TJR WrestleMania’s Greatest Matches #22: The Undertaker vs. Edge @ WrestleMania 24

TJR Wrestling

The main event of WrestleMania 24 is next up in the countdown of WrestleMania’s Greatest Matches. It may not be the match that people think of the most when it comes to that event in Orlando, but I felt like it was the best match on the show.

If you’ve missed anything in the countdown so far, the WrestleMania’s Greatest Matches archives are here.

Who: The Undertaker vs. Edge @ WrestleMania 24

When: March 30, 2008

Where: Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida

The Build

This story started in May of 2007 on Smackdown when Edge cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase on The Undertaker to become the World Heavyweight Champion. Edge won the briefcase from Mr. Kennedy, who was injured. They were kept apart for most of 2007 probably because WWE knew they wanted the WrestleMania match to be a big deal. At Survivor Series 2007, Edge cost The Undertaker the World Title during a Hell in a Cell match against Batista.

There were title changes as well. Edge got the World Title back at Armageddon in December 2007. The Undertaker earned a title shot by winning an Elimination Chamber match at No Way Out 2008 one month before WrestleMania.

Heading into the match, The Undertaker was 15-0 at WrestleMania. I also recall Edge saying he was undefeated also even though he didn’t win the WrestleMania 23 ladder match. He was 5-1 at WrestleMania going into the match.

I thought the match was built up well considering it took The Undertaker nearly a year to get a shot at winning the World Heavyweight Title again.

What I Thought Back Then

I was happy for both guys and excited about the match because it had been built up well. For Edge, this was his first time in the last match at a WrestleMania and it turned out it would be the only time for him as well. In the mid-2000s, he was one of the best all around performers in WWE, so I’m glad he had that moment as the last match.

For The Undertaker, this was only his second WrestleMania where he was challenging for a World Title in the main event. The previous main event title match for him was 11 years earlier when he beat Sycho Sid for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 13, which was not a good match. He certainly deserved to be in a spot like this.

Going into the show, there were a lot of questions about what match would go on last. This match was an obvious contender along with Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair since it was Flair’s last match and John Cena vs. Triple H vs. Randy Orton was an option as well. I’m glad they ended up going with this match to end the night.

Here’s my full review of the match plus the analysis, which was written in 2012.

World Heavyweight Championship: The Undertaker vs. Edge @ WrestleMania 24

We got the video package for the main event, which was Edge defending Smackdown’s World Title vs. The Undertaker. There was a video about Undertaker’s streak, which was at 15-0. Edge cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase on Undertaker in 2007. They had a long feud that followed that saw Edge win the title at Armageddon 2007 in a three way with Batista, who was the champion at that point. Undertaker earned the WrestleMania title match by winning an Elimination Chamber match at No Way Out. Edge had a promo about being undefeated at WrestleMania even though that wasn’t true. He didn’t win his Money in the Bank match at WM23, but he did get the briefcase from Ken Kennedy to win the title from Undertaker. Technically speaking Edge was 5-1 going into this match. Edge had a lot going in his favor since he was with the Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero at his side and he also had Edgeheads at his side, who were Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder.

Undertaker made his entrance first to a big ovation. It took nearly five minutes. The announcers for the match were Michael Cole & Jonathon Coachman, which was a bit of a disappointment. They were the Smackdown announcers, though. Edge made his entrance. My favorite theme song in wrestling history. He made Teddy Long wheel out Edge’s fiancée Vickie, who was in a wheelchair because Undertaker gave her a Tombstone. He got a good luck kiss from her. The announcers pointed out that Edge cost Undertaker the World Title on three separate occasions, so the buildup was very good.

World Heavyweight Title: Edge vs. Undertaker

Do I have to mention Edge was the heel while Undertaker was the face? Guess I just did. Why did the announcers continue to overlook that Edge didn’t win at Mania the year before? Odd. Undertaker opened up with power. Undertaker hit a leaping clothesline as Cole busted out a “vintage Undertaker” early. Undertaker went for the Old School clothesline, Edge flung him off the top rope and Undertaker rolled through it. Undertaker hit a running knee into the corner. Then he went over the top to the floor. That was a weird bump that I don’t remember Undertaker doing before. Edge gave him a shoulderblock off the apron and Undertaker went crashing into the security wall outside the ring. Edge drove him back first into the side of the ring. Neckbreaker on the ropes. Edge continued the assault in the ring. Undertaker couldn’t give him a body slam because his back was too sore. Edge hit a dropkick. He went to the top rope, but Undertaker shoved him. Edge went crashing to the floor. You know what that means? Undertaker ran the ropes and jumped over the top rope onto Edge on the floor. That no hands plancha by Undertaker is one of the most impressive moves in the business. I don’t care how many times he does it. It’s always a great move to me. Leg drop on the apron leading to another “vintage Undertaker” from Cole. The crowd was pretty quiet early on, but ever signature Undertaker spot generated a good reaction. Undertaker went for the Last Ride. He couldn’t lift him because the back was hurting. Edge gave him a boot to the face for the count of two. Edge threw Undertaker over the security wall so Undertaker was in the front row. He took the bump back first too. Edge rolled him back in the ring for a count of two.

The focus on the back continued by Edge. He applied a single leg Boston Crab variation with his knee buried into the back of Undertaker. Undertaker fought out of the hold as well as another leg submission hold. They did the “yay – boo” punch exchange in the middle of the ring as the crowd came alive. Undertaker won the slugfest. He hit two corner splashes, then the Snake Eyes and Edge countered the big boot with a dropkick to the face. That was sweet. The match kicked into another gear at this point. The crowd became louder too. Undertaker went for a chokeslam. Edge countered with the leaping Edgecution DDT for two. Another sweet counter gets two. Undertaker hit a chokeslam for two. Edge prevented the Old School Clothesline again, crotching Undertaker on the top rope. Edge hit a superplex for two. Edge gave Undertaker punches in the corner, then posed in the corner and Edge countered the Last Ride into a neckbreaker for two. The announcers did a good job of pointing out how Edge was doing a fantastic job of countering Undertaker’s moves. Undertaker came back with the Last Ride powerbomb for one…two…no. Terrific nearfall right there. Undertaker went for the Tombstone. Edge slipped out of it and hit the Edge-o-matic neckbreaker for two. Undertaker came back. He finally hit the Old School Clothesline. Big boot was avoided by Edge, so Undertaker gave the boot to referee Jimmy Korderas. Reverse DDT for Edge. Undertaker gave him a choke, so Edge kicked him in the nuts. No ref to see the disqualification there. Edge stole a camera. That was a nod to Survivor Series when he hit Undertaker in the head with a camera. He hit Undertaker in the head here. Ref was still out. Undertaker sat up. Edge went for the Tombstone. Undertaker countered it. He hit the Tombstone. Ref Charles Robinson SPRINTED DOWN TO THE RING! RUN FORREST RUN! I MEAN RUN CHARLES RUN! That was an amazing sprint by Little Naitch. He was by far the fastest person to get down to the ring at this event. He counted to two. Edge kicked out. That nearfall was also excellent. Suddenly, Hawkins & Ryder ran out. Undertaker gave Ryder a chokeslam onto Hawkins on the floor. Edge used that attack to hit Undertaker with an unsuspecting Spear for two. Vintage awesome nearfall in a long WrestleMania match. I added that one. Edge hit another Spear. Undertaker put him into the submission move that we would come to know as Hell’s Gate over the years. Edge tapped out at 23:50. The Undertaker is 16-0 at WrestleMania.

Winner and New World Heavyweight Champion: The Undertaker

Analysis: ****1/2 Great match. The way they told the story of Edge countering all of Undertaker’s big moves was very smart because it put over how intelligent Edge was. Things like that give a wrestler a lot of credibility that is otherwise difficult to attain. I think their Hell in a Cell match at SummerSlam 2008 that ended this feud was the better match, but this was better as a match without a gimmick involved. It was mostly a match that took place in the ring and it told a very good story while getting the right amount of time. I think the first half of the match was a bit slow although they did it that way to build up the story of Undertaker fighting through the back injury. As was always the case in an Undertaker match, the finishing sequence was phenomenal as each guy hit their big moves and the crowd loved every second of it. I was very proud of Edge in his first WrestleMania main event. I saw him start in the indies here in Ontario 11 years before this as Sexton Hardcastle, so to see him perform so well on the big stage made me quite happy as the local boy had done good. This was Undertaker’s second straight awesome match at WrestleMania. His streak would continue for the three that followed and who knows for how many years after that.

To end the show, the Undertaker celebrated with the World Heavyweight Title as the stadium went purple and fireworks went off.

You can read my full recap of WrestleMania 24 right here.

What They Said

Here’s Edge talking about the match being the pinnacle of his career. From Sports Illustrated:

“It’s interesting, I never got stressed before wrestling matches. I always felt completely confident that I had done everything I could do, all my mental preparations when I sat down and envisioned the match, so I never felt stressed. But that is the one that if someone said, ‘What is the pinnacle of your career?’, then it would be main-eventing WrestleMania against The Undertaker. That has to be the top, but thankfully there were a lot of moments that were just as rewarding. Teaming with Christian and winning the tag team titles—and doing it at WrestleMania; helping with the introduction of an entire match that is now a themed [TLC] pay per view; getting to wrestle guys like Ric Flair and Terry Funk, and teaming with Hulk Hogan and all of these legendary names in wrestling that I never thought I’d get to rub shoulders with, let alone defend the world title with Flair in Raleigh, North Carolina in a TLC match with his daughter—who is now women’s champion—at ringside. There were a lot of surreal, amazing moments during my career that I’m very lucky to have had.”

What I Think Now

It’s a long match that had a lot of tricks, so to speak, to set up the big spots. The ref bump led to an awesome two count. There was interference to remind us that Edge was a cheap heel willing to do anything to get the win. I liked the way everything built up to the finish with Taker getting the clean win.

The Undertaker is not the type of guy to publicly talk about his matches in interviews like most wrestlers, but I have to assume that he enjoyed working with Edge. They managed to put together entertaining matches together all the time and this one was no different.

This was one of those matches where you knew what the outcome was going to be as soon as it was announced, but it didn’t hurt my enjoyment of it in 2008 or today.

Here’s the clip of the epic Charles Robinson sprint to the ring.

What Happened Next

The feud continued for several more months. They had PPV matches at Backlash 2008, Judgment Day 2008, One Night Stand 2008 in a TLC Match where Edge won the World Title back and The Undertaker came back at SummerSlam 2008 to end the rivalry in a memorable Hell in a Cell match. The post match angle after Hell in a Cell saw Taker Chokeslam Edge “to hell” because the ring broke and was lit on fire.

I recommend watching the TLC and HIAC matches in case you haven’t seen them. That TLC match really made me respect Undertaker even more than I did because he didn’t have to do some of the huge bumps he did in that match, but he busted his ass to put on a classic.

Final Thoughts

It was fun to watch this match again. I wouldn’t say that Edge was Undertaker’s best rival or vice versa, but they are near the top of the list for each man. They had a lot of very good, high profile matches together. I enjoyed the stories they told and the matches they had.

There might have been a few minutes in the match where people lost interest because it was so long, but I liked the pacing from start to finish.

Check this match out again if you haven’t seen it in a while. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it.

Rankings So Far

  1. The Undertaker vs. Edge @ WrestleMania 24
  2. John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels @ WrestleMania 23
  3. Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H @ WrestleMania 30
  4. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit @ WrestleMania 17
  5. The Rock vs. Steve Austin @ WrestleMania 19
  6. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns (vs. Seth Rollins) @ WrestleMania 31
  7. Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle @ WrestleMania 20
  8. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan @ WrestleMania 18
  9. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair @ WrestleMania 24
  10. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch @ WrestleMania 32
  11. Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper @ WrestleMania 8
  12. Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan @ WrestleMania 6

WrestleMania’s Greatest Matches archives are here.

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