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WWEditorials Ep. XV: “The Standard Barrier” – The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania 25)

Written by: J. Johnson

The Streak; a record in the WWE that will be held to any standard to any wrestler stepping in the ring at the grandest stage of them all, WrestleMania. A man has been able to say he was 21-0 at the prestigious event until a beast stepped in the ring with him. His name is The Undertaker. You can count the memorable matches that have been drawn with the streak, but history will beckon it a streak nobody will ever obtain again. It was the 30th anniversary of WrestleMania that the WWE Universe saw the fall of the streak. The shock on sent through the entire wrestling world didn’t see it coming and even at this moment will forever be the most shocking moment in WWE’s history. Not even The Rock’s return to host WrestleMania 27 can top that. Making a list of the greatest Mania matches for The Undertaker would be an easy task, but all are in the consensus that one match will always be #1.

WrestleMania XXV
Reliant Stadium (NRG Stadium) — Houston, Texas | April 5, 2009, in front of 72,744 fans in attendance

By 2009, The Undertaker had become by far the most successful participant in WrestleMania history.

No one had even come close to matching his undefeated streak and he had just come off back-to-back great matches to boot. He had become part of the foundation of the legacy that WrestleMania is built upon. He was WrestleMania.

But … he wasn’t “Mr. WrestleMania.”

That distinction belonged to Shawn Michaels, who had earned that moniker by posting numerous memorable performances on the industry’s biggest stage. Yeah, some of those memorable performances came in losing efforts (WrestleMania X, WrestleMania 21, WrestleMania 23 just to name a few), but they were what people walked away from the show remembering. Mr. WrestleMania versus the man that had never lost at WrestleMania was an easy match to get excited for, but no one was prepared for what every wrestling fan had the pleasure of seeing take place in Houston that night.

For my money, The Undertaker versus Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXV is the greatest match in WrestleMania history and one of the best matches ever.

Everything worked so perfectly. The crowd was over the moon for the match and it was audible to the fans watching at home. The common perception is that the sound for wrestling events in stadiums isn’t quite as loud as it would be in smaller arenas because the sound goes up. Not on this night. It was loud at Reliant Stadium on this night and everyone could tell.

The story that was told during the match was perfect. The way it was executed was perfect. I still remember the look of astonishment on The Undertaker’s face when Michaels kicked out of the tombstone. It was so damn perfect.

The ending was perfect with Undertaker catching Michaels out of the air to finally finish him off. Everything was perfect except for The Undertaker’s dive to the outside, where it looked like he broke his neck. How he got up from that and continued the match is still beyond my comprehension.

But what is well within my comprehension is that this match was the greatest 30 minutes in wrestling history and it should have ended the show. For whatever reason, it didn’t. Although it didn’t go on last, it didn’t dampen the significance of this match.

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