The build to this rematch was damn near perfect. Shawn Michaels realized that there wasn’t a whole lot else to do in his career, but his one big failure was not ending the streak in 2009. He called out Taker, but Taker passed on the rematch. Taker was champion at the time, so HBK entered the Royal Rumble to get a shot at Taker’s belt. HBK failed. At Elimination Chamber, Taker was on his way to successfully defending the belt, but HBK came out from underneath the structure and nailed Taker with a superkick, costing the deadman the belt. Taker then accepted Shawn’s challenge but on one condition: if Shawn lost, he retired for good.
The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels [No DQ]
Shawn walks up to Taker and gives him the throat slash. Taker looks motivated and just charges HBK. Shawn was playing mind games and managed to throw Taker off his game. Taker quickly recovered and hit Snake Eyes and the big boot. Taker goes for Old School and lands awkwardly on his leg. SELLING! Taker goes for a chokeslam, but HBK escapes and goes after Taker’s leg. Taker goes for a tombstone, but HBK escapes and tries for a crossface, but Taker escapes. HBK teased Sweet Chin Music, but Taker saw it coming. HBK went after Taker’s leg some more. Taker sends HBK to the outside and starts for the outside dive, but HBK rolls in and chops down Taker’s leg. That was a perfect way to get Taker out of doing the dangerous dive. HBK locked in his inverted figure four, but Taker obviously refused to tap. Taker reversed the hold, and HBK let go to spare himself the pain. HBK started attacking with a series of chops and then took him down with a running forearm. HBK kicked up and walked into a chokeslam: 1…2…NO! I love how Taker took advantage of HBK doing a spot that he does in every match. Taker went for a tombstone, but HBK escaped and got an ankle lock. HBK grapevine the leg, but Taker escaped. HBK clotheslined Taker out of the ring and went for an Asai Moonsault, but Taker caught him (kind of) and delivered a TOMBSTONE ON THE FLOOR! A doctor checked on Michaels, but Taker tossed him away and brought HBK in the ring: 1…2…NO! Undertaker went for a Last Ride, but HBK gave him a X-Factor on the way down. HBK went for a diving elbow, but Taker got his knees up! HELLS GATE! HBK COUNTERS INTO A ROLLUP: 1…2…NO! SWEET CHIN MUSIC: 1…2…NO! HBK went for another one, but Taker caught up and gave him a huge Last Ride: 1…2…NO! They go to the outside and Taker tries to give HBK a Last Ride through a table. HBK escapes and nails a super kick that sends Taker onto the table. HBK crawls to the top rope…and hits a MOONSAULT ONTO TAKER THROUGH THE ANNOUNCE TABLE! Holy fucking shit. Taker is knocked out on his feet, as HBK pushes him into the ring. SWEET CHIN MUSIC: 1…2…NO! HBK sets up for another one, but Taker catches him and hits a Chokeslam! Taker follows that up with a Tombstone: 1…2…NO! THE CROWD EXPLODES! The straps come down. Throat Sla-no. Taker sees the weakened Shawn Michaels and offers pity. He tells him to stay down…and HBK gives him a throat slash and then SLAPS HIM! JUMPING TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER!
To use a movie analogy, this wasn’t a sequel to their 2009 match. It was part 2 of a 2 part story. One match is not complete without the other. Shawn Michaels came to a mental state where he determined his career was not worth continuing if he couldn’t defeat Undertaker at Wrestlemania. No longer willing to accept a hollow win, he knew he had to throw everything he had at Undertaker to defeat him. Undertaker, being dead and all, was able to survive Shawn’s best weapons and eventually overwhelm him at the end. Taker’s grudging respect for Shawn, as he knew his greatest opponent’s career was coming to an end, was the perfect cherry to put on top of the feud. Beautiful stuff all around. This match is probably a notch below their 2009 match, when watched right after the 2009, this match seems nearly as great. Thus…
Match Rating: *****