The Undertaker Vs Triple H
Without a doubt the BIGGEST match on the show… and really the ONLY big match on the show. Despite my seeming man love for The Undertaker, I wasn’t too interested in this one. Based on their previous matches over the years I had a lot of reason to doubt it. And watching it live didn’t do much for me.
However, after sitting through 20 minutes of Lawler/Cole and numerous other disappointments, and the fact it was around half 2 in the morning by now, I was tired and a little bored and probably didn’t pay as much attention to it. Hopefully this rewatch will do some good. I mean, back at WM 25 I wasn’t THAT impressed with HBK/Undertaker when I saw it live. Adored it when I reviewed it the next day.
“For Whom The Bell Tolls” plays and out comes HHH for a rather unspectacular WM entrance. Nobody this year really had an entrance worth mentioning, including Undertaker right afterwards. Though I always enjoy Undertaker’s entrance no matter what lol. Oh, and his new coat was awesome too. Maybe one of these days I’ll look into getting a coat like that, always really wanted one.
No time wasted here as HHH takes the fight right to The Undertaker with those big lefts and rights. No need to feel his opponent out; he’s been in the ring before, plus he just wants to end the Streak at any cost, so going for the big bombs right away makes sense. Undertaker just kinda shrugs him off though, launching him out of the ring. HHH throws more bombs at Undertaker on the outside, but Undertaker again shrugs him aside and sends him into the steel steps. Undertaker wants to control this match and go at HIS pace, regardless of what HHH wants to do. So HHH charges at The Undertaker and sends him crashing through the tool box, which leads to a great visual of Undertaker getting up almost DBZ style when someone is knocked into a mountain or something and they just stand back up and let the rocks fly off them lol. He stares at HHH almost as if to say “fine, we’ll do it YOUR way”.
HHH is really determined to take out Undertaker here, and as a result Undertaker takes a bump into the barricade that someone of his age and condition (hip surgery a year or so ago I think) really shouldn’t be taking. But its WM and he’ll do everything he can. The fight goes onto the announcers table, and HHH takes a huge bump with a back body drop off the table to the floor, and perhaps legit injures his left arm which he favours for the rest of the match, but not in a way that prevents him from doing anything if you get me.
Knowing that he is truly in for the fight of a lifetime, Undertaker knows he has to really bust out everything in his arsenal. After WM 25 when he landed on his head, I didn’t think we would see it again, especially since he didn’t do it at WM 26 and his condition has got to be worse a year later… but dammit, Undertaker continues to prove that he is still the best in the world when he wants to be, and he dives over that top rope as effortlessly as he did a decade ago when he was in way better shape.
The big bumps keep coming, and Undertaker again puts his body in more risk than he should when he attempts to put HHH through a table but ends up taking a AA Spinebuster through it instead! DAMN!
Watching live, and feeling how I did (bored, disappointed and tired due to the time and rest of the show so far lol), I just saw this as one giant finishing stretch from the get go with no psychology or anything. Watching it again in a much better mood, I can see it for what it really is; awesome. The match is all about HHH wanting to end the streak or die trying, and Undertaker wanting to prove to HHH that is ISN’T his time to go yet. So HHH does what he does best; be a ruthless cunt who will destroy his opponent at any cost, while Undertaker continues to fight back and kick out of anything The Game throws at him. If they had started slow, locking up and “wrestling” at the beginning, it really would have been dumb given the context of the feud, so I for one am glad that they went all out from the start. Helps that they are executing everything so well too.
At some point Undertaker gets a Chokeslam in, but nobody in their right mind believes that its over lol. A Pedigree shows up too, and it too isn’t that great as a false finish, just because of what Undertaker and HBK did the last 2 years.
The Last Ride spot, while again not the best false finish, was still cool because it was a great throwback to WM 17, as Undertaker defeated HHH that way 10 years ago at this very event. Undertaker getting frustrated was great to see. His character as the last outlaw might not look too different on the surface, but he really is been shown as more “human” than usual, and given the feud with Undertaker not accepting HHH’s statement that he’s done, getting frustrated like this at not being able to put HHH away really adds to the story of the match. If a Last Ride, and then a TOMBSTONE can’t put HHH away… can Undertaker do it? Can he hold on to his streak? DRAMA~!
The second Pedigree is a way better false finish than the first. Like the Tombstone, its one of THE most protected finishers in the entire industry really (though other companies tend to use the Tombstone every now and then and NOT finish a match with it…). So seeing 2 of them not work, and then a THIRD in a very short period of time after the second one also not work was just amazing. I always go into these matches expecting Undertaker to win, but every so often a certain spot in certain matches over the last few years really makes me think that the Streak might end this time. That third Pedigree was one of those moments along with the last Superkick in WM 26 before Undertaker eventually won.
MOAR Throwbacks in the match (which I LOVE btw) with HHH using the steel chair similar to how Austin used it on The Rock at WM 17 when Rocky kept kicking out of the Stunner, and then the “stay down” which was a throwback to WM 26 when Undertaker told HHH’s best friend HBK to stay down. Makes the match that much better that Undertaker actually finished HBK off after telling him to stay down and he didn’t, so with HHH saying it maybe he would actually get the win!
Undertaker’s selling in this match NEEDS to be talked about too. The man really is one of the better sellers IN THE WORLD today, and has been for a number of years, even with the Dead Man gimmick. He can make things believable while still being able to be the “other worldly” character. Here he comes across as more human, as I mentioned earlier, and his selling is just impeccable. You really get the feeling that he’s at death’s door and the next big move could end his streak, and his life (kayfabe of course).
And then there is the Tombstone. From HHH. Good GOD. I’m struggling to decide which is better; Tombstone kick out by HBK at WM 25, or this one. The crowd has been pretty shitty most of the night, but picked up for this match, and when Undertaker kicked out of that Tombstone they went ballistic. Almost as if THEY, like me, believed that it was over. And then it wasn’t. And it was awesome.
Just as Undertaker was getting frustrated with HHH kicking out of shit, HHH begins to get that same feeling, and resorts to bringing out the Sledgehammer. He drags Undertaker to the centre of the ring, and informs the Dead Man that “Its time”. And Undertaker sticks him in Hells Gate! What a struggle this is too, with HHH trying to hang on, trying to escape. At one point he grabs that Sledgehammer, and we know that just one shot from that and it could be it for The Undertaker… but HHH is fading fast, and the Sledgehammer drops. The hammer hits the mat, and then The Game taps out. I would have preferred for HHH to simply “pass out” to really put over the “die trying” mentality that he had going into the match, but its a minor complaint really.
Damn. Definitely, DEFINITELY enjoyed this more on this rewatch. A LOT more. A fucking TON more. This is fantastic. Truly epic. The storytelling is off the charts, the action is incredible, and the finish (while not 100% perfect) is great. This was one hell of a battle, and the selling from both men, but especially The Undertaker, is out of this world. Hell, I’ve been reading all day from numerous sites that a LOT of people believed that Undertaker was legit hurt and out of it. I just have to wonder what’s next for Undertaker after the way he was taken to the back.