Streaks are made to be broken.
Whoever conjured up that old cliché obviously knew nothing of Undertaker. After an epic battle pitting shadow against light, The Demon from Death Valley was finally able to bury the soul of “Mr. WrestleMania,” Shawn Michaels. A triumph of darkness, the victory propels Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak to an unprecedented 17-0.
As more than 70,000 sets of eyes focused on the ring inside Houston’s Reliant Stadium, vendors twiddled their thumbs and bathroom breaks were put on hold during the classic confrontation that had the international crowd fixed to their seats.
Having never defeated HBK, Undertaker set a deliberate and destructive pace, which seemed to pay dividends early in the match. Then again, Michaels enjoys quite a reputation for stamina and managed to recapture the momentum before moving outside the ring.
That’s when The Deadman leaped over the top rope, taking aim at HBK. But just as Undertaker was about to land atop Michaels with the full force of his nearly 300 pound frame, HBK darted aside and pulled a cameraman into Undertaker’s path. After a near count-out, The Phenom dragged himself back into the ring, and the legendary Superstars traded some of the most lethal maneuvers in their arsenal.
In the end, though, Undertaker would administer a second and final Tombstone to bury Michaels and secure his place in the annals of WWE history.
Though he lost, Michaels is to be commended for his efforts, never flinching from the daunting task before him. Unlike many of his predecessors, Michaels seemed unafraid to face The Phenom on WWE’s grandest stage, girded by both devotion and confidence.
For his part, Undertaker never once lost sight of his goal: Keeping his WrestleMania record unblemished. Now, in light of his monumental victory, Undertaker can rest – perhaps not “in peace” – but at least until he’s called on to defend The Streak at next year’s WrestleMania.
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