JC’s Top Rope Report: The Truth About The Undertaker vs Triple H Rivalry
We’re a couple days away from the WWE Super Showdown in Australia. It’s a 5 a.m. start for me in the east. I may catch some of it but I have a very busy Saturday planned out, so more than likely I will only catch some of the highlights of it.
But if you believe the WWE, I am more than likely going to miss the BIGGEST MATCH IN WRESTLING HISTORY this Saturday when the Undertaker takes on Triple H. It is being called the last time these two will ever go one-on-one in the middle of a WWE ring. The WWE is also calling this rivalry one of the greatest rivalries in WWE history.
And boy is that so, so wrong.
Both of these men have had long and storied careers in the WWE. So naturally they have had many rivals over the course of their careers. For the WWE to claim that this rivalry is one of the greatest of all time is a pretty big stretch. In fact, I would make the argument that neither man is in the top 5 of the other’s all time great rivalries. The Undertaker vs Triple H feud really revolves around Wrestlemania 27 and 28. If you go back to the Attitude Era, they really didn’t have much of a rivalry at all. They fought at Wrestlemania 17, but it wasn’t much of a rivalry. They had a handful of tag team matches, including the Brothers of Destruction vs Austin and HHH. But again, nothing really resulted from it.
So it is a giant stretch of the imagination to say that these two have had one of the greatest rivalries in WWE history. Of course the WWE wants you to forget that anything happened in their company over ten years ago. And even still, I could still name five rivalries off the top of my head that I think were better than HHH vs Undertaker from Wrestlemania 27 to now: AJ Styles vs John Cena, The Rock vs John Cena, Daniel Bryan vs The Authority, CM Punk vs Chris Jericho and Charlotte vs Becky Lynch.
Lets take a look at each man’s careers, starting with The Undertaker. The Undertaker has been around since 1990. That is almost 30 years in the WWE. The list of people he has had numerous matches with goes on and on and on. You can start with the two other people involved in this Undertaker/Triple H program. Shawn Michaels had much better matches and better storylines with The Undertaker. The Undertaker/Shawn Michaels rivalry went from the end of 1997 to early 1998. They fought in the first ever Hell In A Cell match and the end of their story tied into the beginning of the story of the Undertaker and Kane. Their rivalry has went on for years in the WWE. They’ve been teammates and rivals. Have their stories gotten a bit weird at times? Yes. But there is no denying that Kane is on the Top 5 list of the Undertaker’s top rivals.
Stone Cold Steve Austin would also end up on that list. When the Undertaker joined up with Vince McMahon in the Attitude Era, he was Vince’s guy going after Austin. They had multiple Title matches throughout 1999. They fought during the WWE’s hottest period and were both key players in that.
When you get out of the Attitude Era with The Undertaker, the first person that comes to mind is Brock Lesnar. After Lesnar won the Undisputed Title in 2002, the Undertaker was his first opponent. I would argue that the Lesnar/Taker feud helped make Lesnar an even bigger star in the eyes of WWE fans then he already was. People of course forget those two matches and just remember the Lesnar/Taker match from Wrestlemania 30. They then went on to have two surprisingly good matches in the same year.
Rounding out the Top 5 for me would be the Undertaker/Mankind rivalry. Mankind debuted in 1996 by attacking the Undertaker and they feuded for the rest of 1996. Mankind was able to get the upper hand on the Undertaker unlike anyone else had in recent memory. Then they feuded on and off again until 1998, and of course we all remember the infamous Hell In A Cell match from King of the Ring 1998.
Of course that doesn’t even include the Undertaker/Edge rivalry from 2008. It was the main story of Smackdown the whole year. And again, I think the feud fully put Edge on the map as one of the top guys in the WWE during this time period. I know he had already won Money in the Bank and had other Title reigns. But carrying the Smackdown brand like these two did for over six months was more than anything Undertaker did with Triple H during that time frame. So that is six alone for the Undertaker right there are better than his rivalry with Triple H. And I think you can even put Randy Orton and Batista ahead of Triple H.
Now lets take a look at the career of Triple H. If we go back to the Attitude Era then The Rock would be #1 on my list. Triple H vs The Rock was pretty much the main storyline in the WWE for the year 2000. They were part of the main event of Wrestlemania 2000 and then main evented the next two PPVs. When Steve Austin got hurt, these two picked up the ball and ran with it while the WWE had one of their most profitable years in the history of the company.
Like The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels is in Triple H’s Top 5 career rivals. They started off as D-X in the Attitude Era and buy 2002, they were rivals on and off for the next few years and had some of the best matches in both of their careers.
Next for me would be Mick Foley. I would argue that Foley helped Triple H at two different points during his career. In 1997, Foley’s matches with Triple H helped elevate Triple H up the card. Then in 2000, the rivalry and two matches that Foley had with Triple H solidified Triple H as a main eventer in the eyes of many. Despite the success he had to that point, there were still people doubting Triple H going into 2000. But his matches with Mick Foley erased those concerns.
In the opposite role, Triple H helped make Batista in 2005. The storyline with Triple H and Batista leading to their match at Wrestlemania was so well done. It made Batista a huge star and you could tell that Triple H was actually determined to make Batista a star, possibly to make up for the botched Randy Orton feud. Similarly, the Top 5 for me would end with Daniel Bryan. People don’t want to admit it but Triple H played a huge part in getting Daniel Bryan over in their buildup to Wrestlemania. Triple H was the perfect heel to play the role he did.
So while the WWE wants to make you think that The Undertaker and Triple H have had one of the greatest rivalries of all time, it actually isn’t even close. But the WWE is going to keep riding this nostalgia act with these two as long as possible. But if the ratings are like they were this past Monday that might end after the Saudi money is gone.
Until Next Time,
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka