High Road/Low Road 03.12.10: Edge vs Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 26
Welcome back to the High Road/Low Road!
A brief explanation of the column: Sat takes the High Road (positive view) on angles, gimmicks, and other wrestling related “stuff” while Chad Nevett takes the Low Road (negative view).
Results for Shawn Michaels/Undertaker Rematch at WrestleMania 26:
High Road: 68%
Low Road: 22%
Both Roads: 11%
Chad Nevett: I’m definitely in the Both Roads camp here. I’m cautiously optimistic as the fanboy inside wants to see this match a lot, but the Undertaker’s health puts the actual quality of this match into question. I mean, would even a three-and-a-half star match do at this point? This match has to be fantastic and I’m not sure that the Undertaker has it in him. But, I want it to be great and hope it will be.
Sat: This is a hard road for me to take. The obvious choice would be high road, but the stipulation has me a bit worried going into this match. Plus, both guys wrestled a dangerous match last year, so I am hoping that they keep it on the safe side this time around.
Chris Jericho and Edge at WrestleMania 26
This feud has been set since Edge’s injury when Edge and Chris Jericho were the Unified Tag Team Champions. We have seen Chris Jericho make remarks about Edge since then and I think it has lead to this point. I will admit that the injury happening to Edge (which if I recall correctly, Jericho had nothing to do with) being the reason for the feud is a bit weird; I still think that this is a solid feud.
The feud was out of the audience’s mind for a long time. While it began when Edge got injured, the WWE didn’t do much with it until Edge actually returned, making it somewhat abrupt. Jericho had moved on to other things since then. They could have teased it out more, but wanted to have Edge’s return be a surprise. It also took the surprise out of Elimination Chamber where it quickly became evident than it was going to be Edge/Jericho and Jericho had to win.
I think the match that Edge and Chris Jericho will have at WrestleMania 26 will definitely be a good one. In fact, I look at the entire WrestleMania card and I think we are guaranteed three very good matches. Edge and Chris Jericho have shown in the past that they can have a good match and I expect the same at WrestleMania.
Edge’s in-ring abilities are in question given his injury and not being the ring for a while. He’s delivered some solid matches on Smackdown, but with these two, the expectations for the wrestling are very high and it’s still not guaranteed that Edge can deliver.
Edge and Chris Jericho was the only logical option to go with at the main event on the SmackDown side of things. The only other option that could have worked would have been CM Punk and Rey Mysterio. The Edge and Chris Jericho feud probably works better in the main event slot over Punk and Mysterio just because it has been building for a lot longer.
Prior to Elimination Chamber, though, it could have easily been the Undertaker and someone, or even Batista and someone. With Jericho winning the World Heavyweight Championship, yeah, there’s nothing better, but a feud featuring the Undertaker or Batista could have worked just as well.
For this feud, I was expecting Jericho to have upper hand throughout the entire feud. I was expecting Chris Jericho to keep getting the best of Edge, which would lead to Edge getting the victory at WrestleMania. The WWE has decided to do the opposite of this, which I think is interesting because if Jericho had been getting the upper hand this feud would have been boring and predictable. Now, I am looking forward to seeing when Chris Jericho gets the advantage.
While interesting, it’s making the World Heavyweight Champion look like a complete chump leading up to WrestleMania, which doesn’t seem like the right way to go. Nor does it necessarily fit with Jericho’s character since, while a cowardly heel, he’s usually depicted as being smarter than his opponents and outsmarting them in and out of the ring. It’s so one-sided that it doesn’t quite fit with the characters.
I’m not a big fan of the whole spear spear spear thing that Edge has been doing recently, but I have to admit that it looks to be working. First, it fits into the fact that Chris Jericho has been seeing the spear hitting him in his dreams and whatnot. Second, the crowd has really gotten behind this whole spear spear spear thing which is definitely a good thing. I am not a fan of the whole spear spear spear thing, but it seems to be working, so I guess that does it make it a good thing.
It’s annoying and can easily turn around on the WWE when it becomes something that fans chant for no reason other than to chant it. It could easily become the next ‘What?’ and we already have one of those. And it’s annoying as hell. The ‘spear spear spear’ chant catching on could retroactively make this whole feud a bad memory.
Edge has been one of the most despised heels in the WWE in recent memory. For the fans to buy the new Edge, you needed to have him in a feud with somebody who the fans were not going to cheer for over Edge. I think Chris Jericho is the perfect option for this and I think this feud will help to make Edge more loved by the WWE universe.
Why does Edge need to turn face? His character wasn’t stale, particularly since when we last saw him, he’d finally gotten rid of Vickie Guerrero and was flying solo again. His injury cut short that time to enjoy Edge as heel without Vickie in the picture and I personally would have enjoyed more of that. Edge’s last attempt at a face turn didn’t work and I wonder if this one could be sustained without someone like Jericho on the other side of the ring. More than that… can Edge actually play a face? Since returning, he’s looked visibly thrown when he comes out to cheers. His mannerisms and speaking patterns are still geared to the heel characters he’s played almost all of his career. Can Edge be a convincing face without Chris Jericho as the heel? That’s what I’m wondering.
Simply write “High Road”, “Low Road”, or “Both Roads” in the comment section.
These are all of the e-mails that we received this week. We do not respond to the actual e-mail, but the reply to your e-mail will be below.
Sat: We only received emails from people who were voting, so let’s go to the comments.
Below are the comments for last week’s columns and our responses. Every comment will not be included because it makes our lives a lot easier. The comments section was last looked at on Sunday Night Pacific Time.
Potentially the biggest hyped match in the history of WrestleMania, and potentially the greatest rematch in WrestleMania history. Nuff said.
Sat: It’s pretty hard to accurately say whether this is the biggest hyped match in the history of WrestleMania, but I am definitely thinking the same thing you are.
Chad Nevett: This isn’t the biggest hyped, but it’s had a great build.
“The Undertaker’s health is, apparently, much worse than last year and that doesn’t raise my hopes for his in-ring performance.”
So you think he should sit WM out then? Or you’d rather he be paired with someone less likely to be able to carry him to a great match, if his health does turn out to be an issue?
Those are the obvious options for Low Roaders.
Sat: I think Chad made a good point and that is the Undertaker’s health is worse this year and that might lead to a worse match than last year. I don’t think he said anywhere that Taker should sit out WrestleMania.
Chad Nevett: No, but perhaps booking him in a match that draws such high expectations for in-ring performance and direct comparisons to a fantastic match from last year isn’t the right call. Booking him in a different sort of match that works to cover his weaknesses could have been done.
As a wrestling fan, how could you not want to see this? They had the match of the year last year and the build to the rematch has been brilliant. That video package last week made it seem like the biggest match of all time, and it’s not too far off. I believe this is in the top 5 of all time biggest Wrestlemania matches. Undertaker’s streak v Shawn Michaels career, it just sounds epic! Don’t be fooled by the talk of both guys being banged up, they will deliver another classic, I’m sure.
Sat: I think last year’s match was overrated by a lot of people; I liked Jericho/Mysterio from The Bash I believe a lot more. Still, I am looking forward to this match.
Chad Nevett: I really do worry about how well the two matches will compare since I really loved their match last year. I think this match could be a step down. Still better than most matches, but it has a very tall bar to clear.
ROH Commish Writes:
Big negative has to be that this takes away the sole highlight of WM 25. If they deliver an equal performance, there is no reason to ever watch anything from WM 25 again.
Taker v Punk really should have been this mania’s Taker match but they neutered Punk and rushed the angle. Taker really didn’t need to return until Survivor Series at the earliest.
Really Mania sells itself. It is not necessary to have this match to pop a buyrate.
The greatest rematch was Rock v Austin and biggest hyped match was Andre v Hogan.
Sat: I don’t agree with the negative that you are taking about. I think if they deliver a good match, both matches will be remembered.
Chad Nevett: Yeah, that point didn’t make much sense to me.
Im going low road with this since I dont want the streak broken and call me selfish but I dont want Michaels to retire either. Plus I’m not sure how they could make the match any better than it was last year.
Sat: This is one of the low road arguments that I will buy.
Chad Nevett: I think the streak versus career element was needed only to make this match bigger than last year’s… and, maybe, to add drama to a match that won’t be as good as last year’s.
Can’t be anything but a high road for this one, if it’s anywhere near the quality of last years match then it’ll be MoTY plus the story they can tell with HBK’s career on the line should be epic. Streak aint gonna end though, Shawn will go the Foley route from 2000 and find a way back within a few weeks of his “career being over”
Sat: I can’t see the WWE doing this. The most hyped match ever needs to be definitive; either the streak ends or the career.
Chad Nevett: I agree with Sat here. At minimum, Michaels needs to be gone for close to a year if he’s going to return, not a few weeks. Ideally, this would be the retirement that sticks.
High road. Undertaker going into Wrestlemania has been a predictable outcome lately. Career vs. the streak though gives Wrestlemania a little something extra. HBK is still one of the best performers and the added incentive of it being Wrestlemania makes it that much sweeter. This time the Undertaker’s streak is in serious jeopardy. The outcome could go either way and has fans talking. We all want matches where the outcome is unpredictable and we have it finally for an undertaker match.
Sat: I think the streak versus the career thing has really upped the ante and I see this Mania doing a huge buy rate.
Chad Nevett: The stipulation does make it a little more unpredictable and that’s something the match needed.
The Gold Standard Writes:
Low Road. Usually Wrestlemania rematches happen at other ppvs ex. rock vs. Hogan 2 nwo 2003 orton vs taker and hbk vs. angle happened at other ppvs. I just think its a lose lose situation because if you have Taker win, then its meaningless as he did a year before and people were expecting it. If Taker loses, then a guy (HBK) whos well established gets the rub of ending Takers streak win it would be better suited for an up and comer to do so. Like Ted DiBiase or yes Sheamus
Sat: I can understand the WWE’s reluctance to have a young guy end the streak because he could walk away at any time.
Chad Nevett: I still think Kane should end the streak. Third time’s the charm!
– The build-up has been good
– I trust both veterans to find ways to improve upon last year’s match
– Will overshadow the title matches
– Likely screwy finish: Streak can’t end and I don’t think HBK would want to lose cleanly again
– Time running out: While Taker can still deliver, he needs to perform alongside young guys
Sat: I agree that it will overshadow the title matches, but I am also really intrigued with Batista and John Cena.
Chad Nevett: I think the title matches are both strong enough that they can stand with this one. It feels more like three main events than anything else.
HBK doesn’t need the rub of beating UT and ending the streak.
UT doesn’t need the rub of retiring HBK.
Such big stipulations will only push this match to be the biggest of the night and overshadow what should really matter (the titles).
There’s no reason they couldn’t have the fight at any other big PPV for the fans’ sake…. With the two of them involved, there doesn’t need to be anything on the line- so couldn’t they have it at SummerSlam
just to see who the better man is?
Sat: It would have worked at another pay per view, but doing this at Mania is going to draw the WWE a huge buy rate.
Chad Nevett: I don’t think that overshadowing the titles is a bad thing necessarily and the match could have happened elsewhere, but it wouldn’t have the same drama and mystic since the Streak wouldn’t be involved.
High Road. Streak vs Career gives us, for the first time in a long time, (1) a match that we can’t predict the outcome of and (2) for me at least, a match that I could be convinced that either outcome was a good one. I would book it for Michaels to get the pinfall (as only Mr. Wrestlemania could end the streak), then have them shake hands and both announce their retirement – having nothing else to prove or accomplish in the ring. Given that they seem unwilling to turn HBK, why not play the face v face respect angle to the hilt?
Regardless of how they take the story after the match, Taker still has a “no one else is even close” 17 straight WM victories and can continue to win at the Big One so that his record remains 17+x and 1. Creative gets out of what is becoming a booking bind – how do you plausibly keep the Streak going, and how do you top (presumably) two 4-5 star matches with Shawn?
I just can’t see the negative on this one…looking forward to it!
Sat: The one thing that I have thought is that both guys are probably not going to retire anytime soon. They make a good amount of money for a pretty easy schedule.
Chad Nevett: I wonder how great the match itself is going to be. Michaels can carry people to great matches, but… yeah, I just don’t know.
High Road. Sorta..
Who doesn’t want to see a match that can be generally enjoyed by all? It is kind of funny how the one guy the IWC as a whole accepts is Taker.. And bad health or not, he is still busting out great matches. However, their match at Mania 25 totally killed the crowd afterwards. Much like the way Hogan/Rock really hurt anything after it.
If the match is the main event, then oh hell yes. haha
Sat: Here’s how I see the last three matches playing out, Cena/Batista, Divas match, HBK/Taker.
Chad Nevett: This match needs to be last, definitely.
Is the outcome REALLY in question? HBK is not gonna end the streak, and everybody knows that retirements in this business are only good until Creative finds a good way to bring the guy back.
While the build up has been GREAT so far, and the match will likely be an instant classic, it just feels like lazy booking to me. HBK vs. HHH was the money match this year and I think the storyline that would have led to that match would have been much more emotional and compelling than a simple rematch of last year’s WM.
Indulge me for a minute as I make a prediction for the end of the match:
Ref Bump, HBK makes a pin, which is counted by some sort of unofficial referee, match restarted, Chokeslam, Tombstone, 1,2, KICKOUT, Last Ride, 1,2,3, enjoy your 3-6 month vacation Shawn. See ya soon.
Sat: Here’s the thing though; if the WWE does a fake retirement, then I think when we look back at this match, it will have lost its luster. The cynic is me is saying that Shawn loses, comes back in six months, and the WWE will expect us not to complain because Shawn is back.
Chad Nevett: I also think that Michaels may be willing to retire. He’s said he always thinks he’s going to post-WrestleMania, but gets talked back into returning, so, maybe, this year, that’s it. He had a fun run with Trips, goes out in a big match at ‘Mania and he’s gone. I could see that happening.
HBK’s Smile Writes:
High Road. This simply is the one possible WM match that can maximize mainstream intregue and workrate appeal.
The backstory is already written – two legends, coming off the heels of the best WM match in years, put up their all in a rematch. Shawn’s career vs Taker’s career-defining accomplishment in the streak. And after last year, we know these guys can deliver in spades.
Could there be a better workrate match possibly signed for WM? Possibly (and Jericho-Edge may be that). Could there be a bigger possible match in terms of mainstream appeal? Possibly (Taker-Cena comes to mind). But no other possible match could fuse the two so well as the rematch.
Sat: The only thing that might slow these two down is their health.
Chad Nevett: Which is where my main concern comes in. The only thing holding me back from totally marking out is the Undertaker’s health.
I’m going High Road for several reasons. First, from a financial standpoint, a rematch to one of the greatest WrestleMania should-have-been-the-main-event matches of all time is a licence to print money. Matchwise, worn-down or not, Undertaker would never miss ‘Mania if he could help it, and Shawn is the one guy who could take care with Taker and still put on at least a 4-Star match. We had near 2 years of Shawn v. Hunter, and while fresh by now, the set match is the one to bank on. There are many, myself included, who’d love to see Michaels take down the Streak (in my eyes, he is the only one worth it.) Yet if this is to be HBK’s swan song, he should go out in a show-stealing blaze of glory. The only thing he hasn’t done is face the Rock, which likely will never happen. I personally see only one downside: if Shawn Michaels loses, wrestling loses me.
Sat: I agree. This match is a license to print money.
Chad Nevett: “I smell money!” — Vince McMahon.
Slunk House Writes:
Triple H will definitely be involved in this match. Does no one else see this?
Sat: I’ve given this some thought and I could see it happening, but the backlash is going to be crazy if this happens.
Chad Nevett: Yeah, I think (hope) the WWE is smart enough to know that this match requires no interference and a clean win or else people will be pissed.
Your reasons for taking the High Road, Low Road, or Both Roads and suggestions for future High Road/Low Road are welcome at [email protected] or in the comment section. Your reply will be included in next week’s column.