Joey Hayden, speaking to Mark Henry:
Henry: You know, Shane has never disappointed. He’s always been a guy that was able to rise to the occasion. And when I say rise to the occasion, Shane likes to do the unbelievable. You’ll see him jump off of stuff that you wouldn’t think a human being would jump off of. The Undertaker, we don’t even have to talk about his legacy. He’s carved out a WrestleMania history that nobody can even get close to. I’m just looking forward to seeing what’s next, just like the rest of the fans.
I think this is one of those cases where hardcore week-to-week fans might think Shane McMahon vs Undertaker is insane, implausible, and ill-fated. But every casual fan I’ve talked to thinks it’s obvious, will probably rule, and is a nice creative move out of left field. The general feeling is “Why not? Shouldn’t pro wrestling be kind of weird and fun like this?”
Jack G King:
The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon is not going to be a straight one-on-one match. Even with the Hell in a Cell stipulation in place (to supposedly ward off interference), it’s obvious that Shane O’Mac and The Phenom will not be the only two men at ringside come the final bell.
One quick note: I’ve decided to leave Vince off this list, as his appearance during the match seems something of a given. I’ve also been talked out of including Steve Blackman, which genuinely breaks my heart.
Not a bad list, but more to the point, King brings up the most obvious point in the room: this is going to be the big gimmick match of the show, and I bet they’re going to try to out-do Sting vs HHH from last year. Expect multiple run-ins and well-choreographed schenanigans. Should be a lot of fun.
As his WrestleMania Hell in a Cell Match against The Undertaker fast approaches, Shane McMahon continues to work out relentlessly in the gym with acclaimed trainer Ajarn Phil Nurse. In his most recent social media post, Shane-O-Mac reveals a very impressive Saenchai kick that even caught Nurse off guard!
See? Shane can do a kick. Wrestlemania’s going to be fine.
The power of Paul Bearer’s urn video playlist
When you line all the crazy up in a row like this, it sure seems pretty silly.
Perpetually believing himself snubbed by WWE upper management, Punk decries the fact he’s never headlined The Show of Shows. Yet, in challenging The Undertaker’s Streak head-on, The Straight Edge Savior arguably finds himself involved in the one WrestleMania contest possible of overshadowing even the World Championship matches.
It’s not a possibility: Punk vs Taker will overshadow the other two announced main event matches. It’s the only match announced so far (not counting the WHC match) that’s fresh, bold, and something wrestling fans have been waiting years to see. John Cena vs The Rock is a rematch from last year, and Lesnar vs HHH is a rematch from Summerslam. Never in the history of this event have they gone with repeats that occurred so soon (and, arguably, as part of a continuing narrative).
CM Punk is the first legitimate candidate to challenge Undertaker’s winning streak since Randy Orton in 2005. In retrospect, Henry, Batista, Edge, Michaels, and HHH were all obvious in how they would play out. Henry wasn’t worthy; Batista and Edge couldn’t beat Taker and hold onto their championships; and Michaels’ pair was really all about defining what it means to be a great wrestler. HHH also lost twice.
But what qualifies Punk to even challenge the Undertaker? That he won a match? Who cares. That plot device was clunky and only existed because Punk has no personal reasons against the Undertaker (well, he does, but it may have been too long ago). What qualifies Punk is exactly what Michael Cole pointed out as Raw went off the air: he’s the longest-reigning champion in 25 years, and that accolade is fresh. It’s like a title in and of itself.
I still think Wrestlemania XXIX should have played out with Punk, Rock, and Cena in a triple threat. It would have tied up the year nicely, and not left out the shining player. But—and I have a feeling this will be the prevailing logic about the show—if Punk can’t close the show, perhaps he can steal it. Again.
The Undertaker returns, signals a match at Wrestlemania
Here’s a product. Here’s what it looks like. This is when you can buy it. Here’s how much it will cost. A little bit of fireworks and we’re out in 2 minutes.
How hard is that, Sony?
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The Undertaker v. Edge in a Hell in a Cell is discussed by Jason Mann and first-time guest Trey Irby of Wrestling Theory. Fun fact: This is the only match in WWE history to ever headline both a WrestleMania and a SummerSlam.
Download this episode of Wrestlespective Radio (right click and save link as).
I feel like this podcast series only began. And yet, only two episodes to go until Jason can say he caught ‘em all.
Just to add a fun fact of my own: I missed WWE’s entire 2008 calendar year. I’ve caught up since, but I went the entire 365 days without watching one show.
Not just because there’s 12 possible outcomes between the two main events, but because even that number isn’t set in stone. Performers have been ousted and replaced by surprise entrants on more than one occasion, outside interference is oddly commonplace, and left-field announcements alters any and every plot.
I’d normally do a prediction article, but I’ve decided doing so is completely asinine. Even if your pick wins he might not leave the arena with the belt or their promise to headline. How could anyone go into this show thinking that any of the 11 announced competitors (and one fired Dolph Ziggler) could win? After 12 years of surprise endings and gimmick-changing plot turns (No Way Out existed before 1999, but the St Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1999 really began the trend), how could anyone possibly go into this show even vaguely knowing what might happen? They can’t.
If the winner of the Royal Rumble is predicated based on assumed trajectory (and they really made that apparent this year), the winners of the EC matches are predicated on whether they’re really supposed to headline Wrestlemania or not. John Cena won his EC last year, but lost his title 5 minutes later to Batista, only to go on to beat him at WM. The Undertaker lost his EC, but went on to headline and win the show. Jericho, who won his EC, went onto defend the WHC. These are outcomes nobody expected going into the show last year, but they were somewhat predictable trajectories. It was telegraphed that Edge would play against Jericho, Michaels would face Undertaker, and that Cena would face Batista. EC allowed those contests to line up. The only thing I can say this year is to expect the WM card to become clearer. That isn’t to say who you think will win these matches will win. I’m saying by the end of the night, we’ll know our top 3 matches.