The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels: Which WWE legend is Better?

Published 12/07/2020, 10:05 PM EST


Shawn Michaels was the Undertaker’s greatest rival. The Deadman faced some of the toughest in the business, but no one had Taker’s number like Shawn Michaels. From Badd Blood 1997 to WrestleMania 26, Undertaker and HBK faced each other a total of 15 times, including the 2007 Royal Rumble where Taker and HBK were the final two members.

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Is Undertaker better than Shawn Michaels?

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Their rivalry spanned thirteen years (21 if you include the match at Crown Jewel), but in those thirteen years, we still do not know who the better wrestler is. We do know that they are capable of working some truly incredible matches together,\ and with other opponents, but which icon is better than the other?

Shawn Michaels debuted for WWE in 1997 as part of a team called the Rockers. He won numerous tag team titles alongside Marty Jannetty, but his shocking betrayal of his partner shot him into superstardom.

Since then, Michaels main evented WrestleMania, won the Royal Rumble, won the WWE and World Championships, and got inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012.

While Michaels was tearing his way through the midcard to reach the main event, a certain Deadman was breaking his way to the top as well. Debuting in 1990, the Undertaker won the WWF Championship within his first year by defeating none other than Hulk Hogan. The win against Hogan would be eclipsed by the grander achievements that would come later on in his career.

Undertaker and HBK faced off in some truly classic matches

Michaels and the Undertaker first crossed paths inside Hell in a Cell. At Badd Blood 1997, Michaels and Taker competed in the first ever Hell in a Cell match. That match is often considered to be the best version of the iconic stipulation. That match is more memorable for Kane’s brilliant WWE debut, but the action was brilliant too.

HBK and Taker’s next big match would come at WrestleMania 25. The match is often considered to be the greatest wrestling match of all time. They would try to top that effort the following year, but the successor fell a tiny bit short of the original. In spite of not being as good as the first match, Taker vs Michaels at WrestleMania 26 is the greatest WrestleMania main event of all time.

Comparing the merits of HBK and the Deadman

Undertaker might have the advantage over Shawn in the head-to-head department, but Shawn has a clear advantage in the match quality department.

Two of HBK’s matches were rated 5 stars by Dave Meltzer ( vs Razor Ramon WM 10, vs Undertaker HIAC ’97). Undertaker has just one five star match which came against HBK himself.

Taker and Michaels portrayed very distinct personalities. During the buildup to their match at WrestleMania 25, HBK portrayed the light against Taker’s darkness. In the end, darkness prevailed, which goes on to show that Taker’s gimmick was much stronger than HBK’s cocky persona.

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Here’s why the Undertaker really is better than HBK

The Undertaker (L) vies with Shawn Michaels during a tag team match as part of as part of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Crown Jewel pay-per-view at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh on November 2, 2018. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP) (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Finally, the last point to determine who’s better is the retirement match at WrestleMania 26. Shawn Michaels stood up to Undertaker and slapped him across his face in open defiance. The enraged ‘Deadman’ grabbed him and destroyed him with a jumping Tombstone Piledriver to end Shawn Michaels’ career.

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The fact that WWE sacrificed Shawn Michaels’ career to build the legitimacy of the Streak goes on to show who the better wrestler was. The decision to retire was Shawn’s; however, the match and result only cemented the fact that Shawn Michaels might be Mr. WrestleMania, but the Undertaker might just be Mr. WWE.

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Nathan Fulgado

1037 articles

Nathan Fulgado is a WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports. Having published close to 1000 professional wrestling articles, Nathan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier's College. He has previously worked at Free Press Journal as a local journalist.

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