At WrestleMania 25, two legendary Texans will put their pride, their honour and their streak on the line as Shawn Michaels takes on the Undertaker.
HBK holds a record of 6-9 at WrestleMania, 1-2 as a member of The Rockers. He holds notable wins over Bret Hart in the 60-Minute Iron Man Match, Chris Jericho, Mr. McMahon in a Street Fight and just last year, he retired Ric Flair.
He has lost to Kurt Angle in a memorable match, Stone Cold Steve Austin at the start of the "Attitude Era," Razor Ramon in the ladder match that still holds the standard for all ladder matches, John Cena in Detroit, and Diesel, among others.
Michaels has been labelled "Mr. WrestleMania" and has the energy to steal the show.
The Undertaker needs no introduction for WrestleMania but here it is anyway. He is 16-0 at the spectacle and has defeated the who's who of wrestling lore.
Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Giant Gonzalez, King Kong Bundy, Diesel, Psycho Sid (for the title), Kane (twice), Big Bossman, Triple H, Ric Flair, Big Show/A-Train, Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Batista (for the title) and Edge (for the title). This is the list of wrestlers to be put to rest by "The Deadman."
That alone stacks the odds in his favour, but there is one fact that remains: Undertaker has never beaten Shawn Michaels.
In fact, their previous rivalry in 1997, Shawn won everything.
It all started at SummerSlam when Michaels clocked 'Taker with a chair (aimed at Bret Hart after being provoked) and HBK counted the pinfall and named his arch-nemesis the WWE Champion. Since that time, Michaels would continue to attack Undertaker and when they finally met at Ground Zero, it was delared a no-contest as things got out of hand.
Little did Michaels know that his actions would come back to haunt him as the WWE introduced Satan's Structure, appropriately named "Hell in a Cell" at Badd Blood.
It was a barbaric battle as the competitors set a level that has maybe been reached once (see Mankind/Undertaker at King of the Ring 1998). Michaels escaped the cage after attacking a cameraman and was subsequently busted wide open after a vicious assault by Undertaker. They even took to the skies and climbed the cell.
HBK fell through an announce table and was eventually taken back into the ring where Kane made his WWE debut and handed HBK another win on a silver platter after The Big Red Machine planted his brother in the ring with a Tombstone Piledriver.
Undertaker and Michaels would continue their rivalry into 1998 in a match at the Royal Rumble as Michaels put his newly won WWE Title on the line in a Casket Match. Another barbaric slug fest that saw Michaels injure his back after being thrown over the ropes and landing on the edge of the casket.
Kane would intervene, yet again, and help Michaels retain the title. Kane would go on to set the casket on fire, an action in which started the Road to WrestleMania for those warriors.
The only victory over Michaels that Undertaker has is at the 2007 Royal Rumble. That was when we started thinking about these two fighting again when they were the last two superstars in the Royal Rumble Match.
The Rumble saw a lot of back and forth action until Undertaker countered Sweet Chin Music and threw Michaels over the rope and onto the floor, thus winning an opportunity at WM against Batista.
Undertaker lost to Michaels the next month at No Way Out when WrestleMania opponents teamed up from each brand. HBK and John Cena, representing Raw's main event against Smackdown's main event, Undertaker and Batista.
It was on this night that The Animal attacked The Deadman to send him a message for WrestleMania. Cena and Michaels picked up the scraps and took the victory.
Now that WrestleMania looms, Michaels and Undertaker are ready to tear each other apart and what hype as well. The promos have been world-class, Michaels truly plays the part of a determined Christian, wanting to vanquish the darkness but it will be a battle to remember and not a battle to let your guard down.
WrestleMania 25 is live on Pay-Per-View Sunday, April 5, from Reliant Stadium in Houston at 7 EST and can also be seen at various Famous Players and Galaxy cinemas; check your local theatre for availability.
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