Only the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania would be an appropriate stage for two quintessential WWE icons – the celebrated innovator, Shawn Michaels, and the venerated spectre, Undertaker – to take arms. (WATCH)
At The Biggest Spectacle of Them All, the WWE Universe will witness a guaranteed timeless battle between The Showstopper and that which can not be stopped, The Phenom’s unblemished winning streak.
WrestleMania canon bears a veritable who’s who of WWE Superstars – including many past friends and foes alike of The Showstopper – that have fallen to the cold, callous grip of The Phenom. But while Undertaker’s 16 remarkable victories against individuals of all types and talents stand irrefutable, it remains a rarely visited truth that The Deadman has never beaten HBK. (More on their history)
Like his opponent, Michaels has established his own niche at WWE’s greatest annual extravaganza. HBK convincingly secured the moniker “Mr. WrestleMania” with leaps from ladder tops, the fulfillment his adolescent dream to be WWE Champion and, just last year, by ending careers of living legends.
Away from the glow and eminence of WrestleMania, for Michaels, it’s been a long few months of hardship and internal turmoil born from unforeseen financial burden. Commencing 2009 as a conflicted and humbled man beneath the impugning thumb of John “Bradshaw” Layfield, HBK persevered to reclaim his stability and with it, his pride.
Reborn and given the opportunity to perform like only he can, Michaels not only conquered JBL, but also a well-equipped warrior from SmackDown territory in Vladimir Kozlov. On a critical edition of Monday Night Raw, HBK once again stopped the show, along with the pristine singles record of the Moscow Mauler – an individual who has pinned countless former World Champions in recent months. Michaels’ dual triumphs against his former employer and Kozlov earned him the incontestable right to challenge The Deadman and the legendary 16-0 winning streak at WrestleMania.
Thus, it has been proven true that “it’s hell getting into heaven,” as Undertaker himself iterated to HBK at the Royal Rumble, in a moment that foreshadowed their imminent encounter. As fate would have it, the clouds have parted and the paradise alluded to by The Deadman is WrestleMania, where in order to ascertain immortality, Michaels must overcome a rather grim gatekeeper.
No doubt, both The Showstopper and his apparition-like opposition are two consummate performers who tend to excel on a stage of this caliber. Which of these dueling destinies will eclipse the other? Will the almost mythic streak of The Phenom be sacrificed? Or will the initials “HBK” be inscribed on the 17th headstone in Undertaker’s macabre WrestleMania graveyard?
Find out live on pay-per-view on Sunday, April 5, as the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania is celebrated in Houston’s Reliant Stadium.
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