Twilling's Blog: Shawn Michaels' career is over - Should The Undertaker hang up his boots as well?
Monday, MARCH 29 - 2:45 P.M. (CT)
-At WrestleMania 25, Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker was the most anticipated match on the card, and when it was all said and done, it ended up being arguably the best match in the history of WrestleMania.
One year later, the rematch at WrestleMania 26 became arguably the most anticipated match in the history of WrestleMania. Last night's match had much more on the line, Taker's streak and Michaels's career, and it had to live up to very lofty expectations. It could have been argued that nothing would have lived up.
I mentioned in my report and during the post WrestleMania audio show on the members' site that I would not compare this year's match to last year's match. Sure, it had the same two men and took place at the same event, but this match was different than last year's match. Last night's match exceeded the expectations of their previous match. I don't care to compare it because both were all time classics.
Let's get the negatives out of the way. Howard Finkel did not handle the introductions. The ring entrances of both men were very tame. What we saw was consistent with what we would see on an episode of Raw or Smackdown. Jim Ross did not call the match. And last night's match was shorter than last year's match.
Okay, all finished? To me, those "negatives" were heavily outweighed by everything else involved in the match. The stipulations, the nearfalls, the emotion, the "Oh My God" moments, the professionalism and greatness of each man, and ultimately, the finish were a collection of moments that should live forever in the hearts and minds of every professional wrestling fan.
Per the stipulation if he lost, he would retire, and Michaels is officially done with WWE as an in-ring performer. One of the reasons many felt Shawn would end Taker's streak was the fact that if he lost, he had to retire, and he did not have a long, drawn out retirement angle or program. The finish of this match was perfect.
The retirement angle and match of Ric Flair was chalked full of emotion. Truthfully, I enjoyed this a lot more. We pretty much knew Michaels would beat Flair. We were not so sure about the outcome this time around. Michaels losing and saying goodbye to the crowd was so well done. Michaels said goodbye in the ring with what he did best - wrestle.
While I'm sure WWE Raw will feature Michaels getting the sendoff he deserves, I wonder if Taker should consider leaving too. Only he knows for sure how much longer he plans to wrestle. However, if that isn't long, this may have been the perfect match for him to go out on as well.
Let's face it, Taker is known for many things, but the undefeated WrestleMania streak is at the top of the list. Never again will WWE place as much doubt in our minds that he will lose at Mania than they did last night. Taker will never have a better WrestleMania match than he did on Sunday (or last year, depending on which match you prefer).
So, what more does Undertaker have to gain by continuing to wrestle? He has absolutely nothing to prove. His body would love it if it could shut down. He is never going to top what he did at either of the last two WrestleMania events.
Just like a professional athlete toward the end of his/her career, Taker has plenty to offer, but at what price? John Elway retired after winning two straight Super Bowls. Could he have had a few more good years? Of course, but he did everything he could possibly do. Taker is in that boat too.
Do I think Taker will retire right now? No. I can't even say I would if I was him. What I can say is that if I was him, I would consider it. In the past 20 years, many wrestlers have come and gone. Many have made their mark in and out of (or both) WWE. However, the two men that have been with WWE since they arrived have been Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker.
When other wrestlers left for seemingly greener pastures, Michaels and Taker stayed. Their performances, longevity, and connection with the crowd over so many years make the two of them, in my opinion, the greatest WWE stars of all time. Yes, I put them ahead of Steve Austin, The Rock, Bret Hart, and Hulk Hogan.
While Taker and Michaels did not break in together, they sure as hell created a true legacy together. Although their paths rarely crossed and were severely different, they both ended up here, at the very top of the all time WWE mountain. Michaels is saying goodbye. It would be fitting if Taker did the same.
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