WrestleMania XXVII: When Triple H unleashed a can of whoop-ass on the Undertaker

THROWBACK WrestleMania XXVII: When Triple H unleashed a can of whoop-ass on the Undertaker

Seye Omidiora 13:10 - 20.04.2023

Throwback is a series that looks back on a major event in sporting history. This week’s edition recollects Triple H’s dominance of The Undertaker at WrestleMania 27 and, at the time, the greatest threat to the Phenom’s streak.

Brock Lesnar’s shock victory over The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX in 2014 ended the Deadman’s streak at the flagship pay-per-view and stunned the WWE universe to its core.

Admittedly, the Beast Incarnate was a formidable in-ring competitor capable of annihilating any opponent, but the Streak was meant to be untouched. The Streak should never have been broken, even if the unbiased fan recognises the force of nature’s ferocity.

Mark William Calaway would subsequently reveal that the decision to end the 21-fight undefeated run was only communicated on the day of that year’s event, further leaving a sour taste.

Brock Lesnar The Undertaker WrestleMania 30
Brock Lesnar defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30 to end the Phenom's Streak

The Phenom suffered another loss at the premier annual event, losing to Roman Reigns in 2017, a defeat the erstwhile wrestler claims “would’ve made a lot more sense” if the emerging Reigns had ended his Wrestlemania streak.

While the Undertaker retired with a 25-2 record at The Grandest Stage of Them All, his fight with Triple H at the 27th edition in 2011 remains memorable for its almost earth-shattering nature.

WrestleMania 27
The Undertaker and Triple H served up an incredible fight at WrestleMania 27

The Background

Successive wins for the Deadman against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 25 and 26 saw the Cerebral Assassin come for retribution.

The pair’s second face-off at State Farm Stadium was dubbed a ‘Streak vs Career match’ and, per pre-match stipulations, HBK was forced to retire after a 26-year career.

Triple H essentially challenged the Phenom seeking justice for his friend Michaels.

The Promo

After weeks of teasing, The Undertaker returned to RAW on 2.21.11 (February 21, 2011) in the lead-up to WrestleMania XXVII to a boisterous reception from the capacity crowd, who were in awe of the Phenom.

However, no sooner had Taker stepped into the ring than he was interrupted by Triple H. Who else could have the audacity to upstage the Deadman?

2.21.11 also marked the return of The Game. Again, the audience was jubilant, as if aware of what would play out.

Both icons shared nothing but dead stares and acknowledged the WrestleMania XXVII marking hanging from the rafters without saying a word.

Triple H The Undertaker
The Undertaker was visibly annoyed with Triple H for interrupting his return on RAW

The Deadman initially declined the Game’s challenge but accepted before leaving the ring. Taker v Triple H would battle on April 3, 2011, in a No Holds Barred match, six weeks after their returns.

The subsequent weeks following that wordless confrontation would bring about the usual trading of words. The King of Kings boasted about his achievements in the WWE, in which he had claimed every accolade and every championship but wanted one more honour — ending the Streak.

Taker reminded the Game that 18 men had unsuccessfully challenged him and vowed to make Triple H number 19. (At the time, it was 17 men as he had faced Kane and Michaels twice and previously fought the Cerebral Assassin at WrestleMania 17 in 2001.)

You have only one thing left, and it’s the streak…and when it dies, you die…and if I can’t end it, then I’ll die trying.

The Match

This was not your usual slow-burning fight. It was intense from the get-go, with the Undertaker and Triple H trying to gain the upper hand.

Two minutes into the 29:24 (29 minutes, 24 seconds) fight, the Undertaker had pushed Taker face-first into the ring steps, even if the Cerebral Assassin’s immediate retaliation saw him take the Phenom through the ‘Cole Mine’.

The ensuing eight minutes before the first near-fall saw Taker launch himself inside the ring and over the ropes into the Game, the underdog fling the Phenom into the ring-side barricade, and Triple H put the Deadman through one of the announce tables with an unexpected spinebuster.

A 46-year-old Undertaker, facing the then-41-year-old Triple H, stunned the crowd at WrestleMania

After waiting 10 minutes for the fight’s first near-fall, there were seven in the following 10 minutes, with both men almost winning. The Undertaker went close three times, while the then-13-time WWE champion went close four times.

Both men’s frustration was evident: the Phenom was astounded after his opponent twice kicked out after delivering the Last Ride and the Tombstone Piledriver. Triple H was in disbelief after the Undertaker did likewise after two Pedigrees inside 60 seconds.

The Game’s annoyance began the assault that was to define the battle. He smashed the steel chair into the Deadman nine times, yelling at the Last Outlaw to “stay down”.

WrestleMania 27 The Undertaker Triple H
Triple H attacked The Undertaker non-stop with a steel chair

Taker managed to get to his feet but was met with a steel chair to his face.

As a weakened Undertaker slowly got up, a frustrated Triple H screamed: “Stay down. Just die. Stay down. What’s wrong with you?”

The Phenom threatened a chokeslam but was too worn out to pull it off.

What followed stunned the audience as the Cerebral Assassin performed Taker’s signature throat slice gesture and pulled off the Tombstone on the Deadman. Unquestionably, this was the end.

WrestleMania 27 Triple H The Undertaker
Triple H pulled off The Undertaker's signature Tombstone Piledriver move on the Deadman but the Phenom did not die

But the Undertaker had other ideas, remarkably kicking out at two, to Triple H’s horror. Chants of “This is awesome!” broke out. Frankly, it felt like it came way too late into what was an absorbing brawl.

Astounded by his opponent’s unwillingness to give in, the Cerebral Assassin foraged for his sledgehammer. It was his last resort. He wanted to end it all.

Triple H pulled a vulnerable Undertaker to the middle of the ring but was astonishingly met with one final show of resistance from the Deadman.

Taker somehow found the strength to lock in the dreaded Hell’s Gate — using his shin to add pressure to Triple H’s neck whilst pulling the Game’s head down onto the shin to choke him — and he would not let go.

WrestleMania 27 Triple H The Undertaker
From nowhere, The Undertaker had Triple H locked in with Hell's Gate

After a minute and 48 seconds, Triple H tapped out to the Undertaker’s submission move. The Streak lived on.

WrestleMania 27 The Undertaker
Despite extending his streak, The Undertaker could not rise to his feet

Damaged Undertaker

Despite winning, the Undertaker could not get on his feet. He tried but collapsed to the floor, with the Game even looking concerned for the Phenom.

Eventually, eight minutes after his victory and after referee Scott Armstrong and Dr Sampson deemed Taker incapable, a cart was brought down to the ring, and the winner of the fight was driven away up the ramp to receive medical attention backstage.

The Aftermath

Despite losing the fight, the Game reminded everyone who cared to listen that he may have lost, but the battering endured by the Undertaker left everyone in disbelief.

In 2012, Triple H reminded fans how The Undertaker was near motionless at WrestleMania the year before

Taker wanted a rematch, but Triple H declined. Eventually, that challenge was accepted after the Phenom taunted the King of Kings by claiming Shawn Michaels was the superior wrestler of the pair anyway, triggering Triple H into accepting.

They faced off for a third time at WrestleMania (and for the second year in succession) in the flagship event’s 28th edition, with Michaels assigned as the special guest referee in a Hell in a Cell match.

The Undertaker won the fight, extending his streak to 20-0.

WrestleMania 28 Triple H The Undertaker Shawn Michaels
The Undertaker defeated Triple H at WrestleMania 28 with Shawn Michaels as a special guest referee

Even though that fight closed a memorable chapter for the now-retired wrestling icons, that WrestleMania 27 battle is unforgettable.

Triple H unloaded a beatdown on the barely mobile Undertaker, dominating the Deadman and then some. 

But he could not escape the sustained triangle choke of Hell’s Gate, ergo becoming…number 19.