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King’s Top 5 Undertaker Storylines

With the retirement of The Deadman; Chris King goes over his Top 5 story angles of the Undertaker!

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A week ago at the WWE Survivor Series pay-per-view, The Undertaker rode off into the sunset as all the great pro wrestlers do. After a legendary career that spans three decades “The Phenom” finally retired and laid his iconic character to rest. It was one of the saddest and bittersweet moments I’ve ever felt as a wrestling fan.

Throughout his amazing thirty-year career, “The Deadman” was involved in some fantastic storylines and feuds. Below I will be breaking down my top five storylines of The Undertaker’s career.

 

5) The Undertaker VS. Kurt Angle (2006)

One of my favorite matches and storylines of The Undertaker’s career took place in January of 2006. “The Deadman” had returned at the 2006 Royal Rumble pay-per-view, to confront then-WWE World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle. Angle was celebrating his successful title defense when Undertaker returned to reclaim the World Heavyweight Championship.

The two superstars would meet in a terrific thirty-minute underrated classic at the 2006 No Way Out. Undertaker was unsuccessful in their match but it was the most technical wrestling match I’ve ever seen in Undertaker’s career.

 

4) The Undertaker VS. CM PUNK (2010)

Long before “The Best In The World” CM Punk attempted to end the streak at WrestleMania 29, he had an encounter with “The Deadman.” At the 2010 SummerSlam pay-per-view, Undertaker shocked Punk who was then-WWE World Heavyweight Champion after his match with Jeff Hardy. Undertaker and Punk would face off at Breaking Point in a submission match which ended in controversy.

Both superstars carried on a great feud culminating with Undertaker winning the World Heavyweight Championship inside Hell in the Cell from Punk. “The Deadman” and “The Best In The World” would meet again later down the line on a grander stage.

 

3) The Undertaker VS Triple H (2001)

Back in 2001, The Deadman had donned a biker gimmick known as “American Badass” who rode a motorcycle to the ring. Undertaker would find himself involved in a heated rivalry with Triple H. During the McMahon-Helmsley era, HHH felt he was above the rest of the superstars and demanded a title shot at WrestleMania X-Seven. Undertaker would play a game of cat and mouse with his rival leading up to the pay-per-view. HHH would antagonize Undertaker for weeks including impersonating him.

“The Game” even went as far as to destroy Undertaker’s motorcycle. The match would finally take place at WrestleMania where “The Deadman” would be victorious against HHH in his hometown of Houston, TX. The two rivals would meet again later down the road in back-to-back WrestleMania classics at WrestleMania 27-28.

 

2) The Undertaker VS Shawn Michaels (2010)

This feud easily could have taken the number one spot which made the decision super hard, but this storyline was the absolute best of the year. After last year’s WrestleMania classic, HBK was consumed with the fact that he lost to The Undertaker on the grandest stage of them all. Michaels challenged “The Deadman” to another match at WrestleMania 26 to end the streak, but Undertaker declined. With not much time before the big event, Michaels stooped to desperate measures.

At the 2010 Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, Micheals cost Undertaker the World Heavyweight Championship inside the Elimination Chamber match in one of the most shocking moments in WWE history. The very next night on Monday Night Raw, “The Deadman” finally accepted his rival’s challenge with one condition. HBK would be forced to retire if he lost. We all know how this tremendous story ended with Michaels retiring and riding off into the sunset.

 

Honorary Mention: The Corporate Ministry

In April 1999, The Undertaker and his Ministry of Darkness merged with The Corporation alongside Shane McMahon. This was one of the most bizarre yet awesome things that have ever happened in WWE. This whole storyline was absolute gold with a huge twist. Undertaker and his ministry had abducted Vince McMahon’s daughter Stephanie McMahon and arranged for a marriage to take place. Vince’s longtime nemesis Stone Cold Steve Austin made the save and prevent anything to happen.

Undertaker began speaking of a “higher power” who was calling the shots. While the whole world witnessed Vince begging and pleading for the safety and care of his daughter, but what happened next nobody saw coming including myself. When the “higher power” was revealed to be none other than Vince himself, everyone was shocked.

One of the reasons why I loved this storyline, is because it helped establish so many up-and-coming talents such as JBL, HHH, Edge & Christian, and many others. All-the-while still giving us another dose of Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon with a brand-new twist in the rivalry. If you’re a die-hard wrestling fan then I’m sure you have seen this, if not then please go watch it.

 

1) The Undertaker VS. Kane (1997-2010)

In 1997 Undertaker learned a shocking secret from his longtime manager Paul Bearer, that Taker’s “biggest secret”. In the storyline, Bearer announced that Undertaker was a murderer, who as a child had burned down the family funeral home business (where Bearer worked), killing his parents and his younger brother. It was revealed that Kane, his brother had survived and was badly burned. “The Big Red Machine” made his debut costing Undertaker his match against Shawn Michaels at Badd Blood.

Kane would confront his brother for a match, but “The Deadman” refused for months. The two brothers would finally face-off at WrestleMania XIV, after Kane lit the casket on fire that Undertaker was locked inside of. Both superstars would continue into one of the greatest storylines that WWE has ever produced that intertwined throughout both of their careers. The second installment of their rivalry took place in 2004 after Kane buried Undertaker alive at the 2003 Survivor Series pay-per-view.

After an incredible six-month buildup, “The Deadman” persona returned at WrestleMania XX to defeat his younger brother. Undertaker and Kane would go not cross paths again as rivals until six years later in 2010 when the final chapter of their storied rivalry took place. Mysteriously, Undertaker was attacked and left in a vegetative state and a huge search was on for the assailant. After Kane blamed several superstars he was revealed to be the attacker. His reasons were of pure jealousy and malice because of Undertaker’s success.

Undertaker and Kane would battle over the World Heavyweight Championship for the next few months culminating into a buried alive match at Bragging Rights. This would be the final time both brothers would fight and end their rivalry of two decades. Even though in my opinion, the rivalry between the brothers ended anticlimactically it’s still the best story WWE has ever written.

The Deadman has created some of the most memorable moments in WWE history. He has literally given everything to this business and truly deserves to ride off into the sunset. There will never be another superstar quite like The Undertaker, now it’s time to say Thank you!

 


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Cook’s NXT War Games 2021 Gambling Picks

Everyone might not love NXT 2.0, but we all love money! Cook brings us the gambling picks for WarGames just in case anyone wants to roll the dice on making some cash.

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NXT is presenting their first Network special of the 2.0 era today. It’s the first non-TakeOver special in quite sometime, as NXT starts a new era with the latest edition of War Games. We’ll see lot of experienced talent taking on some not-so-experienced talent. Should be interesting, and it could be even more interesting if you want to put your money where your mouth is!

Odds provided by BetOnline

Hair vs. Hair
Cameron Grimes (-120) vs. Duke Hudson (-120)

Grimes is one of those guys who can excel in most environments you put him in. Whether it’s the Old or the New NXT, he fits in quite well doing what he does. I’m honestly not too familiar with Duke Hudson outside of his work here in NXT, but apparently he was a big deal in his native country of Australia. We all know that Australians are taking over the wrestling world, so it’s tough to bet against Hudson being a big deal here in America eventually. Especially since he’s got the billed height & weight that WWE wants out of its Superstars.

So if you’re asking me who has the brighter future with this company, I would say “Duke Hudson”. If you’re asking me who needs their hair more, I would say “Cameron Grimes”. Hudson’s look might benefit from a trim, so expect Cameron Grimes to take it to the moon.

Men’s War Games Match
Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, Grayson Waller & Tony D’Angelo (-200) vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne & LA Knight (+150)

It’s New School vs. Old School, 2.0 vs. Black & Gold or whatever fun names you want to give these teams meant to signify the different eras of NXT. Ciampa & Gargano have been two of NXT’s top stars for most of the past several years. Dunne ran things over in the UK. LA Knight…well, he isn’t exactly one of the top names in NXT’s history, but he’s an established veteran that NXT fans know from other places. He’s been around a while, while these young whipper-snappers haven’t.

Of course, the idea of this match is to make a young whipper-snapper or two. Bron seems to be the chosen one, so I’d be shocked if he wasn’t beating somebody into submission or oblivion to end this thing. Most likely Gargano since he’s the one that has an expiring contract. Team 2.0 should get the win here. Keep an eye on Ciampa here though. I feel like they want him to be the heel against Bron, and a good way to do that would be to have Ciampa beat up Gargano after the match. You know, to give his DIY partner a proper send-off.

NXT Tag Team Championship Match
Imperium (-200) vs. Kyle O’Reilly & Von Wagner (+150)

Another one of those matches where contract issues have to be considered. Nobody would really think of KOR & Von as a long-term team under normal circumstances. Since Kyle’s contract comes up sometime this month, we can go ahead and assume that tag team isn’t lasting past…this match? Sounds about right to me.

Imperium wins. Also, I don’t get Von Wagner’s name. He sounds like he should be part of Imperium but he’s actually from Minnesota.

NXT Cruiserweight Championship Match
Roderick Strong (-185) vs. Joe Gacy (+140)

Joe Gacy is tired of your bodyshaming. I must say, as one that has had difficulty with their weight and been bodyshamed by my peers on countless occasions, I understand where he’s coming from. Part of me wants him to beat Rod Strong and claim the Cruiserweight Championship for all of us who have been discriminated against just because we eat a little more than the average person. Then the other part of me thinks that Rod Strong is a much better professional wrestler and deserves to have a title belt around his skinny waist. So it’s a tough call.

When in doubt, I go with the guy getting the push. Sure, the Diamond Mine has been getting some TV time, but Gacy’s doing what Vince & Bruce want, getting some attention from the lamestream Fox media. Roll with the underdog here, and if you’re one of those people whining about Joe Gacy not weighing 205 or under…be thankful that he hasn’t targeted the Women’s Championship in his crusade against barriers.

Women’s War Games Match
Raquel Gonzalez, Io Shirai, Cora Jade & Kay Lee Ray (-125) vs. Toxic Attraction & Dakota Kai (-115)

Toxic Attraction has been one of the focal points of NXT 2.0. It’s not the worst idea they’ve ever had. Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne have a lot going for them. It’s tough to take your eyes off of them for too long. I think we can all agree they’re pretty great…until the bell rings. Then things are a bit more debatable. War Games isn’t exactly a match you would expect them to fare well in, which has led to much complaining over their inclusion in this match.

Thing is, that’s part of the reason to be interested in this match. We don’t know how Toxic Attraction will fare. We figure Dakota Kai knows what’s up. Certainly, the likes of Io Shirai, Kay Lee Ray & Raquel Gonzalez will be just fine. Cora Jade? Well, she’s a youngster, but War Games seems like something she’d be into. Perhaps our worrying is for nothing, and Toxic Attraction are at least as ready for this thing as we presume Cora Jade is. I’m willing to give it a chance.

As for a winner, the non-Toxic Attraction team is the way to go here, ideally setting up a challenger for Mandy’s championship.


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News From Cook’s Corner 11.29.21: Turkey Hangover

Holidays and wrestling go hand in hand, but what kind of news popped up? Cook brings us his favorite headlines of the week!

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Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! I’m Steve Cook, and it looks like it was a pretty quiet week as far as wrestling news goes. Nobody got fired, for one thing. Most of us went home and gorged ourselves on turkey. We watched tons & tons of football. The Bengals beat the Steelers by 31 points. Louisville lost to Kentucky by 31 points, so things pretty much evened out for me. Things tend to.

The wrestling news cycle this weekend consisted of wrestlers throwing out crazy things they want to happen. Big E wants the Undertaker to dance with New Day. Ric Flair wants to wrestle Sammy Guevara in Israel. I want a million bajillion dollars. Not much we can do with any of that.

Big week coming up though!

Well, maybe. BetOnline hasn’t posted any NXT WarGames matches yet, so we’ll have to keep an eye on that as a potential column goes. There is some interesting news regarding that, as Johnny Gargano signed a week-long contract extension so he could work that show. We’ve seen that recently with people like Adam Cole, signing short-term contract extensions so they can finish their business with the company. Gargano’s wife Candice LeRae’s contract expires in May 2022, but one wonders if they would extend her contract due to her missing time with her pregnancy. Maybe this doesn’t become an issue and they both stay with WWE, most likely as part of NXT helping the young kids learn.

I assume AEW would be an option for Gargano & LeRae given their connection with the Young Bucks back in the day. That men’s roster’s kinda crowded though, so it’s tough to say which would be the better option for fans of Johnny’s work.

Who says WWE Superstars don’t get heat anymore?

Probably the most newsworthy thing to happen on WWE television this week was Seth Rollins getting attacked by a fan on Monday’s Raw episode. Rollins was backing away from the ring after beating up Finn Balor when a fan managed to enter from stage right, run down and tackle Rollins in the entranceway.

Who was this guy, anyway? Elisah Spencer is a 24 year old from Red Hook. No word on whether he’s friends with Hook or not. He was a big Seth Rollins fan at some point, and met him a few years ago and felt a connection. So he tried to get in touch with Rollins on social media, since apparently that’s where people talk to wrestlers. Turns out, the person he thought was Seth Rollins was actually a scammer, and got Spencer to spend $3,000 on WWE gift cards & tickets. Spencer’s girlfriend at the time (who I’m sure was a really perceptive invividual) ended up getting arrested when she tried to pay for the tickets with a bad check.

So there was a beef there. Somehow this all turned into a situation where Goldberg & Vince McMahon booked Spencer to be there, while keeping it a secret from Rollins. Apparently he’s also related to Roman Reigns, Rikishi, the Rock and the rest of the Bloodline, and he did it for them. Big Finn Balor fan now too.

Spencer was charged with attempted assault and an “attempted violation of arts and cultural affairs”. So there you have it, the answer to the debate of whether or not pro wrestling is art.

AAA MegaChampionship Update!

Last week in this column we mentioned how Kenny Omega wouldn’t be able to defend AAA’s top championship at their upcoming TripleMania Regia event due to various injuries he’s taking time off for. Shortly afterward, AAA announced that the MegaChampionship would be vacated, and a new champion would be determined at TripleMania Regia in a five-way. Why a five-way? Honestly, I have no idea. For all I know, El Santo used to compete in five-ways all the time back in the day. Maybe there were five Aztec coins. Don’t know.

I do know the five men scheduled to compete for this thing: El Hijo del Vikingo, Samuray del Sol, Jay Lethal, Bobby Fish & Bandido. Vikingo was originally scheduled to challenge for the championship, so that makes sense. Bandido is an interesting addition since he’s ROH Champion and hasn’t competed for AAA since 2018. His ROH deal is up soon though, and we’re not exactly bullish on the future of that promotion. Back in 2012 when SdS was working the indies, AAA brought him in and repackaged him as Octagon Jr.. Octagon Jr. was originally intended to feud with another debuting wrestler patterned after a name from AAA’s past: Pentagon Jr.. That didn’t last too long, as SdS had a pretty busy schedule even before signing with WWE and didn’t have time to make AAA shows.

Neither Jay Lethal nor Bobby Fish have competed in AAA. They are the foreign talent brought in to generate interest. We’ll find out if they do, as FITE is offering part of this card on their website for $19.99. This seems to indicate that the lawsuit with the Lucha Underground folks has been settled to some extent. Or AAA is hoping they can pull this off without anybody noticing. It would be nice to have AAA readily available here in the US again, or at least some type of lucha libre show with solid production values.

The most recent Young Bucks Twitter bio update let us know that their contract with AEW has rolled over. The Bucks will be with the company until at least 2024, which comes as little surprise to most of us. WWE isn’t going to make them Executive Vice Presidents, nor feature tag team wrestling in any kind of meaningful way. As awesome as RK-Bro vs. Young Bucks matches would surely be, we’ll have to wait until 2024 before we see them.

The Bucks celebrated by taking the week off from Being the Elite. Understandable, especially since I don’t think they made last week’s taping.

Welp, that’s all we have time for this week. Darn turkey’s still making me sleepy. Thanks for reading, and until next time, keep your stick on the ice.


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