The Undertaker vs. Triple H — WWE WrestleMania 28 Preview
While watching it live last year, Undertaker and Triple H’s ‘WrestleMania XXVII’ match didn’t really do it for me. At the time it just felt like a mess of finishes and unearned big moments, and truthfully, I was still a little chaffed at the hubris of Triple H trying to outdo Shawn Michaels’ legendary Mania matches against Undertaker. I realize that this is just me getting worked in a different way, and that Triple H must relish the bad guy role he plays for a lot of internet fans, but…I just can’t help it. Since then, however, I’ve rewatched the match a few times, and one very important thing stands out: It was the absolute balls.
It was a very different type of contest than either HBK/Taker match, but those two grizzled veterans put on a hell of a show – one that is arguably even better than the much-ballyhooed Cena/Punk ‘Money in the Bank’ match from last year. Still, even though last year’s contest was balls-to-the-walls awesome, I wasn’t really that enthused to see the two men go at it once again. The whole corporate angle with Triple H was interesting, but they didn’t commit to it enough – he would have had to turn full-on heel to sell it properly – and the Hell in a Cell stipulation never really made much sense to me. If HHH’s concern was putting a top asset out of commission, why would he agree on the condition that the match was held under the stipulation most likely to cause injury? All that said, I eventually came around on the match because of one important piece: Shawn Michaels.
I absolutely love the addition of Shawn Michaels into this match – his promo work with both men leading up to the event has been just plain awesome, and I’m grateful for any excuse to see the Heartbreak Kid in a wrestling ring once again. But what HBK really adds to the proceedings is a huge amount of uncertainty. Anyone with half a brain knows that WWE isn’t going to have Undertaker lose this or any ‘WrestleMania’ match, as “The Streak” is just too valuable a marketing hook to piss away. But even though we know Taker will end up winning the match, we have no idea how Michaels will behave once he puts on that referee shirt. Booking HBK as the official for the match was incredibly smart on WWE’s behalf, as it not only amps up the starpower on the year’s biggest show, but also brings a huge amount of suspense back to an otherwise pretty predictable match. Also, we’re pretty much guaranteed a superkick or two.