Wrestlemania XXV: Thoughts on HBK Vs. the Undertaker
When you are a passionate fan, you’ll argue about something to the death that is probably insignificant to 99.9 percent of the world. Let me introduce you to wrestling fans.
Actually, wrestling fans are no different than baseball fans in the '60s who argued who was better between Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays (Mays), movie fans who argue about which actor or actress deserved the Oscar or not, or rap music fans who will argue until the stars come out about who the greatest rapper of all time is (Rakim).
The primary difference is that wrestling in general is just seen as low brow entertainment while baseball and movies aren’t.
The jury is still out on rap music, especially with the over 30 crowd. Really, all four are just different forms of entertainment.
The wrestling world has been in argument over the last few days about whether or not the Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker match at Wrestlemania XXV was worth a five-star rating or not.
Let’s remember that star ratings are completely subjective and how one perceives a match is based on their entertainment value from that match.
I was at the match live and I didn’t think it was a five-star match. But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t great. It was. It was superb. It was fantastic. It was the best match that I’ve ever seen live. But I don’t think it was the best match I’ve ever seen.
One thing was very certain that I noticed while live at Wrestlemania XXV. No matter what I thought about the match, Taker and HBK had Houston in the palms of their hands.
Part of my initial issues with the match had to do with the fact that we all knew that the Undertaker was winning. I had a hard time suspending disbelief because every time Michaels went for a pin, I couldn’t shake the feeling that he wasn’t ever going to get it. I desperately wanted to.
One of the things that I enjoy about watching a match is the surprise. I don’t necessarily like knowing who is going to win.
When Chris Benoit beat Triple H and Shawn Michaels in the main event of Wrestlemania XX, I thought Benoit had a chance to win the match and the title, but didn’t really know until the time Triple H tapped out. That feeling made that match even better than it already was for me. But I didn’t have that feeling with this match.
I thought the first tombstone from the skin the cat spot should’ve been the finish. At that point, I thought the match was at its peak. But I don’t fault those who thought likewise and loved the eventual finish.
The match did get really good again, but it felt like a match that had to get too many spots in and I thought it could’ve finished naturally after the first tombstone. But I think I was in the minority.
The fans in the building ate up the rest of the match and loved it. I’m not sure that I’ve ever watched a match or an MMA fight live where the crowd was as into it as Houston was with this match.
There was another part of the match that I thought could’ve been awesome because it made so much sense, but I don’t think it entirely worked. It was the spot where the Undertaker took the dive over the top rope and nearly killed himself.
I thought it was great because the story was that Michaels would accept a victory in any way possible. And when Taker took the dive, Michaels didn’t want him to hit the referee. The referee would have to count for the possible count out.
But when Taker’s dive landed short, and when he went head first to the floor, again, the ability to suspend disbelief left me. If he hit that dive clean, I think my rating would’ve probably been slightly higher.
All in all, it was still the best match on the show, and the greatest match I’ve ever seen in person. It just wasn’t the best match I’ve ever seen, nor was it a five-star match for me. For those who thought it was, I’m glad you enjoyed it so much.
I do want to see it on Blu ray next month to see how some of those spots played out on TV. I have a feeling my rating will probably stay the same though.
(I did a podcast after attending Wrestlemania XXV live in Houston. You can check it out at FightGameBlog.com.)
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