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Superstar Sleeze

[2008-08-17-WWE-Summerslam] The Undertaker vs Edge (Hell in a Cell)

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Undertaker vs Edge - Summerslam 2008 Hell In A Cell

 

It is interesting the video package frames the entire story through the eyes of Edge. HHH exposing Edge's infidelity leads to Vickie Guerrero reinstating the Undertaker and condemning Edge to Hell In A Cell. Edge calls upon Mick Foley to help him prepare. Mick Foley tells him to look within. So Edge beats the shit out of him and snaps in general and attacks Chavo and pushes Vickie out of the wheelchair. The match becomes more about Edge's journey about facing this Demon. The match is of course then way more Undertaker getting revenge. It is pro wrestling not Dickens.

 

I can at least see why this match is praised and why some people may love it. Because I actually enjoyed it a good bit. It is a good car crash match and probably one of the best the weapons in a cell matches of all time. That's Hell In A Cell really is now Weapons In A Cell. This is really where Edge excels. He is pretty bland and terrible in straight wrestling matches, but in these he is pretty good. The transition to the weapons is terrible. Undertaker sets up some stairs in the corner. By pro wrestling rule #124, he who sets up the furniture but eat the furniture. Instead, Edge takes Snake Eyes on the steps and then immediately counters. So Edge no sells the steps to set up more step related offense that actually does hurt. What?!? Edge actually a really good spear up against the steps. Edge does not like the Feng Shui of the Cell so sets forth on a massive redecoration project. He rolls in every once in a while to hit Undertaker with something while he acts as his own stage hand. The match does get good, I swear once Edge spears Undertaker through the Cell Wall. This was pretty dangerous as it looked like it was just inches from hitting Jim Ross and Lilian Garcia in the head. Edge then speared Undertaker through the announce table. They had a good slugfest, back in the ring they trade finishers, but it is pretty entertaining. The best part is the finish. Undertaker does every heinous act that Edge did him back to him. I am real big sucker for this type of stuff. Undertaker chokeslams him off the top rope onto stacked tables (TLC match), camera shot (Survivor Series 2007), Conchairto (Smackdown). Awesome, awesome stuff. Tombstone finishes it. Undertaker is leaving and sees Edge moving on the big screen. So he chokeslams him off the top of the ladder through the ring into the DEPTHS OF HELL! :P

Sue me, I enjoyed it. It was a total car crash match, but the finish takes it from something that is meaningless and shallow to being an amazing revenge match. ***3/4

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Odd match to analyse because this wasn't a Hell In A Cell match. This was a TLC match inside the Cell. Now they did a decent job of pull that off. The first half was pretty boring but not bad enough that it took away from the rest of the match (breaking the cell wall onward) which was pretty fun and way more interesting. I ultimately didn't feel like this was an epic match like its reputation claims it as, but my feelings towards Edge as a wrestler (he is awful) will no doubt affect that. In saying that, he didn't do anything particularly awful or bad - a wee little boring as was Taker in the first half of the match. He was solid towards the end. Taker was Taker. Great ass kicker but still not as great as I would've liked. ***1/4

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I liked this enough but, on my scale, 4 *s means that you really should see it if you're a fan of the WWE/major wrestling shows. Obviously, if you can't stand this genre of cage match - which is weapons-heavy but still somewhat "safe" with only a little bit of incidental blood (Undertaker's arm gets nicked but its nothing major) - this is not going to convert you, but to the common WWE fan, sure, this is probably in the Top 10 of Cell Matches.

Edge, as others have pointed out, is really at his best when the rules are thrown out the window and he can use all the "toys" that he desires - chairs, ladders, tables, cell walls, cameras. But I'd also add that, even though this is a put down and a knock on his actual wrestling talent, at the same time, what he does do well, he tends to do really well. Is Edge somehow the secret greatest WWE hardcore wrestler of all time??? I mean, if we agree that Foley is #1, a case could be made that Edge is #2 based on the various tag matches with the Hardys and the Dudleys, the WrestleMania match against the aforementioned Foley, the TLC match against Cena, and then this match too. I'll take Edge in this setting over Triple H, for sure (whose had plenty of similar big gimmick matches) and non-wrestler Shane McMahon. Again, it may seem like faint praise, but then again, being a spectacle-based performer was as viable a path to being a WWE main eventer as anything else from 05'-10', when Edge was in that role. 

I like this version of Taker too. As the OP mentioned, the build for this was really about Edge, so Taker comes in kinda like a true grim reaper, a symbol of Justice/Revenge, not so much the catalyst as the demon summoned out of the ether to make Edge atone for his sins. The fact that Taker and Edge have their own history over the previous months is still there, no doubt, but really this is about Edge getting his comeuppance from the baddest dude on the block. Its Taker as Vickie's avatar. I find that to be oddly cooler than Undertaker wrestling this match because "it's personal." Somehow, it's not. This is Taker stepping up as the one man who can stop Edge's megalomania. And the match is wrestled that way too, as Edge, from the very beginning, has an expression on his face like he's about to jump out of an airplane. He's not fearful so much as he's bracing himself for what it is in store. Its put up-or-shut up time and he's going to do whatever it takes to survive. So he grabs everything that's not glued down and throws his all into it. No headlocks. No "setting a pace." Its all-or-nothing time. 

Of course, Taker can sustain all the punishment in the world so Edge tries to layer on the violence. He doesn't even gloat all that much. He's pretty focused on the assault. But its never enough. The Deadman won't die. And, by the end, Edge ends up receiving all the punishment he thought would put him down. If it wasn't so heavy-handed, it would almost be poetic. Maybe "sisyphean" is the word I'm looking for? 

So, in summation, I'm going to go thumbs-up on this. If you don't like Edge, if you don't like Taker, this match is simply not for you. But if you like Edge in this context, if you like Taker in this context, if you're not totally cold on (relatively) bloodless Hell in a Cell matches, well, I don't see how this won't entertain you. Again, I'm somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars. Is it "must see"? Is it "should see"? Is it "inessential"? Its somewhere in between those qualifiers to me. I will say this, though - I think younger fans, fans that are unaware/ignorant in wrestling before 2002 or so (y'know, like those of us who aren't 35+ years old), would probably consider this an amazing match. This is absolutely a match you could show to a younger fan in 2021 and they would be blown away for sure. (Ditto for the Cena/Batista match that comes before it.) 

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