The Man Without Fear
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Texas by way of Illinois
Re: Official DVD/Match/Show Discussion Thread
It's not that good like your reviews tbh, just me marking out a bunch:
Spoiler for Streak vs. Career:
STREAK vs. CAREER
Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
"If I can't beat you, I have no career!"
Defiance is what Shawn Michaels has brought to Undertaker to make this rematch happen. Shawn was told “there are plenty of other guys” he could face at WrestleMania XXVI but Shawn responded almost prophetically, “Not for me.” Last year, Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels needed to happen for the fans but this year I believe it needed to happen for Shawn Michaels.
Everything Shawn has gone through from Ric Flair’s retirement to the injuries and the obsessions have fatefully built to this final larger-than-life encounter. This time Undertaker's phenomenal 17-0 winning Streak is on the line but so is Shawn Michaels' incredible 25 year career.
The conditions here were ideal: Shawn was on a “relentless pursuit for perfection” and the Undertaker is the only one for him to create that ultimate WrestleMania moment. The only way to win this match is by pin-fall or submission because Shawn wants a definitive winner – no excuses or escapes.
This match has been called “the most anticipated match in WrestleMania history.” Personally, last year was the most anticipated match of all time for me but anytime it’s The Deadman vs. The Heartbreak Kid the excitement is astronomical. This has to be one of the Top 5 biggest WrestleMania matches of all time.
People said they had the greatest WrestleMania match ever at WrestleMania XXV. I made that statement myself. After their classic performance at WrestleMania XXV I couldn’t have asked for more as a wrestling fan. People also said it would be impossible for them to top or even match the year before. Yet, one year later, Shawn and Undertaker are at WrestleMania again giving us more and then some!
I want to point out something I loved about their entrances this year - they are perfect! Shawn didn't zip line over the crowd or ascend from the heavens this year. No, he came out just as the regular SHAWN MICHAELS which is much more special for a lifelong fan like me.
Undertaker, however, rose from the depths of Hell dressed like the Grim Reaper of Souls coming to put Shawn’s career to rest. Simple things like that put the match on another level for me before the action even begins. Shawn's throat cut gesture is absolutely the perfect way to start this epic rematch because he's figuratively slapping death right in the face.
Shawn and Undertaker are here to END IT and they have to take the other man out as quickly as possible before any mistakes are made because as we saw last year, Shawn's one mistake cost him the match. Neither man can afford that this time so I appreciate how they both brought the fire out from the opening bell.
Unfortunately, Undertaker made a HUGE mistake in delivering his Old School which injured his knee in the opening moments of the biggest match of his career. This only puts me on the brink of uncertainty more because it would be a believable story if Shawn beat an injured Undertaker to break the Streak and save his career.
I loved Shawn’s focused attack to Undertaker’s knee. We see brilliant psychology at play from Shawn when he feigned a Sweet Chin Music attempt to expose the severity of Undertaker’s injury. Once Shawn knew Undertaker was hurt it was like blood in the water and he viciously attacked. From the stiff kicks to the knee to Shawn applying the Figure Four leg-lock and Ankle lock, we see that Shawn’s determination but also adaptation he’s learned. Shawn used weapons of past WrestleMania opponents which tell us on a beautiful piece of his storybook career. It’s a case of what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, but you also can use what almost killed you to damage another.
This isn’t just a match for the ages but it’s a match of their careers. They not only incorporated callback spots from Shawn’s WrestleMania 21 and XXIV matches but I saw things that go back even further in their own rivalry together. Spots such as Undertaker driving Shawn’s back into the steel post with intentions of reinjuring Shawn’s back and also putting the match on an even plain field since his knee is injured in such a high stakes contest. I couldn’t believe Undertaker again would risk crippling himself with the suicide dive but Shawn intervened again by torpedoing his body into The Deadman’s knees. This is an absolutely fine wrestling match.
There are several spots in this match I love such as Shawn’s kip up straight into the Chokeslam and Undertaker sacrificing his knees to block the diving elbow drop. But one I really marked out for was the play on their WrestleMania XXV finish mixed with a callback from Undertaker’s WrestleMania 8 match with the Tombstone Piledriver on the floor! Now that was sick! It also looked like a move of desperation from Undertaker considering he was almost at a loss of breath after.
That brings me to Undertaker’s selling overall in this match which is nothing short of flawless. Undertaker sold his injury like his leg was hanging to his body by a thread. It may be the best selling I’ve ever seen in a wrestling match. The two Last Ride attempts were awesome. In the first attempt Undertaker’s knees gave out. In the second attempt I thought Undertaker sold his injury exceptional well when he spun around with Shawn in his hands so that his knees could get under him enough to hit the Last Ride with as much force as possible!
It felt like Undertaker was working with a legit injury the entire match. The pain on his face, the strain in his voice as he yells and the heavy breathing all sold to me that this may be not only one of the most physically enduring matches of his career but the toughest test of his life! But I still can’t get over what may be Undertaker’s best performance selling the knee. I find all of his limping, striking his leg and grabbing the ropes just to stand up to be such an incredible showcase of the man’s greatness.
Shawn was great too. I swear when Shawn has a pained, emotionally frustrated look on his face with his arm stretched forward in the air almost searching for an extra source of strength, it is one of the most powerful things for me in some of his matches. That is one of the reasons why I have always gotten so emotionally wound up in his matches. I am still amazed at Shawn’s showcase of athleticism.
What I call the Moonsault of Death has to be one of the most amazing sights I have ever witnessed live. Shawn landed on Undertaker’s knees and may have snapped them. Much like the suicide dive Undertaker took at WrestleMania XXV, the move may not have hit the way it was intended to hit but the results fit the story of the match. The story naturally came together and they are able to create art from it because of their extraordinary chemistry together. You would think Shawn wanted to obliterate Undertaker’s knees they way he landed on them with so much rage.
I totally bought into the false finishes too at the end. Shawn gave Undertaker one of the biggest Sweet Chin Musics ever and I swear I had flashbacks to WrestleMania XII at that point only this time I wasn’t cheering for the match to be over. I was in the crowd shouting, “NO! NO! NO! KICK OUT!!!” The guy in front of me turned around with a smile on his face when Taker barely kicked out. Now that I think about it he should have been too busy marking out hard too. I was freaking losing my mind for everything they did and I’m still fascinated with the match and not with how the crowd is reacting.
When Undertaker caught Shawn for the Chokeslam after another SCM attempt, he looked like he was about to cry as he struggled to go over and hit him with another Tombstone! Every time I get to this point in the match I say to myself this is one of the most beautiful matches I’ve ever seen. I thought the second Tombstone was it too much like last year it took two Tombstones to put Shawn away but it wasn’t. I don’t know if everyone caught it but Undertaker kicking Shawn in the head was so bad ass! This match is the quintessential showdown in the desert between, in my opinion, the two greatest ever!
The closing moments are once again excellent storytelling in a dramatic finish reminiscent of two years ago when Shawn retired Ric Flair. That is where Shawn's road to this point began and now the career of the greatest performer ever ends in the most dramatic way. Within the context of the storyline of the match, it was definitely a case of Michaels earning Undertaker's ultimate respect. The streak is important to Undertaker, but he was just exasperated that Michaels wouldn't stay down and wasn't sure he wanted to end it all. Michaels never wanted Undertaker to go easy on him.
Shawn demanded Undertaker give him everything he had even if it meant Shawn had to signal the finish himself because as Shawn profoundly and prophetically stated if he couldn’t beat Undertaker he doesn’t need to wrestle any more. Hell no to Shawn staying down, Undertaker HAD to be the one to end Shawn Michaels’ career and Shawn made sure the end happened.
The slap to the face certainly reassured Undertaker to lay the nail in. Shawn was defiant until the end with the cut throat gesture and slap, and Undertaker was defiant in sacrificing his knees and maybe Shawn’s neck in a jumping, SPIKE Tombstone Piledriver from Hell! For the love of God what a masterpiece!
It is inevitable for comparisons to be made between the WrestleMania XXV match and this one so I’ll tell you what I think. WrestleMania XXV had an electric aura to it that made every second essentially EPIC. The crowd was without question better too which made for a better atmosphere. This match isn’t as polished as WMXXV. It’s a little rougher, there’s an extra emphatic statement in every move. Because of the added stipulations and the break-neck pace from the start, there is a sense of urgency here so intense that makes the entire match feel like a 24-minute finishing stretch.
As for which match is the better of the two? Honestly, I can't give you a definite answer. Both matches completely captured my imagination and indeed represent everything I love about wrestling. WrestleMania XXV is an absolute thrill ride and XXVI is an enduring, emotional story for the ages. I hold both as the two greatest WrestleMania matches ever.
THE ULTIMATE WRESTLEMANIA MOMENT
My eyes did tear up when Undertaker opened up for Shawn and the world to see more of his emotions as if we hadn’t seen enough in his enduring performance. I respect and admire these two men more than any other wrestlers and here they created the ultimate WrestleMania moment.
The story of Shawn Michaels’ career these last couple of years has almost been biblical. Shawn has never hid his faith from us. He devotes his life to submitting himself to a higher cause. This is difficult for any man to accomplish - religious or not – and I believe Shawn wanted that to be showcased the final stretch of his career . His obsession of tarnishing Taker's undefeated WrestleMania streak was Michaels' way of encouraging us to forego our selfish and often materialistic goals in favor of having faith and hope. At least that’s what I want to believe.
Shawn Michaels stripped himself bare of any self-centeredness - from his standard entrance to the ring to a pyro-less walk back up the ramp - all of which allowed every fan to not be distracted from the beautiful performance that he and Undertaker put on. Shawn simply said, "This is all I can offer," and he humbly gave us his best work, and for that wrestling fans will always honor him. The emotion and the beauty of these moments will be preserved in my mind forever.
THANK YOU SHAWN ... GOODBYE
For the hell of it here's WM 25 and WM27 reviews:
Spoiler for GOAT:
The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
April 5, 2009
“Sometimes it is HELL trying to get to HEAVEN”
One of the biggest crowd reactions live in Reliant Stadium happened when the graphic image of Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels came up on the big screen. This dream match will go down in history as one of the most anticipated matches ever. Fans all over the internet and all over the world demanded to see this match and many times it seemed it would only be a dream. Thank God this match happened.
Taker and especially Shawn went through insurmountable amounts of hell on their road to this moment. Last year, Taker was stripped of the World Title and we all saw maybe a sign to the end of his career when he was banned from the WWE. Shawn went through hell with Chris Jericho and JBL threatening his career and his family both physically and financially. Both legends have suffered and still suffer from nagging career threatening injuries.
Undertaker has never defeated Shawn Michaels in a one on one match. Shawn is 2-0 against Taker, but that doesn't mean Taker hasn’t had "victories" over The Heart Break Kid. It was The Deadman that tossed Shawn over the top rope to win the 2007 Royal Rumble Match after a legendary showdown. It was Taker that caused Shawn’s back injury in their casket match over 10 years ago.
Shawn Michaels is “Mr. WrestleMania.” He says he OWNS WrestleMania and quite frankly he has the resume to back that claim up without question. Undertaker is WrestleMania’s Phenom with 16 wins and zero losses in what everyone knows as THE STREAK.
Shawn says this is a match of lightness versus darkness and through the extraordinary entrances from both legends it feels larger-than-life.
They masterfully implemented specific elements, or psychology, from their prior encounters into this match, starting with Shawn’s degenerate and defiant attitude towards “the most dangerous entity to ever step foot in a ring.” Shawn’s crotch chop in Taker’s face is like spitting in the face of death. As we know in reality, no matter how much man tries to dodge death in the end he will lose. However, if that man internally believes in his soul that he has ever lasting life through some divine intervention, maybe that is enough for a victory.
The dynamic between Taker and HBK wrestling each other has always been fascinating to me. Taker is much bigger and stronger than Shawn so it makes sense for Taker to dominate a lot in their matches. Shawn will obviously use the hit and run/mind games routine to gain the advantage. HBK does that with his knife edge chops that at first irritate the beast but soon the stinging shots take effect.
It wouldn’t have been smart if Shawn did not attack Taker's bad knees so when he did I wasn’t surprised. I also thought it was so smart psychologically for HBK to fake a knee injury so he can gain the advantage. Shawn will end The Streak, if he can, at all costs.
Taker and Michaels had me captivated with every move and transition. It was as if they were telling a story for everything they performed. Take for instance the crossface Michaels applied, to some it looked like Shawn accidentally didn’t properly have it on Taker. I saw it differently; Undertaker is well versed in submissions and you can see how he is trying to block and fight out of the move by throwing elbows and trying to roll out of the hold.
A spot that I jump out of my seat for every time I watch it is the counter sequence midway in the match. Taker catches Shawn flying off the top rope for the Chokeslam but Shawn strikes for Sweet Chin Music, Taker ducks the kick, then Shawn goes for a Figure Four and Taker locks in Hell's Gate!
The match never really runs at a super fast pace and I think is better for the atmosphere. We get to absorb every second of its greatest. There’s almost an indescribable “epic feel” in the air. The crowd of over 70,000 went absolutely insane for everything presented to us. Every twist and turn got massive reactions. People can say the match outcome was too predictable all they want but the fact of the matter is I haven’t seen so many people on the edge of their seats putting so much passion into a match in a long time. I feel the cameras don't fully capture the actual atmosphere in the stadium.
The crowd was genuinely at a hushed silence in concern for the health of Taker when he almost literally committed a suicide dive. It was a scary watching a near seven foot man torpedo himself head first from God knows how high straight into the floor! Never mind the fact that it is incredible a man his size and age is still so athletically gifted.
Going back to Shawn’s old antics coming out, this certainly isn’t the first time he’s put a camera man in harm’s way in a match with Taker! I as well as everyone bought the possible count out victory Shawn tried to use to break the streak. He looked so desperate pleading for the ref to count Taker out of the match. It was very intense seeing Taker struggle to make it back into the ring.
The long but breathtaking finishing stretch of counters and near falls from finisher after finisher is some of the most exciting wrestling I’ve ever witnessed. Shawn kicked out of everything Taker gave him including a Chokeslam from Hell, The Last Ride and a Tombstone Piledriver which is unprecedented!
Nothing compares to the look on Undertaker’s face after Michaels kicked out of the Tombstone!
I didn’t have a problem with Shawn willing his body to kick out of Taker’s finishers. He sold everything like near death and never strayed from that. You can see when Shawn did kick out it looked like his body just naturally jumped off the mat. He then looked like an almost lifeless survivor slumped over after being dropped from a flight of stairs. In a match of this magnitude I can accept the extra determination a wrestler may have to keep fighting. I have certainly seen more overdone near falls in a wrestling match but it really does work for this match so well. They used the ‘WWE big match style’ to perfection. It was good on the commentator’s part to say it may have been divine intervention that keeps Shawn in the match.
Another thing I want to touch on is the perfect execution of this match. The DDT counter Shawn delivered half way from the Tombstone position on Taker’s shoulders looked cool. It was a desperate counter and looked as such. Shawn got the immediate advantage and we saw another near fall after Taker kicked out of the Sweet Chin Music for the second time!
I love the throw down they had with soup bones landing and chops cutting. The big boot Taker used to knock Michaels down is a nice touch looking at the big man showing his dominance over the smaller man.
The finish is excellent with Undertaker catching Michaels from a top rope Moonsault into the Tombstone Piledriver, 17 and 0! What an amazing match! I can truly say this is my favorite match ever and the greatest WrestleMania match of all time. This is the ultimate dream match I NEEDED to see and I am honored to have been in Reliant Stadium to witness it live.
My two favorite wrestlers Undertaker and Shawn Michaels put it ALL on the line and put so many people on an unbelievable thrill ride for over 30 minutes. This is what wrestling dreams are made of: two of the biggest wrestling legends showcasing an unforgettable all time classic! I could not ask for more as a wrestling fan.
Spoiler for War Of Wars:
TRIPLE H vs. THE UNDERTAKER
We have had some legendary and immortal moments created at WrestleMania. To me, Undertaker vs. Triple H WrestleMania 27 is an immortal moment but it is also poetically a very MORTAL moment for character known as The Undertaker. The match wasn’t just another WrestleMania spectacle, it is a storytelling masterpiece. The way they tied in the story arc of ending defiant legends like at past WrestleManias is remarkable to see unfold. This time HHH is the dominate one and Taker is the one being set up to be put down ala Ric Flair at WM24 and Shawn at WM26. Watching the finale of this match live, my mind and heart was racing because I FELT like this match was going to be the end of The Undertaker.
In this epic, Taker once again (as he did at 25 & 26) proved that when it comes to selling a match's brutality he is one of the best ever. Every year at WrestleMania when he does it people speculate whether he is seriously injured from the first big move. I feel this also further shows what a phenomenal worker he continues to be in spite of age and injuries. Not to mention he continues to bust out the suicide dive! I thought he’d never do that move again after the hip surgery in 2009. I also want to commend HHH for his dangerous bumps to outside of the ring and especially for that backdrop from the announce table to the floor.These men were throwing and taking bombs from the word go! I personally don't think more "in ring action" would have accomplished anything. Frankly, it would've been utterly pointless and taken away from the story of the match. Triple H wanted to end The Streak. He didn't have to prove he was a better wrestler, or work on a body part, or showboat like Shawn did. He already mentioned those were not his intensions in his promo before Mania. Throwing bombs is all he needed to do.
I thought the spots at ringside were perfectly timed from the start of the match because a) it showed how desperate HHH was to just get. it. done. b) Taker took such a huge beating early in the fight that it made the next 25 minutes of the match feel that much more dramatic. Taker had already been through a battle even though they'd only been going at it 5-10 minutes. c0 What does HHH want to mess around in the ring "wrestling" for when he can gore Taker through a glass wall or smash him through a table with a spinebuster?
Of course this big time showdown had many big spots and the match quality benefitted from it, but at the core they mostly worked off pure storytelling. This included included Undertaker once again with a breath-taking performance selling his pain and Triple H putting The Streak in grave jeopardy. It was a sickening sick to see Taker crumble to the mat after HHH's chair shot to the skull. Taker twitching his fingers after that made the match look more brutal. For those who complain about them selling too much lying on the mat, there is no reason they shouldn't have extensively sold that type of onslaught they had placed on each other.
I liked the Pedigrees being one right after the other too. Watch any other big Mania match when the finishers are executed in swift secession like Triple H did here and with that extra exclamation point as well (spike Pedigree), it makes those false finishes more exciting. They built the ‘sense of finality’ very well I thought. This told a far better story for the direction they were going for than "reversal out of reversal!" and "Trips does something/kick out/Taker does something/kick out" etc. Everything HHH dish out, Undertaker kicked out of. He refused to die and after each Pedigree it just continued to feel one step closer to the end of the Undertaker. If the kick outs had been spaced out over the course of the match I don't think the build to the finish would have had the right effect at all.
What I also loved was HHH’s character portrayal or journey that links back to the build before the match when Shawn said that HHH differed from him in the sense that “ Hunter could do things to other human beings and not feel the slightest bit of remorse.” However, moments after HHH battered Taker with the steel chair the story took a bit of a turn. When Taker was pulling himself up onto HHH almost in the exact manner that Michaels pulled himself up onto Taker at WM26, HHH looked down on Taker with the same look of confusion, pity and anger that Taker had for Shawn. That Shawn had for Ric. That was such an incredible callback moment. Before the match HHH said he would “die trying to end The Streak” but throughout this match it looked as if he was going to kill Taker in his attempts to “END IT.”
Then HHH came to a point where he seemingly was taking pity on this MAN. Hunter wanted to end The Streak but The Undertaker just will NOT let it go and "stay down." HHH eventually arrived at the internally frustrating realization that he might have to ANNIHILATE the MAN he respects more than any other. HHH played his role perfectly. This is his best character portrayal ever in my opinion. HHH went from having everything under his control, to being frustrated that Taker wouldn't stay down, to disturbed with himself for what he was doing, to straight up terrified by the amount of damage Taker was able to sustain. The absolute best matches usually involve top-notch storytelling and emotional character involvement, and I think those elements here are off the page. I look at this, the HBK/Taker matches and HBK/Flair as one big story arc. Each match drew off the one before it and developed the themes to perfection.
Then HHH signaled for THE END and hit Undertaker with THE TOMBSTONE!!! I think that's where this match went from great to legendary to me. In that moment I was convinced that things had come full circle and Taker was about to lose The Streak. It is arguably the best kick-out ever, on the same level as Taker/HBK from WM25. They got me to believe HHH would end the streak! If HHH was really going to put Undertaker down, the cut throat gesture and Tombstone would have been one hell of a way to do it.
Ultimately with Undertaker's determination to live, that sequence was the best way to further solidify The Streak as the most indestructible entity in wrestling and even though Undertaker was physically broken he was NOT DEFEATED.
The finish was just brilliant. Taker going for the last gasp Hell’s Gate shows how much The Streak means to him. Triple H had the sledgehammer prepared to go off on The Deadman’s head so this was Taker's last chance to win and it worked! The Hell’s Gate choke hold was the only way to finish it! I loved how his attempt to apply the hold was a real struggle for him just to get it locked in. It worked better than suddenly catching him in the move perfectly. They've also built up the Hell's Gate as a great finisher which ends a match when nothing else works. Very smart ending.
Some people (including me) have mentioned how they would have preferred it to end with an unconscious HHH passing out in Hell’s Gate. It certainly would have tied in with the ‘die trying’ line but because the story evolved during the match I don’t think it would have fit here. The whole story of the match was the reverse of HHH dying while trying to end The Streak, it was now the Undertaker dying while trying to keep it. HHH passing out would have taken away the significance Undertaker’s destroyed state at the end which was the main focus.
The message is that The Undertaker you fight on WrestleMania night isn't the same as the one who might fight at any other show. That is the intangible, mythical, and aura The Streak holds at WrestleMania. The Streak is where the power lies. Undertaker is now just the PHENOMenal mortal that defends it year after year … but for how much longer?
They blew the roof off of the Georgia Dome and produced an all-time classic. I respect The Undertaker more than any superstar/wrestler/performer/whatever McMahon wants to call them now. Year after year, Mark Calaway never ceases to amaze me but I feel the end is near because performances like this where he literally almost kills himself can’t continue. I don’t know what the future of The Streak is but if it ends with THE MAN, The Undertaker, being unable to maintain his death grip on it (thinking about this makes the Hell’s Gate finish more significant) then it would be a dramatic end of an era for The Last Outlaw and a WrestleMania legend.