Long time no speak ... recently, Alfonso took a car trip to my home (deep in the hills of Parts Unknown) to see if I wanted to write up a post or two for WrestleMania week. After weeks of intense destrucity training, here I am.
I'm thrilled that the main event is a rematch of the best match I have ever seen -- Taker vs. Michaels at last year's Mania. Sitting five rows from the top of Reliant Stadium in Houston last year and feeling the electricity of the crowd and watching them jump up like the fans in the background of a wrestling video game after every near fall -- that was awesome.
People love Taker's streak. And for the record, I take full responsibility as the WWE employee to first start a huge drive about Taker's streak. When I was the webmaster for wrestlemania.com leading up to X7 in 2001, I did a mini-site called "Undertaker's Undefeated WrestleMania Streak" (being the dork I am, I'd gone through his match results and realized he was 8-0 at that point). The site got a ton of traffic (people had never really started keeping tabs until then), and at the show, J.R. mentioned on TV the undefeated record for the first time. It all took off from there.
(Of course I kid about taking full responsibility for it, but I'm still part of the small part I played in helping it off the ground.)
The stipulation on this year's match -- Taker's streak vs. Michaels' career -- adds some extra oomph to a match that honestly had more than enough oomph to start with.
The thing I just don't get is people who think this means Shawn Michaels stands a better chance of winning. Truth be told, a Michaels win would be a terrible decision from a booking standpoint.
Here's a few reasons why the Undertaker HAS to go over:
1. YOU CAN UNDO A RETIREMENT. YOU CAN'T UNDO A STREAK.
Ric Flair's "last match ever" was his last match ever for roughly a year and a half. Has any retirement ever stuck? If you honestly think Shawn Michaels' would be the one that actually sticks, you haven't been watching wrestling very long.
2. THERE'S TOO MUCH MONEY TO BE MADE OFF THE STREAK.
When WrestleMania tickets go on sale every year, fans know two things -- 1, it's WrestleMania, and 2, they'll get to see the Undertaker put his streak on the line. The "streak" is an attraction all to itself -- it even has its own DVD. It's a special thing between he and the fans that has stood the test of time for almost 20 years -- and unlike Cal Ripken's streak, this one never has to be broken.
3. FOR HALF THE WRESTLING FANS, IT WILL BE A HUGE SWERVE.
Even with Taker going into last year's match 16-0, the "HBK" chants were still thundering, and even now, there's millions of fans who think the retirement stipulation means Michaels HAS to win. In that circumstance, I say "well done" on the stip. But Michaels supporters will be swerved.
4. MICHAELS HIMSELF GAVE IT AWAY LAST YEAR.
In an interview promoting last year's WrestleMania, Michaels said WrestleMania 26 would be his last match.
5. IT MAKES LONGTERM SENSE FOR TAKER TO WIN.
If Taker wins, you can make $$ off Michaels retirement programming, you still have the streak alive for WrestleMania, and you can always bring Michaels back down the line. If Michaels wins, the streak is done, and where do Michaels and Taker go from here?
Listen -- I could be wrong about all this. But I don't think I am. The stip definitely adds a new dimension to the Michaels-Taker rematch, but I'm still not convinced we'll see Taker's record move to 17-1.
What do you think?