WrestleMania 28: 6 Ways HBK Has Been Vital in Building to Undertaker vs. HHH
We have very nearly walked the entirety of the road to WrestleMania 28. For many, the most exciting part of this is the prospect of finally seeing this year's streak match.
The levels of anticipation for this encounter have been built to something close to a fever pitch, and that is largely due to the involvement of Shawn Michaels.
Whatever "The Heartbreak Kid" brings to the match on the night, his involvement in the buildup to the Hell in a Cell match has been an absolute masterstroke from WWE creative.
Here are six ways in which HBK has been the vital ingredient in building such excitement for The Undertaker vs. Triple H on April 1st.
Instead of Chapter 2, It's Chapter 4
Without the involvement of Shawn Michaels, the match has a good two years of buildup to it as a rematch from WrestleMania 27. With HBK's involvement, though, the match goes back to WrestleMania 25.
It has become the next, and probably final chapter in an epic clash that has four years of direct buildup.
The involvement of Michaels makes absolute sense. The three of them together for this event just has a fateful feel to it.
The previous three streak matches have become preludes to this showdown, and you can't cut much better promos than those three WrestleMania matches.
It Leaves the Match Dripping in History
That’s four years of direct buildup right there, but there’s so much more to it. The inclusion of Shawn Michaels has left this thing absolutely dripping with history.
With the history of all three men as individuals, and more importantly together, the backdrop to this match is ludicrously rich and entirely unique.
They are all icons in the business, and they all became icons in the same era and company. They have made their names in the same space, and their epic histories are intertwined because of it.
With this unique backdrop, there are a lot of angles to be played with.
We have the lingering question of who the best is of the two longtime friends—Triple-H and Michaels—the prospect of HBK still being able to be the man to end The Undertaker's streak and the possibility of a screw job on either competitor.
This is only possible because of the relationship dynamic that's been played out between these three superstars, which is only possible because of the history involved.
There are angles on top of angles, but none of it seems overdone or forced; it fits naturally because of everything that has gone before.
He Gives You Reason to Consider the End of the Streak
While a backdrop like this has been an incredible and unique opportunity for WWE creative to craft something special, it still needs the superstars involved to play it well on screen.
The key figure in playing with this backdrop has been Shawn Michaels, and he's done it brilliantly.
Every time he talks with either the “Deadman” or “The Game," it comes across as if he’s planning on screwing them over.
This adds some much-needed uncertainty about the outcome of this match, and while most suspect Undertaker will continue his undefeated streak, HBK's involvement has at least given us reason to ponder the possibility of the alternative.
The Plethora of Options He Gives to the Match
Regardless of whether you can see the streak coming to an end or not, the fact that Shawn Michaels is involved means you can't be sure of how the match is going to run.
HBK as special guest referee opens up a multitude of options for how the match can play out.
This leaves the fans running through these options and getting excited by them, and that's how you build intrigue for a match.
So even if you make the assumption that Undertaker will keep the streak in tact, you can't go much further than that.
You can continue with conjecture, but not assumption, because too many questions remain: Will Shawn screw Hunter? Will he try, and fail, to screw Undertaker?
Will he superkick both of them? Or will he call it right down the middle without physical interference?
Even if you then decide on one of these options, there's still a question of how it will happen.
Variety's the Spice of Life
It’s something different than last year. To have simply had a rematch angle may have felt a little stale, even with the addition of Hell in a Cell.
It wouldn’t have just been the same matchup as last year; it would have been the same basic formula as the two years prior as well (opponent tries valiantly, respectfully fails, has another heroic effort).
While ultimately, the match itself has the potential to fall into this formula depending on what route the WWE takes, how HBK has been used in the feud has made the buildup to the match feel very different.
He's Been Necessary
During the run up to April 1st, fans have seemed to become uninterested when Undertaker has talked for any prolonged period of time.
Whether this is a symptom of times changing on the promo front, or of Undertaker having lost something in his live work, you can’t have a successful feud with just two superstars if the fans become uninterested when one of them talks.
His prerecorded work has been as good as ever, but that wouldn't have been enough to hold this feud together and build anticipation.
HBK’s involvement has resolved this, as Shawn Michaels has been the leader and the focus for much of their live promo work.
So There You Have It
Those were the six ways that Shawn Michaels' involvement in the buildup to The Undertaker vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 28 has been the vital aspect in building anticipation for this encounter.
His presence has made Undertaker vs. Triple H into a hugely exciting prospect, and I, for one, can’t wait to see how it goes on the night.
How about you?
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