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The grand and pathetic journey of the Undertaker at WrestleMania

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WrestleMania XXVII (2011) – Undertaker vs Triple H

This match is almost like a confession of helpnesness. They know they have no shot whatsoever of following the last two (at least) matches. After the Micheals classics, the Streak has absolutely reached up to the Myth and there’s nothing big enough to measure up to it, not to mention no way to have as great of actual pro-wrestling matches strictly technically speaking. I wonder why John Cena did not get the follow-up, because if there ever was a time, that was it. But since we’re in mythical times now, you gotta go with Triple H. You can almost feel the ego of the guys swirling after the Micheals matches « Hey ! I fucking want MY FUCKING EPIC with Taker ». Triple H is a guy who’s entire stint has been something of a fabricated legend, he was never the big star like Austin & The Rock were but he got something more : the actual power. And there’s something almost meta about this one is that possibly, Triple H could break the Streak *in reality*, which is part of what made the appeal of the match. And as it’s been demonstrated two years before, now it’s all about signs for the sake of signs, they don’t have to build any rivalry or angle or storytelling, because looking at the Mania Sign is enough for them (the ultimate goal is that it should be enough for anybody, but alas it doesn’t really work that way, although maybe it kinda does actually considering how huge Mania got despite WWE’s dwindling popularity).

And also since we’re in mythical times, we get monstrous production with Metallica’s For Whom the Bell Tolls almost as a little trick, as it could have been Taker using it. But of course it’s Triple H disguised as some kind of highlander warlord with an army of soldiers with giant shields. BTW, they talked in the leading up promos about being the last two outlaws in the land, in a very western-like scene, which is completely outrageous considering there’s nothing more *in the system* that Triple H and Taker (whom despite his gimmick, is as much of an « outlaw » here as he was a « satanic figure » against the « angelic » Micheals : each times they are nothing but two opposite Kings on the same chess game, which is the Mania brand). And of course you get maybe the most striking Taker’s intro ever as they use Johnny Cash’s « Ain’t No Grave » instead of Taker’s music. Which not only is really cool and all, but also means the match has actually already started by that very point (although we don’t know this yet). Because like I said, there was a confession of helpnessness in all of this : they can’t follow the Micheals matches but they want to reach mythical epicness. So what to do ? Drama. Full on drama.

Which is why they use the no-hold-barred stip which basically makes it clear that it’s gonna be bells and whistles, tables and chairs and gimmick and shit. And it also allows Triple H, who’s not the most spectacular worker out there, to be able to do spectacular things. I mean, about thirty seconds in the match and they already are outside bumping into some plastic walls around what I guess was Micheal Coles’s announcing spot (which really looks like a regular anti-COVID announcer's desk today !), and rearranging furnitures on the tables like it’s 1999. Kinda abrupt. And they actually tease finishers on tables too already, with Trip doing this huge bump off a back-bodydrop, off the table to the floor. Taker will also re-do his infamous plancha, this time hitting it clean. And then later he gets reversed into a belly-to-belly suplex on a table. So very quickly, they fall into this super slow and looooong selling of the first Micheals match, with them doing nothing in-between spots, so the TV audience can rewatch, sometime several times, the spot that just happened, which is a way to fill the time with fake action because it’s just a duplication.

There’s no other way to say it, this match gets super heavy handed from there, as they do basically nothing but spamming finishers, sometimes countered but very quickly hit and kicked out of, like the first pedigree which comes from seemingly nowhere and way too soon, followed by a Last Ride and even a Tombstone. And in-between, long, loooong period of nothing happening. And yes indeed, the crowd does react to it, but for me it doesn’t do it even as far as credible near-falls : after the first pedigree gets kicked out of, you know Taker ain’t gonna beat Triple H with his own finishers either. But what they are aiming for is DRAMA, which is why they have to do this. What really matters is the *third* pedigree because by that point, there’s this feeling of « uh oh, is Trip gonna actually DO THIS ? » again in a very meta way to me. So yeah, that one works out of the legit fear of something you don’t want to happen actually happening aka the favorite son-in-law feeding his fragile ego. It’s really Snail Pace City though and Taker has never looked so slow, as apart from the insane plancha he hasn’t done any of his quick offensive flurry (he however did do his flying clothesline which really looks odd now, more like a complete flip above his opponent), because drama apparently has to be slow and heavy. Heavy handed especially, as Trip now bashes Taker repeatedly with a chair and does the « stay down ! die already ! » routine ! Trip wants his Micheals-like drama, and the story is pretty clear now : Triple H is stronger than Taker (lulz), but nothing he can do can « keep his body down », as Johnny Cash sings. Ok, so that’s where they are going. The apex of the match, after Taker as been so destroyed with chair shots that he can’t even sit up anymore, is Trip doing the impossible (I mean, who else, right ?) by putting Taker into his own Tombstone (get it ?) for what is, and I have to recognize, an *awesome* false finish, this one was almost worth the long and slow journey. This lead to the finish of Triple H going for the old sledgehammer only to get caught in Taker’s Hell’s Gate, for which he doesn’t have to stand up, and as Trip is going to hit Taker while in the hold, he finally opens his grasp as the hammer lands on the floor. And Trip taps out. And so the Johnny Cash song plays again « There ain’t nothing that will hold my body down ».

So, it’s really a different kind of match, and as it is going on I can’t say I’m a big fan of what’s happening as the almost desperate lack of dynamic (they spend sooo much time doing nothing after hitting a big spot, yes, I just said that selling can equal to nothing and therefore be a detriment) makes it kinda tedious for a while (the crowd doesn’t have the sustained heat it did for the first Micheals match either). That being said, they obviously were working toward a specific goal and in the end they managed to have this one epic masterful false finish before the logical and satisfying end, so yeah, it did work overall. But does the end goal justify the heavy handedness of most of the match ? I’m not sure, as I actually did not enjoy a lot of the match itself. As far as the Myth goes, it’s the first time Taker did not walk back on his own power and was carried away, so there was definitely this sense of drama, almost a tragic ending to it despite the win. Maybe it should have stopped right there, or maybe someone should have beat Taker the following year. Quite the *spectacle* indeed, although as an actual pro-wrestling match, it doesn’t measure up to any of the last four previous years. But they were aiming for something else and in the end, succeeded.

10-9

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I completely understand why some people hate that match. But I loved it at the time and still did do the last time I watched it a few years back. Probably more so than the HIAC the following year to be honest. 

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10 hours ago, Migs said:

And it let them culminate the feud twice, once in Edge's signature match and once in Taker's.

 

I don't recall the specific matches, so I'm genuinely curious...what is Edge's signature match? TLC?

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I can't wait to read your thoughts on Michaels "performance" in HIAC at WM 28. I'm on the side of finding it hilariously bad but not to the point of completely ruining the match.

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34 minutes ago, Jmare007 said:

I can't wait to read your thoughts on Michaels "performance" in HIAC at WM 28. I'm on the side of finding it hilariously bad but not to the point of completely ruining the match.

I watched WM28 at a bar. The other patrons were literally laughing at Shawn's attempts to act dramatic.

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33 minutes ago, flyonthewall2983 said:

Someone compared Shawn and HHH acting out their drama to an old couple arguing over whether or not to put down their dog

Dylan Waco

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My analogy will be much more accurate and funnier too. At least that's the first thing that came to my mind.

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I liked the match enough the first time I watched it, although that was because it was live and HHH could very well have actually ended the streak. On rewatch, I hated it. This is truly where Jerome's "self-conscious epic" took its final, most frustrating form. From the very beginning they are hitting each other with bombs and then lying around on their backs for literal minutes, doing absolutely nothing. It's the epitome of "Look at us, we are having an epic match!!" Like, you knew before the match started that this was going to be WWE's top match of the year. 

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In HHH's defense, going in to Wrestlemania 27 he did seem like the biggest possible opponent for Undertaker. They had wrestled in 2002, and then not touched until a Smackdown in autumn 2008, then worked the finishing stretch at Elimination Chamber 2009.

 

That's very little interaction between two of the biggest names of the 2000s.

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7 hours ago, Cowboy Hats 4.0 said:

I don't recall the specific matches, so I'm genuinely curious...what is Edge's signature match? TLC?

Yes, it would be TLC.

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WrestleMania XXVIII (2012) – Undertaker vs Triple H

« But I waaaaaaaaaaant my second epic match with Taker at Maniaaaaaaa !!!!!! » Ok, now you really have zero chance to follow it up, so you should probably not do it. I mean, they kicked out of their respective finishers GALORE already. So what’s next, what is the next level ? Well, more gimmicks. The Hell in the Cell, which had been given a horrible name in that context after the WM 15 debacle. And a special referee in the person of Shawn Micheals, whom Taker retired, with the question being : will he screw his old rival for the benefit of his old friend ? That’s a lot of potential gimmickry even before the match starts. But honestly, that’s not where we are going. We are going somewhere fun. And by fun I mean : a fucking clown show. And by this I don’t mean Taker’s shaved head with a semi-mohawk, the last evolution of Taker, I guess.

The mere fact they use the Hell in the Cell gimmick is really the first comical element because apart from the very beginning of the match, which is somewhat solid, typical HitC work (you know the drill, bumping into the cage and whatnot), they basically don’t use the Cell *at all*. Like, they don’t even touch it. JR going on about how HitC changes lives later in the match absolutely makes him sound like a total goof. But anyway, after these pretty solid beginnings, although the lack of blood is pretty striking in a negative way, there’s this huge spinebuster spot on the stairs, which looks awesome and brutal. Soon enough they go into full callback mode with Trip bashing Taker repeatedly with the chair, the strategy which got him the upper hands the previous year. It’s not any different mind you since it was already legal then. But then, oh joy, we move into real clown show time, as apparently since they have exhausted the pro-wrestling aspect of the drama in the last three matches, the solution now is to do *verbal spots*. AKA piss poor high-school drama class acting and dialogues between Shawn and the other two, as the former sexy boy wants Trip to stop and Taker to give up (the « It’s only one match !» line is absolutely hilarious, as it totally negates what they have been working toward the last three years, the build of the absolute Myth. It's not "only one match" you dumb fuck, it's the fucking LEGENDARY STREAK at stake !).

Since chairs aren’t enough, we get the sledgehammer and this time Taker eventually gets bashed straight in the face with the hammer part, yet this is not enough to get the pinfall. Ok. So, we’ve basically establish that a shot in the face with a weapon who would kill someone is not enough. Welcome to random-as-fuck clown show now, as really nothing else matters (hey, BTW, the cage got its own entrance music by Metallica, how cool is that ? This useless cage got a better production than probably most guys from the following generation will ever get) anymore. More DORAMA (as they would say in the Tokyo Dome where this match would get 5* stars apparently) ensues when Shawn grabs the hammer away from Trip as he tries to murder Taker. Then Taker puts Shawn into the Hell’s Gate, which makes no sense whatsoever because Shawn wasn’t about to ring the bell or anything, and now they re-do last year’s finish but there’s no ref (doh!). Taker is officially dumb. Charles Robinson does his hilarious awkward run on the ramp for a nearfall after a chokeslam (to an unconscious Triple H mind you,  guess it woke him up or something). Taker ain’t happy so he chokeslams the second ref. Yeah, Taker is in fact dumb. Then they do the only real spot that works well and makes sense, as Shawn, now pissed off, hits the superkick and Trip follows with the Pedigree for a great nearfall. But then, I guess he feels remorseful or whatever as he pleads Trip again to not use the hammer, so now Trip throws him outside. Ok, whatever, this has no rhyme or reason, really.  After that point Taker does the Tombstone and Shawn counts, because he’s been pushed around so he’s pissed again. Of course it’s not enough because it’s been established the previous year that it wasn’t enough and the Tombstone is now Open Bar for everyone to be kicked out of. Let’s kick-out of a Pedigree too, because our finishers are kinda useless to ourselves now...

And now Shawn looks depressed, maybe being involved in this debacle after his awesome send-off, not too sure. Depressed Shawn would have made a great meme. Semi-smart callback to the previous match with Taker using a chair to bash Triple H, that’s the payback he asked for. Of course Shawn tells him to stop. Damn, it really looks like a threesome where one participant just isn’t getting any and complains to the other two now. Speaking of which, Triple H tells Taker to suck it, so Taker gives him the big hammer while Shawn refuses to watch. Don’t be like that Shawn, you had your fun. Plus Triple H is now paying you homage, or stealing your stuff, not sure, by doing the exact same slow climbing up Taker’s leg before the Tombstone and the finish. Yeah, that certainly was the End of an Era, the Era of the great epic Taker matches we had the last few years.

This was a complete mess of an attempt at drama through nonsensical spots and laughable acting, but at least it was *always fun* to watch. I’m sure this was not the intent, but it’s like a great bad movie you enjoy because it’s so ridiculous and stupid, with one legit great moment (the double finisher spot on Taker, legit great nearfall). It could also be read as « the End of an Era » as the three guys left together in a show of respect, as the new generation of workers who will never be as big of stars and will never know how to work proper are now on top for good. We know where that mentality led them. So, this was a failure, but it was a very entertaining one. So bad overall that it was actually good. A legit nanar as we say in French to call bad movies that are really fun to watch.

11-9

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I haven't watched Taker/HHH at 28 since it happened and have no interest in revisiting it, but I enjoyed it at the time and thought it was far superior to their match at 27. They tried to deliver an epic sports entertainment spectacle and mostly succeeded, while the previous year they tried to deliver an epic wrestling match and failed miserably.

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WrestleMania 29 (2013) – Undertaker vs CM Punk

Maybe the previous year was indeed the End of an Era, because this sure looks like we’ve passed onto the other side of the hill. First, I’ve gotta say, I find the Paul Bearer angle to be really trashy. And Heyman acting goofy with the urn was really not that great either. That out of the way, Living Colour performing live was all kind of awesome. Probably the best musical performance at Mania (ok, that’s not that hard, but they did had Motörhead). And the NYC setting is awesome too. Ok, the match. Well, really after the epicness (for better or worse) of the last four matches, it's gonna be hard to believe anyone could beat Taker. They really have booked themselves in a corner now, and the mythical aspect of the whole thing has been reverted to this personal issue, which kinda makes it a lesser affair in the grand scheme of the WWE lore.

And lesser is the name of the game here, it’s the first time Taker visibly doesn’t look the same. His body isn’t as fit, he still works fast and hard but he seems to breathe heavy after the intense beginning and there’s a lot he doesn’t do anymore. Like the previous year, Old-School is countered and Taker takes the bump from the post, as if he can’t (or doesn’t want to) do the rope-walk anymore. He teases the über-plancha but doesn’t do it either as Heyman gets on the apron and stops him as a distraction. He does the leg getting caught but on the second rope, not the top one. And he doesn’t do the Last Ride, which is extremely noticeable as it’s basically his n°2 finisher (that needs to be kicked out of, really). CM Punk really does carry the load of the meat here (see what I did ?) and he’s displaying terrific charisma, does great facials and produces all the big spots of the match including actually doing the Old-School rope-walk successfully, then trying again and crotching himself, doing the Savage elbow both in the ring and outside onto Taker who’s laying on the table (which doesn’t break and you can *hear* the crowd being disappointed by this fact).

And it is a really good match and all until the finishing stretch, which pushes it toward the great level, but there’s something about kicking out of the Tombstone which seems almost obligatory at this point, because it’s been kicked out of every year for four straight years now. Anything less would make CM Punk look like a much lesser guy, and this despite Taker aging, which really isn’t being taken in consideration in the context of the never-dying Streak. So yeah, they do work several cool reversals like said Tombstone off a GTS counter, Punk also re-does Micheals counter of the Hell’s Gate, although much more sloppily. And they do this kinda goofy spot with the urn off the now infamous trope of « getting on the corner so Taker can do the Last Ride », and it really shows on this one that Taker has lost a lot of his power. It’s goofy because the urn shot is a bit of a throwback to the 90’s really, and as much as it makes « sense » in the context of the angle, let’s be real now : Taker has sustained a dozen chair shots, a sledgehammer in the face and multiple deadly finishers the previous years, this lame-ass urn shot is kinda weak shit for a credible nearfall. The crowd plays along, but really now... Maybe the best visual of the whole match is Taker sitting up while being in the Anaconda Vice and staring at a petrified CM Punk with his eyes bulging out. Ending is what is expected... for the last time.

CM Punk’s heavy load carrying goes a long way into making this an excellent, maybe even great, pro-wrestling match, with an Undertaker who for the first time, looks like he is noticeably sliding down the hill. Which is why it was probably now *too late* to ever end the Streak, unless turning it into a mercy killings of sorts, which would have sucked and damaged its aura .

12-9

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Going to be interesting to see if there are any W's left. The rest of the decade is basically a write off, but I guess last year was a classic for what it was (didnt watch). El-P shines best when the wrestling stinks, so this should be fun 

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I'd say that Punk kicking out of the Tombstone still felt like a big deal, mainly because he wasn't portrayed as this mythical figure quite like WWE portrayed Michaels and HHH.

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I remember watching Mania 28 and biting it on the Sweet Chin Music-Pedigree combo. Legit thought that was it. I re-watched it recently and it's certainly an over-bloated "epic" with way too much "drama". But it wasn't terrible.

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5 hours ago, El-P said:

doing the Savage elbow both in the ring and outside onto Taker who’s laying on the table (which doesn’t break and you can *hear* the crowd being disappointed by this fact).

I was there and oh yeah. That spot took the wind out of the crowd big time. Fortunately, we had...uhh...HHH beating Lesnar and Cena getting shit on by 80,000 fans to really save things.

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Chapter 8 : The end of the Streak

WrestleMania XXX (2014) - Undertaker v Brock Lesnar

So, here we are. There are a few very striking things about this match. First off, Taker’s entrance is pretty classic with the grim vision of all the caskets of his fallen victims (do Triple H really gets three caskets by the way ?), including one for Brock which opens up and then is struck by lightning. Second, despite the undeniable big match feel of the whole thing, the crowd is honestly super tedious for most of it, and really dead at first. Some light Taker chants never really take off, some light boos when Lesnar poses after beating down Taker. It’s really for the longest time a heatless match. And the match itself really doesn’t help, as for a good portion of it, it’s a downright dull and tedious affair.

Brock starts off with a great belly to belly but after that point, it’s plodding city. He sells for Taker for a while, as Taker attacks his left arm, a set up for Hell’s Gate I guess, but Lesnar really will never sell his arm in a meaningful fashion anyway. Comparatively, Brock goes for Taker’s leg for a while, including a cool one legged takedown outside, but this is pretty much killing time in a rather slow and un-engaging fashion. But the one thing that is so striking is that Taker really looks old there. His body looks old, he gets gassed really quickly, he doesn’t even go up to the top rope before getting countered on the Old-School tease, he bumps awkward on the padded barricade outside. In other words, Taker really looks like an old dragon fighting his one match too many. Yeah, probably did not help that he got concussed early on. There’s this chokeslam early on following Snake Eyes for which Lesnar jumps really high. Later on when Taker does the Snake Eyes again, as if he was not able to dig into more of his old moveset, he’ll do the big boot combination but the switching of the cams makes it impossible to see how clear he hits it. Really, there’s something pretty sad to watch already.

There’s a complete lack of intensity and dynamics and it’s like the crowd knows it, as they really only wake up after the first chokeslam/F5 kick outs, as if spamming finishers is what they were waiting for. Then there’s this really awkward transition into Hell’s Gate, easily the worst ever, as it almost seems Lesnar was waiting a bit longer to walk toward Taker as he saw the guy was totally gassed, so in the end it’s almost like he’s giving him his arm, there’s no sense of struggle, no snap whatsoever. And as he’s lifting Taker to drop him down, he’s not displaying incredible power either, Triple H was about as impressive doing it. Plus they actually repeat the spot, only even much sloppier as the hold is just pathetically applied. This match is now officially the crappiest shoot-style match ever, with Lesnar himself doing his armlock reversed by Taker and Tamura vs Khosaka it isn’t at all...

Meanwhile, Heyman is about as comedic as Paul Bearer ever was, doing these cartoony, oversell facials. Taker is soooo gassed and out of it at this point, no wonder he has no recollection of any of this, he actually looks like a zombie now. And it gets sadder as he goes for Old-School and very tentatively walks two footsteps on the rope as if he’s afraid and then Lesnar just grabs him on his shoulders for the second F5 and second kick-out-of-finisher, which is the only thing that really works (Lesnar’s selling of it is quite good). The match really lacks any sort of real intensity and keeps on plodding around until they do the Last Ride trope and it’s like the worst Last Ride ever, Taker looks totally washed out, really. Lesnar really grabs Taker’s body, as he should for his own sake, for the Tombstone and it’s a kick out that everyone expects after five straight years of everybody kicking out of it. So yeah, the crowd’s reactions by this time are much bigger but still not nearly as big as what you’d expect. There’s definite a sense of fatigue, of not being into it.

When Taker goes for another Tombstone and it gets reversed into a third F5, it’s almost like « business as usual » and we’re expecting yet another kick-out because the finish as to be something more special, but nope. It *is* the finish. There was actually a buzz in the crowd which I had totally forgotten. Then the buzz kinda dies and we get that sidération feeling, but you still got the sense no one expected this to happen *there*, with *this* spot. The announcement gets mild boos, some « bullshit » chants too. It’s an odd feeling but watching Taker in this match, it does looks like a mercy killing. In a way, it’s poetic justice as Taker is « Human After All », the Myth has vanished. But seeing Taker getting old IRL and not being his old self was legit sad. The fact Lesnar really gained nothing out of it and the plan was to put over Roman Reigns (as if you could transfer the aura of Taker to Reigns like this was just a mathematic operation, which is a ridiculous idea, and I’m not even talking about how tone death the Reigns push was then) makes the whole thing rather hollow, which is the feeling at the end.

The match wasn’t good, the finish kinda fell flat, Taker looked like he should have retired two years before. I can’t say it did not work at all as the ending stretch was « ok », but I can’t say this worked well either, not for the crowd, not from a booking standpoint, and certainly not from a quality standpoint. Post-match was nice with the crowd thanking Taker. Felt like the end. It should have been, because it’s only gonna get worst and more sad from there.

12-1-9

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I was watching that Mania with a couple friends.  That match was boring as hell, so we were just chatting about other stuff and BAM!  We all were like, "Wait.  Was that a three count?"  We had to rewind to see the finish.

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I suppose this is the inverse of another thread's topic - terrible matches enhanced by the finish. Best case for this match would have been to just be forgotten had Undertaker won. While it's certainly not fondly remembered now, the lack of heat and Undertaker's performance and look (even pre-concussion) all took a back seat to streak talk afterwards.

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After Cesaro won the Battle Royal, the crowd pretty much died until the main event. But you gotta wonder if the Streak match "formula" was even gonna work. Brock came into the match as damaged goods -after being ruined by Hunter- and the finisher spamming could fail at that point when we all knew it was going to take at least 2 Tombstones and 2 F-5s to get shit going.

On the other hand, Taker and Brock always had good chemistry and a non-concussed Taker could've had a good match (probably not a great one) as he later showed he could have against Lesnar 1 year later. And if you add to that the shocking finish, it would've probably end up being a pretty decent outing.

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Chapter 9 : A useless post-Streak

WrestleMania 31 (2015) – Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt

So what to do now that the Streak is over ? In a way, maybe it could be the opportunity to just have a good Taker match at Mania (which doesn't have a number attached to its name anymore, as I guess the Brand is more than enough plus you don't want to date yourself) without the pressure of the damn Streak and questions about how to make it more epic than the previous years. Bray Wyatt wasn’t the worst choice for an opponent as his character, as said about a gazillion times by the announcers is the New Face of Fear (although honestly, after watching that match I’d rather have Meng). Let’s face it, when Bray Wyatt debuted he was the new hot and cool thing, with the great creepy entrance and actual good music theme for a change. The issue is that the New Face of Fear choked at his first Mania against John Cena, who was already on the outs. So, that’s a pretty good feud for him to challenge the Old Face of Fear at Mania. And he gets the superstar entrance, with a bunch of scarecrows scattered all over the giant entrance. Wyatt does come off like star still. Taker’s entrance is the most classic, although under the sun at dusk it’s a wee bit too shiny to get the full effect, but the crowd is delighted to have another Taker match as they are way more vocal than the previous year. Too vocal actually, as they’ll twice chants some aggravating bullshit...

The issue with this match though is clear pretty quickly : Bray Wyatt brings jackshit to the table once the bell rings. I mean, Taker, who looks in better shape than the previous year, is playing a bunch of hits, the legdrop outside, the Snake-Eyes big boot combo (countered, but still) and even a good lil’ Old-School which he hasn’t done in years now and which gets an annoying « You’ve still got it ! » chant by the crowd. I’d be pissed if I were Taker. But once Bray gets on offense, it’s Randy Orton-level boring. Super weak-ass punching, a bunch of kicking, a resthold and really a whole lot of nothing happening, at a slow pace too because that’s Taker’s pace now. The « highlight » of Wyatt’s offense is a uranage/senton combo, but after that points it’s super dry and absolutely uninteresting. So basically they have to move to the kick-out-of-finishers ending stretch, with Bray kicking out of the Tombstone, as everybody has done in, what now, 6 years straight so that’s just business as usual. Then of course Taker kicks out of Bray’s finisher, because that's the only way they know. Then Bray will do that crazy pose he does (which really is not creepy at all once you realize it’s just a yoga pose and you’ve done it yourself), which is « countered » by Taker’s zombie sit-up and the crowds goes « This is awesome » when clearly, it’s not. Shot exchange, which is a staple of Taker’s matches for years now, Bray finisher’s countered into the Tombstone. And that's that... Not one singular, interesting nor believable nearfall. 

Apart from Taker playing a few old hits this was nothing as Bray really brought zilch to the table for such a big match on paper. It totally exposed him as being nothing but an intro and a « demonic » look. I guess you could have done this kind of « play the hits » match for a few years still, as the crowd was obviously super happy to just see Taker. It's like he’s basically part of the setting of Mania now, like... the giant ramp... As an actual match, this was a complete dud.

12-1-10

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Man I had forgotten how long Bray Wyatt has been around. You would think he would have gotten better in that time. I wish they would have just made him into Harper and Rowan's manager who would only sometimes wrestle in 6 man tags.

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