As WWE is promoting it's three main events for Hell in a Cell, I thought I would take it upon myself to look at the most iconic Hell in a Cell match in history. A Hell in a Cell match that set the standard so high that to this day, it still has not been topped, I am of course talking about the titanic struggle between Mankind and The Undertaker. Welcome back to Flashback Friday, I am Sean O Connor and it is tile for WWF's King of the Ring 1998! Careers can be made in this tournament so who will be the winner this year? Also, can Stone Cold Steve Austin survive the monster Kane? Read on with nostalgia in mind!
Kaientai(Sho Funaki/Men's Teioh/Dick Togo) vs The Headbangers And Taka Michinoku
Kaientai were the top heels in Michinoku Pro, they were pitted in epic battles with Gran Naniwa, Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada and Super Delphin. Fun fact: in Michinoku Pro, they were known as Kainetai DX but coming to the WWF, they had to drop the name for obvious reasons. Also, Michinoku was a member of the group even competing at ECW's first pay per view. Unfortunately for Kaientai, they were comedy jobbers in the WWF. Anyways, we have 6 man tag team action as we see Taka Michinoku battle Kaientai who have been tormenting him for weeks on end. There is no Bradshaw this time as Taka has found himself partners in Mosh and Thrasher of The Headbangers. Mosh and Thrasher dominate the smaller Kaientai members. Mosh powerbombs Funaki as Taka comes in with high flying offence. Signature no hands springboard dive by Taka. Taka gets assaulted by Togo who is wearing an Iron Maiden shirt, bonus points for Togo, baseball slide into a headscissors by Togo. Kaientai takes turns ragdolling Taka around the ring. Miscue by Funaki who knocks out Teioh, Taka gets the opportunity to make the tag. Thrasher and Mosh come in, punches and backdrops follow for Kaientai. Thrasher gets Funaki all alone and nails a scoop slam, Taka is assisted by the headbangers and hits a splash on Funaki. Taka signals and delivers The Michinoku driver for the win. Fun little opener perhaps a little on the short side but it was fine, everyone did well and there were no mess ups in this match.
Winners: Taka Michinoku & The Headbangers over Kaientai following a Michinoku Driver!
King of the Ring Semi Final Match: Jeff Jarrett vs Ken Shamrock
First semi final match kicks off with Jarrett vs Ken Shamrock. Jarrett makes his grand entrance with pyrotechnics and signature strut. Ain't I great screams Jarrett as he enters the ring with Tennessee Lee. Jim Ross brings up that Owen Hart and The Nation had previously softened up Shamrock's ankle so he may not be 100%. Shamrock is explosive to begin with with kicks and a clothesline. Jarrett, the veteran hits a neckbreaker and a dropkick to gain control in this match. Jarrett's advantage doesn't last long as Shamrock beats the piss out of Jarrett. Tennessee gets involved, focusing on Shamrock's ankle , Jarrett goes to work. Thinking he has the match won, Jarrett eases off, he eats a spinning heel kick for his arrogance. A spinning elbow and a frankensteiner follow before Shamrock locks in The Angle Lock. Game over as Jarrett taps immediately. Shamrock was over huge in this match and he had a lot of credible offence which makes him look unstoppable. A strong favorite for this tournament!
Winner: Ken Shamrock over Double J following an Ankle Lock!
King of the Ring Semi Final Match: The Rock vs Dan Severn
Shamrock's rival The Rock enters the ring first as Mark Henry and Godfather are ejected from ringside. No Nation help for The Rock or so it seems. His opponent is former UFC champion Dan Severn who injured D'Lo in a King of The Ring qualifier. What a potential match it could have been between Shamrock and Severn, too bad Vince did not think much of UFC, that must be frustrating now Vinnie Mac? Severn outwrestles Rock trying to break him into pieces. Firemen's carry by Severn who continues to cut off Rock with armbars and choke holds. Big reactions for The Rock as he continues mocking Severn. Suplexes and kicks by Rock who is just trying to stamp out Severn. Double knock down as both men clash heads. D'Lo Brown emerges from ringside with his now famous chest protector and frog splashes Severn. The Rock takes the pin and we have The Rock vs Ken Shamrock in the final. Another short match but that is not a big deal as the final is the big match. The Rock cuts a promo after the match which he runs down Shamrock. Big Rivalry between these two, the story is there and this is going to be a great match.
Winner: The Rock over Severn following Shenanigans!
Too Much(Scotty Too Hotty/Brian Christopher) vs Al Snow
So Al Snow returned from ECW after becoming a hit after talking to a plastic mannequin head. The story goes that Snow wants a meeting with Mcmahon to be a WWF wrestler so he stole Jerry Lawler's crown and was granted this match. If he wins, Al will win a meeting with Vince and will become a wwf wrestler. There is no referee in the ring and it is announced that Jerry Lawler will be the special referee. JR on commentary by himself is better than the current product, a million times better in fact. Al Snow beats up Scotty with Jerry giving an unfair advantage to Too Much, Snow beats up Brian Christopher and Jerry gives an unfair advantage to Too Much. Snow pins a Too Hot but Lawler counts so slow that you could have a birthday while he counts. Of course Scotty kicks out and this handicap match continues. Scotty covers Al as Jerry does a fast count. Two count as Scotty hits a pumphandle suplex on Snow. Snow turns the tide with a double ddt and is reaching to Head for the tag. He tags in head and starts knocking Too Much around the ring with Head. Snow hits a Snowplow on Scotty Too Hotty but Jerry Lawler counts the pin as Brian Christopher pins the Head after putting a bottle of head and shoulders shampoo bottle on it. Yeah you read that right, Too Much wins by pinning Head because it was Head and Shoulders got it ? Funny right? Yeah I am not sure what Al was thinking agreeing to this finish but it is what it is so yeah terrible finish. Let's move on!
Winners: Too Much over Al Snow following stupid booking!
X-Pac with Chyna vs Owen Hart
X-Pac's first pay per view match since returning from WCW. Continuing the ongoing feud between the Nation and Dx, Owen Hart is taking on X-Pac. Both cost one another King of The Ring Qualifiers. Baseball slide by Pac to start off the match, both men start aggressively as JR fills us in on X-Pac's history of neck issues. Hard irish whips by Hart followed by spinning heel kicks. Back drop by X-Pac before he sends Owen crashing to the floor with a clothesline. Hart flings X-Pax into the timekeeper's area, missile dropkick by Owen Hart. Sleeper hold is applied by Owen who is keeping the high flyer grounded. Martial arts kicks by X-Pac, next comes the bronco buster. X-Pac goes to the top rope, Hart catches Pac off guard and both men take bumps from the turnbuckle, X-Pac lands on the outside. Mark Henry runs to ringside as he splashes X-Pac. Chyna and Henry square off before Vader comes out of nowhere and starts brawling with Mark Henry. In the ring Chyna stops Hart's sharpshooter and ddts Owen into the canvas 1...2....3. Decent match from these two but they have had better matches than this, it is nothing too special.
Winner: X-Pac over Owen Hart following Chyna's Help!
WWF Tag Team Championship Match New Midnight Express vs New Age Outlaws (C) With Chyna
Road Dogg and Bodacious Bob Holly kick us off. Bodacious Bob wants no part of Billy Gunn. Bob tags in Bart, Gunn's former smoking gunn partner. Nice wrestling from both men, Gunn tags in Road Dogg who gets assaulted illegally by Bodacious Bob. Midnight Express get the heat on the Road Dogg, dropkicks and double teams follow on the road dogg who sells and sells until it is time for Billy Gunn to run wild. Billy goes for a piledriver on Bob but eats a NWA tag belt to the back of the head from James E Cornette. Billy kicks out as the ref is distracted by Road Dogg and Bart fighting on the outside. Cornette goes to attack Billy again but is thwarted by Chyna who low blows him into next week. Double stun gun by Dogg and Gunn for the victory and they retain the titles. A fine match with the outlaws being over like rover while The New Midnight Express were dead in the water before they even got started, nothing could be as good as the orginal and the WWF should have known better than this.
Winners: New Age Outlaws over New Midnight Express!
King Of The Ring Final: The Rock vs Ken Shamrock
Last year's winner Triple H joins the commentary team. Rock comes out first as the announcers play up on the fact that there is a bitter rivalry between Rock and Shamrock. Fast paced beginning from both men who seem on their game. Shamrock scores with a kick to the chest which makes Rock bail to the outside. Announcers mention Shamrock's injured ankle and his temper which may cost him the match. Rock shoves Triple H at ringside which leads to Shamrock battering The Rock around the outside of the ring. Shamrock hits a floatover suplex on Rock. Rock regains the advantage with a swinging neckbreaker. Shamrock battles back but meets a ddt which plants him. Sleeper holds by The Rock to wear down the world's most dangerous man. People's Elbow and a ddt take Shamrock almost out of it but Shamrock will not stay down. Powerslams from both men, trying to put the other away. Northern lights suplex by Shamrock, Rock gets out a two and half. More nearfalls before Rock gets frustrated, venting his frustration at the referee. Shamrock plays possum and when The Rock comes back to finish the match, Shamrock catches Rock off guard and executes the ankle lock. The Rock screams out in pain and realizes he cannot go anywhere so he taps out in the middle of the ring. Great match between these two who knew each other so well due to their months of feuding. Rock brought out best of Shamrock and this may have been Shamrock's highest moment in the WWF. Not the most successful king as nothing really came together for Shamrock but this was a great match if nothing else at the end of the day.
Winner: Shamrock over The Rock following Ankle Lock!
Mankind vs Undertaker(Hell In A Cell Match)
The main match that everyone can remember from this pay per view, the match that quite possibly made Mick Foley's career in the WWF. Mankind would have to settle his issues with The Undertaker in the most demonic structure ever assembled in WWF history. To start off the insanity, Mankind climbs to the top of the cell with a steel chair. Mankind persuades Undertaker to start the match on top of the cell and he is all too happy to honor Mankind's request. Mankind attacks with the chair but Undertaker is too strong and in the one of the most iconic moments of Attitude Era history, Undertaker tosses Foley from the top of the cell through the spanish announce table. One of the craziest bumps I had ever seen in my life and so many others would testify to the insane risk involved with this bump. Foley is stretchered as fara as the ramp before Foley sits up and makes his way back to the top of the cell. Bad idea as Undertaker chokeslams Foley through the top of the cell. Foley is unconscious as Terry Funk and wwf officials tend to the injured Mankind. Undertaker chokeslams Terry Funk who is helping his dear friend Mick Foley. Mankind counters old school, going on the offensive for the second time in this match. Taker rams Mankind with the steel steps, Mankind is clutching his left arm which seems to be dislocated while also bleeding from his lip. Undertaker misses the suicide dive resulting in Taker being bloody. Piledriver by a one armed Mankind on The Undertaker, only gets a two count leg drop by Mankind on the Undertaker and still, only a two count for Foley. Mankind grabs a bag from underneath the ring and it appears to be a bag of thumbtacks. Spreading them across the canvas, Mankind applies the mandible claw as Undertaker begins to fade the hand of the demon from death valley drops once, drops twice but the final time, it does not drop as Undertaker hoists Mankind onto his back and falls directly onto the thumbtacks. Foley writes around it excruciating pain, he stumbles to his feet to meet The Undertaker and a chokeslam on the thumbtacks for good measure. This brawl comes to an end with a tombstone from Undertaker to Mankind for the 1..2...3. Simply one of the best matches in Attitude Era history, it is not a technical masterpiece, it may not have a gripping story but the bumps and the images of Foley flying off of and through that cell burn so strongly in the memory of any fan of wrestling that they will never be forgotten. A great match from two absolute legends of the wrestling world.
Winner: Undertaker over Mankind following a Tombstone!
WWF Championship Match Stone Cold Steve Austin (C) vs Kane (First Blood Match)
Kane's first main event in the WWF, a first blood match for the championship. Gas canisters surrounds the ring if Kane loses. How will Austin bust open Kane when a mask covers his face? Will Kane be set on fire? When the glass shatters , the crowd comes unglued as Austin comes walking down to the ring. Just to show how much a monster Kane is in this match, the first 30 seconds consist of Kane being smacked in the face with the title twice and he just sits right back up. Austin had a staph infection at the time so he elbow is the size of a bowling ball, its taped up but looks nasty. Five minutes into the match, the hell in a cell is lowered as JR wanders why this is happening. Kane is punishing Austin around the ring before Austin turns the tide by sending Kane into the cell door. The rattlesnake gets suplexed right onto the ramp, Austin gets the better of Kane in the ring as they continue to brawl all around the arena. Austin slams Kane into the exposed turnbuckle, Mankind makes his way to the ring with a chair. It's a two on one situation with the referee down on the outside. Stunners to both Kane and Mankind by Austin who collapses in exhaustion, all three men are down. Here comes The Undertaker with a steel chair, Austin has a steel chair, they both attempt to take mankind's head off but Undertaker wallops Austin with the chair. Undertakers picks up the referee and pours gasoline on him, reviving him in the process. Kane hits Taker taking him out of the match while Austin staggers to his feet, Kane attempts to strike Austin with the chair but Austin reverse and levels Kane. However, the referee sees Austin has been busted open by Taker's chairshot and we have a winner and new champion, Kane!!!. Felt this match was a bit on the short side but enjoyable not the less. Austin never really had a chance realistically I mean how the hell was he suppose to open up Kane? But I guess it is all part of the fun as you had to tune in the next night on Raw to see Austin regain the championship in another fun match.
Winner: Kane over Austin thanks to Undertaker!
Overall, a solid show from the WWF. The great conclusion to Shamrock and Rock's war with Shamrock finally gaining the upper hand, the entertaining main event with a white hot Austin taking on the seemingly unbeatable Kane and a Hell in a Cell that will never ever be forgotten. Did you see Mick Foley fall live on PPV? Did you love King of the Ring 1998? Will this Hell in a Cell top previous matches? Will the first ever women's Hell in a Cell be as historic as Foley's Hell in a Cell match? I know I will be watching but will you? Thanks for taking the time to read this article and any other article on the website it is your support that keeps us going and hopefully, I will see you again next week for another Flashback Friday!