Tiffany MC takes a look at legendary WrestleMania run of The Undertaker in part 5 of her series on The Streak!
The years of 2001-02 were years of wild change for the Undertaker, WWF, and the wrestling world. After taking several months off due to injury, the Undertaker returned to WWF in the spring of 2000 as the American Badass. Gone were the days of supernatural powers, gongs, and looking like something out of the Old West or a horror movie. Undertaker was now the meanest biker in the bar and he quickly re-established himself as the big dog in the yard, taking on all comers.
As we enter into 2001, there were a lot of changes happening in wrestling. In March of 2001, WCW, long-time rival of WWF suddenly went out of business, leaving the WWF as the only major wrestling promotion in the United States and the fallout of that bankruptcy would shape and haunt the wrestling world for more than a decade.
In these years, the Undertaker would become the Big Dog and would run his yard with an iron fist, becoming the pillar and cornerstone of WWF/E. He would also prove that he didn’t need the supernatural gimmick to stay over with the fans, as his star only grew brighter without them.
WrestleMania X-7 – Playing the Game Part 1
This rivalry, which would become a career definer for both men, started in early 2001. Triple H, Vince McMahon’s erstwhile son-in-law had come to the ring and bragged about defeating everyone that the fans loved. However, Taker had come out and reminded the Game that he’d never been able to defeat the Deadman.
The feud had gotten ugly pretty quickly and culminated with Undertaker finding a way around a restraining order put out against him by Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, bu having Kane, who was not bound by said restraining order, kidnap Stephanie and threatened to have Kane hurl Stephanie off the top of the parking garage unless he got Triple H at WrestleMania, an offer Commissioner William Regal couldn’t refuse. Triple H retaliated by trashing Taker’s prize motorcycle.
Triple H is sung to the ring by Motorhead. He gets a good pop despite being the heel in this. As the hometown hero, Taker’s pop in Houston was even more thunderous than normal. JR mentions the 8-0 winning streak, but it is still not a huge deal and Heyman let’s it pass without comment.
Taker dominates the first part of the match, but Trips turns it around by dodging a guillotine leg drop. The match quickly gets ugly and Mike Chioda is taken out, which means it’s anything goes for Taker and Trips, who take the match out into the crowd and the A/V area. It looked to be all over by the shouting when Taker chokeslammed Trips off the area they were fighting in, and if they had been in a Falls Count Anywhere, it would’ve been, but they needed to settle this in the ring, which bought Trips enough time to recover and keep this match going.
Taker nearly got Trips with Trips’ sledgehammer, but a boot in the nuts stopped that, but it wasn’t enough to stop Taker. Even a sledgehammer to the back of the head didn’t do it, much to Trips’ frustration. It would take a Last Ride and a Tombstone but the Undertaker was 9-0
Highlight: Motorhead. Taker hitting the Tombstone just for the heck of it.
Rating: 7/10 Of the three matches these two would have at WrestleMania, this one had the weakest story, but the match was incredible.
WrestleMania X-8 – To Be The Man
This is one of the dream matches Undertaker would have in his WrestleMania career. Ric Flair had returned to the WWF after an absence of almost ten years as the co-owner of WWF following the destruction of the WCW/ECW alliance. After interference from Flair caused the then heel Undertaker to lose a match against the Rock at No Way Out, an enraged Undertaker went after Ric Flair with all the malice you’d expect from him. He attacked Arn Anderson, Flair’s long-time friend and attacked Flair’s oldest son, David, while the young man was training to wrestle.
Taker comes out on his ride, and gets a thunderous pop despite being a nasty heel in 2002. The Streak is mentioned again, but only in passing. Flair gets a huge ovation like always. This is a No DQ match which suits both men and guarantees shenanigans.
This match was much better than I expected it to be. I never saw Flair in his prime and his later years in WWE weren’t great, but he showed that he was brawler as well as a finesse guy. That said, it was a typical Flair match, but he and Taker tore it down.
Taker dominated much of the match, even pulling a bloodied Flair out of pinning combinations several times, but his arrogance bit him in the ass when Flair moved out of the way of the leg drop. The second brawl of the match broke out when a bloodied Flair started pulling out the weapons to wear Taker’s ass out. When Taker looked to end things with a chokeslam, Flair pulled out his dirtiest trick and kicked Taker in the nuts before slapping on the Figure-Four, but Taker realized that at 6’10”, he could easily get out of the hold by choking Flair out and that’s when the gloves came off.
Getting frustrated, Taker took out Charles ‘Little Naitch’ Robinson and all hell broke loose because Arn Anderson came out and hit his patented spinebuster on Taker and Robinson tried to hit a fast count in revenge for the unwarranted attack, but Taker was able to hold on and got some revenge on Anderson, though he was careful about it, in respect of Anderson’s injured neck, which gave Flair time to wail on Taker with a chair.
Unfortunately for Flair and Anderson, all their teamwork couldn’t stop the Undertaker, who sealed his tenth WrestleMania victory and celebrated by knocking out Little Naitch.
Highlight: Double A hitting his patented spinebuster on Taker. Charles Robinson trying to get a fast count in retaliation for Taker attacking him.
Rating: 8/10. This was a better match than I’ve come to expect out of Ric Flair, even with all the usual Flair spots.
AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21
AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?
As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.
Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!
#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time
There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…
THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!
I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.
#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic
Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.
People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.
I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.
#3- Overuse of Certain Moves
This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…
Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.
If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.
How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.
That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!
AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns
With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?
With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?
With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.
With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.
1. Johnny Gargano
Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?
WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.
2. James Storm
This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.
Watch your Money and your Alcohol.
Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”
3. Big Cass
Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.
Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.
4. Bronson Reed
The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.
Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?
5. Bray Wyatt
And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.
To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.
– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!
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