Welcome everyone to a new blog series I’ve decided to run with called original vs sequel. The premise behind this is I want to take highly publicized, often well received, matches and compare them to their follow up matches that are often less fondly remembered.
Something I should state right off the bat is that some of the matches listed will be between guys who have had only 2 or 3 singles matches together, and some will be between guys who have had dozens of matches together. I’m looking for the match with the biggest, most well remembered initial entry, as well as the most notable 2nd (and sometimes 3rd) installment.
Matches I hope to cover include:
Hogan vs Andre – Mania 3, The Main Event February 5, 1988, Mania 4.
Hogan vs Warrior – Mania 6, Halloween Havoc 98.
Undertaker vs Michaels – Mania 25, Mania 26
Undertaker vs HHH – Mania 27, Mania 28
Cena vs Lesnar – Extreme Rules 2012, Summerslam 2014
Cena vs Rock – Mania 28, Mania 29
Cena vs Punk – Money at the Bank 2011, Summerslam 2011
HHH vs Benoit vs Michaels – Mania 20, Backlash 2004
Cena vs Michaels – Mania 23, Raw April 23, 2007
Hogan vs Sting – Starrcade 97, Nitro December 29, 1997, SuperBrawl 8
I’m open to suggestions that anyone else may have as well.
Vol 1 – Undertaker vs Kane – Mania 14, Mania 20
First up, Mania 14
Prior to the match, we get a little feud covering video package….
(And prior to that, we get a shitty graphic featuring Kane and Taker. It’s pretty weak).
…. To sum up the Package, it’s brother vs brother. For months Paul Bearer had been hold some big nasty secret over Taker’s head. It turns out his long thought dead brother, Kane, is alive. Kane made his debut in 97, interfering in the first ever hell in a cell (Taker vs Shawn Michaels). Kane cost Taker the match and the WWF title. For months Kane tried to bait Taker into having a match but Taker wouldn’t bite. He refused to fight his own flesh and blood.
Then, with their backs against the wall, Kane made an apparent face turn to fight alongside his brother. The turn was short lived as Kane cost his brother a Casket match at Rumble 98 against Michaels (again for the title). With Taker locked inside, Kane lit the casket on fire.
Oh, and Kane is apparently magic. He can shoot lightning.
Howard Finkel introduces…. Baseball legend Pete Rose as special guest ring announcer. Rose cuts a heel promo on Boston sports.
Kane is first out with Bearer and he looks fucking cool. He’s covered head to foot, save one arm, in black and red attire. His entrance has a red lighting motif. Kane gives Rose a tombstone and receives a huge face pop. Odd.
Taker next. A dozen or so druids holding torches precede him and line the walkway. “lightning bolts” strike and cue Taker’s music. He walks under the torches and gets a blue lighting motif.
We start with a stare-down. Both men are big but Kane looks to have Taker covered by 10-15lbs.
Strikes from Taker that Kane half sells. Clothesline by Kane and we get our first “Taker sit-up.” An apparent Tombstone set-up by Kane turns into a botched Tree of Woe.
More Strikes. It’s Kane’s power vs Taker’s speed.
A strange spot as Taker jumps onto Kan’e shoulders but gets his face planted for his troubles.
Outside brawling. Taker sells a couple Bearer kicks which is awesome.
Back in the ring, Taker takes a chokeslam. 1,2… Kane lifts him up…. To lock in a rest hold. Weird. Taker has a quick fury shut down into another rest spot. Taker breaks free and knocks Kane to the outside. HUGE Taker dive that misses by a mile and he goes through the announcers table.
Back in the ring, Kane hits the top rope clothesline. Strikes. Taker covering up. Another fury from Taker.
Kane reverses a tombstone attempt into one of his own and hits it. Kick out. Taker takes control.
Tombstone to Kane. Kick out.
Tombstone (2) to Kane. Kick out.
Taker hits a top rope clothesline.
Tombstone (3) to Kane. Taker gets the win as Kane kicks out a half second too late (16:48).
Bearer walks into the ring after sliding in a chair. He puts the boots to a weakened Taker. Kane hits Taker with the chair and then plants Taker with a tombstone onto the chair. As Kane and Bearer make their way to the back, we get another “Taker sit up” spot but he’s a bit battered and woozy.
***1/4. The build-up was great. The match lay-out was great. The spectacle of watching these two titans go at it was great. The actual match was just pretty good. Lots of strikes. The match never hit that second gear that we know both guys can reach. The crowd wasn’t very hot for the action either which didn’t help.
Next, Mania 20
Pre-match video package. Survivor Series 2003: Taker vs Vince McMahon in a buried alive match. Kane interferes and…. Well, you know, buries his brother alive. At this point, Taker was doing the American bad ass gimmick. Kane talks about how Taker used to be a monster but now he’s just normal. Basically Taker “haunts” Kane in the months leading to Mania. Very horror movie status.
Kane comes out first. No top, no mask, bald head. He has his Finger 11 theme. Comes across exponentially less cool then he did at Mania 14. Still has his “Kane lighting.”
Taker next. Paul Bearer comes out first (re-debuting as well it seems). Druids with torches. Crowd pops big for gong/”old school Taker.”
Kane is very distraught. He looks like he’s about to cry. “You are not real.” Kane eases towards Taker and places a hand on him. Is he real? Yes.
Taker fucking explodes on Kane. Up tempo action as they brawl to the outside. Taker appears to be in great shape. Kane is dominated early on.
Back in the ring, Taker’s Last Ride attempt is countered and Kane drops him head first on the top role (nasty). Kane gets in a little offense including a top rope clothesline. The two trade strikes.
Taker hits a running boot followed by a bit leg drop. He attempts Old School but gets caught in a chokeslam grip. They trade chokes until Kane finally hits the chokeslam. Kane turns his back to Taker and plays to the crowd.