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Wrestlemania XXVIII Preview: Triple H vs The Undertaker

On a personal level, while the majority of the hype surrounding this year's Wrestlemania has centered around the main event, there isn't a match I'm looking forward to more than Triple H taking on The Undertaker in the "Devil's Playground," a match we all know and love as "Hell In a Cell." As a cynical wrestling fan, there aren't a lot of things that I "mark out" for at this stage. . .but, honestly, there is no better moment at a wrestling event where the lights go out, the crowd gets quiet, and you first hear "BONG!"

These two put on one hell of a match at last year's Wrestlemania, where about two minutes into the proceedings they basically said, "You know, we're just going to throw bombs at each other for half an hour or so and see what happens." Triple H hit The Undertaker with three Pedigrees and a Tombstone Piledriver over the course of the match, but just couldn't put the Dead Man away. Triple H then went outside of the ring to grab his trusty sledgehammer, and just when it appeared he was going to use it, The Undertaker slapped the Hell's Gate submission maneuver on "The Game." Triple H had no choice but to tap out, and the Undertaker's Wrestlemania streak went to 19-0.

After the match, 'Taker had to be helped to the back by the medical staff, while Triple H was able to get up the ramp under his own power. . .a fact not lost on the Undertaker, who is using that for his reason behind wanting to get Triple H in the ring one more time. At first, Triple H refused the challenge, saying that he didn't want to be the guy that finally put The Undertaker out. After continued goading by the Dead Man, however, Triple H accepted the match, on the condition that it take place in the Cell at Wrestlemania.

Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Triple H's D-Generation X partner (and real-life best friend) Shawn Michaels has been inserted into this match as the "special guest referee." Michaels had amazing matches with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 25 and 26, coming just short of ending the Undertaker's legendary Wrestlemania streak both times. Will Michaels help his best friend to end The Undertaker's streak, or will he prevent Triple H from getting the victory, knowing in the back of his mind that ending the streak was something that he couldn't do on two separate occasions? Or, will he call it right down the middle?

(Yeah, we know that last one isn't going to happen.)

There are a lot of reasons why The Undertaker should wind up victorious in this match, so I'll just go with the biggest one. I don't think Triple H is insane enough to put himself over as "the guy that ended the streak." If the streak were to end. . .and there's a very good chance that this is going to be The Undertaker's last match, so it might not. . .the "rub" from that particular milestone should go to a younger superstar that could really get propelled to the next level by such a thing, not a guy that's going to wrestle two or three matches (at most) a year from here on out. Triple H, as the guy that will be taking WWE over from Vince McMahon at some point, has to know that's the case.

The streak gets to 20-0 this Sunday, after which The Undertaker will ride off gracefully into the sunset. Well, as far as "pro wrestling retirements" go, in any case.

SB Nation Minnesota prediction - The Undertaker by pinfall

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.