For those of you who decided to watch Tough Enough last Monday, the above match will ring some bells for you. For those who didn’t, a small recap.
Being placed in the bottom three in the first Tough Enough elimination, Stone Cold Steve Austin posed a question to one of the wannabes. His question was, “What’s your favourite match?”
Unfortunately for Ariane Andrew, her lack of exposure to the business led her to answer Melina versus Alicia Fox.
Now, as everyone else probably did, I laughed when I heard this.
Surely she has seen more matches than that of two divas with sub-par wrestling skills? Apparently not.
My wife then turned to me and asked me the question, and as the picture above shows, my answer was a match that took place in Hell In A Cell.
Now there have been 21 HIAC matches since it’s conception in 1997, but there is only one that sticks out for me, and stands out as my favourite all-time match.
That match occurred between The Undertaker and Mankind less than a year after the first, in 1998 at King of the Ring.
The most memorable scene I have witnessed occurred within minutes of the match starting. That moment was when Taker threw Mankind off the top of the cell onto the Spanish announcing table below.
Knowing that injuries can happen in the WWE and all the precautions that are in place to stop this happening; this was the one moment that shocked me and concerned me at the same time.
How on earth could any man, no matter how well-trained, survive a 16-foot fall into a table below? Luckily he did, although for a few minutes it seemed like he needed serious help getting up and the EMTs even came down with a stretcher to take him away.
How Mankind managed to get up and continue wrestling is something I will never figure out.
To make it all the more impressive is that, apparently, it wasn’t planned and Mankind told Undertaker to do it while they were on top of the cell.
When I think of wrestling, and in the future when I think of it, the images of him coming down with a thump will always stay. Not for the shock, but for the wonder of how a man could put himself through something like that without objection.
The match carried on with Mankind climbing back up to the top, only to get chokeslammed through the roof into the ring below.
At the time I was so shocked at what had transpired previously, and for it to happen again soon after took my breath away. It was at this point that Mankind shouldn’t have been able to stand, let alone wrestle.
But he showed us all the determination he was famous for, and carried on with the match.
The rest of the match was a display in complete brutalisation and bloodied both men. Mankind would introduce further brutality when he opened a bag of thumbtacks and emptied them into the ring.
This would be his undoing, however, as he would be slammed into them twice, the second being a chokeslam.
Undertaker would go on to win the match with a Tombstone Piledriver.
The match had me glued to the television from start to finish and I didn’t dare take my eyes away in case I missed something. Not only did it captivate me, but it gave me absolute respect for all the competitors in the ring.
The biggest surprise of all is that both of these men, Mankind in particular, still compete today. With the punishment Mankind went through, I’m surprised he could even stand up after what hell he went through that night, let alone step into the ring ever again.
If I ever forget every match I’ve ever seen, I’m sure this one will be the lone survivor in my mind. Never in my life before, and since, have I enjoyed a match so much.
I doubt we will ever see another match like it, and we may never see wrestlers like those two again.
It was the attitude era at it’s finest.
Thank you very much for reading and I hope you enjoyed.
Feel free to tell me your favourite or most memorable match in the comments below.