Each year at Wrestlemania, the fans expect a classic, a match that will stand the test of time. It is an epic battle, composed of two titans. Last year, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels filled that spot. It was a clash of magnificent proportions. From its build-up to the promos to the match itself, their battle told a remarkable story and gave Michaels an honorable departure.
This year’s Wrestlemania seeks to fill that slot with another set of titans: Triple H and Undertaker. On paper it seems plausible that the pairing of these two legends will make for an exciting and standard-breaking match. However, much is desired. More than anything, this feud feels incredibly forced.
After a long hiatus, both Undertaker and Triple H returned on the same night. In what seemed to be a powerful encounter, the two stared each other down, spoke not one word and glared at the Wrestlemania 27 sign. Words could not have spoken any clearer than what their deafening silence said. The match was set.
A sharp turn of events occurred in the weeks to follow. What began with screaming silence has amounted to several words—far too many words. Each week both competitors have given promos that have been mere repetition of the last week’s promo. On Undertaker’s behalf, he will secure the streak. On Triple H’s behalf, he will die trying to end the streak. Not only have the opponents given their say, but onlookers have provided their insight as well. One onlooker, in particular, has shared plenty. But could his involvement prove disadvantageous?
Shawn Michaels has provided a seemingly unbiased perspective. On the surface it seems valuable to have him contribute his thoughts. He is one of Triple H’s closest friends and foes. He has faced Undertaker in the past two Wrestlemania matches, with both matches sealing their places as two of the most stellar matches in history. Herein lies the problem.
First of all, HBK’s involvement in their dispute easily reminds viewers of his epic encounters with Undertaker. One reason for this is that their last match took place barely a year ago, which is still very fresh in viewers’ minds. The result is immediate comparison. Quite naturally, many will find themselves asking the question, will Triple H vs. The Undertaker surpass HBK vs. Undertaker? Also, comparison is drawn on the basis that Triple H and Shawn are close friends who have shared much of their careers together. Was it a wise decision on the part of WWE to place Triple H in a match very similar to that of Shawn Michaels, with the standards being astronomical?
As it stands, Triple H and Undertaker have had no physical contact. The build-up to their feud has been minimal, with only other wrestlers’ input on the magnitude of their upcoming bout. With all of the talk, it seems more as though WWE is attempting to convince the audience that this match will either equal or surpass other historic bouts (think Rock vs. Hogan, Hogan vs. Andre, Austin vs. Rock, Austin vs. Michaels, and Michaels vs. Undertaker). Without any true foundation, other than the idea that one of them is the true “last outlaw,” it feels as though WWE is trying to get the fans worked-up about this match that has been thrown together.
If this match does not soar into the stratosphere like Undertaker’s two previous matches, will Triple H face embarrassment of falling short again, as was the case at Wrestlemania 25? How difficult will it be for fans to strip away all comparisons between this feud and Undertaker vs. Shawn? Is this forced clash truly a colossal bout or a colossal mistake?