The Undertaker: The End of an Era?
Flashback. It's WrestleMania 25. The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels.
These are two of the biggest superstars the industry has ever known, clashing at the grandest stage of them all. In the episodes leading up to WrestleMania 25, Shawn Michaels would lay out Undertaker with several super kicks, determined to prove his seriousness about ending the streak.
The hype surrounding the match was palpable.
Wrestlemania 25 arrived. Both superstars' entrances were fantastic. The match surpassed everyone's expectations. Fans were split between HBK and Undertaker. At one point in the match, fans were shouting, "This is awesome".
The match was so good that it didn't even matter anymore who would go on to win.
Undertaker would capture victory with an unbelievable moonsault reversal into the tombstone pile-driver.
The match would go on to win the Match of the Year Award at the 2009 WWE Slammy Awards, as well as in Pro Wrestling Illustrated and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
The match was so good, in fact, that HBK and Undertaker would get a great rematch the following year at WrestleMania 26.
Fast forward to WrestleMania 28. The Undertaker faces off against Triple H for the third time at WrestleMania. This time it's a Hell in a Cell with HBK as the guest referee.
The emotions surrounding the match were also palpable. While not my favorite Undertaker match, it did tell an incredible story. The "End of an Era" theme added to the emotional environment.
However, in the aftermath of WrestleMania 28, "The End of an Era" quickly lost its meaning. What did their match end?
The Undertaker's streak? No. Triple H's wrestling career? No. Undertaker's wrestling career? Most would say no. The last Hell in a Cell match? Unlikely. The end of the Attitude Era? That ended in the early 2000s. The end of the PG Era? Most would say no.
The end of a dying breed of wrestlers? I'd believe that, except The Rock has promised another WWE title run, Brock Lesnar is expected to continue feuding with other superstars, Chris Jericho might win MITB and Stone Cold believes he still has one more match in him.
So again, I ask, what does "The End of an Era" mean? Nothing. For all its hype and emotion, Undertaker and Triple H's match at WrestleMania 28, in the aftermath, was a lie.
But, in the end, it's up to the fans to choose what to believe.
In my heart, as I look back on WrestleMania 25, and recall Undertaker's best match, I examine all the components that made that match great—hype, wrestling, showmanship, spectacle, emotion and crowd participation.
And as The Undertaker tombstoned HBK that one final time, and crossed HBK's arms for the pin, I acknowledge, with great difficulty, that this moment at WrestleMania 25, was the true "End of an Era".
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