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Once Streak-obsessed, Triple H shrugs off Phenom
After a nearly year-long absence, The Undertaker made his ethereal return to WWE this past week, and by all appearances, Triple H wants nothing to do with it.
With his WrestleMania Streak dangling at 19-0, The Phenom’s reappearance on Raw SuperShow prompts many questions, though “Why?” isn’t necessarily one of them. As The Undertaker glared resolutely at the WrestleMania XXVIII sign Monday night, there was no mistaking his message to Triple H, the Superstar who last year came closer than anyone in history to snapping the venerable Streak.
Despite the buzz reverberating through Kansas City’s Sprint Center Monday, The Game wasted no time in dismissing the elephant in the room. With a look of resignation across his face, Triple H patted The Phenom on the shoulder and exited the ring without incident. As Raw SuperShow came to a close, The Undertaker gazed up again – this time, almost wistfully – to the WrestleMania sign. (PHOTOS)
The scene was markedly different than the last time these two gladiators were in the same arena, at WrestleMania XXVII. Seared into the WWE Universe’s collective memory is the image of a drained Undertaker crumpling to the floor after his fierce No Holds Barred duel with The Game. (PHOTOS)
Although that dramatic contest left The Streak unadulterated, Triple H accomplished a remarkable feat that night, making The Phenom appear, at least before some eyes throughout the WWE Universe, very much human. Even though he lost, Triple H still managed to limp back to the locker room under his own power. The prevailing Undertaker, on the other hand, was carted away from the ring by WWE officials – an indelible sight that some feared would serve as an unceremonious end note to The Deadman’s legacy.
Now almost a year removed from that chaos, The Undertaker is back, and he has The Game in his crosshairs. Yet, Triple H shows no interest in renewing their rivalry. What gives?
It was with supreme determination that Triple H sought to end The Streak last year. Considered by most as the last frontier for The Game to conquer, a WrestleMania win over The Undertaker would certainly cement The King of Kings’ place among the immortals. Having come within inches of that achievement, Triple H’s seeming refusal to accept a rematch this year is somewhat perplexing.
After all, to dance with The Deadman on The Grandest Stage of All is an opportunity that’s equally prestigious as it is perilous. The Undertaker has reached a point in his career where WrestleMania is practically the only venue that befits a legend of his status. To be pinpointed as his opponent is both an honor and a hazard.
“Quite frankly, I don’t know that The Undertaker’s whole career revolves around anything more than this one day,” Jim Ross told WWE cameras last year, ahead of the intense WrestleMania XXVII showdown.
With The Undertaker’s perfect WrestleMania record on the line and his days seemingly numbered, to what do we owe Triple H’s reluctance?
Perhaps Triple H, now that he’s added the title of WWE COO, has made the conscious decision to devote his full attention to business matters. Already engulfed in a political war with Interim Raw General Manager John Laurinaitis, The Game would assuredly have to clear his corporate calendar if he were to entertain the thought of another dangerous encounter with The Deadman.
Or maybe The Cerebral Assassin, as fearless as he is, simply wants to wash his hands of The Undertaker and The Streak. Last year’s brutal affair unquestionably changed the course of each Superstar’s life, and one would be hard-pressed to argue that a rematch would be anything less than career-shortening. Since last April, Triple H has spent precious little time competing in the ring, while The Undertaker’s whereabouts prior to last Monday are completely unknown. These facts underscore the physical and emotional toll that last year’s match took on both Superstars.
By blowing off The Undertaker the way he did Monday night, Triple H’s reaction may be interpreted yet another way – as empathetic. The Streak has clearly become the stuff of legend, and in his desire to defend it, The Undertaker has exhibited an unparalleled willingness to risk life and limb. Perhaps Triple H recognizes in The Phenom a self-destructive obsession to carry on The Streak ad infinitum – an obsession that the war-scarred Game refuses to indulge.
Whatever the reason for his dismissive response, Triple H was not eager to discuss the matter further when approached by WWE.com cameras Monday night. (WATCH)
Leading into this Monday’s Raw SuperShow in Oklahoma City, Okla., the major question now is in regard to The Undertaker’s next move. Whether he’s looking to avenge last year’s beating or simply test his Streak against the Superstar with the most potential to break it, The Undertaker has singled out The Game, and The Game has shrugged off his challenge. Should repercussions be expected?