Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Undertaker
1 April, 2001
Astrodome; Houston, TX
Part 2 Part 3
Sorry, there is a bit over overlap between parts one and two.... but I didn't find anyone that had uploaded all three parts of the match.
From what I understand, the WWE is not acknowledging the existence of this match, even though it was the semi-main event of perhaps the best Wrestlemania of all time. Well, here it is then, since I am such a big fan of not letting people rewrite history.
I was never much of an Undertaker fan until right around this time. I just never bought into or liked the "DeadMan" gimmick. As part of the gimmick, Undertaker never really sold anything, and there was a ton of goofy stuff involving urns and shit like that. Not my cup of tea.
However, when Mick Foley entered the promotion as Mankind, that changed, and suddenly Undertaker was able to start selling for people, and doing more brawling. After the "Ministry of Darkness" Undertaker, we got the "Biker-Taker", which was my favorite incarnation of the Undertaker. Rather than being an unstoppable force propelled by dark spirits, Undertaker was now just a big ass biker dude - and he was able to have better, more well rounded matches.
HHH, at this point, was at the tail end of his peak. HHH had just ended his awesome 1999-2000, when he was going out and having great matches with guys like Taka Michinoku every week. By this point we were starting to see HHH the politician emerge, but he was still having great matches, as we were a few months away from his quad injury, and he was never really the same after that injury.
All in all, there isn't really anything special about this match. The Undertaker's undefeated Wrestlemania streak was not really a big selling point yet, and it was only casually mentioned by Jim Ross. This match was really just a wild around-the-arena brawl between two heavyweights. HHH took some massive bumps here, and Undertaker did a lot of dishing out the punishment. In many ways, this match has probably been buried in the vault by the WWE for just that reason - HHH doesn't dominate or run roughshod over Taker, so why would anyone believe it would be different now?
Five months in to "Project 33" and I am a little behind here... but I am keeping the faith that I can get this done in one year.