One of the things I’m asked, once people find out I’m a wrestling fan is, what’s is my favorite match of all time? Before 2009 I would have had to think about it, but since Wrestlemania twenty five, there is only one match that still takes the cake for me. Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker at Wrestlemania twenty five.
That day is a day I will always remember, not so much because of the Wrestlemania pay per view, but of a phone call I received that day. Now anyone who know me knows to not bother me during my wrestling shows, especially Wrestlemania, but I kept getting a call from an old high school friend during the pay per view.
I tried to ignore it and planned to call him back as soon as the pay per view was over. However he was persistent and probably called me four or five times. Finally during the Jeff Hardy vs Matt Hardy match I answered the phone. When I did, I had learned that one of my good friends from high school was in a horrible automobile accident.
The accident put my friend in the hospital for months, nearly costing him his life. Luckily I didn’t lose my friend from the accident, but the accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. Next year marks ten years since that day, and my friend has been through a lot. But he’s a positive guy and a fighter who is thankful to be here.
The only thing that could take my mind off the news I had just learned was the pay per view. And maybe that plays a part into why Taker vs HBK is my favorite match. For most of the pay per view the only thing on my mind was my friend. Then The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels match started.
The Undertakers entrance was as dark and evil as always, and the reborn christian Shawn Michaels, descended from the rafters in all white and in angelic form. A true good vs evil scenario was about to play out. Adding to the intrigue was the fact that both men were in their 40’s at the time and still competing at a high level.
With the two veterans nearing the end of their everyday wrestling careers, I had a feeling we were going to see something special. Both HBK and Taker pulled out all the stops. We saw all the classic moves, including a spot where the Undertaker nearly ended his career performing a dive over the top rope.
Every now and then the Undertaker would do a move where he would run across the ring, hit the ropes, and run back to the other side of the ring leap over the top rope and hit his opponent with a clothesline or body press. I don’t know what went wrong during the move but The Undertaker jumped and missed badly.
So bad that I thought he was done, not just done like he’s going to lose, but done he will be lucky to walk again done. When he jumped over the rope, HBK moved and pulled the cameraman in the way. I think the cameraman was supposed to drop the camera and break his fall.
The cameraman was not able to break the fall and when I say the Undertaker dove over top rope, that is not an exaggeration. He dove over the top and fell probably ten feet to the floor and landed directly on his head. The Undertaker folded up like an accordion and would lay there for several minutes as referees checked on him.
Luckily, he was able to continue the match and man did that match live up to expectation. It was one of the first matches that I seen have so many false finishes. It was also one of the first matches I’d seen where finishers were kicked out off. No one ever kicked out of the tombstone pile driver but HBK did that night.
The Undertaker was still undefeated at Wrestlemania at that time and Shawn Michaels was known as Mr. Wrestlemania. It was the first time in many years where some thought The Undertakers streak might come to an end. If anyone was going to end it, it was going to be Mr. Wrestlemania.
False finish after false finish after false finish and still no victor. There were multiple sweet chin music kicks, moonsaults and elbow drops from HBK. And there were also multiple tombstone piledrivers, running clothesline’s and choke slams from the dead man. The fans were on a figurative roller coaster during the match.
But it was one moonsault to many that caught up with HBK. Literally. After about a twenty five minute match, Michaels climbed to the top rope and went for a moonsault. He leaped, did a back flip in mid air and was caught by the waiting Undertaker. Taker caught Michaels and Michaels was in the perfect position for the tombstone.
Taker hit the tombstone piledriver one more time, crossed Michaels arms on his chest and finally got the 1-2-3. The Undertakers winning streak at Wrestlemania would live on. I will say, it was the first time I’d seen the Undertaker vulnerable during a Wrestlemania match.
Shawn Michaels took Taker to his limit that night. I feel like after that match, both men started winding down their full time schedules in the WWE. As we would find out Michaels was only in contract with the WWE for one more year. And at Wrestlemania twenty six, these men would wrestle again.
This time the match was streak vs career, and to me it didn’t live up to the match the year prior. It would also be Michaels last match for nearly a decade as he would lose that night and was “forced” to retire. Although in wrestling retire usually means go away for a while and return when the time is right.
As for the Undertaker he would remain undefeated until Brock Lesnar finally broke the streak, much to the chagrin of most the WWE universe. Ten years later and the Undertaker still wrestles at Wrestlemania, defeating John Cena in record time this past year.
The match at Wrestlemania twenty five will probably always be one of, if not my all time favorites. It was a great match and for about a half hour, I was able to suspend my worries for my friend and enjoy my favorite program of the year. In the weeks that followed, my friends and I would make several trips to Columbus hospitals to see our friend and pray and wish him well.
A crazy night indeed, but a night I will never forget. If you get a chance get on WWE network and search for the match. It’s a really good match and probably a match I watch at least once a year. I’m sure someday, a match will come along and just blow my mind, but until then Taker vs HBK, Wrestlemania 25 is my all time favorite match.