Thursday Morning Backlash on the Undertaker versus Triple H at WrestleMania

The night after Elimination Chamber, the Undertaker came back after several months on the shelf necessitated by being buried alive for I believe the third time in his illustrious career. Mere moments after he came out, another retuning superstar, Triple H, came back and made his intentions to challenge The Streak at WrestleMania XXVII. They made their signature gestures at each other (the throat slash and crotch chop, respectively), and walked out without saying a word.

I thought this was a decent enough way to start off the feud. After all, they had six weeks until WrestleMania to build up the story, and there were a number of directions it could have gone. Triple H could be angry that Undertaker retired his best friend Shawn Michaels. He could be angry that he came closer than anyone to ending the Streak (at least in his mind), and the fact that he dominated Shawn Michaels in most of their matches together would give him reason to think he could do what Shawn could not. And somewhere in there, he would have to mention the fact that Sheamus took him out last year, maybe they would even have a main event match on Raw at some point. And Undertaker would probably want to address Kane and the Nexus, who were responsible for burying him alive last fall.

But none of that has really happened. Instead both Triple H and Undertaker have seemingly gone out of their way to bury the rest of the roster. Sheamus did come out to gloat about injuring the Game last year, and Triple H literally destroyed him – Sheamus didn’t get a single punch in before Triple H delivered the Pedigree on the announce table. This was after Triple H said the only challenge he has left in the locker room was the Undertaker’s Streak, effectively burying guys like Sheamus, The Miz, Daniel Bryan, and the rest of the roster.

The Undertaker has echoed Triple H’s sentiments, saying that no one poses a threat to him. The problem with this attitude is that it negates the effect of Sheamus and Nexus’s accomplishments. Sheamus injured Triple H and the Nexus buried Undertaker alive in order to make them look like threats, and they did. Now that Triple H and Undertaker have come back and basically shrugged those things off, why would anyone take Sheamus or Wade Barrett as a threat? Another extremely annoying fact is that no one seems to acknowledge that Undertaker has already beaten Triple H at WrestleMania, which should also play a big part in the feud. Brad Garoon will speak at greater length about t hat.

I’m not even saying that Undertaker and Triple H shouldn’t be facing each other at WrestleMania, or that they’re not big stars and this is isn’t a big match that should be treated as such. But to go out of your way to nullify past efforts to get people over is counterproductive. Sheamus regained a little heat from having a good match with Daniel Bryan and winning the U.S. Title from him, but Barrett is pretty much floundering on Smackdown. Sheamus and Barrett could still have been doing whatever else they’re going at the big show and been involved with Triple H and Undertaker and they still would have looked like big deals, which would only enhance their respective Mania matches.

Finally, the other thing bothering me about this feud is Undertaker constantly being referred to as “The Last Outlaw.” It’s a stupid nickname and they’re forcing it way too hard. You know how whenever someone would say “we’re going to call you this from now on” but they no one ever does? It’s the organic nicknames that stick.

Let’s see what Brad Garoon has to say:

History has played an important role in many big wrestling matches. Paul Heyman used it in ECW to get people invested in the Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven feud. He’d remind the fans about every win Raven had over Dreamer, making them yearn for Dreamer’s big win. The Rock vs. Steve Austin and both WrestleMania X-7 and WrestleMania XIX were made more important because of the history between the two. And more recently, Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker at last year’s WrestleMania felt much more important because of the epic bout they’d had the year before.

So why then has WWE decided that The Undertaker vs. Triple H at WrestleMania X-7 never happened? For one thing it was a pretty crazy match, and I for one really enjoyed it. For another it plays into the story of this match; that Triple H thinks that he can end the streak. And finally, there’s something to be said about having a rematch EXACTLY ten years after the original match occurred. The fact that Triple H isn’t cutting promos about all the things he’s accomplished in the last ten years is absurd.

There’s no need to bury the roster the way these two have. Triple H could have gotten his own importance over simply by listing all the title’s he’s won in that time. For his part, the Undertaker could simply list the men that have tried, even repeatedly, and failed to break the streak. After those prefaces it doesn’t bury anyone for the two of them to say they have no challenges left but each other.

On the other hand there are definitely things about this feud I like. I like that both wrestlers are distinguished by the fact that they are the last relevant remnants of the Attitude Era. In making this a point this match becomes a reason to buy the pay per view. I don’t think there’s any harm in admitting that these two are the elite in WWE. I don’t think that Triple H saying that the Undertaker is the only challenge left for him buries anyone on its own, because the reality is he’s currently in a place that others should be seeking him out as a challenge and not vice versa. The same goes for the Undertaker, who hasn’t even deemed Triple H a worthy contender in this feud.

However, the feud would be even more important if they added the “Ten Years in the Making” tag to it. But sadly WWE likes to ignore its history. In many cases it is easy to understand why, but in this case I’m at a loss.

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