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Posted in: LOP Hall Of Fame
2014 LOP Hall of Fame Inductee: Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker at the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania
By Super Chrisss
Apr 2, 2014 - 3:00:00 PM


Image by Snowman



The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at the 25th Anniversary of Wrestlemania is the closest thing to a 'perfect' wrestling match that I have ever witnessed. If you're a fan of in-ring story-telling, this match is for you. If you're a fan of various submission holds and a competitor targeting his opponent's specific body part in order to 'take away' what ever advantage he may hold over you, then this match is for you. If you're a fan of nail-biting, edge-of-your-seats near-falls, where it looks like the match could be over if either wrestler makes one fatal mistake, then this match is also for you. Hell, if you want to see a twenty-plus year veteran come within an inch of ending his career due to a mistimed spot, then guess what? This match is for you.

Don't get me wrong; 'Taker vs. Michaels - as amazing and epic as it is - is NOT a perfect match. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a 'perfect' match. After all, what I find enjoyable about a match might not be the same things you pay attention to when watching a contest. Furthermore, why would we continue to dedicate a significant portion of our free time to wrestling if we've already seen the best match that can ever be created, and nothing will ever come close to matching it or surpassing it in quality?

That being said, Shawn Michaels' first attempt at ending The Undertaker's undefeated streak at Wrestlemania will go down in history as one of the best matches EVER. It may not be 'perfect', but it doesn't have to be; Michaels vs. Taker is just so darn epic it has become the modern-day blueprint for what it means for a wrestler to go out there and have an amazing match. They did it without blood, they did it without using any weapons, they did it without 'swerving' the fans just for the fun of it. On that night in 2009, Michaels and 'Taker - despite being two of the biggest names in pro wrestling history - went out there and had a better match than every other roster member, who were all younger than either man. Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker had nothing to prove by wrestling a classic at Wrestlemania XXV, but they did it anyway.

For you younger readers/newer wrestling fans who have never seen this match before, stop what you're doing and go watch it. Right now. YouTube it, find it on the WWE Network, do any means necessary to watch poetry in motion. Just so you know, there are two parts of Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (in my opinion). The first ten-twelve minutes consists of each man trying to one-up the other, be it via strikes, wrestling holds, or submissions. As Jim Ross explains, "Michaels is trying to take away The Undertaker's vertigo". You'll see HBK pull out a Figure-Four, and even a Crossface. It's just a fun ten minutes of action that could have been its own separate match on Raw.

Then there's the "intermission" as critics of the match will call it. Those who do NOT consider 'Taker vs. Michaels a five-star encounter will argue that the middle portion of the match dragged it down. I call "B.S." on that one. Both men took very dangerous bumps; first Michaels performed a moonsault to the outside, only for The Deadman to literally swat him away - that must have hurt. Then, the greatest botch in Wrestlemania history occurs when 'Taker performs a suicide dive to the outside only for the fake cameraman (played by former WWE star Sim Snuka a.k.a. Deuce) to be out of position and nearly drop 'Taker right on his head. The replay of 'Taker's almost tragic fall is tough for me to watch on every viewing. It is nothing short of a miracle that The Undertaker did not actually become a Deadman halfway through that match. It was one hell of a scary bump. I don't blame both men for taking their time getting back in the ring, as at least one of their careers came dangerously close to ending that night.

But once all three men are back in the ring (the almost-KOed referee being the third man), it's all for nothing for both men as they hit signature move after finisher after another trying to put the other away. I've lost count how many Chokeslams, Sweet Chin Musics, and Tombestone Piledrivers (both attempted and successful) they hit each other with on that night. However, I'll never forget jumping out of my seat the moment HBK barely kicked out of a Tombstone nearly thirty minutes into the action. That was a Wrestlemania moment in itself, quite frankly.

Of course, The Undertaker would walk away with the victory that night, extending his Wrestlemania streak to 17-0 but we, the fans, were the true winners for being able to witness history being made. Even J.R. sounded beyond grateful for being able to call that match.

One year later, 'Taker and HBK would wrestle in a Wrestlemania rematch with Michaels putting his career on his line, and although that match was fantastic in it's own right, it simply does not compare to their WM25 clinic in this writer's eyes. Hey, if you're asking me, there is simply NO match in 'Mania history that is better than The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at the 25th Anniversary of Wrestlemania. It's not 'perfect', but close enough.

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