Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Royal Rumble Top 30 - January 10

21. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels - 2004

It is impossible for Shawn Michaels and Triple H to have a bad match against each other. Oh sure, some of their matches may suffer from masturbatory grandiosity, but when you're as good as these two are/were, you've earned an opportunity to pat yourself on the back. Much like yesterday's entry of Undertaker vs. Rey Mysterio, HBK and HHH just make it look effortless.

This was a Last Man Standing match, which allowed for a draw in the finish (and again, you can get away with stuff like this in big title matches at the Rumble) and for them to keep their feud going. Shawn and Hunter feuded off and on from HBK's return in 2002 all the way to DX's reunion in 2006, but this was their longest stretch. It arguably started at Backlash 2003 when Shawn transitioned from his feud with Jericho into a battle against Evolution (though admittedly his sights were much more focused on Orton and Flair than HHH) and it really didn't end until their Hell in a Cell match in the summer of 2004.

This match turned out to be a great launchpad for a rivalry that certainly dominated Raw and overshadowed Chris Benoit's World Title reign, but in retrospect, that was for the best. These two cast a big shadow, no doubt about it, but their list of matches speaks for itself. Even when a bout was "just" a launchpad for bigger matches to come, they still out-performed just about everyone.

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