Rumors paired with current storyline hype predict that Wrestlemania XXVI will showcase a WMXXV rematch between the Heart Break Kid Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. When these two went at it back in the late 90s they had incredible matches, with the first Hell in a Cell match being their highest praised bout against one another. Last year at Wrestlemania XXV they went at it again and told an entirely different story that their 90s matches told, and made for one of the greatest, if not the greatest match of 2009. With the resume their series boasts, a rematch between these two icons would be most welcome to any wrestling fan. However, should this match be at Wrestlemania XXVI?
The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Mania has become a staple of the event. More so than the Money in the Bank ladder match and almost more valuable than the Royal Rumble winner getting a title shot. This is not to say the title matches at Mania are unimportant, but with two main championships, the Rumble winner merely gets to choose the title they get a shot at while just about anyone can fight for the other title. Taker only has one opponent at Mania and as his winning record increases every year, so does the importance of any Taker match that can happen on the grandest stage of them all.
Like HBK has boasted in the past, Shawn Michaels is Mr. Wrestlemania. With the exception of his early WWE years and a few others, HBK has for the most part been in the best match every Wrestlemania he has wrestled. With that kind of performance year after year, and the undefeated streak of the Dead Man, Taker vs. HBK may be one of the biggest matches that can happen at Mania. The match can only be bigger if it were to be in the main event with a title on the line.
Very few wrestlers have participated in a series of matches that span two or three Manias. Perhaps the greatest WM rivalry of all time was Steve Austin vs. The Rock. Every year they were able to put on a different match and tell a different story. What kept their series fresh was the gap between the matches. They wrestled at WM XV, XVII, and XIX. Had they wrestled at back to back Manias (which may have happened at WM XVI had Austin not suffered an unfortunate injury), it may have become redundant. Sure, The Hardyz, Dudleyz, and Edge & Christian competed in back to back triple threat tag team matches involving tables, ladders and chairs at WM XV and XVI, but they were not the main attraction of the show. Not only that, but their legacy still lingers at Mania in the Money in the Bank ladder match which seems to become little else than the designated spot fest of the night. Undertaker himself has participated in a WM series by fighting Kane at WM XIV and XX. With six years separating the two matches and drastic changes in the Kane and Undertaker characters, the match came across as very fresh.
Should the Taker-HBK match happen at Mania, they will put on a great show. It’s just a fact, like the sun rising tomorrow. However, it is not the most desirable role for either man this year heading into Mania. There are so many other viable opponents this year for both men. WWE hinted at a Taker-Cena match some weeks back, which would be huge. It’s the perfect story of an old school dog defending his territory from the young male trying to usurp him. Taker has never gone one-on-one with Chris Jericho at a pay per view, wouldn?t Wrestlemania be the perfect stage for such a match? There are also the many young up-and-comers on the Smackdown roster that could square off against The Undertaker. In the past, we have seen John Cena forgo his WM title match to get it one month early back in 2008. It seems that the only reason anyone should ever pass up the Wrestlemania title match would be to fight The Undertaker instead. That itself opens up Taker to several people on all three brands.
Shawn Michaels has had great matches against so many different men at WM. However, like Taker, HBK is not getting any younger and the number of Wrestlemanias he will participate gets smaller and smaller every year. Michaels has so many options at WM every year. To see him fight against Taker, unless they do something to make it drastically different such as adding a title to the mix or a stipulation, the match will not feel as special and will be compared to last year’s, which they may not be able to top.
Not only would a Taker-HBK match at Wrestlemania XXVI be anticlimactic and possibly underwhelming, it will likely not happen at all. Something seems fishy with all that is going on with the HBK character. His insistence on getting in the ring with Taker at WMXXVI smells more of swerve than lock for Mania. After what happened last Monday between Michaels and Vince McMahon, a possible angle is for HBK to somehow coerce Brat Hart into giving him Taker at Mania. Perhaps HBK could say Hart deserves his revenge and at Mania Hart could feed HBK to Taker as the Dead Man is the only one who can make Hart proud by the beating HBK would endure. Should they go this route; Hart wouldn?t fall for HBK’s game and instead give Michaels another opponent at Mania, or sidetrack Michaels into a different feud altogether.
This is not to say that a Taker-HBK match would not be intriguing nor great, but it would at least feel underwhelming since this is Wrestlemania we are talking about and fresh main events are very much needed. At this point, Triple H fighting HBK or Taker would seem fresher than another HBK-Taker match. Regardless, we will watch. After all, it’s Wrestlemania.
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