Triple H vs The Undertaker, WrestleMania XXVII, Atlanta, Georgia
So, Bret reckons Triple H has never really had a great match? I beg to differ as this beast of a match has grown to become one of my absolute favourites. Fair enough Bret, you're still number one for WrestleMania 13 and for years Eddie vs Brock was one of the only matches that got close to that for me. But Triple H vs Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVII is right up there with them. It's a masterpeice. And it's better than Takers match with Michaels at WrestleMania XXV in my book, but that match itself is actually an integral part of what makes the Triple H match and it's build so damn good. The build is an essential part to discuss with regard this match. Bret is undoubtedly for me the master of the art of storytelling with wrestling, he was pretty phenomenal with it (and i don't mean just working a fucking bodypart with that) but with this match and even before it, Triple H and Undertaker proved just how good they are at that art too. That is one of the biggest things i adore about wrestling, the physcology and storytelling and when you get guys who truly master that artfrom (and it is an artform) it's just beautiful to watch, be a part of and experience. Whereas i feel they went a bit overboard with it the following year in Hell in a Cell, here they get it just right. It's a majestic match.
So let's set the scene. The year prior at WrestleMania XXVI, Undertaker had retired Shawn Michaels in their WrestleMania rematch. Which itself told a fantastic story from the moment Shawn Michaels expressed his desire to tackle Undertakers streak again at the Slammys, right through Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber. It's pretty fondly spoke of on this forum and rightly so, i also absolutely adore it and it's become another of my favourite things in wrestling. It actually of course started well before the Slammys and WrestleMania XXV, it all began at Royal Rumble 2007. Fucking 2007! I love that something in wrestling can still have a gradual story spanning such an amount of time in todays day and age and also be handled so damn well. That's probably in great part to the superstars involved within, these guys just 100% understand and get their characters and how to present them - more on that later. The only thing that was ever wrong with the Undertaker-Michaels build for me personally was i think they missed a trick in the final set-up of the match. They finished Rumble 2007 in epic fashion and then in a fantastic and surprising move, their story continued as they started the Rumble 2008 together, which really set the tone and planted the seeds for what was to come and i loved that touch. But i always felt and was disappointed it wasn't a Rumble trilogy. I really felt that at Rumble 2009 they should have met again, this time in the middle. The 2009 Rumble was a bit of a nothing one anyway and i reckon that would have whet fans appetites to see them face at 'Mania just the right way. Would have made for a great moment i think to have had Shawn arrive in that Rumble, as he generally does in those, clean house, Sweet Chin Music everyone, eventually clear the ring and be left alone just in time for a countdown. Then the lights go out, Undertaker arrives and part 3 commences. Anyway, that didn't happen but they did face at WMXXV and then Michaels had his epic Rumble story on his quest to face the Undertaker again which began to involve Triple H. You can read about those events with Chilli Vanillis fantastic write ups in the thread that spawned this one here and here.
So Michaels lost at XXVI and retired as a result. The streak was that important, had become that big of a deal that Michaels who was all about stealing the show and being the best, if he couldn't achieve this ultimate goal, his career was over and he had nothing more to strive for, not being able to best the Undertaker at the grandest stage of them all, where he loved to steal the show more than any other night in the year, it was all over for him and it was time to hang them up. That's pretty huge and heightened the streak and its aura massively. Which brings us to WrestleMania XXVII, the streak was now so huge, it was in many peoples eyes wrestlings best story, it had become the biggest highlight of WrestleMania and the goal of ending Undertakers streak the single greatest achievement in all of wrestling. So no longer could just anybody challenge Undertaker at WrestleMania. It now becomes a big discussion point on who will challenge the Undertaker each year. With this years WrestleMania taking place in Atlanta and rumours running rampant that 'Mania would have some WCW homages and themes, murmurs began that one of the long anticipated, last remaining potential dream matches of Sting vs The Undertaker was going to happen. It needed to be something big to be worthy of a streak match and that would certainly qualify. And it almost seemed all the pieces were falling into the place for it to happen. And then, on an episode of Raw. This happened -
Which got everyone just a little bit excited and spawned this legendary UKFF discussion.
I was suckered in somewhat, i never 100% believed or was adamant we were getting Sting, but i always felt someone in WWE knew exactly what they was doing with that first promo. It soon became clear (to most) 2.21.11 was about the return of The Undertaker. I loved those little videos, i generally love all the imagery that surrounds The Undertaker and that's another of the things i really adore about wrestling is some of the fantastic imagery it creates. And Triple H and Undertaker get the importance of that, how it adds to their aura and presence and they provide plenty of those moments in their build-up and match here. The vignettes that accompanied it all aided greatly though, i've gushed over WWEs video production work many times, they are generally pretty great with Undertaker stuff but when it came to telling the story of Undertakers WrestleMania at XXVI and here at XXVII they were just incredible and i'll be posting plenty of videos in this post. I dig the whole character of The Undertaker, i've loved the way the character has evolved over the years and i loved the use of him with the lone shack in the 2.21.11 videos. Reminded me of his old videos where he was shown building the caskets for his victims toward an upcoming casket match. Made it feel almost like he was returning to his roots and it added to the underlying western type feel Undertaker has often had, which is something that seemed to become more emphasised with this return of The Undertaker and i felt suited him and this stage of his career perfectly. The Clint Eastwood of wrestling.
So 2.21.11 arrives and Undertaker makes his big return. But so does someone else and interrupts his big comeback...
God i fucking loved that whole moment. It was incredibly well played by both men, going back to my earlier point of how good these two are at telling a story, here they do it beautifully. Not a word is said, the whole thing is sold on the facials and the body language - so much of a wrestling match is told with those two things, if you can master those skills then there's a good chance you can be a pretty good wrestler. These two get it completely and use those qualities to great effect in that segment and in this upcoming match. Oh how i love this moment though, i know this is a thread designed to sing Triple Hs praises and they are both magnificent here but Undertaker in particular is incredible. His body language and facial expressions are so good, they tell the story so well and this again, follows similar form when we get to the actual match.
Undertaker returns as expected. But as soon as he's in the ring we're surprised by Triple H also returning. Undertakers face says he's furious but not allowing that fury to take over as it's also saying 'How dare you interrupt me and my time'. I love how Undertaker has almost gone on to have this command over his streak and who gets to challenge it, he deems who is worthy. He basically let Shawn know first time around he was, then Shawn didn't quite get it done. He's desperate to challenge again but Undertaker initially has none of it - 'The answer...is no' it has to be a serious challenge and someone truly worthy, if you've had a crack already...there's a good chance you're shit out of luck at trying again. Which brings us back to Triple H arriving. Triple Hs body language is all bang on here too, interrupting the Dead Man in his yard in his moment but always knowing Undertaker is staring death through him, peering over his shoulder as he's on the apron and locking eyes as he walks to the turnbuckle, never dropping face, making it clear 'Yeah, i dare interrupt you and you know nobody but me could'. They come face to face and do the now pretty cliche look and acknowledgement of the WrestleMania marquee, although here it's use is perfect. It becomes clear Triple H wants Undertaker at WrestleMania. Undertaker, again having that command is now amused by such a challenge.
Man i loved that. It seemed almost uncharacteristic of 'Taker to smirk like that but it works so well. Again - 'You want me at WrestleMania? Ha, you've had your chance, think again, you're not worthy of challenging me and my streak.' And he dons his hat and begins to walk away to exit.. but stops suddenly - It's like the past couple of years quickly run through his mind, all the shit he had with Shawn last year so that Shawn could get his match. He can't be fucking around with that again and Trips is going to be just as bad, if not worse and definitely more ruthless. He turns back to Triple H and he's furious again going through those thoughts. He gives Triple H his signature cut-throat signal - 'You want to try and take my streak? Fine, you just try...i'll end you like i ended your boy Shawn.' And suitably, Triple Hs sure response is to give the DX crotch chop, acknowledging HBK also. It was so, so brilliantly done, i have so much love for it and it set the tone beautifully. It felt massive, suitably massive which a streak match needs to be.
As mentioned before, the videos that accompanied the hype for this match were just sublime. As great as the challenge segment was, many fans expressed their concerns that nobody really believes Triple H is going to beat Undertaker for the streak...but slowly but surely clouds of doubt began to cast over that notion. Which only increased when we get to the match and Triple H and Undertaker play out the match expertly. After that initial confrontation though, WWE aired a video with loads of guys on the rest of the roster and Hall of Famers discussing the segment, gushing over it much like i have and hyping how big these two meeting at WrestleMania will be, which does a great job of adding to that 'BIG MATCH' feel it was already starting to gather. Not only that though, it does a fantastic job in starting to make you think maybe Triple H will do it, particulalry when we get to Shawn Michaels and he declares...
'Nothing lasts forever...'
I adore that video, it's note perfect. It sets the tone and plants the seeds for the story in the just the right way. Quite frankly, you could have had nothing more than their confrontation and that video before the match took place and that could have been enough for me. But they both had some promo time each, which is summed up in this following final video, which is the one that also aired at WrestleMania just before the match starts. It's possibly even more perfect than the video i just posted and it's almost as good as the 'Running Up That Hill' video the year previous.
'...when it dies, you die. And if i can't end it, then i'll die trying.'
'There can only be one Last Outlaw.'
How good is that? WWE are so, so damn good at those videos. That song fits so well to the story and feel of what their match is about, it's as if it was written purely for it.
So that sets the tone for our match, hopefully that hypes you about watching it as much as it has me. So after all that, how about we get to it and get to the actual match?
The entrances - I said before, these guys often provide some great imagery - which adds to their whole aura. It's become tradition for these guys to have big entrances at WrestleMania, especially Undertaker. I vividly remember watching this live at the time and as we got to their entrances it had, perhaps more than any match in recent memory, that 'BIG MATCH' vibe i spoke of before. These guys know how to create that better than most, put them together and it's fucking huge. And their entrances provide some of that awesome imagery here. I loved the WrestleMania set-up for this year, the big stage and long aisle seemed to be set-up purely for these guys entrances. I remember there was rumours that Undertaker was going to ride in on a horse - which fit his 'Last Outlaw' schtick he'd had since coming back and particularly the T-shirt featuring that monkier released at the time. The lights go out, the fans scream and surely think here comes Undertaker. The bell tolls, but it sounds different to usual. That's because we're actually getting Triple H first and it breaks into Metallicas 'For whom the bell tolls'. This entrance is fucking badass. That 'BIG MATCH' vibe is just being added to and escalating with each passing moment. The production on this entrance is massive and it feels massive. The videowall turns into a post apocalyptic wasteland as the camera pans up the long aisle and a number of men covered by shields form a line filling the stage. As the first line of 'For whom the bell tolls' hits a spotlight shines down, the shields part and Triple H is revealed in all his barbarian warrior garb. Like this
As the bell tolls again, the lights go back out. As they come back on we burst into 'It's time to play the game...' and Trips is down to his general wrestling clobber and looking in awesome condition. The first time the commentators speak up and it's J.R and King, J.R making us aware that they're back together for this match (King and Cole had a match earlier), all adding to the epic nature of this match. After Trips does all his signature entrance bits, he takes a good look around the arena soaking it all in. But then the music stops and the lights come up and he immediately switches his focus. He's on and his eyes lock to the entrance, he's looking seriously intense. In a real neat little touch his focus is interupted by a mixture of fans chanting 'Un-der-taker' and 'Trip-ul-Aitch'. He reliases this and holds up his index finger 'There can only be one...'.
Out go the lights. And 'Ain't No Grave' kicks in. Undertakers entrance is surprisingly understated. There's no riding a horse in after all...but i think it's all the better for it. I really like his entrance being relatively simple here and i absolutely adore the old western vibe that was created with him as 'The Last Outlaw' and the Johnny Cash connection. Plus he's wearing a swanky new jacket. The shot continually cuts to Triple H as Undertaker makes his entrance and man does he ever look on. So intense and so focused. Shit is about to go down, he wants this, he wants it bad.
They stare down as Scott Armstrong explains the rules but as soon as they retreat to their corners they both set themselves to a ready fighting stance. The bell rings and we're right into it straight away, they both go full steam ahead much like the two rams comparison Michaels described in one of the videos above. Trips gains the early advantage with heavy rights as King exclaims 'This is as tense an atmosphere as i've ever felt anywhere' and i'm inclined to believe him. Undertaker manages to create some space then grabs Triple H and tosses him straight over the top to the outside. Undertaker heads outside and Triple H lands a few more bombs but Undertaker gets free again and this time tosses him into the steel steps. He then starts to clear the spanish announce table, big things happenening early here - Undertaker turns his attention back to Triple H and Triple H charges him and they go straight into and through 'The Cole Mine' completely wiping out Michael Coles personal commentary bunker.
Triple H gets back into the ring and Undertaker sits up, now he's looking intense. He's realising Triple H ain't messing about, this is No Holds Barred and he's going to take full advantage of that and do whatever it takes to defeat The Undertaker. Triple H invites Undertaker back into the ring. The Deadman realises shit is on. He's gets back in and we're straight back into another slugfest. Undertaker throws some big bombs this time and King says 'This match is barely two minutes old, there's going to be some serious destruction before this one's out' and boy is he right. Undertaker gains the advantage and sets up for the 'old school' but Triple H counters and tosses him from the tope rope. King again - 'If that's an omen of what's to come, this could indeed be a dark day for The Undertaker.' He seems to be on pretty good form here.
We're back to the outside and H 'lines The Phenom out and then proceeds to irish whip him into the barricade and this time Triple H goes to the announce table, this time J.R and Kings and clears it. Undertaker has taken some early damage and Trips is looking for something big, again he's really not messing about here. He takes Taker and plants his head into the table. Triple H climbs atop the table and begins to set Undertaker up for the pedigree. The tone is being set early here - that Triple H is the aggressor and that Undertaker is fighting to survive, for his streak to survive. Undertaker breaks free and goozles Trips, but Trips boots him in the gut and looks to hook up the pedigree again but this time Undertaker counters with a BIIIG BACK BODY DROP. And i'm not joking it's a massive one from the announce table to the floor, looked pretty brutal.
The replay is shown and Trips really lands with a massive thud. Undertaker slowly climbs back into the ring and he's looking pretty rough already. It's early but there's been some big hits and he may have just evened the score with that counter. Trips is still outside and Undertaker is using the ropes to struggle to his feet and OH SHIT! it starts to dawn on me and much of the crowd what is about to happen. It's that time...Undertaker is going to go balls to the wall and go for that signature spot that almost kills him every year...every time it's hard to watch the first time and it's actually no different now, this is due in part though to the fact Undertakers selling big time already here, which is to become a big part of the match, his selling is incredible in this match and the way he's dragging himself up and stumbling about mouth gasping open, you think there's no way he's going to dare go for it, let alone make it, adding to the drama tremendously...HERE IT COMES....
He makes it but damn near lands on his head AGAIN, but fuck, it's a hell of a spot and a hell of an impressive feat for a man his size and in the state he's supposedly in. Both men are broken and battered on the floor. 'Taker is up first and he shifts the bottom portion of the steel steps over, away from the ring. Undertakers hit some big offence now and has gained control, he's showing why you don't fuck with the Deadman at WrestleMania, that he will go all out...but he's also showing signs of early weakness, he looks battered. He grabs H and drags him over to the steps and plants his face into them. Undertaker gets onto the steps and hoists him up looking like he's looking for a Tombstone. He's looking for a big move to finish it, he's desperate to finish it. Triple H slips out and counters. Undertaker has been taken off the steps he charges at Triple H launching himself off the steps but Trips catches him and counters into a sweet Double A spinebuster BOOM straight through the spanish announce table. Oh shit, that's gonna fuck 'Taker. Great spot and sequence. They've both looked for big moves to finish it - Pedigree through the table, Tombstone on the steps and had them countered.
They head back into the ring and this is where i really start to fall in love with the match i think. J.R and King are really selling that the streak is in more jeopardy then it's ever been here, that nothing lasts forever, that's a fact and that someday, some how the streak will have to end - but is this the night? It's almsot as if Undertaker hears them and it fuels him, as he's smarting from the spinebuster and Triple H goes to attack he manages to grab him and nail a chokeslam. There's still life in The Undertaker yet. We have our first cover and Trips is out at 2. Undertaker knew that woudn't do it, but he's hurting. He knows he needs something bigger. He resorts to a straight right to the head, a headbutt and low boot and then looks to set up for The Last Ride. There's his something bigger, Trips senses this and kicks into defence and charges Undertaker into the corner. Triple H almsot makes a big mistake as we approach a big sequence, he climbs the buckles and plants some bombs into The Deadmans skull, Undertaker counters and goes for The Last Ride again. Trips breaks free again boot to the mid-section looks for a pedigree, doesn't find it as Undertaker hoists him up onto his shoulder, drops him with snake eyes and looks to follow up off the ropes with a big boot but Triple H counters again with another big Double A Spinebuster! Trips first cover and 'Taker is out at 2.
As Triple H slips to the outside King begins to question what more they can do to each other, which is timed well as Triple H at that precise moment grabs a steel chair. J.R reminds us it's No Holds Barred, anything is legal. Remember Trips is ruthless and will do whatever it takes to win this, he won't suffer the emotion Shawn did. So, he's gonna be ruthless with this chair...not yet he's not, as he meets a big boot from The Undertaker. Undertaker now has hold of the chair and Undertaker swings a fucking mean steel chair (just ask Maven). He brings it crashing down over Trips' back to a loud SMACK. He didn't hold back on that, the chair is all bent out of shape already. He swings the chair back again, this time looking for something more brutal, Triple H counters - PEDIGREE!
ONE...TWO....NO! Of course not, not yet. That's our first close near fall though and you know there's a whole lot more of those badboys coming up. The throw all your finishers at you, multiple false finishes is something that should feel overdone, particularly at 'Mania and perhaps particularly in Undertakers matches but it suits the drama of the streak matches perfectly and always manages to hook you. Although you knew it wouldn't end there, the Pedigree is a well protected move, few ever kick out of it. Any more get hit and it does put things in doubt. Triple H takes Undertaker to the corner and is looking for a superplex. Undertaker escapes though and gets under Triple H and finally gets that Last Ride. Cover - One...TWO...THRE-NO! So close. Undertakers begins to show frustration now. He gets back to his feet, frustrated and angry, he knows what he needs to do...he gives the signal
'That'll do it!' Claims J.R. No it won't, Triple H kicks out and Undertaker can't believe it and now he's really frustrated, he thought he had it sealed with that. Is he begining to question and doubt himself? Does he still have what it takes? He hesitates for a moment but then grabs the steel chair again and throws it down to the mat. He struggles in picking up Triple H who's just dead weight at this point. He hoists him back up - he needs something bigger than the Tombstone, something deadly, he wants to deliver the Tombstone on the chair but Triple H escapes and counters into a DDT onto the chair for 'Taker. There's still fight in The Game.
They're both down. We're at a stalemate, both men have hit some big offence and both men have countered some big offence, they're looking very much equal right now. They begin to stir, both struggling and willing themselves to their feet. Undertaker's looking really beat up now, they both use the ropes to help them get to their feet, they turn to meet each other - BOOM PEDIGREE! Pedigree#2. One...TWO...Undertaker kicks out! They struggle to their feet again...BOOM! A third pedigree, straight into the cover...UNDERTAKER KICKS OUT! The crowd popped big for that one. Now Triple H is frustrated and questioning himself. You cannot beat The Undertaker at WrestleMania. It cannot be done. He will not quit, he will not give up the steak, um streak. Triple H is shifitng towards the ropes on the mat to get back up and he shuffles upon the steel chair, still laying in the ring. Triple H is great here, finds the chair, looks at it 'That'll do nicely' and decides he's going to use that to finish Undertaker off. He uses the chair and the ropes to help him back to his feet. He returns the favor from earlier and gives a prone Undertaker a viscious chair shot to the back. This is it, we're getting to the real good bits and good performances now. This is where the story of this match and next year begins to shape up. Triple H is about to kick in to that level that few possess, the ruthlessness of the Cerebral Assassin. He sees the end, he knows what he has to do and he is not going to hold anything back. It's clear The Undertaker is close to finished and Triple H is the man to finish him. Triple H stumbles back after the shot, he's hurt to and assesses the damage. Undertaker begins to rise up...another chair shot! Triple H again surveys the damage, Undertaker is stirring again and Trips can't believe what he's seeing.
Another big chair shot to the back! Another! Triple H lays into Undertaker with multiple viscious chair shots, i'm talking like 7 or 8 in a row. And then again drop down exhausted. Undertaker lays lifeless on the mat. Triple H is kicking into another gear, the realisation is setting in, it's dawning on him that Undertaker possesses something else at WrestleMania. J.R and King begin to express concern, saying the referee may need to stop this, that it's over, Undertaker has nothing left. Triple H again sits by the ropes, clutching the chair, exhausted. Triple H is magnificent here, there's many tremendous skills and talents Triple H has but for me one of his very strongest qualities is his facials. To be able to tell a story as i mentioned before, with your facials and body language alone is a great talent and that alone can make you a tremendous pro-wrestler. Here is where these two really begin to excel those qualities. Triple H looks on at Undertaker laying prone on the mat, waiting, questioning 'Is this it? Is he done? He's got to be done. Let this be it.' Undertaker eventually once again starts stirring and crawling himself to the ropes. 'Fuck sake' reads the changed expression on Trips face.
'STAY DOWN!' Again screams Triple H. Asking himself what the hell he's got to do, what's it going to take. Why won't he give it up, does he really want me to do this? I have to do this, it's down to me to finish this. It's only me who's prepared to finish The Undertaker, this is my purpose. Triple H shows zero sympathy, his face changes again, now looking seriously pissed and saying - fine, i'll do what it takes, i'm going to finish it. Undertaker claws himself up the ropes as Triple H also struggles to his feet stumbling. Triple H is locked in to the Undertaker waiting for him to reach his feet. Undertaker makes it to his feet with the help of the ropes to loud approval of the crowd he turns and Triple H zeros in...
CHAIRSHOT TO THE SKULL!!!
That was big. There's that ruthlessness. It's a powerful spot, as everyone knows chairshots to the head have been a thing of the past, banned post-Benoit incident. Yet Triple H just levelled the Deadman with a mighty chairshot to the cranium taking him down. It's a great use - making it abundantly clear that Triple H is absolutely not going to suffer the emotions and sympathy that Shawn Michaels did. That he's a Cerebrial Assassin and will go to any level to do what needs to be done, for Undertakers own good, end The Undertaker and bury the streak.
Triple H drops to his knees in the corner, in the turnbuckles. Again he's great here, really selling how big a deal that was, that he's just resorted to a chairshot to the head. The only thing close to such a thing today would be the use of a piledriver, but it's probably way above that and you know the reaction that got with Cena vs Punk a few weeks back. There's almost a stunned silence as everyone is reeling from it. Several replays are shown as J.R and King remain silent. Triple H almost doesn't want to turn and look and survey the damage this time, begging for it to be over - don't make me take it further than that Undertaker because i will. Scott Armstrong is checking on The Phenom, who's selling the chairshot, and doing so fantastically. He's competely out of it but he's moving, digging deep trying to find a way, find something to continue to survive. Triple H can sense it, slowly peering over his shoulder seeing Undertakers movement. Fuck! Damn it Undertaker, no fucking way. Just give it up. Surrender, it's done. You don't want this. Undertaker is desperately trying to find a way to get up now. Triple H looks completely distressed as this situation now. JR notes that Triple Hs face tells a better story than he and King could and that assessment is bang on and likewise, tells a better story than i could put into words. I can't stress how good both men are here, masterful selling and storytelling. Triple H comes over to Undertaker leans in as 'Taker is trying in vain to get up. 'STAY DOWN! STAY. DOWN!' Don't make me do this, i will do this. 'JUST DIE. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?' Undertaker is finding a way up, he reaches his knees and Triple H shakes his head. 'Get up Undertaker!' cries a fan, but he's so done, you're really begining to believe Undertaker may be finished. Suddenly 'Takers hand clutches Triple Hs throat. But he's got nothing left, it's pure desperation. Triple Hs facial again are glorious. He's pissed Undertaker dares attempt slap that chokehold on. He shakes his head as Undertakers grasp, his goozle fades. Undertaker is still on his knees and Triple H grabs 'Takers hair, throws his hand off looking into The Phenoms eyes, shaking his head. Undertaker manages to rise to his feet stumbling back into the ropes. Bringing his arms up to a fighting stance in desperation - c'mon, let's go, let's do this, give me what you got. Triple H almost begins to look sympathetic but only because he knows this is it, this is the end. Beautifully, it's almost reminiscent of Michaels-Flair three years previous. When Flair, in complete denial, crying uncontrollably urges Shawn to bring the fight. Except here, there's no fucking 'I'm sorry, i love you' from The King of Kings. Rather, there's this
He gives the signal, Undertaker attempts to land a right but Triple H hoists him up into position and the crowd rise and collectively gasp and they reach fever pitch, their excitement comes to its very peak. If i could draw one of those graphs Total Film used to do of the viewers excitement levels during the film for this, here it would be off the scale.
J.R - 'THIS IS TOO MUCH!'
I've got serious goosebumps watching it again.
UNDERTAKER KICKS OUT!
'WHAT HAVE WE JUST SEEN!?! WHAT HAVE WE JUST SEEN!?!' cries J.R. Thank God he's here calling this match. This is fucking incredible. The crowd has just completely lost it's shit. They are going insane.
Triple H is better than ever here... he sells this so, so well. Crawling backwards away from The Undertaker to the ropes he's totally stunned, in complete disbelief. He is in utter shock. 'WHAT HAVE WE JUST SEEN!?! Indeed. Everything comes together beautifully here, J.Rs call, Triple Hs top class performance. One of the single greatest WrestleMania moments for me. Everyone, everywhere believed that was it. They got you.
J.R and King are detailing what's just taken place. J.R 'The spirit. The pride. The will.' King - 'Did you see the look on the face of Triple H? I mean, he recoiled he retreated across the ring like what is this? What am i in the ring with? What am i facing here!?'
Triple H drops out of the ring, still looking at Undertaker in disbelief, asking himself those very questions. He drops to a knee, pulls up the ring apron and begins searching under the ring. You know what's coming. He's got one last weapon to turn to, one last thing to throw at The Undertaker. THE SLEDGEHAMMER.
J.R 'Desperate times...are obviously upon us. It's as legal as the steel chair was earlier.'
King 'And the sledgehammer personifies Triple H.'
Triple H is in the ring with the sledgehammer. Undertaker is crawling away to the ropes. As he grabs the ropes, Triple H grabs his boot and begins to drag him to the centre of the ring, to finish it, to end The Undertaker and his streak right in the middle of the ring. Undertaker tries to clutch at the ring apron and the ropes as he does, but it's futlie. This is it. You've never, ever seen Undertaker like this, in this much jeopardy. Triple H looks at his sledgehammer, looks at The Undertaker.
Suddenly, Undertaker grabs Triple H down with his arm and locks in Hells Gate! Triple H is frantically struggling trying to defend and not allow Undertaker to synch it in, he drops the sledgehammer in the process. He can't get loose, he can't escape and Undertaker begins to tighten his Death Valley Vice. The drama here is off the charts. Triple H is desperately fighting to no avail. He attempts to lift Undertaker to slam himself out of it it would seem (which he does a year later) but it's no use. His hands frantically search for the sledgehammer, he finds it! He raises the sledge and for a moment you think he's going to do it, he's going to break free with the hammer and finish it. But Undertaker synches it in further, tightening the Vice once more, securing Hells Gate. The sledgehammer drops. Triple H begins to fade. He's fading...he's fading...he taps.
Undertaker has done it. Undertaker is 19 and 0. An incredible finish. An incredible story. And Undertakers finest WrestleMania match for me.
J.R - 'Somehow, some way the streak lives.'
As 'Ain't No Grave' plays out, the fireworks go off and the 19-0 graphic appears, with Undertaker and Triple H both laying, lifeless in the ring J.R and King go over what we've just seen and King says the legacy lives on, but you've got to wonder looking at them following this battle, will The Undertaker ever be the same again? 'I think you ask a very valid question. JR says in response.
As the lights come back on, Triple H begins to crawl back to a corner and come back to life and get to his feet. Undertaker meanwhile, has not moved. As medics begin to enter the ring to check on him. The camera zones in to his face, with 'Ain't no grave, can hold my body down' playing out, it's beautifully apt. And even more so, as Undertaker finally begins to stir, but really struggling and as both he and Triple H make it out of the ring, Triple H is standing, looking at Undertaker struggling, looking in disbelief, questioning what he's just done battle with. Undertaker drops off the ring apron and flops to the floor. His selling is magnificent. It provides a powerful visual Undertaker victorious but so battered and Triple H questioning what's happened, in defeat, yet standing well before his opponent.
The music stops and the crowd show their appreciation and approval for what they've just witnessed and for The Undertakers efforts as he's again stopped moving and is laying lifeless on the mats outside the ring. More medics arrive rolling down on a cart. They load Undertaker onto the back of the cart as again the crowd show their appreciation and a loud 'UN-DER-TAKER' chant arises and again, it's a powerful visual as Undertaker for the first time ever, having won 19-0 at WrestleMania but, this time he's not leaving at his own accord. He's won, but we're left questioning how much The Undertaker has left, and if we'll ever see him again.