE / WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood - Los Boricuas faced The Disciples of Apocalypse Ah, the feud that would never end.

At one point, it became clear that the announcers weren't really sure which Boricua was which, and that's a shame because -though it was never destined to win any awards- this was a perfectly acceptable multi-man tag match.

After a few minutes of fairly inoffensive action, Crush picked up the win with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker in what would prove to be his final WWF PPV appearance of the 1990s.
Your Winners: The Disciples of the Apocalypse

Whilst I'm on the subject of Los Boricuas,  if you have the WWE Network, go track down a match between Miguel Perez and Psicosis from WCW Nitro (I believe it was either late 96 or early 97), it was actually one of the best random TV matches I've ever seen

Bret and Bulldog are Here in St. Louis, Right Here

WWE / WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood - Michael Cole interviews Bret Hart & British Bulldog about their tag flag match with Vader & The Patriot
Backstage, WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart promised that he and Davey Boy Smith were going to prove that they were better than any two American wrestlers in the WWF.

The Englishman known as The British Bulldog then promised to defend the honour of the Canadian flag tonight, here in St. Louis....right here.

Seriously, there was a pause after Bulldog said 'here in St. Louis,' then he said 'right here,' and looked incredibly proud of himself for realising that he was indeed right there.

OK, so it wasn't on a level with his Royal Rumble 1996 gem, but it was still pretty funny.

Vader Drops a Bomb

And it wasn't a Vader Bomb.

Continuing the botched promo theme, The Patriot told Vader and Doc Hendrix that he was going to go all out to win tonight, after which Vader yelled out that Bret Hart's claim to be the best there is, was, and ever will be was -and I quote- 'a bunch of bullshit.'

Naturally, a flustered Vince McMahon apologised for the profanity and tries to dismiss it as a consequence of live TV.

Flag Match
WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart & The British Bulldog vs. Vader & The Patriot

WWE / WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood - Bret Hart & British Bulldog vs. The Patriot & Vader in a Tag Team Flag Match
It's a shame that after such a legendary career full of awesome matches, Bret Hart's final WWF PPV victory would come in a long and lacklustre effort.

Given the news about Pillman, you can understand nobody bringing their A-Game, but with nobody able to turn until a notch, you'd think they'd keep things short.

Instead, this one seemed to drag on forever, with pretty much the only truly exciting moment coming when a fan bust in the ring and got his ass kicked by Bulldog and referee Mike Chioda.

After a long time of nothing much, Bret got the win over The Patriot with a roll-up. Why they even bothered with a flag match stipulation if this is how things were going to end is beyond me.
Your Winners: Bret Hart & British Bulldog

Afterwards, we got a quick commercial for Survivor Series 1997, then cut to Sgt. Slaughter checking under the ring with a flash light to make sure there was no way the wrestlers could get out under the ring or that anyone could get in.

With that, we went on to our history-making main event.

Hell in a Cell (non-title match)
WWF European Champion Shawn Michaels (w/ Triple H, Chyna, and Rick Rude) vs. The Undertaker

WWE / WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood - A bloody Shawn Michaels tries to escape from The Undertaker
Certainly, one of the best matches of the year, most likely one of the best matches of the 90s, and easily the greatest match of its type, this groundbreaking first Hell in a Cell match was gloriously violent and brilliantly entertaining from beginning to end.

Apart from a brief few moments of offence from Michaels, this whole match was basically The Undertaker brutally murdering The Heartbreak Kid.

He destroyed him in the ring, he destroyed him out of the ring, he destroyed him against the cage walls, outside the cage, and even on top of the cage in what was by far the most violent WWF PPV match up to that time.

Just when The Phenom looked to have the match won, however, the lights went dark and the sound of an organ which would become so familiar to fans over the course of the next 20 years struck up.

Kane had arrived, and neither The Undertaker, nor the World Wrestling Federation, would ever be the same again.

Ripping the Cell door off its hinges, the debuting monster stared down his brother then distracted him

by making the turnbuckles explode. A kick to the stomach later, and The Dead Man was being lifted up and driven down in a tombstone piledriver courtesy of Kane.

Michaels, who had been laid out almost unconscious in a battered, bloody mess whilst all this had been going on, crawled over, draped the arm, and got the win.
Your Winner: Shawn Michaels 

Looking like anything but a winner, Michaels' battered corpse was dragged out of the ring by the rest of D-Generation-X, as Jim Ross informed us that he would now go on to face the WWF Champion on November 9th at Survivor Series...

...And we all know how that ended, don't we?

The very definition of a one-match show, that main event was really the only thing worth watching at Badd Blood: In Your House.

Everything else was either underwhelming, overlong, or both, but I won't hold that against anyone who performed on this card.

The death of Brian Pillman, though cautiously underplayed by McMahon, hung over the entire event like the terrible tragedy that it was, and -quite rightly I say- took the enjoyment out of watching it.

And that's me -a guy who never knew Pillman personally- saying that 20 years later.

Imagine how the wrestlers who knew, loved, and worked with him felt.

So yeah, most of this show isn't worth watching but the debut of Hell in a Cell as a match is -and I don't say this often- absolutely essential viewing.

Thanks for reading.

1997 events reviewed so far:
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
  3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
  8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
  9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell
  10. WCW - Slamboree 1997
  11. WWF - King of the Ring 1997
  12. WCW - Great American Bash 1997 
  13. WWF - In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede 
  14. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1997 
  15. WWF - Summerslam 1997
  16. WCW - Road Wild 1997
  17. WWF - In Your House 17: Ground Zero
  18. WCW - Fall Brawl 1997
  19. WWF - One Night Only 1997
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