The Undertaker and Mankind's Hell In A Cell Match at the 1998 King Of The Ring is regarded as one of the most brutal matches in WWE history. Mick Foley used his body like a human wrecking ball twice in that match as he plummeted off the top of the cell and went crashing to the floor. The second spot through the cage to the ring below wasn't supposed to break away at first contact causing everyone to call an audible, but the person greatly responsible for keeping the match together backstage was nowhere to be found.
Bruce Prichard covered the famous Hell In A Cell match extensively on Something To Wrestle With as he dove into all aspects of the 1998 King Of The Ring event. There was chaos backstage because Pat Patterson wasn't around to help them in the Gorilla Position. As it turns out, there was much more unfolding that night than what we saw in the ring because the first-ever Intercontinental Champion was also dealing with his own personal crisis unbeknownst to virtually everyone else because the show must go on.
"I knew the two big bumps and I knew the finish but I didn't know what they were gonna do immediately after the bump into the ring. I'm screaming backstage for Pat Patterson," Bruce Prichard said. "I'm going f--king nuts and I'm angry at this point because Pat's the agent for the match and he's not there at Gorilla to talk me through the thing. And Jerry Briscoe comes to me and sits down and says, 'what do you want?' I said, 'I've gotta know what the hell what we're doing here, what was planned here, what can we cut out? What can we do? What's going on? Where the f--k is Pat?'
"Jerry just looks at me and says, 'he got a call about Louis.' Louis was Pat's partner for many many years, 35 plus years. It shut me down I looked at him and said, 'oh my god, is Louis okay?' Jerry just looks at me and said, 'he's dead.'"
This was a moment of clarity for Prichard as he realized Patterson was one of his best friends in the pro wrestling business and they had a job to do, but Patterson was dealing with a life-changing event of this magnitude in the middle of everything else going on that night.
"I'm screaming like an asshole and a lunatic for Pat not knowing what had happened. I think Jerry knew I don't even know if Vince [McMahon] knew at that point. Just that calm comes over ya and it's a surreal feeling because all this other s--t that you think is so important becomes really unimportant and your priorities go just... it was just f--ked up. So in all of that, Pat's getting a phone call that Louie has passed. I'm yelling for Pat, 'where the f--k are you?' to talk me through this wrestling match and Briscoe gives me the news as cool and as calmly as somebody can do that and just looked at me and was like, 'let's just get through this' because to everybody else that didn't matter and we just got through it. Then you're looking at guys in the ring that are putting their bodies on the line and risking their life literally taking bumps and doing this crazy s--t that you wonder, wow is it all worth all that?"
WWE is like a family backstage because there are times they see each other more than the people they're actually related to. Thankfully, Patterson had people he could rely on to help him make it through one of the saddest times of his life. This didn't change the fact there was still a show going on, but it certainly helped Prichard realize the true scope of it all.
"You know it put s--t into perspective I guess because for the moment you're worried about a wrestling show and then in the midst of this wrestling show you see a couple of your friends out there risking their life and doing this incredible stunt work I guess you could call it but stuntmen wouldn't be as crazy to do the things Mick Foley did and in the middle of that real life is happening backstage and you just gotta put your smile on and move on and keep going and not let anybody know.
"The Rock... cause Rock and Pat were very close and thank god he was there to be with Pat and s--t and I think Linda McMahon was there. But it was just a lot of s--t, that's the untold portion of the Hell In A Cell in Pittsburg that night and everything else going on and Pat losing Louie what was just a crazy, crazy night."
If you use any portion of the quotes in this article please credit Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard with a H/T to Wrestling Inc for the transcription
Source: Something To Wrestle With