We're marching forward, Cagesiders!
We are only three days away from WWE: Hell in a Cell and two world title matches. The World Heavyweight Championship is being contended by former champ Randy Orton and current wig splitter extraordinaire Mark Henry while WWE Champion John Cena defends against Alberto Del Rio and CM Punk in the first Hell in a Cell (HiaC) triple threat.
We started the countdown yesterday with Triple H beating Cactus Jack at No Way Out 2000 and will continue with "The Cerebral Assassin" today. His HiaC match at Vengeance 2005 against Batista was a lot of things done perfectly.
The building of the feud was flawless, the match itself was brutal and highlighted the danger of the HiaC structure, and it was a perfect example of how to put a burgeoning star over.
Join me, won't you, as I discuss this mid-2000s classic and my number four pick for best HiaC match ever.
It's my time!
Triple H gained the early advantage by distracting Batista but the champ eventually took advantage using pure, brute strength. It's not often that "The Game's" opponent is booked as his physical superior.
Another detail of interest is their ring attire or rather, Batista's in particular. Triple H was wearing his usual garb but the champ wore nearly all white. I've racked my mind and even did a quick run through on Google's image search to double check my work and couldn't come up with another time Batista wore this gear.
He usually wore black or red or a combination of the two but very rarely white. Triple H is an old school wrestling fanatic and assuredly is familiar with the idea in storytelling that the hero wears white and the villain wears black. An example I often use is Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars movies. He starts the trilogy off wearing very light browns and greens; soft earth tones.
By the time Return of the Jedi -- where Skywalker was closest to joining the Dark Side -- rolls around, he's decked out in nearly all black. It's a subtle nuance that I wish would happen more often in wrestling.
Triple H got busted open early on, another display of Batista's strength and power superseding his. In fact, a lot of "The Game's" offense came from foreign objects. A chain, a chair wrapped in barbed wire, and the cage itself did more damage to Batista than Triple H's moveset did.
The brutality of the match is never undersold as each wrestler gets color and takes a pounding from a variety of weapons . Ring steps, chains, chairs, barbed wire, and the infamous sledgehammer are all used to destroy their bodies. One brutal sequence sees Batista set the ring steps up in the corner of the ring and slam his opponent over and over into them.
As the match reaches its end, the champ kicks out of a Pedigree and reverses another on the ring steps into a spinebuster. He sets up the Batista Bomb but Triple H manages to grab the sledgehammer. They tease "The Game" knocking Batista silly but he gets slammed before getting the opportunity to. Pin and one, two, three.
If the super heel Triple H was created by Mick Foley putting him over clean twice in early 2000, that era came to an end five years later when he did the same for Batista.
It wouldn't be until 2007 that "The Game" would call himself champion again and even then, he held the WWE Title for around nine months over the next two years. Triple H jobbed cleanly three times -- in a row -- to put Batista over and while it doesn't absolve him of past sins, that's still a fantastic thing he did for "The Beast" and for the company.
Batista never looked as good as he did during this period. His heel run was a lot of fun but his match quality never surpassed what he achieved with Triple H as his opponent.
What do you think, Cagesiders? Well deserved or overrated?