Re: Official DVD/Match/Show Discussion Thread
That is a recurring theme, I can understand the Houston crowd, the spectacle and character dynamic pulling more people in to the 25 match. However I found it closer to HHH/Taker and some indy matches in terms of both men pulling out all their biggest moves but the general story being little more than 'can HBK win'. In fairness with the Tombstone kickout they expanded upon that story and actually built intrigue into whether Taker's character was for once fearful of his opponent wanting it more. Its certainly not a spotfest or anything like that....but I find the match gets talked about for the pacing and sequences rather than the storytelling or drama. Though Taker's botched dive certainly added a lot of drama with people thinking he was legit fucked.
26 though for me still has the impressive sequences and chemistry...but its got so much more. Taker's knee buckling on Old School, it looked as legit an injury as I've seen since he sold it in a way that it was obvious it was hurt but at the same time you bought it as a legit tweak rather than him overselling it. Then of course HBK fakes him out with SCM and then works the leg knowing Taker is legit hurt, a nice callback to 25 where I'm sure HBK tried to fake an injury or something to create an opportunity. During the workover Shawn busts out the inverted figure four which he hadn't used to my recollection since the Flair feud, again putting over the importance of the match and him busting out everything in his arsenal.
Then you have the callback spot to No Way Out 2006 with HBK countering Hells Gate into the pinning position Angle won with out of the Triangle Choke, the closest thing to a botch in HBK's moonsault through the table actually adds to the match as he lands on Taker's injured knee. Then of course you get the best finish of this entire story arc: Shawn had played the role of Flair from 2 years before expertly and it all built to the finish where like Flair he knew he was done, Taker took pity as Shawn had earnt his respect from his efforts in both matches but Shawn stayed true to what Flair did at 24 and manned up and knew he'd lost and had to pay the ultimate price and goaded Taker into the mother of all Tombstones for the finish. The selling, psychology, callback spots to old matches, lack of rough execution of a couple of spots and storytelling playing off of the Flair/HBK arc was just wonderful and created enhanced depth behind all the moves.
Sadly 25 meant a lot of finishers weren't believebale near falls and the crowd certainly weren't as good as the Houston crowd (at least on TV), but there's enough depth and story behind the moves in the match for me to look past the fact that a few of the finishers weren't believeable as the finish. The story was simple and done as well as it could have, Taker put in the best performance of anyone in this entire arc with his selling and personal confliction in actually ending the match and Shawn to his credit went out on a great performance: busting out old moves and brilliantly working callback spots into some of his offence to put over the desperate situation he was in.