This was a rough period for the Smackdown brand because they had to run this Armageddon show one month after Eddie Guerrero shockingly passed away in his hotel room. Eddie was a leader on Smackdown and in some ways, the face of the brand, so it must have been difficult for Smackdown’s roster to keep going forward. While WWE mourned Guerrero’s death with tribute shows for him, the guys and girls left on Smackdown had to somehow carry on as if it was business as usual. That’s not easy to do.
Batista was the World Heavyweight Champion on Smackdown at the time of Armageddon and he was also one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions with Rey Mysterio. Even though Batista held two titles, neither of those titles were on the line because they faced the Raw tag team of Kane and Big Show. Batista was also dealing with injuries, which I’ll get to when I write about the match.
The main event of the show was The Undertaker facing Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell match. It was going to be the end of their rivalry that saw them have a match at WrestleMania 21 as well as several other matches throughout the year. Orton was clearly the top heel on Smackdown at his point. Nobody else was close to him.
I really don’t remember much about this show except some things about the main event due to the controversy that surrounded it. I’ll get into that later.
Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island
December 18, 2005
The show gets a TV14 and the “S” for Sexual Content.
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The opening video package focused on the rivalry between The Undertaker and Randy Orton leading to their Hell in a Cell match.
The pyro went off in the arena, the fans made a lot of noise and the Hell in a Cell structure was shown above the ring. The Smackdown announce team of Michael Cole and Tazz were at ringside to welcome us to the show. The Spanish announcers were at ringside also.
John Bradshaw Layfield entered in a limo with his image consultant Jillian Hall, who still had the ridiculous looking mole on the left side of her face. Thankfully she got that bitten off by The Boogeyman about one month later. A clip aired of JBL trash talking Matt Hardy in a backstage segment on Smackdown to set up this match.
Analysis: The story is they had no story until the last Smackdown before the PPV and WWE’s decision makers realized they needed another match.
JBL did a pre-match promo saying he creates excitement whether he opens the show or closes the show and he claimed he was the main event. JBL ripped on Matt Hardy for his “I will not die” slogan saying that he lost his job, lost his girlfriend and went on the internet to whine about things and put a stupid phrase on a t-shirt. JBL continued to rip on Hardy while plugging all of his other ventures and he called himself the greatest WWE Champion of all time, he’s the man that carries Smackdown…and Hardy’s music hit to interrupt.
Analysis: It was a solid heel promo, which was a strength of JBL during this era.
Hardy attacked JBL from behind to start the match.
John Bradshaw Layfield (w/Jillian Hall) vs. Matt Hardy
Pre-match notes: JBL was the heel while Hardy was a face.
Hardy punched JBL out of the ring as the bell rang. JBL got back into it by tossing Hardy into the ropes with Hardy doing a spot where he got his head stuck in the ropes. JBL unloaded with punches and kicks while the ref tried to stop JBL, who was pulling on Hardy’s legs. JBL punched Hardy to break him free. JBL with a short arm clothesline outside the ring. They went back into the ring with JBL hitting Hardy with about five elbow drops in a row. Hardy managed to get a DDT for a two count. When Hardy got back up, JBL ran him over with a running shoulder tackle, kick to the back and running boot to the face by JBL. Hardy was stumbling around selling the neck as JBL worked him over with punches to the face. JBL set up Hardy on the top, Hardy broke free with elbows to the head and Hardy jumped off the top with a moonsault onto a standing JBL for two. JBL unhooked a turnbuckle pad to expose steel. JBL with a whip into the steel, a clothesline in the corner and JBL hit the Clothesline from Hell for the pinfall win at 6:44.
Winner by pinfall: John Bradshaw Layfield
Analysis: *1/2 That was an ass kicking by JBL without much offense from Hardy. The story was that Hardy was selling the neck injury after his head was caught up in the ropes. I’m not sure who decided to book it that way, but this was likely done to try to give JBL more momentum because Smackdown was lacking in terms of top heels. Hardy looked like somebody that was not nearly on the same level. There were some stiff punches and clotheslines by JBL in the match as well.
The replays showed some of the stiff punches and kicks from JBL as well as the Clothesline from Hell. JBL celebrated the win with a big smile.
There was a clip from two nights earlier on Smackdown where Melina tried to convince Batista to withdraw from the Tag Team Title match. They were making out and then later it was made to look like they had sex. Batista said no deal and thanks for the warmup.
Analysis: That’s the kind of segment that you would never see in today’s WWE, which is for the best. Batista did “date” Melina in WWE around this period. That was well known, and he even wrote about it in his book. Melina also dated Johnny Nitro/Morrison for several years around this period.
The lovely Melina was shown looking in the mirror. The Mexicools went up to her saying they’ll cancel the match tonight if she does to them what she did with Batista. She said they’re disgusting and they left.
A “Hell in a Cell Last Rites” video aired of The Undertaker destroying Mankind at King of the Ring 1998 with clips of Mankind’s crazy bumps from that match.
The MNM trio of Johnny Nitro, Joey Mercury and Melina made their entrance. Melina had the best entrance in the business. They were the former (and future) WWE Tag Team Champions. The Mexicools made their entrance riding lawnmowers because…well…it’s WWE. That’s how they are. We are supposed to pretend Mexican wrestlers liked being stereotyped like that.
MNM (Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury) w/Melina vs. The Mexicools (Super Crazy & Psicosis)
Pre-match notes: MNM were the former (and future) WWE Tag Team Champions. The Mexicools were the faces although they were not that popular. Juventud wasn’t there because he had a match later.
Mercury with a shoulder tackle on Psicosis. Nitro tagged in, two arm drags for Psicosis and a dropkick attempt missed by Psicosis. Mercury back in, spinning heel kick by Psicosis and a corkscrew plancha connected on MNM on the floor. Super Crazy did a somersault dive over the ref to take out MNM on the floor. The referee was distracted, so Melina pulled Psicosis off the top rope and that allowed the heels to take over. Mercury with a snapmare, Nitro tagged in with an elbow drop and Melina did her loud scream. Mercury with a clothesline on Psicosis. Psicosis with a headscissors and bulldog takedown at the same time on both guys on MNM. Nitro tagged back in with a leg drop to the head for two. Nitro knocked Crazy off the apron, so when Psicosis broke free, there was nobody to tag and Nitro hit a belly to back suplex for two on Psicosis. Morrison drove Psicosis back into the corner. Mercury back in with a body slam, he took way too long with an elbow drop and Psicosis hit Mercury with an enziguri kick to the head. Crazy got the hot tag, dropkicks for both guys, arm drag on Nitro and a tornado DDT planted Mercury for two as Nitro made the save. Psicosis with a cross body block off the top to take out both MNM guys. Nitro sent Psicosis into the barricade at ringside. Crazy up top, Melina grabbed his leg and he shoved her down. Crazy with a moonsault to the back of Mercury, he covered and Nitro broke up the pin for two. Mercury picked up Crazy and Nitro connected for the double team Snapshot DDT finisher for the pinfall win at 8:55.
Winners by pinfall: MNM
Analysis: **3/4 It was a slightly above average tag team match to put over MNM to get them some momentum back after they lost the titles a few days earlier. The Mexicools duo were both very good in terms of their aerial moves, but they didn’t get to show off enough of that. The last few minutes were great after the hot tag. Other than that, it was just the usual WWE tag team match.
Booker T was shown backstage with Sharmell with a broom because they thought they would sweep the Best of 7 series against Chris Benoit. Kristal Marshall showed up to ask how he’s feeling going into his match. Sharmell made angry faces at Kristal. Booker said he’d walk out of Armageddon as the new US Champion. Sharmell told Kristal to take the broom to get own because of the “witch flies on a broom” thing.
Chris Benoit was shown walking backstage for his match.
A video package aired about the US Title being held up due to a controversial finish, so GM Teddy Long booked Booker and Benoit in a Best of 7 series to determine the undisputed US Champion. Booker won the first match thanks to Sharmell’s cheating, Booker won the second match with a Scissors Kick to the back of the head
Analysis: These two men did a famous Best of 7 series in WCW, so it was WWE’s way of recreating that. They did a few of those types of “Best of” series over the years and sometimes they were Best of 5 instead of 7. Booker won the third match thanks to a ref bump, a chair to the back and another Scissors Kick to win. That meant Booker was up 3-0 in the Best of 7 series.
Booker T entered first with his wife Sharmell with the fans booing him. Booker was smiling a lot because he was up 3-0 in the series. Chris Benoit was up next to a good reaction.
Best of 7 Series Match 4: Booker T (w/Sharmell) vs. Chris Benoit
Pre-match notes: Booker was the heel and Benoit was the face. Booker was up 3-0 in the best of seven series, so that made the result of this match obvious.
There was a slow start to the match with neither man getting the advantage early on while Booker bailed to the floor. When Booker got back in the ring, Benoit took him down with a waist lock. Benoit went for the Crossface, Booker got to the ropes and left the ring again. After about a minute of stalling, Benoit with a leg whip followed by punches. Benoit worked over the legs of Booker leading to fans chanting for Benoit. Booker managed to get some positive momentum going with a suplex where it looked like Booker slipped and almost dropped him on his head. Tazz said it looked like a delayed vertical suplex where they lost control a bit. Benoit with a go behind of Booker leading to a German suplex. Booker with a running knee that knocked Benoit off the apron to the floor. They exchanged chops on the floor, Booker won that battle and whipped Benoit face first into the ring post. Benoit always took that bump hard by going full speed into the post although he did use his arm to hit the post. Booker with a dropkick to the jaw. Booker slapped on an abdominal stretch for about a minute with Benoit hitting a hip toss to counter and then they did a double clothesline spot to knock both men down at the same time. Benoit with a German Suplex followed by a belly to belly suplex, then the Three Amigos vertical suplexes in tribute to Eddie Guerrero. That got a two count. Benoit with three German Suplexes to Booker. Benoit went up top, Sharmell had the broom to distract, Booker tripped up Benoit on the top rope and Booker went for a superplex off the middle rope. Benoit went down after a slip up spot in the corner that may have been an accident. Booker up top with a missile dropkick for two. Booker worked over Benoit with knees. Referee Jimmy Korderas held Booker back, so Sharmell hit a low blow punch to the groin of Benoit. Booker hit the Scissors Kick for the two count with Benoit getting his left shoulder up, which drew a good ovation. Very good nearfall.
Booker went for the Book End, Benoit slipped out and slapped on the Crippler Crossface leading to Booker getting his hand on the bottom rope. Benoit hit Booker with three more German Suplexes. Benoit went up top, he jumped off with a flying headbutt and he connected with it. Benoit covered for a two count, which was another believable nearfall spot in this match. Benoit went for the Crossface, Booker flipped over and hit Booker hit Korderas with his foot. Benoit slapped on the Sharpshooter, Booker tapped out and the ref Korderas was down holding his head. Sharmell went into the ring with the broomstick to the back of Benoit, which Benoit did not sell. Booker got back up, punch to the back of Benoit and Booker wanted a Book End, but Benoit countered into a DDT. Benoit slapped on the Crippler Crossface for the submission win at 20:09.
Winner by submission: Chris Benoit
The win by Benoit meant that Booker was up 3-1 in the series.
Analysis: ***1/2 The match was pretty good for the most part, but I thought it was hurt by going too long. It felt like they spent ten minutes just killing time rather than telling an interesting story. The last few minutes helped the match in terms of creating an exciting finish. Like I noted earlier, Benoit winning was obvious since Booker was up 3-0 going into the match, so that hurt the match a bit since it was too predictable. That was one of the best matches these two had together. (The Best of 7 continued with Randy Orton subbing in for Booker due to a Booker injury and winning the US Title for him.)
A Hell in a Cell “Last Rites” video aired showing when The Undertaker tossed Rikishi off the cell at Armageddon onto some hay that was on a truck beside the cell.
Let’s Hear From Teddy Long
The Smackdown General Manager Teddy Long made his entrance with the “network executive” Palmer Canon, who was a younger wrestler that WWE booked as a heel to counter Long’s face character. They went into the ring.
Long talked about how great 2005 has been for Smackdown, how they won at Survivor Series and he thanked the fans for the support. Canon said that he had a very special surprise for the audience. Canon introduced Santa Claus with an elf.
Santa Claus walked out with his elf, which was really Nunzio. Santa did a promo. It was really Vito, who insulted the crowd for being ugly and said that Santa won’t make any stops in that town. Nunzio said they wanted a shot at the WWE Tag Team Championship, and then Nunzio said a shot at the Cruiserweight Championship. Canon said that he had the perfect gift for them. The Boogeyman’s music hit and Canon said “Merry Christmas” as The Boogeyman made his entrance.
The Boogeyman “sang” his own Christmas carol ending it with “Boogeyman is coming to get ya. Vito as Santa peed his pants or at least sold it like he did. Boogeyman hit a pumphandle slam on Vito. Boogey grabbed some worms that were in Santa’s bag, which suddenly was full of worms. Boogeyman shoved a handful of worms into Vito’s mouth and Vito sold it like he was knocked out. The ring was full of worms. I feel bad for people that had to clean that up.
Analysis: Bad WWE comedy to try to get the Boogeyman over. They didn’t always book Boogeyman in matches because he was bad in the ring, but as a gimmick he was popular. This was bad. It was a waste of time.
A clip aired of everything that has happened leading to The Undertaker vs. Randy Orton inside Hell in a Cell. It featured cheap attacks from Orton, mind games from The Undertaker and the 25-year-old Orton even said he would retire, which was obviously bullshit. That led to a cheap attack from Orton leaving Undertaker a bloody mess.
Randy Orton and Bob Orton were interviewed by Kristal Marshall backstage. Bob tried to answer her first question, but then Randy talked about how if anybody knows anything about mind games, it’s him. Orton said he proved that The Undertaker is not invincible and he’ll prove to everybody that he is the Legend Killer. Orton said that tonight, Undertaker’s fate and his power (Bob handed him the urn) are in his hands.
Bobby Lashley entered for a handicap match. He was up against William Regal and Paul Burchill.
Bobby Lashley vs. William Regal and Paul Burchill
Pre-match notes: Lashley was the face on the rise getting a big push. Regal and Burchill were heels. The heels had to tag in and out.
Lashley was in control early on with clotheslines on both guys, but Regal hit a knee to the back and Burchill took down Lashley. Regal drove Lashley back first into the ring post. Burchill with a flipping splash. Regal back in with punches and an overhead suplex. Burchill up top with a knee to the back for a two count. Lashley with a belly to belly suplex on Regal. Burchill tagged back in, Lashley with a back body drop, belly to belly suplex and a forearm to Regal. Lashley hit a running Powerslam on Regal. Burchill back in, Lashley tossed him up into the air and Burchill bumped onto his chest. Lashley hit a Dominator slam for the pinfall win at 3:38. The crowd was dead for all of this.
Winner by pinfall: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: 1/2* Easy win to put over Lashley. Bad match because the crowd knew that the heels had no shot. The announcers worked hard to put over Lashley hard. The fans did not care.
There was a shot the Friendly Tap bar with former WWE referee Tim White and Josh Mathews. White was the owner of the bar. When Mathews asked how White was doing, White drank some booze that was in front of him. Mathews pointed out that White’s last match that he refereed was Triple H vs. Jericho Hell in a Cell (Judgment Day 2002) and White sustained a serious shoulder injury. White did not respond when Mathews asked how his shoulder was. The clip aired showing White bumping into the cage and Jericho whipped White into the cell as well. Back to White, he said his family left him, he took his pain out on everybody he knows, White said he’s got nothing and other medical problems started like psoriasis and eczema. White said he suffered from some bowel syndrome. White said everything is gone. Mathews wished him a white Christmas. White pulled out a shotgun, went off screen and the gun was fired with Mathews telling him to stop. Mathews reacted with a horrified look on his face. The fans booed.
Analysis: They booked White to tease committing suicide. They did this on purpose as if they thought it was funny. The bowel syndrome line was part of the comedy. Anyway, this Tim White teasing suicide bit continued in the weeks ahead with other attempts at suicide that aired on WWE.com regularly. I guess the point of this was that White’s life was ruined by Hell in a Cell and there’s a HIAC match later on Armageddon, so it showed what can happen at HIAC. That is not me defending this angle. I’m just trying to rationalize it. The whole thing was ridiculously stupid. It’s also not smart to air something like that on a live PPV where fans have no idea this is supposed to be a joke angle.
Let’s get back to the show as if a guy didn’t tease committing suicide in the segment before it. What a weird show.
Cruiserweight Championship: Juventud vs. Kid Kash
Pre-match notes: Juventud was the face champion and Kash was the heel challenger. There was not much of a story.
Juventud was in control early with a headscissors and then he hit a sloppy hurricanrana. Juventud slapped on an armbar. Juventud with a back body drop that sent Kash over the top to the floor followed by a slingshot attack over the top onto Kash on the floor. Kash took control by shoving Juventud into the ring post. Back in the ring, Kash with a body slam. Kash slapped on an armbar while yelling “give it up, boy” repeatedly. Kash whipped Juventud left arm first into the turnbuckle. Juventud with a clothesline while Kash was against the turnbuckle. Kash came back with a kick to the left arm and a body slam on the arm. The fans were dead. Kash went to the top rope for a moonsault, but Juventud got his knees up to block. Juvi fired up with a clothesline followed by a hard kick to the head for two. Kash up top, Juvi shoved him to crotch him on the top rope and Juvi hit a hurricanrana off the top rope. Juvi grabbed his knee when he landed, so there was a slow cover and Kash got his foot on the bottom rope. Juvi with an enziguri kick to the head for two. Juvi with a Northern Lights Suplex, Kash slipped out of a Juvi Driver and then Juvi Driver managed to hit the Juvi Driver for the two count. Juvi went up top for a somersault leg drop, but Kash moved out of the way and Juvi hit the mat hard. Kash hit the Dead Level brainbuster for the pinfall win at 9:25.
Winner by pinfall and New Cruiserweight Champion: Kid Kash
Analysis: **3/4 The work in the match was pretty good, but the crowd wasn’t into the match. They told a story with Kash working over the left arm and Juvi sold the arm well for most of it, but then it looked like he forgot towards the end of the match. The last few minutes were good with some big spots from both guys. This was Kash’s only reign as Cruiserweight Champion in WWE.
The video package aired for Batista and Rey Mysterio taking on Raw’s Big Show and Kane. Show was pinned by Mysterio in the Survivor Series tag team match, so Kane and Show were booked on Smackdown. Mysterio tagged with JBL against Kane and Show, that led to JBL bailing on Mysterio and Batista showed up to save Mysterio. Batista and Mysterio won the Tag Team Titles from MNM on the Smackdown before Armageddon, so both teams were Tag Team Champions.
Big Show and Kane entered first. They were the World Tag Team Champions from Raw.
Analysis: The main reason they were there is because Smackdown was lacking in heels, so this was a way to get two heels on the show in a champions vs. champions match.
Rey Mysterio entered first for his team. They were the WWE Tag Team Champions on Smackdown. Batista was up next. He got a big ovation. Batista was the World Heavyweight Champion and one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions as well.
Analysis: Batista was dealing with an injury going into this event. He had a muscle tear in his back from early November, but he kept working through it because Smackdown needed him. In January 2006, Batista tore his triceps during a match with Mark Henry and went on to miss about six months and returned in July. He was clearly hurting a lot at this show.
Batista and Rey Mysterio vs. Kane and Big Show
Pre-match notes: Batista and Mysterio were the faces while Kane and Show were the heels. No titles were on the line.
Show shoved down Batista two times to start the match. Batista came back with clotheslines, Show didn’t go down and Batista with a boot to the face. Running shoulder tackle by Batista took down Show. Standing side kick by Show stopped Batista’s momentum. Batista with a suplex for two. Kane with a sidewalk slam. Batista slammed Kane down and Mysterio tagged in with a moonsault on Kane. Mysterio kicked Kane, who no sold it and Kane shoved Mysterio down. Running forearm by Mysterio on Kane, double axe by Mysterio and Kane tossed Mysterio into the turnbuckle. Mysterio with a boot to the face, Mysterio springboard dropkick sent Kane out of the ring right into a Batista clothesline. Mysterio set up Kane for a 619, Show pulled Mysterio out of the ring and Show drove Mysterio spine first into the steel post. That led to the heels taking over with Show chopping Mysterio had in the chest. Kane tried a Chokeslam, but Mysterio countered into a bulldog. Batista got into the ring with a spear and Batista tossed Mysterio’s legs into Show. Batista with a spinebuster on Kane. Batista with a running clothesline that sent Show over the top to the floor. Batista tackled Show over the announce table. Mysterio with a 619 on Kane. When Mysterio tried a follow up, Kane caught him and spiked Mysterio with a Chokeslam for the pinfall win at 8:37.
Winners by pinfall: Kane and Big Show
Analysis: **1/4 It was a decent match that was below average. It was smart to keep it under ten minutes. The story was an obvious one with the heels working over Mysterio for most of it to set up the hot tag. I thought the Batista and Mysterio team should have won as the faces on the Smackdown show, but WWE opted for the win from Show and Kane. They didn’t even do a hot tag spot at the end of the match, which was weird. Batista just went in to clean house, but the wasn’t legal and it just kept going from there.
Post match, Kane and Show left as the victors. Batista helped up Mysterio back to his feet. Mysterio sold the beating well as he stumbled his way up the aisle.
Analysis: Two months later, Mysterio went on to win the Royal Rumble. You wouldn’t think that based on the way he was booked here, but WWE chose to have the bigger opponents get the win.
A Hell in a Cell Last Rites video aired about Badd Blood 1997 when The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels had the first HIAC match. They showed the clip of Michaels taking the bump off the cell through the table. It was huge at the time. One of my favorite matches ever.
The Hell in a Cell structure was lowered on the ring. There was no pre-match video package because it was shown earlier in the night.
Randy Orton made his entrance first with his father Bob Orton Jr., who had the urn his hands. Orton’s “hey nothing you can say” song was one of my favorite songs during this era. Orton had a serious look on his face.
The Undertaker made his entrance to a big ovation. The entrance took about three minutes. When Undertaker got in the ring, he slammed the cell door.
Hell in a Cell: The Undertaker vs. Randy Orton
Pre-match notes: The Undertaker was the face as usual while Orton was the heel. Orton was only 25 years old at the time while The Undertaker was 40 years old. I’ll type “Taker” for most of the match because it’s shorter.
Taker with a shoulder tackle early in the match. Orton with a back body drop. Taker came back with a boot to the face. Orton left the ring, so Taker followed with a headbutt. Orton scurried back into the ring leading to Taker pounding on him with punches and stomps. Taker sent Orton ribs first into the ring post. Orton tried to crawl away, so Taker stomped on him in the chest. Orton stumbled to his feet and Taker crushed Orton with a steel chair shot to the chest. Orton stumbled to the ground, the camera wasn’t on him and that led to the blade job from Orton. The cut was above the right eye of Orton. Taker hit Orton in the head with the chair for a second time. Orton was bleeding all over the right side of his face with Taker working to open up the cut some more. Taker grabbed a steel chain at ringside and he choked Orton with it. Taker picked up Orton leading to Orton getting sent head first into the cage. Taker grabbed the steel steps, Orton got back into it with punches and it was effective in terms of sending Taker to the floor. Orton picked up the steel steps, Taker kicked them out of Orton’s hand and Taker was back in control. When Taker was on the apron, Orton hit a RKO on Taker using the top rope for an assist leading to Taker bumping hard to the floor. Orton picked up the steps and hit Taker in the head with them. That led to a blade job from Undertaker because he was busted open just like Orton. Orton continued the offense outside the ring by sending Taker’s face into the steel steps. Orton choked out Taker with the chain around the throat.
They got back into the ring with Orton hitting Undertaker in the head with a steel chair. It looked like Taker got his right hand up to block it. Two count for Orton. Taker whipped Orton into Hell in a Cell followed by a running attack that sent his body into Orton against the cell. Taker went up top, jumped off, wasn’t close to hitting and Orton moved out of the way. That was a silly spot designed to give Orton control again. Orton brought a table into the ring. Orton kicked Taker out of the ring leading to Taker going up against the cell, so Bob Orton pulled on Taker’s hair to keep him there. Taker broke free, he grabbed Bob’s arm that was through the hole in the cage and Taker whipped Bob into the cell a few times. Orton charged, Taker moved and Randy hit Bob to knock him down. Bob was bleeding above his left eye and he was wearing the white shirt, so that was going to get colored. Orton slammed Taker into the cell. Bob’s cut may have happened when Taker kicked the cell into Bob’s head. They went back into the ring with Orton hitting uppercuts, Taker ran the ropes and hit a leaping clothesline for two. Taker walked the ropes and hit the Old School punch to the back of Orton. Flatliner connected for Taker for a two count. Orton was bleeding more than Taker was. Taker with Snake Eyes sending Orton into the turnbuckle, boot to the face and leg drop for two because he doesn’t have the power of Hulkamania to win with that move. Taker picked up Orton with a Chokeslam by the ropes and Orton got his foot on the bottom rope to break it. Pinfalls count all around the cell, but you can still escape with a rope break apparently. Taker set up the table in the ring. Running knee to the ribs by Taker. Running boot attempt by Taker, but Orton got the chain and punched Taker in the groin with it. That was a creative low blow spot. Well done.
Orton set up the table in the middle of the ring. Orton put Taker on the table, Orton went up top and Orton hit a splash that put Taker through the table. It was an awkward landing from Orton where it looked like he overjumped it a bit and didn’t really put Taker through the table perfectly. Taker wanted a Powerbomb out of the corner, Orton slipped out, Taker with a punch, Orton ducked and Taker knocked ref Nick Patrick out of the ring. Taker wanted another Chokeslam, but Orton hit a RKO. Orton covered for no count because the referee was down and Patrick was bleeding. The door opened with Jimmy Korderas checking on Patrick. Charles Robinson went in to take over as the referee. Bob Orton entered the cell illegally. Orton got a two count with Robinson counting the pin attempt. Taker with two boots, he picked up Orton and hit a Last Ride Powerbomb in the middle of the ring for a two count with Bob pulling Robinson out of the ring. Bob punched Robinson in the head. Taker punched Bob, he whipped him into the cell a few times and Taker elbowed Bob in the head to take care of him. Taker picked up Orton, but Orton countered into his own Tombstone. That looked bad because if Taker didn’t get his two forearms down his head would have hit hard. When Taker does it, he protects the guy a lot better, but that’s no surprise since Orton wasn’t used to doing that move. Anyway, ref Jimmy Korderas went to count the two count. Taker sat up, Taker grabbed Orton wit ha choke and Bob went into the ring, so Taker kicked Bob in the head. Taker hit Bob with the urn to the head and Taker hit Randy in the head with the urn. Taker with a Tombstone Piledriver on Bob. Taker with a Tombstone Piledriver on Randy and Taker pinned Randy to win the match at 30:31.
Winner by pinfall: The Undertaker
Analysis: ***3/4 It was a very good Hell in a Cell match that was also one of the longest. It’s not remembered as one of the best Cell matches ever, but I was entertained by it after not seeing it in about 13 years. It certainly lived up to the standard that Hell in a Cell matches set in terms of their brutality level. Some of the chair shots in the match were nasty, which was something they did often during this period, but you would never see a stiff chair shot to the head today. It was no surprise that Undertaker got the win since it was the end of this rivalry with Taker as the face in the match. The ending was a bit anticlimactic with Taker dominating as much as he did, but it was also fitting for the feud because of how much Bob interfered in Randy’s matches. There was a lot of blood in the match with Taker, Randy, Bob and even referee Nick Patrick bleeding.
After the match, The Undertaker tossed the urn on top of the cell. Replays aired of what happened in the final few minutes. The Undertaker climb up the cell, he had the urn in his hands and he stood on top of where the Ortons were down in the ring. Cole said that this match lived up to its name…Hell in a Cell. That was true. Taker posed some more as the arena was lit up in his purple light and that was the end of the show.
Analysis: Following the show, there was a big story surrounding Bob Orton Jr., who had Hepatitis C and didn’t make WWE, and especially The Undertaker, aware of it. The reason that is significant is because if you bleed when you have Hepatitis C and your blood mixes with somebody else, that person could get Hepatitis C too. That means that Bob could have passed on his Hepatitis C to somebody else. Undertaker was apparently furious about it with good reason. Anyway, it was a big deal at the time, but thankfully there was no issue during the match. Bob wasn’t used again after this and was released from his WWE contract in February 2006.
The show had a run time of 2:43:09 on WWE Network.
Show Rating (out of 10): 4.5
This was a bad show. I think the Undertaker/Orton match was pretty good although it was too long and Benoit/Booker was good too although it’s hard to get into Benoit matches anymore for obvious reasons. They were the only matches that got significant time because everything else was under ten minutes and largely forgetful. This event also had the Tim White suicide angle that was done for comedy, which was painful to watch.
Best Match: The Undertaker vs. Randy Orton (***3/4 out of 5)
Worst Match: Bobby Lashley vs. William Regal and Paul Burchill (1/2*)
- The Undertaker
- Randy Orton
- Chris Benoit
- Booker T.
Next up: New Year’s Revolution 2006. Thanks for reading.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org