WWF.com interview (5/19/02)
HHH, Y2J Survive "Brutal" Hell in a Cell
Conducted by Phil Speer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – May 19, 2002 – The pressure was on Triple H and Chris Jericho even before they made their way to the ring for their Hell in a Cell encounter at Judgment Day.

Fans’ expectations are exceedingly high for these matches because of the unforgettable ones of the past. The very first one, Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at Badd Blood in October 1997, set the standard. Triple H calls that match one of the best of all time. At King of the Ring 1998, Mick Foley dove off the cell during his battle with Undertaker, which may be the single most memorable “bump” in WWE history. Foley went on to have another breathtaking Hell in a Cell, this time against the Game at February 2000’s No Mercy. Near the end of that match, Foley fell through the cell and actually collapsed part of the ring.

“Hell in a Cell is a double-edged sword,” Triple H said. “The expectations are not to be believed. You have to have an ‘Oh my God’ match. And I think that Chris Jericho and I had an ‘Oh my God’ match. ”Another factor that was no doubt weighing heavily on WWE officials’ minds before the match was the depleted talent roster. Chris Benoit, Kane, Lita, DDP, Rhyno, Jazz and several other superstars are out of action with injuries. Several other talents are working through pain. The loss off Y2J or the Game would certainly not have helped.

Fortunately, in interviews with WWE.com moments after the match – both of their faces encrusted with dried blood -- both superstars said that they didn’t have any broken bones or other ailments that would keep them out of the ring. In fact, they’re both scheduled to wrestle at a non-televised event tomorrow in Birmingham, Ala.

“Just beat up, but not injured,” is how Triple H described their conditions. Actually, referee Tim White was the most severely hurt during the match. When Jericho threw him into the cell, White’s shoulder popped out of socket. He was taken to a nearby hospital.

But both Triple H and Jericho would need stitches in their heads, and Jericho would also require stitches to close a 4-inch gash on his left shoulder. The cut, Jericho said, happened when Triple H drove him into the cell, and Y2J caught on part of it.

“That’s the most brutal match I’ve ever been in,” Jericho said. He added that his head was pounding after the barbwire-wrapped bat got caught in his hair. “Our goal for this match was to try to change the expectations of what a Hell in a Cell is,” Jericho said. “They’re famous for somebody taking a huge crazy bump. We wanted to try to change that so that we can have Hell in a Cell matches in the future, and people would know that they’re brutal barbaric matches, but someone’s not necessarily going to fall from the top of the cage. That was a Mick Foley thing. That lived with Mick Foely, and I’d like to see it disappear now that Mick’s not around, with all due respect. He was the king and no one can match the sheer courage of doing that. I just wanted to make it more of a brutal type of the match and that’s what it was. I definitely think I succeeded. Look at me. ”The Game won the match after planting Y2J with a Pedigree on top of the cell. As a side note, climbing to the top is no small feat, particularly for Triple H, who performed with two injured fingers.

“It’s a whole lot harder that I think we make it look,” Triple H said. “It’s not the easiest thing in the world to climb." ”Not that actually being up on top is easy, either.

“Standing on the ground looking up, it doesn’t seem that high, but standing on top looking down, it’s a whole new world,” Jericho said. “It’s scary. Kudos to our crew for making it sturdy and relatively safe. But it’s still standing 15 feet in the air on a chain link fence, climbing up and climbing down. Even after the match, climbing down, my hands slipped off the top because they were covered in blood.”

Said Triple H: “When you watch it on TV you think it’s high. When you’re in the arena you think it’s high. But until you get on top of that thing do you realize how ridiculously freakin’ high it is. When you get up there, you’re like, ‘Holy s***!’ I don’t know how Foley jumped off it. ”Looking at the two superstars, it’s hard to imagine how they’re going to wrestle tomorrow in Birmingham, and possibly on Tuesday at the SmackDown! taping in Tupelo, Miss. How are they able to do it?

“On days like these, I don’t know,” Jericho said. “I don’t want to wrestle tomorrow. I don’t want to wrestle on Tuesday. I just want to come home, curl up and heal. This is not something you can do every day, that’s for sure. It takes a lot out of a man. I’m sure Triple H feels the same way. Anybody says that wrestling is ‘fake,’ come stand next to me right now and tell me how fake it is.”

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