Coming into the Sept. 4 episode of Raw, I wasn’t fired up for another Triple H vs. Undertaker match at Super Show-Down in Melbourne next month. Coming out of WWE’s Labor Day show, I’m not any more enthused about “The Last Time Ever”.
But after the scene in the clip embedded above, I am very interested in the possibility of Shawn Michaels being goaded out of retirement to face The Dead Man again. And judging by the number of other fans who also think that’s what WWE was hinting at last night when HBK and Taker shared the ring in Columbus, Ohio, I wasn’t just imagining things.
Those who saw that writing on the wall include Dave Meltzer, who when discussing Monday’s segment on Wrestling Observer Radio said it wasn’t the kind of thing Vince McMahon would put on the air if there was no intention of following through on it:
“The idea in theory would be pushing the Undertaker/Triple H match, but when it was over that wasn’t the match that [WWE] were pushing. Nobody was coming out of this segment going ‘I can’t wait to see Undertaker and Triple H.’ They were saying ‘I can’t wait to see Undertaker and Shawn Michaels’. Which means if anything they weakened [Super Show-Down from] Australia...
... they still made it so the big match isn’t Undertaker vs Triple H. Undertaker vs Triple H is a step to the big match which is Undertaker and Shawn. Perhaps that could be at ‘Mania? ... It’s awfully early to do an angle for next year’s ‘Mania, but it’s not impossibly early. It’s been done before.”
It hasn’t even been hinted at yet, but if Oct. 6 in Melbourne involves a stipulation or outcome that leads to Michaels breaking the retirement vow he took after WrestleMania 26 - a Triple H win causes Taker to waive that condition of his 2010 win? The Dead Man goes full Big Evil, injuring Hunter and driving Shawn to throw it away himself in order to get revenge? Then I will be much more interested in The Game vs. The Phenom at Super Show-Down.
Another round of Michaels vs. Undertaker won’t live up to the wrestling we last saw in Arizona, or the year before in Houston. Both men are 53 years old, and while they train more than most 53 year olds, they’ve also done a lot more damage to their bodies than most people their age. But they’re gifted storytellers, and another chapter of their rivalry is definitely an interesting prospect.
Especially if HBK’s career-long obsession with defeating the Dead Man creates an opportunity for Taker to have a real, official retirement match next spring in New Jersey.
But I’m fantasy booking way ahead already. For now, it’s enough to know I wasn’t imagining things last night - or rather, that WWE, Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker can still fire up our imaginations.
We’ll see where they take us from here.
Transcription via Ringside News