I'm interested to know what everyone's favourite match is and see you write a review up about it..
Already did that:
Spoiler for #1:
The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels WrestleMania XXV
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 #1a:
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
Spoiler for Santa Claus, Go Straight To The Ghetto:
My review for my favourite match, which also happens to be the GOAT imo:
Spoiler for GOAT:
The Undertaker Vs Shawn Michaels – Hell in a Cell – WWF In Your House 18: Badd Blood – October 5th 1997
This foundation for this match all began at SummerSlam that year. The Undertaker defended his WWF Title against Bret Hart, with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee. At the time, The Undertaker had no problem with Shawn. Bret, on the other hand, couldn’t stand him. Towards the end of the match, Bret tried to use a chair on ‘Taker, but Shawn prevented him from doing so. Bret spit in the face of HBK, causing Shawn to retaliate, swinging the steel chair full force towards Bret’s head! But Bret moved, and down when The Undertaker. The Hitman took advantage and made the cover, and Shawn was forced to make the count. The Undertaker had lost the title thanks to Shawn Michaels, and you know the Dead Man wasn’t going to let it slide.
The very next night on Raw, The Undertaker tried to confront Shawn, but he got the hell out of there before anything could happen. Shawn running from The Undertaker here is just the start of things! The very next week, a match between Shawn and Undertaker is announced for Ground Zero! Later that night, Shawn faces off against Mankind, and DX begins to from. The Undertaker comes out to confront Shawn again, but is distracted by Paul Bearer and talk of his brother Kane.
Things really heat up the next week on Raw, as The Undertaker teams with Mankind to face Triple H and Shawn Michaels! Shawn does a great job of constantly escaping The Undertaker, before ending the show with 2 brutal chair shots to the head of the Dead Man, causing him to BLEED! The Undertaker sits right back up though, as Shawn once again runs away.
The following week on Raw, The Undertaker comes out to talk about the chair shots last week. ‘Taker tells us that after he got busted open last week, he took the blood that flowed from his head, and he signed Shawn Michaels’ death warrant with it!!!
Less than a week later, on a special Friday Night Raw, just 2 days before Ground Zero, The Undertaker faced off against Triple H, a huge brawl erupts, a sign of things to come, with The Undertaker going crazy and Chokeslamming everyone in sight, before slowly stalking Shawn Michaels!
Ground Zero’s main event saw The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels battle in a vicious war. They brawled before the match started, and even took out referees! They eventually settled down a bit, and the match could officially start. Back and forth action for a while, before again erupting into a massive brawl! Shawn realised he couldn’t keep the Dead Man down, so he tried to run again. The locker rooms emptied, as everyone did their best to keep these men apart, which is when we saw The Undertaker fly over the ropes like a cruiserweight and land on half the WWF roster to get to Shawn!!!
Raw the next night is where the first ever Hell in a Cell match is announced, with The Undertaker getting a second chance to face Shawn Michaels, this time with seemingly no escape for Shawn!
Over the next couple of weeks, they build to the match with promos, and then a beat down on The Undertaker, when Triple H, Chyna and Rick Rude attack him from behind after Shawn baits him out.
A week later, we see a re-match between Undertaker and Triple H! DX (not yet named), again beat down The Undertaker. This time they seem to have him down and out, and put the Dead Man in a body bag! What follows is one of my favourite Undertaker moments; he SITS UP while still in the body bag! He rips open the body bag and fights back against DX, just less than a week before Hell in a Cell!!!
WOW. Looking back on their feud like this made me realise just how awesome it was. I always remembered their matches being great, but the two months they use to build this match, including a PPV main event, is fantastic. Some great promos and segments between the two, but what I find to be the main thing that will force me to consider this one of the top feuds ever, is how they are simultaneously building TWO OTHER FEUDS AT THE SAME TIME! Yep, even with this rivalry getting as heated as it can get, they are also building towards The Undertaker Vs Kane, and Shawn Michaels Vs Bret Hart! Not only that, but they do it in a way that doesn’t in any way overshadow the current feud, but at the same time makes you want to see the other feuds as well.
Here we go! The first ever Hell in a Cell match. The Undertaker, fighting for revenge. Shawn Michaels, fighting to survive. Also, something that is often forgotten about this match, the #1 contendership for the WWF Championship at Survivor Series is on the line too!
Before the match starts, we see referee Earl Hebner padlock the cell door shut, as Shawn pleads with him to let him out. No chance Shawn. You danced with the devil, and now you are about to get burnt!
With the door locked, the match can begin. HBK circles the ring, as The Undertaker slowly stalks his prey. After everything Shawn has done to him over the last couple of months, The Undertaker wants to put Shawn through a lot of pain, and is going to take his time doing it. He sees no need to rush, no need to run after Shawn, because unlike Ground Zero, he has nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no one to save him.
After playing a bit of cat and mouse, The Undertaker catches up to Shawn in the ring, and here we go! Nothing fancy, just ‘Taker grabbing Shawn by the back of his head, and ramming him into numerous turnbuckles. Shawn sells them like he just hit concrete, which some people would state he is overselling, but personally I loved it, and felt it made The Undertaker seem like a vicious powerful monster, which WWF were really turning him into at the time.
Shawn takes a beating for a couple of minutes, with ‘Taker working over the arm, hitting Old School, and even going for a cover at one point. Was The Undertaker trying to win? No, I don’t think he was. He gave Shawn a beating a month ago at Ground Zero, and Shawn never gave up, so he knew it would take more than what he had done so far to put HBK away. So why go for a cover? Because he can. He is showing Shawn that HE is in control, not Shawn. Also, kicking out of a pin attempt with a 300+ pounder on top of you wastes energy, and just helps The Undertaker more. A question some of you may be thinking is “why did Shawn kick out?”. Good question, because let’s face it, if Shawn didn’t kick out, the match would be over and he would escape the possibility of worse pain. Going back to what I said earlier, this match is for the #1 contendership. Shawn, like everyone in the WWF, wants the WWF Championship. Winning this match will place him in a title match, where he is one step closer to being champion once again. Then there is the fact Shawn is an arrogant heel, and beating The Undertaker will feed his ego, and give him bragging rights forever more.
The Undertaker decides to step things up a bit, as he grabs Shawn by the throat, seemingly going for a Chokeslam! Shawn senses this, and desperately fights his way out, sending ‘Taker into the corner. He mounts him, and begins to punch ‘Taker in the head. The Undertaker throws Shawn off, and he flies half way across the ring, again perhaps overselling, but IMO putting The Undertaker over even more. Shawn is a resilient man though, and he quickly gets to his feet and charges over into the corner to mount the Dead Man once again.
Every time Shawn attempts any offence, The Undertaker just shrugs it off and continues his epic assault on the “Sexy Boy”. The fight goes to the outside, and things are about to get brutal. ‘Taker imposes his will on Shawn, using his size and power along with the deadly cell walls to inflict more pain and damage. A couple of spots I always enjoy are when The Undertaker picks up Shawn, then smashes him back first into the ring post, turns around and smashes him back first into the corner of the cell, turns around again and smashes him in the ring post once again, then turns around one last time to send him back first into the corner of the cell. The other is when ‘Taker goes for a powerbomb, but Shawn seemingly reverses it, punching The Undertaker repeatedly in the face, only for The Undertaker to turn around and repeatedly smash Shawn into the corner of the cell again! When Shawn drops to the floor, you can see the marks on his back left by the cell, showing you that he really did hit the cell, and he hit it hard.
The underlying story of this match continues, with Shawn using the cell to attempt an escape from the pain and destruction The Undertaker has on his mind. He tries his best to climb up the cell wall to get away, but The Undertaker is tall enough to reach up and drag Shawn back down, back to hell.
Again the cell comes into play in this match, this time providing Shawn with an opening he so desperately needed. ‘Taker whips Shawn into one of the cell walls, then comes running at him, only to smash face first into the cell himself! I’m unsure if it was Shawn being able to dodge the attack, of if the sheer force of The Undertaker’s Irish Whip caused Michaels to bounce off and dodge the attack, but either way it created an opening, and HBK took it!
Just as Shawn appears to have the advantage, The Undertaker fights back. But as quickly as he re-gained control, he loses it! Shawn knocks The Undertaker off the apron, and sends him into the cell, then follows it up with a suicide dive, again driving The Undertaker into the cell! He isn’t giving ‘Taker time to recover, as he climbs the cell once again, this time to drop an elbow! Shawn is looking strong in this match now. He has used his speed, quickness and high flying ability to gain control, and is now using dirty tactics to keep that control. One of my all time favourite spots (not just from this match, but in general) right here, as Shawn hits a Piledriver to The Undertaker, ON THE STEEL STEPS! It makes one hell of a sound, and just looks incredible.
But even after all of that, The Undertaker crawls back into the ring. Again, this is putting over The Undertaker as an unstoppable monster, while at the same time, showing how resilient and CREDIBLE Shawn Michaels is when he is in the ring with the bigger, stronger opponent. Shawn doesn’t like the fact The Undertaker is still coming after him, so he pulls out a steel chair! This epic feud all began with a steel chair shot, and Shawn hopes to end it with one. I say one, but Shawn hits ‘Taker twice for good measure, and makes the cover! 1…2… NO! The Undertaker is not going out like that again. He still needs to extract his revenge on Shawn, and a steel chair isn’t going to do it this time.
The match starts to change from this moment on, as The Undertaker back body drops Shawn over the ropes, and onto a camera man. Shawn begins to beat the hell out of the camera man, laying him out on the floor. Why did he do it? I believe because he knew it would force the referee to open the door for EMT’s to attend to the guy, and the open door would allow Shawn to escape.
Until then though, Shawn must keep The Undertaker at bay. HUGE elbow drop from the top, followed by Sweet Chin Music! While all of this is happening, the door has been opened too! This is the part where I now feel the door being opened was a contingency plan, IF his superkick was not enough to put down The Undertaker. After all, what would be better than pinning The Undertaker in this match, instead of running away?
Of course, things don’t quite work out for HBK, as The Undertaker sits right up from Sweet Chin Music! Shawn is shocked, and makes a run for the door before it’s closed again! The Undertaker follows him out and catches him, sending him into the cell wall on numerous occasions, and busting him open too!
Shawn is lucky once again to find a small opening, but what is he going to do with it now? Inside the cell, he was unable to put the Dead Man away with his finisher. Outside of the cell, he was still unable to get away from the monstrous beast. The only thing left, if for him to CLIMB to the top of the cell! Unfortunately for Shawn, The Undertaker, even at 330lbs, near 7 feet tall, is able to follow him up there too!
Both men are now on top of the cell, and Shawn attempts a Piledriver up there, but instead gets a back body drop onto the steel! If that wasn’t bad enough, The Undertaker lifts him over his head, and slams him from over 7 feet in the air to the steel! Right hand now by The Undertaker, and Shawn nearly falls off the edge! He holds on, while The Undertaker has something sick on his mind. He stomps on one hand, he stomps on the other hand, and…
Shawn Michaels has nothing to hold on to, and falls back from halfway up the cell, through the announcer’s table! It crashes under the weight, and Shawn is a bloody mess on the concrete floor! It’s not over yet though, as The Undertaker climbs down, and slams him onto the floor!
While the majority of this match has been about The Undertaker being an unstoppable, almost un-human DESTRUCTION MACHINE, it’s also all about Shawn showing off just how damn resilient he is. After everything The Undertaker has done to him, he is STILL able to get up, and following the story of the match, does his best to get away from The Undertaker.
The Dead Man catches up to him once again, and throws him back into the cell, and the referee padlocks it shut one more time! Shawn is bleeding even more it seems, as it is flowing from the head of the Heart Break Kid.
The Undertaker has complete control now. He senses the time is right to put away the man who cost him the title, and starts it all off with a Chokeslam from the ropes! WOW! That isn’t enough though, as ‘Taker goes to the outside, and brings in a steel chair! As I’ve said before, this feud started with a chair shot, and The Undertaker wants it to end the same way. SICK chair shot to the bloodied head of Shawn Michaels, and payback is a BITCH! Undertaker signals that the end is here, but the lights go out, and we hear the eerie music of the man we discover to be… KANE!
Kane RIPS open the cell door, takes out the referee, and then stands face to face with his brother The Undertaker. He raises his arms, then brings them down to release fire from all 4 corners, just like The Undertaker has been known to do! The Undertaker is distracted, allowing Kane to hit a Tombstone!!!
Paul Bearer wakes the referee up, Shawn raises his head from the pool of blood he was lying in, and covers the Dead Man! A slow count, but The Undertaker is OUT of it. Shawn Michaels has WON!
Holy Shit! Every time I watch this match, I love it more and more. I love everything about it. From the way they build off the Ground Zero match with Shawn trying his best to simply get away, to the epic debut of Kane, which gives Shawn the big win, making him more credible going into the Survivor Series to fight for the title, while at the same time keeping The Undertaker credible from this loss, and further building The Undertaker/Kane feud that had been slowly boiling for months now.
People have been talking about Hell in a Cell matches for years, comparing them, ranking them, praising them and dissing them. I’ve seen people make excellent points as to why another cell match is more brutal, or why another cell match has more action, or why another cell match has better storytelling ect ect. That’s all good, people have different opinions, and that’s what makes us individuals. However, I do disagree with their opinions. I strongly believe that no other Hell in a Cell match has better storytelling, action, or even brutality. Sure, it might not be as straight up brutal as Brock Lesnar/The Undertaker, but it doesn’t have to be IMO. The fact that it’s built around one man just destroying the other makes it brutal to me. Then the blade job from Shawn, the fall from the cell, and the puddle of blood in the ring where Shawn is makes it just as brutal to me. It is only one of two cell matches that combines those three factors into the match (the second being The Undertaker Vs Edge, SummerSlam 2008), instead of just using two of the three, or in some cases, one.
This was the first ever Hell in a Cell match. I strongly believe that is has never been matched, and probably never will. It set the standard, and is the measuring stick not only for Hell in a Cell matches, but every other gimmick match too IMO. It shows perfectly how to combine storytelling, action and brutality into a single match, as well as how you put over both men involved, and even put over a completely new wrestler that has never been seen before the match (Kane). This was the first ever Hell in a Cell match, and I strongly believe it is the GREATEST MATCH OF ALL TIME.
I re-watched HBK/Taker from WM25 not too long ago and it actually lowered my rating for the match. Probably need to watch it a 3rd time, but for some reason it doesn't do the same for me as it used to. I used to have it as my GOAT, but not anymore. I feel like it's been overrated a lot on here.