Results:The Deadman doubles down
LAS VEGAS – The number 16 is a benchmark number in many sports. There are 16 games in an NFL season, the Boston Celtics have won 16 NBA Championships and Hockey Hall of Famer Henri Richard – who has won more Stanley Cups than any other player in NHL history – wore jersey No. 16. But after one wild night in “Sin City,” the number 16 now represents an even bigger threshold for Undertaker.
The Deadman outlasted five other Superstars to win the SmackDown/ECW Elimination Chamber Match at No Way Out Sunday night, meaning that in his 16th WrestleMania appearance, Undertaker will challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXIV. The Phenom currently owns a perfect 15-0 record on sports-entertainment’s biggest stage, and should he earn victory number 16 on March 30, he will walk out of the Florida Citrus Bowl as a six-time World Champion.
While the six Chamber participants – Batista, U.S. Champion MVP, The Great Khali, Big Daddy V, Finlay and The Phenom – have a combined nine World Championships and dozens of WWE accolades under their collective belt, only Batista had ever set foot inside “Satan’s Structure” before No Way Out. But even a lack of experience, a quintet of opponents, 10 tons of steel and two miles of chain couldn’t stop Undertaker from becoming the first Superstar to officially punch his ticket to WrestleMania XXIV.
Undertaker didn’t just win the match, however; he began the match as the first participant, and he also had a vital hand in every elimination. The Phenom and Batista were the first two entrants, a fitting cap to their year-long rivalry that began at WrestleMania 23. But after the first four-minute interval, both men were ripe for the picking when Big Daddy V was the first Superstar let out of his pod. Unfortunately for Matt Striker’s client, the odds weren’t in his favor. Near the end of the second interval, The Deadman dropped V with a DDT on the steel Chamber floor, allowing Batista to secure the pin.
The Great Khali came out next, but suffered the same fate as V. Khali became the latest victim of Undertaker’s vicious new submission hold, tapping out to be eliminated shortly before Finlay entered the match. That left MVP as the final entrant, and when he entered at the end of the fourth interval, the stage was set for a showdown.
MVP was able to bust Undertaker open with a piece of his bling, but that only further angered The Phenom. He chased MVP up on top of one of the pods, and in an impressive feat of strength, Undertaker chokeslammed the U.S. Champion down to the mat below, allowing Finlay to eliminate the brash Ballin’ Superstar. Finlay looked to be in control at that point – even utilizing a shillelagh introduced by Hornswoggle, who popped up from under the Chamber like a green-clad gopher – but the Irishman was soon eliminated after being chokeslammed over the top rope onto the steel floor by an exhausted Deadman.
That left the match right back where it started – with Undertaker and Batista. The two behemoths slugged it out, and The Animal nearly won the match after a punishing Batista Bomb. Somehow, Undertaker escaped the pinfall, and moments later would secure his own.
So now, on March 30, Undertaker – who has vanquished 15 of WWE’s greatest Superstars on the WrestleMania stage – will challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship for the second WrestleMania in a row. This year, however, he will be looking to take the gold from an Ultimate Opportunist who has robbed him of it twice over the past year: Edge.
The Rated-R Superstar has also never been officially defeated at WrestleMania – the only blemish on his 5-1 record being last year’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match, a contest he was unable to finish due to injury – making this arguably the biggest World Championship Match in WrestleMania history. One Superstar will walk out of the Florida Citrus Bowl with the first official loss on their WrestleMania record, and the other will walk out as the World Heavyweight Champion.
The Deadman certainly hasn’t forgotten Survivor Series, where Edge’s interference prevented him from winning the title inside Hell in a Cell, or Armageddon, where the Rated-R Superstar enlisted Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins to win the gold in a Triple Threat Match. Will WrestleMania XXIV see The Phenom gain revenge – and the World Heavyweight Championship – or lose the greatest streak in sports-entertainment?