Monday, 28 April 2014

My Top 5 matches in the Streak

My Top 5 matches in the Streak

   Earlier this month, Brock Lesnar shocked the world by becoming the only man to win a match against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania, ending his 21 year undefeated streak, putting an end to one of the greatest runs in wrestling history and more than likely signalling the end of the Undertaker’s career.

   The match received a lot of criticism, sparked a wave of rumours that Brock Lesnar changed the script for the match and raised questions about Undertaker’s condition going into the match. However, whether or not you think Wrestlemania XXX was the right time, or Brock Lesnar was the right man to end the streak, I’m sure we can all agree that the streak will stand the test of time as one of the most exciting and entertaining runs in the history of the WWE.
   So rather than mourn its end, let’s celebrate those matches in the streak that had us on the edge of our seats.
   These are my top 5 matches in the Undertaker’s run, it’s all personal opinion so don’t be too bummed if your personal favourite isn’t included and as ever, be sure to let me know your favourite matches in the comments.

Undertaker vs Edge
5: Edge - Wrestlemania XXIV (14-0)
   To kick us off, a great match with the Rated R Superstar who, a couple minutes into the match, seemed like a true contender for the title of streak-breaker.
   Earlier in the night, Edge made reference to Hulk Hogan’s match against the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI. He mentioned how, as a young boy, he sat in the audience and watched his hero lose on the grandest stage of them all and how he intended to do the same to those in the audience who rooted for the Undertaker.

Undertaker vs Edge
    As the match wore on, it looked like it might just be possible as Edge countered almost every offensive move the Undertaker attempted, breaking free of multiple attempts as the last ride, chokeslams and the Tombstone. The Undertaker battled through a great offense as well as a run in from Hawkins and Rider before finally locking Edge into the hell’s gate and picking up the win, leaving Wrestlemania with the Streak intact and as the new World Heavyweight Champion.

Undertaker vs Kane
4: Kane - Wrestlemania XIV (7-0)
   After a long running storyline which seen Paul Bearer reveal the truth about Undertaker’s dark past by bringing his brother Kane to the WWF, here was the payoff. For months, the Undertaker had refused to battle Kane and managed to make peace with him, forming a tag team with his sibling. It was all a trick however and Kane turned on his brother, causing the Undertaker to accept a match with the big red machine at the showcase of the immortals.

The brothers of Destruction face off
   The match is a great one with both Kane and Taker at the top of their game and able to pull off some really impressive moves like Kane’s roll through reversal of the Tombstone. The match also gets Kane over as an absolute monster as he dominates Undertaker for the majority of the match.
   The match culminates in Kane kicking out of two Tombstones before succumbing to a third. The Undertaker picked up the victory, but just barely.

Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels 2
3: Shawn Michaels - Wrestlemania XXVI (18-0)
   After losing to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 25, Shawn Michaels found himself on a year long quest for another shot at the Deadman, eventually agreeing to put his career on the line.
   The match was a devastating one and seen both men deliver their all, both taking huge bumps along the way. Michaels in particular found himself on the receiving end of one of the most devastating Last Rides the Undertaker ever dished out.

Shawn Michaels dives outside the ring
   The match lead to an emotional finale which saw the Undertaker reluctant to finish Michaels. Michaels refused to stay down however, drew his thumb across his throat and slapped the Undertaker. Taker laid Michaels out with a final Tombstone and picked up the victory. The streak was intact, but the career of Mr Wrestlemania was over forever.

Undertaker vs CM Punk
2: CM Punk - Wrestlemania 29 (21-0)
   The undertaker’s final victorious match in the streak and easily on of his best, this match seen CM Punk at the pinnacle of his heel persona, interrupting the Undertaker’s tribute to William Moody (Paul Bearer) who had recently passed away.
   The build up to the match would see Punk and Paul Heyman repeatedly mock the Undertaker’s former manager and the real world tragedy behind the angle just made us hate Punk all the more.
The undertaker stands victorious for the final time
   The match itself was fantastic too and just added further proof to the claim that CM Punk is the best wrestler in the business today.
   The Undertaker too, was on top form and delivered a knockout performance as he sought vengeance for his friend.
   The rivalry leads to some great moments throughout the match with Punk repeatedly playing with the urn at ringside and mocking the Undertaker’s mannerisms.
   Watching the match, you never truly believe that Punk will win but he delivers such a fantastic performance that you can’t help but feel that he would have been a far better choice for the Streak-Beater than Lesnar…

Undertaker vs Triple H
1: Triple H - Wrestlemania XXVIII (20-0)
   Triple H’s third and final attempt at defeating the Undertaker and easily the best match in the streak. It’s the culmination of a four match series which seen Undertaker defeat Shawn Michaels twice and barely make it through a brutal match with Triple H as he tried to gain vengeance for his friend.
   Four years in the making, this closing chapter, dubbed the End of An Era match took place within the hell in a cell with Michaels as the special guest referee.

   It’s a fantastic match and one that’s easy to suspend your disbelief for, you genuinely believe Triple H wants to kill the Undertaker or die trying. Whether it’s breaking a chair across the Deadman’s back or repeated sledgehammer blows to the head. The onslaught becomes so violent that Michaels attempts to intervene, begging Triple H to just pin Undertaker and get the match over with.
   Eventually the Undertaker gets offense in and manages to get the upper hand. The final moments of the match see a blood drenched Triple H struggle even to stand, unable to offer any more offense. He refuses to give up though and in one final moments of defiance, gives the Suck It sign to the Undertaker before succumbing to one final Tombstone and losing the match.

The end of an era
  The final moment of Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and Triple H hugging it out in the middle of the ring while the signs reading 20-0 shine down on the arena is an emotional one. It’s easily the most intense match in the streak, you could argue that it was obvious that it’d never be topped and the round victory of 20-0 was the proper time to end the streak for good. Whether or not you agree with the two continuous years though, it’s hard to deny that Wrestlemania XXVIII offered up the greatest match in the streak and one of the greatest wrestling matches of all time.

Honourable Mentions
   As amazing as the streak is, it’s hard to deny that it had its fair share of weak matches. The early years in particular offered pretty poor showings, matches more focused on selling the Undertaker as a monster than providing an enjoyable match. For my money it really wasn’t until the last five or six years that the matches managed to meet the expectations we have of the Streak.

   That’s not to say there aren’t gems outside of my top 5, both Shawn Michaels at WM25 and Triple H at WM27 deserve inclusion. I opted to leave them out purely because I didn’t want to clutter the list with doubles.

   Other good matches include the Undertaker’s bouts with Diesel at WM12, a brutal match with Ric Flair at WM18 and his second encounter with Kane at WM20, a match which saw the Undertaker shed his biker gimmick and return as the Deadman. 
the Undertaker

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