Calling It Down the Middle: The Undertaker vs. Triple H II
Welcome to another edition of "Calling It Down The Middle". On the February 21st edition of Monday Night Raw, the WWE fans witnessed the return of two of the greatest superstars of all time, period. These two all-time greats were Triple H and the Undertaker, and they did not hesitate to point out that they would be going one-on-one against each other for the second time—with the first being 10 years ago. These are my thoughts on the program and, most likely, some of you may agree with me.
We all know that Triple H is often referred to as "The Cerebral Assassin". Truth be told, I stopped believeing this gimmick of his ever since the inception of his "The King Of Kings" monicker. He hasn't even touched the surface of the Cerebral Assassin gimmick in a very long time.
The Cerebral Assassin was given to him due to his lack of emotion, his ability to be a psychological master and his reputation of leaving his opponents a bloody mess. He had no remorse, and he had the profound ability to get into his opponents' heads. Where was this guy for the past several years. Maybe it's understandable that this specific individual's dismissal truly came about due to the PG restrictions, but I look forward to seeing if he'll come alive once more at Wrestlemania 27.
The Undertaker has always been a significant superstar since his debut at Survivor Series 1990. He has become one of the most iconic figures in the wrestling industry and is, perhaps, the most respected individual on screen. His abilities to strike fear into the eyes of his opponents is unparallelled, and he can also be credited for being a master of the psychological games.
Triple H and the Undertaker have both been in WWE for extremely long and have both shown that they are very durable. While some argue that they have done everything, and they have nothing left to give to the company—or the pro-wrestling industry, as a whole—I have to say that I very much disagree. While it is true that they have both done everything possible, they had worked with whatever or whoever it was they had at the time, and they made the best of it. You can't tell me nothing or someone else won't come along the way...Can you?
Their experiences have made them grow into the type of viable competitors who can more than hold their own when it comes to stealing the show. If their hard work got them here today, then why can't people believe this same hard work could be put to great use for a single night?
There exists some form of respect between both men and the intensity of competition I expect to see isn't of the very best—but I do expect a great match. Being Wrestlemania 27, I am certain there would be some degree of that "X" factor that all Wrestlemania classical matches include.
I would like to state that I know for a fact that Triple H can defeat The Undertaker. The question is, "Is he going to?" On any given day, this match can go either way. The Undertaker and Triple H, to me, seem like equals at this point in their glorious careers. Triple H can beat The Undertaker...I just don't think it's going to happen. Why? The fact that this match is taking place at a Wrestlemania event just automatically gives the majority of the votes to the Undertaker. This is the Undertaker's night, and he will improve his streak to 19-0.
The build-up to this match has been everyone's biggest gripe; Most of you may be asking, "What build-up?" and I don't blame you...Somewhat. The unfortunate fact that a great buildup has been heavily disregarded is something I dislike but, while we would have been saying that their WM match had no buildup or true substance had it not been for the past week. I believe adding Michaels to the mix helped to add something special. I was very doubtful of having "The Heartbreak Kid" involved in the rivalry, but involving him proved to be a great idea as he added some much-needed emotion, tension and sheer interest. His involvement alone did so much to expand on the personalities of the Undertaker and Triple H alike.
During the seemingly repetitive promos, Triple H constantly mentions that he will defeat the Undertaker or "die trying." As of now, we all know that there's really nothing on the line for Triple H if he loses...Errr...When he loses. Maybe this line will be explained after Wrestlemania 27 takes place, but whatever the case is I'm curious to know. It's not often that Triple H is booked in storylines that don't make any sense.
The Undertaker also spoke, and what he had to say was somewhat interesting. It just intrigued me as I heard him say that if there was any one person he trusted to take him out, Triple H would be that person—because that's how much he respects him. I don't know if it's only me, but I believe he meant for this statement not to be taken in kayfabe terms only. I think he really trusts and respects Triple H.
Usually, the WWE does their absolute best when coming down to any "Icon vs. Icon" matchup, and many will agree with me that the WWE have dropped the ball with this one...Unless, Wrestlemania is only the beginning. Triple H and the Undertaker could very well take this confrontation past "The Grandest Stage Of Them All", and they see now as the beginning of what could be the greatest feud of 2011 if they decide to go this route. They could decide to spend a great deal of time and energy building the rivalry up into a long program. Come on, don't spoil this for me; I want it to happen so don't tell me I'm completely wrong and in over my head...Please?
While the WWE has ignored the fact that they both had a Wrestlemania encounter at the 17th annual event, you have to at least give the WWE Creative some props for allowing Triple H and The Undertaker to mention the fact that they are the "last of a dying breed:, that is they are the last two megastars from the "Attitude Era". I wouldn't have seen that one coming.
Also, the WWE Creative opted to move in the direction to shed some light on the fact that Triple H shows no remorse and gets dangerously physical, unlike Shawn Michaels. I agree 100 percent. Now, we're all smarter than this. We know Triple H will not be the victor, but this reason alone justifies his chances of surviving in the end and defeating "The Deadman" come Wrestlemania 27. Brillinat move. At least, it gets the inexperienced WWE fans hyped, and they get a point for that.
In support of the fact that there hasn't been any "true" build-up to this match in the eyes of most people, it should be noted that there have been incredible matches without great build. Therefore, why can this match not be one of those?
The match itself should be a given; It's going to be great. Although I'm worried about the Undertaker's health, I'm certain that his efforts will come to fruition once again as I look forward to him delivering a great match. He's done it before, so why can't he do it again? However, will he be able to deliver his greatest Wrestlemania performance? I think not.
The magic Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker worked at Wrestlemania 25 cannot be replicated. Many people often find fault in the "PG Era" due to the many restrictions placed upon the performers of the industry. One of the biggest concerns for this match-up is the high probability that there may not be heavy violence, that is the "No Holds Barred" stipulation may not be represented as what many feel it should be represented as. My take on the matter? Being two of the greatest veterans of the business, do I think they will they knock on the doors of their past and "blade" to add blood to their potentially awesome match? Honestly, I think "yes".
In the "WWE: The Legacy of Stone Cold Steve Austin" DVD, the man himself claims that Triple H is one of the guys who likes to go out there and have the best match on the card. Sure, he may have failed to have the best match on the Wrestlemania card during the previous occasions, but having a match with the Undertaker at Wrestlemania should be motivation for anyone to pull out all of the stops for one night only.
Given the circumstances, I also expect the Undertaker to be of the same mindframe. This is his chance to give Triple H his defining Wrestlemania moment, because let's be honest: Triple H, as much as he's done, has never gotten his Wrestlemania moment any and every superstar craves. As surprising as it is, this is very true. Hopefully, the stipulation gets taken advantage of, seeing as "No Holds Barred" has Triple H's name written all over it...At least, it used to.
In the end, I don't believe the Undertaker and Triple H are of the "PG Era" mindframes, and they most likely are going to go all out for this match. This match should be brilliant given both superstars' track record, and it is something every person should look forward to.
Truly speaking, this match has the potential to be the Undertaker's greatest Wrestlemania match of his career. Seriously. Why do I think so? We know to a fact that Shawn Michaels will be involved to some degree. While the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels have had the greatest "Wrestlemania Streak Match" thus far, I do believe that the relationships of Triple H and Shawn Michaels can give this match something very, very different—and so will the relationships of the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels.
You have to think of the past; All three men had storied pasts, more-so than one could ever imagine. Their relationships on-screen will have any fan begging for more interactions. That's just their game, and it does so much to improve the storytelling factor of this match.
Though Triple H may not add the same magic to this matchup like Shawn Michaels, he is very capable of adding just the same amount in magic in his own ways. Maybe he won't be able to go out there with the Undertaker and have the quality of a wrestling match that Shawn Michaels could deliver, but he can add a great level of entertainment to the the match.
When he pulls that sledgehammer out and things go haywire, you'll know what I'm talking about. That's only my opinion, and I think I may be getting heat for it due to the existence of either Triple H critics or obsessive Shawn Michaels fan-boys. Oh, well.
In the end, do I think this match will be the greatest match the Undertaker does have at Wrestlemania? My answer is, "Most likely not." We'll just have to wait and see, as we'll know exactly what the WWE creative had in mind all along. The booking and the different spots for this match should be off the charts, though I doubt we'll get it in spades. Like I said: We'll just have to wait and see.
I really do think people underrate the potential of this match, and the causes are either that these people either saw their match already, or that they didn't like the build-up. The match itself can be something magnetic once it gets started, so I wouldn't doubt the abilities of two of the all-time greats when it comes to it.
Due to this match being underrated, I think this match will catch people off guard because I believe, for some odd reason, it's going to be a lot better than they expect it to be.
The Winner and the After-Math:
The fact that we've seen this match already does not, in any way, affect my thoughts on the match. Why? Well, it was 10 years ago. Why didn't anyone have an issue with Stone Cold versus The Rock the second or the third time around? Perhaps people did, but I've never seen anyone criticize the idea.
Above, I mentioned that Triple H may just get his defining Wrestlemania moment this year. I truly think he will, but that doesn't mean I think he's going to win. He can get his moment in different fashion to winning. Remember Seve Austin's defining Wrestlemania moment? He got the worst beating of his life at the hands of Bret "The Hitman" Hart and he lost—but that's just it; It defined him!
The way I see things, I believe Triple H will look as good as, if not better than, The Undertaker. When it comes down to Triple H's booking, he always looks good—or so I think. At the end of it all, I think we'll hear the commentators mention something along the lines of there being no losers in the match—only two winners in the eyes of many.
I expect there to be some sort of special finish to the match, where the eventual winner will be the Undertaker. I think that the finish of the match will be one that benefits both superstars and would therefore have both men walking out looking better than they did going in. It will truly be one to fit the bill.
What I think would superbly improve the match is Shawn Michaels nailing both competitors with some "Sweet Chin Music." If you think about it, he never really got any closure with the Undertaker, and his character is the certain kind to prevent someone even as close as Triple H from surpassing him. You can just imagine it.
Should this have happened initially?
In my eyes, this match should have never happened. However, there's nothing I can do to change it. Instead, I'm trying to learn to embrace it, and not criticizing the hell out of it. If the match or the program goes terrible—which I highly doubt it will—then all I can say is that I hope the WWE learns form it. The way I see it, the WWE should have used someone else as The Undertaker's annual Wrestlemania challenge.
From the standpoint of a critic, one may judge that the best thing about this Wrestlemania confrontation is its potential to pave the way to a long-term feud after Wrestlemania, as mentioned in an above paragraph.
Veterans, I would love to see the Undertaker go one-on-one against John Cena and Chris Jericho. These matches would be epic, to say the very least.
Stars on the rise whom I would like to see the Undertaker face include Drew McIntyre, John Morrison and Daniel Bryan. Can you imagine the magnitude of the rub these guys would get off of him?
Potentially, this match can be spectacular. In the end, what I think is going to happen is we're all going to witness a great match. Now that my expectations are set to experience a great match from happening, if a superb match occurs I'll be happy. Lowered expectations can save the moment, you know.
Like always, the "smarks" will be in over their head over my points of view due to the fact that I support this match at the end of the day. The thing of it is, I'm no "smark"—Only a "mark" who sees the need to call the elements of the WWE down the middle. As of this writing, all of the opinions I have stated here are what I stand by.
At the end of the day, we need only accept the fact that we are not part of the WWE creative. We have to trust that the Undertaker and Triple H are two of the best veterans the business has ever seen. Having an uninteresting appeal to it on paper or having a soporific nature in the weeks leading up to the match doesn't mean the match itself is going to be unenjoyable.
Allow me to be completely honest here, ever since the Mysterio versus Cody Rhodes saga began, that match was the top priority of my interest. I have high hopes for the success of Cody Rhodes, as I personally deem him a worthy WWE megastar.
However, ever since Shawn Michaels jumped onto the scene this past Monday night on Raw, I couldn't help but place this match as top Wrestlemania priority. Why? I myself can't state why, but it is something I cannot disregard. My gut instinct is telling me this match will steal the show, and for that matter, will be the highlight of the night.
Thanks for reading this article, guys. I hope you enjoyed it, and I look forward to reading your views and opinions about this article. Feedback will be great.
Here's hoping you all enjoy Wrestlemania 27.
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