Triple H and Undertaker defined an era in their WrestleMania bout. They entered the Georgia Dome as entertainers, they left an awestruck audience as legends.
What Triple H and 'Taker could not make up for with in-ring prowess, they more than matched in psychology and storytelling. From a storytelling perspective, Triple H took the Undertaker to a truly career-defining match on wrestling's grandest stage.
Going into this match, Hunter had yet to truly have his defining moment on wrestling's biggest stage. After battling the 'Taker, there is no doubt he earned immortality.
It wasn't a technical masterpiece. Instead of trying to replicate the magic of HBK vs. 'Taker from the years prior WrestleManias, Triple H and 'Taker set out to forge a new and defining legacy in the squared-circle.
They did not disappoint, as these two titans clashed over the Undertaker's 'Mania Streak. The story was about Triple H's desire to be "the one." This was sold very well by a returning Jim Ross, who has always had a knack for creating a narrative in big matches.
From the opening entrance to Metallica's For Whom the Bell Tolls, to the eerie Johnny Cash entrance for the "Dead Man," this match delivered.
Triple H took the 'Taker to the limits, utilizing tables, chairs and even the Undertaker's signature "tombstone pile-driver" in attempts to slay the "Dead Man."
Which is Better?
As Triple H pleaded for 'Taker to "stay down," there was a wind of change flowing through the Georgia Dome. The Undertaker was the prey, beaten and at the end of his rope. He was weak, exposed and almost human. 'Taker looked like a man caught up in a legend, kept alive by a winning streak that will never be duplicated.
For fans, it was a surreal moment as 'Taker struggled to ward off a sledgehammer-wielding Triple H. The reality of an end to the vaunted 'Mania streak had set in.
As Hunter moved in for the kill, a desperate Undertaker caught "The Game" in the "Devil's Triangle," also known as a gogoplata choke hold. As Triple H struggled to break the hold, the fans rose to a fever pitch.
One last chance, one last gasp, as Hunter reached for the sledgehammer. Consciousness fading, the hammer fell...the battle was over. Triple H reluctantly tapped out, the Game was over.
Somehow, the Dead Man had prevailed. Nothing left in the tank, the streak would live on.
There would be no celebration. No crowd-pleasing pose before an awe-inspired audience. Instead, the loser would walk away. The winner was left laying on his back before being carried out on a stretcher. The final chapter had been written.
While time will tell whether the Undertaker will return, in his victory to attain 19-0, he may have given the last of who he is.
Triple H may not have ended the streak, but in his attempt, he may have ended the career of the Undertaker.
The Undertaker went out on his back, a winner, before an awe-struck audience around the world. Triple H and 'Taker defined their careers in an unforgettable battle. In what may have been his final stand, the Undertaker leaves WrestleMania battered, broken—and undefeated.
If this is the final time either of these men step into a ring, it will go down as one of, if not the most memorable match in their careers. Here's to a match that may never be topped, and will never be duplicated.
R.I.P. 19-0 WrestleMania 27