Hell in a Cell: Remembering the Worst Match Involving Satan's Structure
Since the debut of "Satan's Structure" in 1997, the Hell in a Cell has become one of the WWE's most popular gimmick matches. Usually used to conclude a long-running feud, in earlier years the matches featured brutal in-ring action and the occasional spectacular bump from the top of the cell itself.
Since becoming an annual pay-per-view in 2009 and hosting multiple Hell in a Cell matches in the same night, the gimmick has begun to lose some of it's luster. These days the cell is often an unnecessary and irrelevant object, seldom even used in the match. The PG rating hasn't helped things, as the drama and violence inherent in the match have been severely diluted.
There have been twenty-five Hell in a Cell matches staged since the inaugural contest, and enough articles have been written debating the merits of which is the best.
This article will instead focus on a contest that isn't regarded as an official Hell in a Cell contest, but is without a doubt the single worst match to ever include the use of the gimmick. Three short words that still send a shiver down the spine of those unfortunate to witness it.
Kennel From Hell.
The occasion for one of the darkest days the WWF audience ever had to endure, and one of the most painful experiences of my time as a wrestling fan was Unforgiven on September 26, 1999.
Not one of the company's greatest pay-per-views by any stretch of the imagination, the rest of the card was however made to look like Wrestlemania by the sheer horror of the Kennel from Hell match. In fact, it was a damning indictment on the creative team at the time that this debacle was the third final match on the card.
Just in case anybody was wondering, Triple H retained the WWF Championship in the main event against The Rock, Mankind, The Big Show, Kane and The British Bulldog in a six-pack challenge.
A month earlier at Summerslam, Al Snow had defeated The Big Boss Man to win the Hardcore Championship. This instigated a feud between the two and a switch of the belt, which culminated in The British Bulldog defeating Boss Man for the title and just giving it to Al Snow. On September 13, 1999 Boss Man accepted Snow's challenge in the Kennel from Hell and the stage was set.
The storyline itself, was almost Shakespearean in it's beauty.
On the August 23 episode of Raw, Boss Man attacked Al Snow during a defence of the Hardcore title and stole the champion's beloved pet dog, Pepper. This led to a nauseating angle on the September 2 edition of Smackdown, where Boss Man revealed that Snow had inadvertently eaten his 'best friend'.
Passing off the murder of an innocent animal as entertainment, a week later Snow was Hardcore champion and eventually challenged Boss Man to the match to gain revenge for his pet, best friend and dinner all rolled into one.
Nobody quite knew what to expect in the first-ever Kennel from Hell match, but rest assured it was worse than any of us could have imagined.
The Kennel from Hell itself was a Hell in the Cell with a steel cage inside, and the objective was to escape both enclosures to ensure victory to emerge with the prestigious Hardcore title, held by such luminaries as Shawn Stasiak, Maven and Pete Gas.
While the cage within a cell structure could have been a good idea if utilised correctly, here it was horrendously flawed in its execution. The match lasted almost twelve mind-numbing minutes, and mostly consisted of stalling tactics.
Partway through the match, a number of "vicious" Rottweilers were led to the ring and kept in the surrounding area between the cell and the cage. Showing no interest whatsoever in the match, the dogs began to urinate, defecate and even attempt to mate at ringside while the match was in progress.
A picture told more than a thousand words on this occasion.
For the record Al Snow knocked out Boss Man with his companion Head to escape both cages and win the match to almost no reaction, as the crowd were too busy wondering what the hell they had just witnessed.
One of the worst gimmick matches in professional wrestling history and a complete embarrassment to the industry, the Kennel From Hell match has shockingly never been staged again.
Although it did no real damage to the careers of those involved, the match itself was a total disaster from start to finish and would have been bad enough even if it had not had Rottweilers crapping all over the ring mats.
Living on in infamy as one of the WWF's darkest moments, the mere mention of the name will bring back terrible memories for anyone who was unlucky enough to witness this debacle. By far and away one of the worst things to ever appear on any form of WWE programming, the creative team will be hard pushed to come up with anything that demeans the concept of the gimmick more than this.
Although not a true Hell in a Cell match, the Kennel From Hell is unquestionably the worst match ever to involve the use of "Satan's Structure."
Those of you who were unaware of it's existence, you are truly the lucky ones. To those like me who were unfortunate enough to see it first-hand; I apologise for having to put you through this again.
Were you unfortunate enough to see this match?
Have you ever seen anything worse in wrestling?
Sound off in the comments below!