The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels two of the biggest superstars in Word Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) history. Both multiple time WWE and World Heavyweight Champions but one question needs to be answered. Who will leave the state of the WWE in the best shape upon their retirement? Who will help make superstars and give the fans 100 percent on their way out the door? Time will of course only tell. Both are guaranteed hall of famers but i want to know who will be known as the one that gave back as much as they got from the company that made them.
The Undertaker, The Phenom, The Deadman, Big Evil, whatever you choose to call him one thing is for sure he is easily in the top 10 if the best superstars in WWE history. When he entered the WWE at Survivor Series 1990 with Ted Dibiase no one could have foretold what kind of impact Taker was going to make on the the WWE. As we all know now Taker is one of the longest running and most dominate superstars in history in my opinion.
Taker is by far my favorite superstar ever in WWE and wrestling history. As I have watched him go in and out of the title hunt and being, in my opinion, involved in some of the greatest story lines in history. I can only hope when he leaves the business he not only goes out on top but is looked at by the younger stars as a superstar to emulate. Taker has faced every kind of superstar that has graced a WWE ring from his early matches with Jimmy Snuka, Hulk Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and Ultimate Warrior.
Superstars that made wrestling popular in the mid '90s in the attitude era “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, and Mankind. With now facing the likes of Mr. Kennedy, John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista, and Edge. I believe The Phenom gives as much to the younger talent of current times as he did when he was the up and comer facing the established stars in the '90s.
I think Cena, Orton, Batista, and Edge have all benefited from their matches and feuds with The Undertaker. I remember the early days of Cena on Smackdown when he started his “Battle Rapping” with superstars and He had “Disrespected” The Undertaker Cena’s early matches with The Phenom and eventually getting the pin fall victory on him prepared Cena for the future of his career eventually becoming U.S. Champ and eventually WWE Champion.
Would there have been an Age of Orton if Randy would have dropped the ball in his feud against The Undertaker starting at Wrestlemania 21? Arguably he could have but I do believe he couldn’t have claimed to be “The Legend Killer” without going one on one with The Deadman. Could Batista ever be considered a legit heavyweight champion or contender without His wrestlemania 23 match with Taker and continuing feud over the world title and his Win over the Deadman at Cyber Sunday in '07? What about his 2008 feud with Edge that showed everyone just how damn good The Rated R Superstar can be.
Lets go back to towards the end of the Attitude Era with the likes of Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Booker T, RVD, and Chris Jericho. Taker has faced all of these men and respectively lost to them in some form or another. The Undertaker and Kurt Angle had a great series of matches befor Angle’s departure from WWE. There isn’t one main event superstar today that hasn’t benefited from getting in the squared circle with The Undertaker.
“Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Micheals (HBK) , The Show Stopper, The Icon, Mr. Wrestlemania. Just as The Undertaker has no one else can has a claim to WWE immortality as our beloved HBK. When he came on the scene as one half of the tag team The Rockers on July 7, 1988 at a house show. Just as Taker, HBK has faced the absolute best to ever grace the sport.
Bret Hart, “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig. Shawn benefited from established stars on his rise to WWE superstardom such as “Marcho Man” Randy Savage and Ric Flair. The question rises has HBK “made” any other superstars on his climb? If Shawn wasn’t as good as he is would his Wrestlemania 13 match with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin been as much of a catalyst to the Austin Era?
Yes after that match Michaels was gone from active wrestling until his return to the ring at Summerslam 2002 when him and HHH (Hunter Hearst Helmsley) tore the house down. Would Jericho be as effective as a heel if his first feud with HBK starting at Royal Rumble 2003 and the epic match they had together at Wrestlemania 19? Yes, Jericho was an established star at this time but, Shawn helped show why Jericho was the first ever “Undisputed” Champion.
What about the current main event roster. Shawn has had programs with all of them. Orton, Edge, Cena, Batista.... They have all shown in matches with “The Show Stopper” why they are allowed to carry the WWE torch. Could John Cena ever have been considered a “real” champion with out his Wrestlemania 23 match with HBK? Would the Randy “The Legend Killer” Orton have ever started “The Age Of Orton” with out his win over “The Icon” at Judgement Day 2007? Would Batista be able to keep the moniker “The Animal” with out the Stretcher Match at One Night Stand 2008? Who else could’ve given Ric Flair the match he deserved for retirement the “Mr.Wrestlemania” himself.
Looking at the both our beloved WWE mainstays, The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels they have faced the same stars. And arguably have turned some of those same stars into Superstars. The Undertakers ladder match with Jeff Hardy showed that the younger Hardy can go for the WWE title. We all also remember the Shawn Michaels vs. Shelton Benjamin on Raw that showed that Benjamin has the tools to put on a match of the year and to go with any main eventer to date.
There are some new up and comers Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase Jr., R-Truth, MVP, Manu, and Evan Bourne. Will our beloved Icons give them the push they have given so many others. Or when the end of both of these illustrious careers comes to an end will there be an up and comer or an established superstar what will want to get in the ring with these men for their final program because they know that they will only help them cement their careers, and give the deserving Taker or HBK the final match they deserve? Or will no one want to because the question will be asked “What have they done for this company?”