Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dead Man's Game


The set up (from WWE.com)

@chadsmart on Twitter

Based on the events at the end of RAW on Monday night, it appears WWE is set to go with Undertaker/HHH 3 at Wrestlemania 28. Of all the possible matches they could have chosen, in my opinion, this is the laziest and least exciting. It also highlights one of the biggest problems currently plaguing the WWE roster; no one has been elevated to be a believable main event contender.

First off, I’m probably going to get some backlash from this but my blog, my thoughts. I hate “the streak.”  Yes, it’s an impressive feat that will probably never be seen again. But when you break it down, it’s really not that amazing and there have been more matches where the outcome was never in doubt than matches where you felt Undertaker may actually lose.  Let's break the streak down.

Undertaker vs. Jimmy Snuka
Wrestlemania VII: In the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania debut he defeated Jimmy Snuka. At this point, Snuka had seen his best days in the business while Undertaker was the new emerging star. No one expected Snuka to win.

Wrestlemania VIII: Undertaker battled another past his prime superstar in Jake Roberts. While a bit more competitive than the previous match, the outcome was still pretty cut and dry.

Wrestlemania IX: The Giant Gonzalez did put an asterisk on the streak but losing via disqualification.  I guess WWF still saw big plans for Gonazlez and didn’t want him to suffer a true defeat.

Wrestlemania XI: Back to the past their prime opponents. This time Undertaker defeated Ted Dibiase’s hired gun of King Kong Bundy.  Again, two stars on opposite career paths. No one expected Bundy to get his patented five count.

Wrestlemania XII: Diesel was on his way out of the company and wrestling rules dictate you exit while looking at the lights.

Wrestlemania XIII: Undertaker won the WWF Championship from Psycho Sid. At this point in history no heel had ever left Wrestlemania with the title, so there was little doubt Taker would claim another victim.

Wrestlemania XIV: The first meeting between Taker and his brother Kane. This match did have some intrigue as Kane was new to the scene and had been dominate in his matches. I don’t think people expected Kane to stick around as long as he has though, so this match was seen as Taker possibly sending Kane on his way out the door.

Wrestlemania XV: One of the worst Hell In A Cell matches took place between Taker and Big Boss Man. Boss Man didn’t stand a chance.

Wrestlemania X-Seven: If memory serves me right, this was the first time “the streak” was brought up. Going up against Triple H gave Undertaker the first real possibility for a loss. This was a really good match and could have gone either way.

Taker vs. Flair 
Wrestlemania X8: Ric Flair is a legend in the sport. Ric Flair is a 16-time world champion. Even with his history though, Ric didn’t have a chance at ending the streak.

Wrestlemania XIX: A handicap match against Big Show and A-Train sounds impressive until you remember one of the guys is A-Train. Off the top of your head name one memorable high profile victory A-Train had in WWE. 

Wrestlemania XX: A rematch with Kane had more possibility for a Taker defeat since Kane wasn’t seen as a flash in the pan anymore. But did anyone think Taker would lose on a milestone anniversary show?

Wrestlemania 21: Undertaker’s 13th Wrestlemania match looked poised to be unlucky as Taker faced Randy Orton. Orton has been groomed to be a major star since his debut and what better way to push him to the top then by ending “the streak.” 

Wrestlemania 22: Mark Henry wasn’t the Hall of Pain curator he is today when he faced Taker in a casket match. He was simply a big guy fed to Taker to make Taker look impressive in victory.

Wrestlemania 23: Batista didn’t need the rub that would have come with beating Taker. At the same time, Batista had been pretty dominant and the idea of him beating Taker was a possibility.

Wrestlemania 24: This match could have been streak vs. streak if WWE would have had some foresight and not put Edge in the Money In The Bank match at Wrestlemania 23. With this match taking place last and Randy Orton retaining his title earlier in the night, Undertaker winning to send the fans home happy was the predictable outcome.

Taker vs. HBK
Wrestlemania 25: A battle of legends as Shawn Michaels wanted to prove he was Mr. Wrestlemania and wanted to end the streak. A true edge of your seat match that could have gone either way but ultimately chalked up another win for the Undertaker.

Wrestlemania 26: Sequels are rarely as good as the original. Once again the Heartbreak Kid challenged Undertaker. This time it was streak vs. career. The added stipulation made the outcome less than uncertain. Undertaker stood tall while HBK rode off into the Arizona sunset.

Wrestlemania 27: The third repeat challenger to try and end “the streak” saw Triple H also looking for revenge for Undertaker putting Triple’s best friend out to pasture.  I’ll touch more on this match in a few paragraphs.

Wrestlemania. Since the outcomes are rarely in doubt, I typically find Undertaker’s match to be the least exciting and the perfect time to go to the bathroom or get something to eat.

HHH vs. Undertaker
Now, back to Triple H and Undertaker fighting again. I am in the minority but I think their match at Wrestlemania 27 is one of the most boring matches I’ve ever sat through in person. Maybe I need to get the DVD and re-watch the match as all I remember is they’d hit a big move then lie on the mat for a few minutes. Stagger to their feet, hit another move, then rest. It felt like they had an eight-minute match but stretched it out to half an hour. Now they want to try and have a better match when Undertaker is older and hasn’t wrestled since Wrestlemania. Why?

I am also annoyed that for the second time in three years, WWE is running a repeat match from the previous year. I’ve said it before but I feel since Wrestlemania is the biggest show of the year it should feature matches that are fresh. Given the cost of Wrestlemania both in tickets to the show and the elevated price for the pay per view, selling the audience a rerun is just another form of ripping off the fans.

Besides the rerun factor, my other main complaint for Triple H to once again challenge the Undertaker is it seems like this match is happening because there’s no one else the WWE feels is worthy of being in the match. Instead of building up a guy like Sheamus, Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler or Cody Rhodes to challenge the Undertaker, ala Randy Orton, who could use a match against the legend to help elevate them in the eyes of the fans a credible threat, WWE is once again basically saying only guys who have been around for over a decade matter.

“The streak” will probably never be broken, nor should it be. Let it stand up as a testament to the Undertaker taking what could have been a lame gimmick and making a career out of it.  I just wish that even with an outcome that can be seen by Stevie Wonder, WWE would use “the streak” to help elevate new talent and stop rehashing old feuds.

What are your thoughts on another Triple H vs. Undertaker Wrestlemania match? Do you want to see it happen or would you rather Taker face someone else? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.  

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