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Undertaker v John Bradshaw Layfield


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Undertaker v John Bradshaw Layfield - WWE Smackdown 06/16/05

 

This match deserves all the credit in the world for truly portraying JBL as the Undertaker's equal. A constant advantage Taker being so protected in the booking will always have is that when someone kicks out of one of his big moves or goes toe-to-toe with him, it'll do wonders to get them over as a threat. In that sense, this match was a huge success, even if I don't like how they got the point across at times. There seemed to a miscue on what the story was the match was trying to tell when they spilled outside, as Taker went knee first into the steps, but sold his stomach while the announcers pretended he was selling his knee. It doesn't really matter anyway, as JBL started wearing down his neck once they got in the ring with a couple of swinging neckbreakers and Taker made his comeback so quickly that it wasn't allowed to go anywhere anyway.

 

There are some really cool revenge spots in this match, though, when Taker counters one big boot with another big boot early on, and later when he gets in his own sleeper after JBL was the first to apply the move. They have trouble sustaining any of the momentum they keep creating though, which is why this match suffers. It's a shame, because there are some awesome moments -- particularly down the final stretch, but they keep breaking up their own flow. Taker gets in a really good superplex, but he keeps repeating big boot spots. The chokeslam and powerbomb kickouts by JBL are nicely done and do a great job making for an "anything can happen" aura, and Taker following up with a tombstone attempt is the perfect follow up after JBL kicks out of both of those moves, but Orton's run-in sort of negates the point of going to such lengths to put Bradshaw over anyway. This match has some great stuff in it which both guys do deserve credit for, but they keep taking one step forward and two steps back.

 

***

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