Tiffany takes a look at The Undertaker’s run after The Streak ended at WrestleMania 30 as he battles Bray Wyatt and Shane McMahon!
After the shocking end of the Streak at WrestleMania 30, many fans thought that the Undertaker was done. What was the point of Undertaker coming back for another WrestleMania if the Streak was no more? As if to remind us all of why he was considered one of the Greatest of All Time, Streak or no Streak, the Undertaker would rise from the ashes of WrestleMania 30 and add more victims to his list.
Bray Wyatt, the enigmatic leader of the Wyatt Family, considered himself to be the new Phenom of the WWE and was determined to cement that by defeating the Undertaker and harvesting his powers from his own diabolical devices.
Shane McMahon, the prodigal son of the McMahon Family, returned to WWE determined to wrest control of RAW and the company away from his out-of-touch father and save the WWE from the seemingly poor decisions made by his father, sister, and brother-in-law, but he would have to win control by facing the Undertaker in the dreaded Hell in a Cell. For Taker, this match became about more than another match, it became about whether or not the Streak, and his own career, would survive the McMahon Family power struggle.
WrestleMania 31 – Bray Wyatt Dances With the Devil
The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt
This feud was an odd one, but it would end up consuming a lot of TV time on RAW and SmackDown. Bray Wyatt, the weird cult leader that had taken WWE by storm with his Family, had challenged the Undertaker outright at Fastlane and taunted the Deadman until the Undertaker consented on RAW, using his powers to destroy Wyatt’s sacred rocking chair. Bray Wyatt had knocked on the Devil’s door and the Devil wasn’t in the mood for company.
Wyatt came out first. Because WrestleMania 31 was happening in San Francisco’s Levi Stadium, which is outdoors, and California is three hours behind the East Coast, the sun hadn’t QUITE gone down by the time this match started, which made the entrances slightly less creepy, but Wyatt made up for it by seeming to bring zombie scarecrows to life. The Eater of Worlds looks confident, but they all do before they have to face the Deadman. Taker even makes Wyatt wait, but it’s time to pay, Bray Wyatt.
The Deadman Cometh. Again, being outdoors and not quite after dark kept Taker’s entrance from being dark like usual, but it definitely felt like the Grim Reaper had rolled into town. Wyatt had started out very confident looking, but that confidence dropped, just like it always does, when the Deadman makes the long walk down to the ring and it finally hits whoever is in that ring just what they’ve gotten themselves into. I call it the ‘Oh shit, here he comes!’ moment.
First thing I noticed in this match was how much better Taker looked compared to the haggard old man that lost to Lesnar in New Orleans. Even the commentators were impressed by how healthy Taker looked.
Time to get down to business. Taker was less than impressed with Bray Wyatt’s intrusion into his domain, but no one ever accused Wyatt of being sane, or very smart, because he charged at Taker and ate a big boot for supper. Taker showed this upstart what happened when you knocked on the Devil’s front door.
This wasn’t the greatest match in the world, but if this had actually lead to something for Bray Wyatt, it wouldn’t have mattered. Taker was showing a little ring rust, but he hung with Wyatt and dominated much of the match, but Wyatt got say he actually had the Deadman on the ropes for several minutes. The tide would turn after Taker sat up during Wyatt’s Spider Walk, causing Wyatt to collapse like a cheap chair. In the end, it was more veteran’s experience than total domination that would win this for Taker, but he would put the Eater of Worlds away with a Tombstone and add another victim to his list.
Rating: 7/10 This was a good match, but remembering that it didn’t do a whole lot for Wyatt long-term hindered my enjoyment.
Highlight: Wyatt collapsing when Taker sat up. The look Taker kept giving Wyatt like ‘Kid, who do you think you’re trying to scare?’
WrestleMania 32 – Legacy vs Streak
Hell In A Cell: The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon
This match started with a situation that didn’t involve the Undertaker. Shane McMahon, once the golden child of the McMahon family, made a surprise appearance on RAW, interrupting an award ceremony Vince had planned for Stephanie McMahon. Shane revealed that the reason he’d come back was to save RAW, and WWE by extension, from his family who had done a terrible job of running the flagship show. Vince agreed, as long as Shane could win a match, that match would be a Hell in a Cell match…against the Undertaker. If Shane lost, he and his kids would be disowned. To make sure the Undertaker would cooperate, Vince said that if Taker lost, he would no longer compete at WrestleMania and since Undertaker’s WWE role was basically WrestleMania anyway, this would’ve been the end of his career. So it was a battle for survival in the most barbaric structure in WWE.
Shane came out first, with his three sons with him. The oldest, Declan, being the little baby featured in the opening for WrestleMania 20, if you want to feel old. Shane drops his kids off with his wife, Marissa, and his mother, Linda, who is’t really seen, but you can tell from the hair that it’s her. This is only the second time Shane had been in a Hell in a Cell match, but he didn’t look nervous, at least not yet, but he didn’t look confident either.
The Deadman Cometh. Through flames and thunder, The Deadman approached the structure he helped create. Shane DEFINITELY looked nervous once Taker got to the Cell.
This was the first match where it really hit me that Taker was NOTICEABLY slowing down, but the Cell and Shane hid it really well. No one will ever claim that Shane McMahon was a great wrestler, but Shane was able to cover for Taker’s limited ability with his own quickness and ability to take an ass-kicking. Plus, Hell in a Cell is the one match where NO ONE expects technical wrestling. You expect violence and brutality in Hell in a Cell and that was in abundance, they even broke through one of the walls of the cell.
In the end, it would be Shane’s inability to avoid risk taking that would cost him. He had Taker on the ropes, so to speak, he just needed to hit the coup de grace and WWE was his, but he climbed to the top of the cell to hit his elbow drop. The crowd went nuts when Shane crossed himself because anyone who has EVER seen Shane climb on top of something knew that Shane crossing himself meant he was taking the plunge, and he did, but Taker, with an amazing amount of good sense, moved out of the way. After that, Taker literally carried Shane into the ring, hit the Tombstone for the hell of it, and that was the end of it. The Undertaker lives to fight another day and Shane McMahon’s legacy was in ruins, or was it?
Rating: 8/10 It wasn’t the greatest match in the world, but it told a great story.
Highlights: Shane not giving up. The look on Taker’s face when Shane started moving after the elbow drop off the cage.
Tiffany’s Takes: NXT UK (7-17-19)
Who will step up to face Imperium?
Who will step up to face Imperium?
I’ve said several times that I wasn’t sold on the whole Imperium storyline because it sounds too much like World War II, but I will give them credit for being talented, even if they aren’t my cup of tea. That said, I’m not thrilled that Tyson T-Bone and Saxon Huxley did have more of a match with them than that. I get wanting to build the team up but T-Bone and Huxley are capable of more.
I feel for Travis Banks. Going for the NXT UK Championship should’ve been a huge deal for him, but everyone knew he was going to lose, so there was no real drama to his championship shot. Hopefully, he’ll bounce back and get another shot where he actually has a prayer of winning.
I’ve said numerous times that I love Xia Brookside and thinks she’s a STAR in the making and it seems like WWE agrees with me. Yeah, Xia lost her match against Jinny, but it had more to do with Jazzy Gabert than Jinny’s wrestling skills, which protects Brookside. I’m not sure what the endgame for this is because I don’t picture Brookside beating Gabert clean, but we’ll see.
Yeah, the Imperium storyline is sounding too much like World War II documentaries. Trent Seven vs WALTER sounds really interesting, but I’m not sold on this constant ‘Get Seven to retire’ stuff.
I’m really starting to get into this Kenny Williams/Noam Dar feud. It’s still a little odd to me, but I like that Williams seems to be done playing around.
You gotta love Gallus for playing up how tough they are. I also love that the feud between them and the Wild Hunt isn’t over. I wonder how long Mastiff’s undefeated streak is going to last because he should’ve had a title shot by now.
I’m SUPER excited about Toni Storm vs Kay Lee Ray, but the way the feud is being written is confusing. I thought Storm and Ray weren’t friends, now they’re supposedly best friends but KLR has changed. I’m just a little puzzled. At least we know the match will happen at TakeOver: Cardiff, but the rest of this was confusing.
Well, the six-person tag virus has spread to NXT: UK according to Sid Scala. At least some of the competitors makes since, but I have no idea why Piper Niven is there, unless it’s to start a feud with Gabert.
I’m not really into this Kassius Ohno/Mark Andrews feud. I just don’t buy Andrews growing up watching Ohno, I just don’t. I did enjoy this match, it’s always fun to watch an arrogant heel look like an idiot, which is what happened to Ohno. I guess Ohno’s job in NXT: UK is about the same as it was in NXT: Work with younger talent and get them over and look like an idiot in the process, which is cool, I guess. However, Mark Andrews has DEFINITELY been needing some oomph in his run since Flash Morgan Webster has disappeared. I don’t think this feud will be done, but at least we got one good match out of it.
That’s it for Tiffany’s Belated NXT UK Takes! Stay tuned for NXT OG!
Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 5 A Block
KENTA, Lance Archer and Kazuchika Okada are setting the early A Block pace! Something’s gotta give. Who comes out undefeated?
KENTA, Lance Archer and Kazuchika Okada are setting the early A Block pace! Something’s gotta give. Who comes out undefeated?
Shmoxley in the opening tag team match means we should start off fun. Tanahashi and Sabre are in the battle of, well, someone needs to get at least a point out of that.
Then we’ve got Ospreay and Ibushi who are banged up but most likely still going to be psychopaths in the ring. Let’s get ready for the carnage, I mean, no…I meant carnage.
- Shota Umino & Jon Moxley vs Tomohiro Ishii & Yuya Uemura: Shooter wins via Fisherman Suplex Hold @5:45 – ***
- Hirooki Goto, Jeff Cobb & YOSHI-HASHI vs Toa Henare, Yota Tsuji & Juice Robinson: YOSHI wins via Butterfly Lock @9:30 – ** 1/4
- Tomoaki Honma, Ren Narita & Toru Yano vs Jay White, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi: Owens wins via Package Piledriver @8:50 – ** 1/2
- BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi vs Taichi, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Suzuki wins via Gotch Style Piledriver @8:35 – ** 1/2
- A Block: KENTA vs Lance Archer: Kenta wins via Game Over @12:00 – ***
- A Block: SANADA vs EVIL: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @18:10 – **** 1/4
- A Block: Bad Luck Fale vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Double Legged Cradle @10:15 – ** 1/2
- A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi wins via Triangle Counter Pin @13:55 – *** 3/4
- A Block: Kota Ibushi vs Will Ospreay: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye Knee @27:15 – **** 3/4
Moxley and Ishii start off trying to kill one another. This is a great opener and the respective Young Lions have to pull their veteran off as to not incur a disqualification. The Young Lions then take the bulk of the match and Shota has definitely picked up a few mannerisms from Moxley that we slowly see him unlocking. This may be our evolution of Shooter, but for an opening match this was very fun and the fact Moxley and Ishii just want to fight added for a neat dynamic.
Juice and Cobb are both respectful Gaijin faces, so not a lot of heat for this match. Plus YOSHI-HASHI was in it, so I could’ve downed a few Valium and been more invested in staring at a wall. Pork Chop Sandwiches later, and YOSHI-HASHI wins with that awful Butterfly Lock. Great…I can now taste colors.
So Yano wanted to get him a piece of the Jay White on the down turn, but Jay tried to still play the calculating heel. Honma put in a bit of decent work but Narita was obviously the one sent out to eat the pin. Narita held his own against Yujiro and Chase, but Chase eventually stopped playing with his feud and hit the Package Piledriver to tie things up in a nice little bow.
Shingo took a hell of a beating in this match. Kanemaru played random interference and Taichi took Shingo to the woodshed. Naito also continued his distaste of Taichi and Suzuki while being a little protective of Shingo at points. Now being the unabashed fanboy of Shingo, yet also a subscriber to Holy Emperor weekly, I’m very torn about this whole thing. The match played up the G1 tensions and the LIJ vs Suzuki-Gun tensions very well, but my heart knows not which to root for.
Lance is a good foot taller than KENTA and that was the story of the first 75% of this match. Lance was shrugging off the strikes of our returning striker. KENTA was getting effectively crushed, until Lance pushed the anime comeback button and said “You’re fucking Hideo! That’s who you are! HIDEO!” – which prompted the anime comeback in KENTA. KENTA managed to even lift Lance for a few things, but relied heavily on the dropkicks and strikes. He couldn’t quite pull off the Go 2 Sleep, so he went to his Crossface submission, Game Over. And boy howdy, it was game over! (I will see myself out after that)
EVIL and SANADA have this brotherly rivalry in LIJ. Being former 2 time IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champions, familiarity is obvious. SANADA starts off the match quickly and this is definitely a match of quick bursts when the one gets an advantage. I guess they are transitioning SANADA away from the Paradise Lock since this is the second match where he had it mostly on, but “something happened” and the opponent gets out of the move. We get a bunch of great back and forth, but something that continues to plague SANADA is his limited moveset when it gets down to crunch time. EVIL pulled out a plethora of tricks, including using the referee as an anchor for the Magic Killer. Whereas, SANADA sticks to Dragon Sleeper variants, into Skull End attempt or a Moonsault. With how over SANADA is, I really expect him to start getting more crunch time maneuvers. EVIL wins and quickly wants to bury the hatchet by extending the LIJ fist bump. SANADA bumps fists, and all is fine in our ungovernable world.
Fale tends to have Okada’s number in tournaments, and he starts off by attacking him in the back and dragging him out. So we get a typical Bullet Club brawl with heel tactics and ref bumps, but Okada perseveres. Okada is able to lift Fale a few times, but can’t hit the Rainmaker, and wins via the wrestling move he tends to fall back on, the Double Legged Cradle.
Well both Tanahashi and Sabre come into this match 0-2, so there’s a level of desperation that both bring to the table. Sabre wrestled circles around Tanahashi, and Tanahashi just tried to keep up for most of the match. After countering the High Fly Flow, Sabre locks in a Triangle Arm Bar, but Tanahashi floats over for the bridging pin counter. The Ace finally has 2 points!
There have been well known injuries for both of these men, and they played into the story of the match well. Focusing on each other’s injuries, calling back to their Wrestle Kingdom match and just a generally high energy and high impact match. Watching this match, you have to assume one of them will die with their style, but it is damn entertaining. Everyone expected this to be a great match and it delivered.
Overall Score: 8/10
Well we had a lot of good storylines and matches that mostly paid off. Lance Archer has been doing great work, Fale and Okada was at least somewhat entertaining and the cripple fight in the main event was fantastic. The inner faction turmoil was now squashed, so we can have a nice tournament while The Ace gets a few points over the petulant British child.
So great show, great entertainment, and generally a good time. I can only hope the B Block carries equal weight.
Block A Standings:
- Kazuchika Okada: 3-0 (6 Points)
- KENTA: 3-0 (6 Points)
- Lance Archer: 2-1 (4 Points)
- EVIL: 2-1 (4 Points)
- SANADA: 1-2 (2 Points)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi: 1-2 (2 Points)
- Will Ospreay: 1-2 (2 Points)
- Bad Luck Fale: 1-2 (2 Points)
- Kota Ibushi: 1-2 (2 Points)
- Zack Sabre Jr: 0-3 (0 Points)