We’re five days away from WrestleMania XXX, and NZPWI is counting down the 10 best matches from the last 10 years of the showcase of the immortals.
We’re covering 10 different matches featuring 13 different superstars held at seven different WrestleManias over the past decade. Will your favourite make the list?
Shawn Michaels is undoubtedly “Mr WrestleMania”, but The Undertaker’s streak is almost bigger than WrestleMania itself. So when Michaels challenged the streak and staked his career on the outcome, the WWE Universe was in for an historic encounter.
Coming in at number four in our countdown, it’s Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker in the main event of WrestleMania XXVI.
NZPWI’s 10 BEST WRESTLEMANIA MATCHES OF THE LAST 10 YEARS
#4: SHAWN MICHAELS VS. THE UNDERTAKER (WRESTLEMANIA XXVI)
These two men have a history that goes all the way back to 1997, where they faced each other for the first time. At that stage it was a battle between two stars in their prime who had never faced off.
The respect between the men eroded quickly as Shawn’s ego took over, leading to months of issues between them.
Fast forward to WrestleMania 25, where the two legends would face off with Undertaker’s streak on the line. Respect had returned to their rivalry this time, but the loss HBK took stayed with him. He knew he’d only made one mistake in the match. Only one.
So he cost Undertaker the World Heavyweight Championship, hoping to entice Undertaker to get revenge. But Undertaker wanted to up the ante in a rematch. He wanted to take Shawn Michaels’ career. So at WrestleMania XXVI, they faced off again. The streak vs. HBK’s career.
They got the prime spot, the last match on the card, in what Michael Cole accurately claimed was the “most anticipated match in WrestleMania history.” Fans were divided, as nobody wanted the streak to end or to see the last of Michaels.
HBK was no stranger to career ending matches, as he’d done the same to Ric Flair at WrestleMania XXIV. He knew what he had to do. He knew what he was facing. But there were no mind-games this time around from either men, no intimidation. Just two legends needing to settle the score once and for all.
Chokeslams couldn’t keep HBK down. Neither could the Hell’s Gate, the Last Ride or anything else in Undertaker’s arsenal. Back and forth the match would go, as both men knew each other very well.
Their skills honed over two decades of big time competition. Michaels would take any chance in his quest to beat the streak, including a moonsault on the Undertaker through the announce table.
In the end, HBK met the same fate as all others when the streak was on the line. Exhausted after kicking out of a first Tombstone, but defiant to the end, Michaels taunted Undertaker and slapped him across the face. A jumping Tombstone laid out Mr WrestleMania for the 1-2-3.
We will most likely never have another Undertaker WrestleMania match that comes close to achieving the tension and drama of the back-to-back matches with Shawn Michaels. And now Undertaker seems to appear only at , to defend the honour of his streak. Time is finally catching up with the Deadman.
Just as the sun set in the Arizona desert during the main event, it also set on Shawn Michaels’ 25-year career. While he’d involve himself in various conflicts in the years that followed, including as the referee for Triple H vs. Undertaker in the Hell in a Cell match, he’d stay true to his promise to not compete in the ring again. The show had truly stopped.
#10: MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH (WRESTLEMANIA 21)
#9: EDGE VS. UNDERTAKER (WRESTLEMANIA XXIV)
#8: TRIPLE H VS. UNDERTAKER (WRESTLEMANIA XXVIII)
#7: RIC FLAIR VS. SHAWN MICHAELS (WRESTLEMANIA XXIV)
#6: CHRIS JERICHO VS. CM PUNK (WRESTLEMANIA XXVI)
#5: KURT ANGLE VS. SHAWN MICHAELS (WRESTLEMANIA 21)