And Another Thing: A Small Moment At X 7 

Posted by Hyatte on 04.04.2001 

There was a single moment during Wrestlemania X 7 that made the show my favorite pay per view of the last five years. 

There was a single moment during Wrestlemania X 7 that made the show my favorite pay per view of the last five years. 

Austin turning heel? Nope. TLC2? Nope. The Gimmick Battle Royal? No sir. It was Triple H's match against the Undertaker. 

I knew they would deliver. Critics charge the current day Undertaker as old, flabby, and a has been. A dinosaur still trying to keep up in an age of speed, strength, and unimaginable "can-you-top-this" high spots. To an extent, the critics are right. Mark Calloway seems to have accepted that little spare tire around his middle. His idea of a "high spot" is taking those two steps across the top rope without slipping, and he has the help of his opponent for that. Oh, every so often he'll fly into the Spanish announce table, and God bless him for that, but he does those spots only sporadically. From time to time, you'll see him take long pauses between moves, sucking up as much air as he possibly can. Yeah, the Undertaker is old alright. Father Time catches up with dead men too, apparently. 

But, he can still get it done. He's gotten it done for a long time now. I've said this for years and I'll say it now, put the Undertaker in the ring with a quality, motivated opponent and they will put on a show. Not just a good match, but a show. The guy knows how to perform, that's what all the critics tend to forget. He has an absolute mastery of giving the fans something that they will still be peeing their pants about on the way home. 

The Undertaker's only problem is that if his opponent is just an average competitor, he won't go the distance. Mark Calloway has two Undertakers in him; the one who goes above and beyond the call of duty and the one who just works his gimmick. Tell Calloway that he's working against Rikishi tonight, and he'll send in the Undertaker that will do all his big moves, take a few bumps, then follow whatever finish he is told to do. Tell Calloway that he's working against The Rock, and he'll send out the Undertaker who is going to do everything he can to make you remember his match. He is going to try to blow you away. What makes him one of the best in the business, and what probably makes him one of the few wrestlers who has Vince McMahon's undying loyalty and gratitude, is that when he does set out to blow us away, nine out of ten times, that's exactly what he does. He's been doing it in the WWF for a decade. He's done it at Wrestlemania eight times, some of them were horrible efforts, (you try working a great match against the Giant Gonzales), but others were sheer masterpieces (only Shawn Michaels can take credit for wringing a better match out of Kevin Nash). The body might be heavier, the wrinkles more pronounced, but the man inside Mark Calloway is still the same man who wants to put on a show. It doesn't matter if he wins or loses, so long as he gives the fans their money's worth. The WWF know this all too well, and you better believe that in an age of egos, prima donnas, and selfish workers who throw tantrums at the very mention of a job out, they appreciate Calloway for what he has done for them. 

Vince McMahon especially knows this. Which is why he matched Calloway up with Hunter Helmsley at X 7. At this moment, Triple H is the very best worker in the business. He's not the best pure wrestler, he's not the best high flying, he's not the best brawler, and he's not even the best on the mic, but he is extremely good at all of those and is the very finest at elevating his opponent's "game". You have to work very hard to look poor against Hunter. He knows it too, he takes pride in this skill. Looking at Triple H, you see a man who is in the very prime of his life doing what he's always wanted to do and having a ball being the best at it. He also works very closely with Vince McMahon, and many people say that he has McMahon's ear during times of booking decisions. Both men knew that Hunter wouldn't be a part of the main event, but he's too good a worker to waste on the biggest show of the year. So, who better to match up Hunter with then with the man he's never really faced before? The best Worker in the business against one of the best Performers ever! I doubt anyone in the WWF worried about which Undertaker Calloway would send out for this one. 

They had their match, and although it was technically the second from the main event, it felt and played like any main event in any arena on any pay per view. Hunter came out like a full blown mega-star, brought out by a live performance of Motorhead singing his theme song. He savored his ring entrance, taking his time coming to the ring (we can forgive him for that corny pointing at the band). There were over 67'000 people in the Astrodome that night, and they all stared at him in all his glory. Everyone watching saw the same thing, a Professional Wrestler who will be remembered for all time. A Professional Wrestler is just a year away from being immortalized in the elite class of men like Gorgeous George, Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Randy Savage, Steve Austin, the Rock, and yes... the Undertaker. Men who transcend the business. Men whose names are well known to people who never saw a wrestling match before in their life. Triple H isn't there yet, but he's on his way. Barring any personal disaster, it seems inevitable. 

Of course, Calloway sent out the Undertaker who blows people away and of course, he did just that. No Limp Bizkit to personally bring him out. Just him, his motorcycle, and the crowd's excitement that the premiere ass kicker is going to do what no one else does better. The Undertaker and Triple H had a TLC match, a Gimmick Battle Royal, an incredible hardcore title match, a pure wrestling clinic, and the anticipation of a killer main event to contend with; and they held up their end. It was a nonstop brawl, each man giving as well as receiving. The Undertaker performed an amazing high spot and drove his elbow deep into Helmsley's chest from a good 16 feet, (taking a nice long rest before doing it, just Father Time showing up to remind us all that we are getting old). Asses were "whupped", the match told it's story, and everyone was satisfied. 

Yet, then they did the unexpected. 

You see. I had Triple H pegged as the winner. This match was just a "special" showcase for two guys who are, more or less, between angles at the moment. The thing is, Triple H is in for a long career of main event matches. He has been and will be involved in just about every main event program for the next couple of years. His future is secured. He has major victories over every single WWF Superstar and just last month, won a huge three fall gimmick match with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. He also has some influence over Vince McMahon. The Undertaker, meanwhile, has had his time in the sun. He still has a couple of years left in him, but not at a consistent main event player. Oh, I'm sure he's good for at least one more main event title match against the freshly heeled world champ, Steve Austin, but that'll be it. He also puts people over with nary a fuss. He's a consummate professional who'll lay down for anyone. I figured HHH, who's been known to cause the occasional fuss over laying down for someone, would get the victory here and cement himself as one of THE players. Hell, his elaborate ring entrance screamed a win. 

So what does he do? He gets himself pinned by the Undertaker. Cleanly. After a hard fought match, another one of the Undertaker's personal best, HHH took a "Last Ride" Powerbomb and took the three count. Amazing. 

What was he thinking? He's the best in the business. He's going to be a WWF fixture for years to come. And he will probably be heading up next year's Wrestlemania either challenging Austin or defending against him. For his future, Triple H needed a high profile win against the Undertaker a lot more than the Undertaker needed a win against Triple H? What was he thinking? What was Vince McMahon thinking? 

I don't know, maybe Hunter knows that another skill needed to be the absolute best is that you need to know when it's time to do a job just because it's the right thing to do? 

Maybe he wanted to thank Mark Callous for spending over a decade showing everyone that you can still lose matches without losing heat? 

Or maybe he just wanted to give the old, flabby Undertaker one last major Wrestlemania victory. Hell, maybe he was honored to do it? 

I know one thing, Vince McMahon just wanted to reward an old dog for giving people their money's worth more times than naught, and for being loyal during his company's lowest times. 

Their were WCW workers in the seats for the big show. Some of the young stars whom the WWF will try to build a new company on. They watched Hunter Helmsley do a job to the Undertaker. Perhaps he was telling them that even the big stars will work a match strictly for the sheer pleasure of working a classic match against one of the greats, without caring about who's shoulders got pinned. 

I hope these WCW wrestlers got the message. 

Bravo Jean Paul, Bravo. 

This is Hyatte too.