By: Craig Tello
March 30, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. – An unforgettable night at WrestleMania XXIV concluded in a glorious darkness illuminated by brilliant fireworks on Sunday, as the grim grip of sports-entertainment’s one and only Phenom once again clutched the World Heavyweight Championship.
The fall of the Rated-R Superstar not only commences Undertaker’s sixth World Title reign, but also fulfills the simple prophecy of The Deadman’s venerable undefeated streak on The Grandest Stage of Them All: It will endure.
The epic main event battle for the gold took place with the stark nightfall that eclipsed the sold-out Citrus Bowl – the open-air setting of WrestleMania XXIV. Known for making countless eerie, goose bump-inducing approaches to the ring – including everything from ravens to urn bearers – The Phenom made what was certainly the biggest entrance of his 16 WrestleMania appearances. The challenger was preceded by 10 torch-bearing druids and greeted by searing flames that reached more than 40 feet above the vast stage.
Soon after, the waning ominous, blue-hued light lifted for the forthcoming champion. Strangely appearing without his loyal miscreants, Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder, Edge was joined by his fiancée, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero. After a long kiss goodbye at the top of the entranceway, the Ultimate Opportunist walked a long path toward his destiny against the most iconic figure in sports-entertainment history.
For weeks, The Phenom tried to get his cold hands on the evasive, yet strategic, Rated-R Superstar. Edge spent his Road to WrestleMania attempting to perturb Undertaker’s absolute focus on snaring the World Heavyweight Title, but on Sunday night, the Ultimate Opportunist’s plan proved futile.
The champion did his best to combat the very trepidation that has crept into the hearts of even the most steadfast contenders to The Deadman in the past at ’Mania. As confident and intent as Edge was on ending Undertaker’s fabled and feared winning streak, this night would mark the Rated-R Superstar’s final evening as champion. Nonetheless, despite his loss on The Grandest Stage of Them All, Edge – opportunist or not – still proved many of his disbelievers wrong by taking a top caliber fight to WWE’s greatest legend.
During the contest, The Phenom delivered a relentless torrent of his signature moves, weakening his resistant rival. Edge, too, retaliated with just about every vicious hold and attack he could possibly muster. Clearly well-schooled and self-educated in the challenger’s stratagem, the Rated-R Superstar reversed key maneuvers and even kicked out of several pinfall attempts after Undertaker landed a number of typically deal-closing moves – including the Last Ride and even the Tombstone Piledriver.
Following critical shifts in momentum and an attempt at his own Tombstone, the defending World Champion found some support from his Rated-R entourage. The Deadman managed to lay waste to Hawkins & Ryder, but the Ultimate Opportunist found the ideal moment to execute a spear – much like he did almost one year ago when he used the Money in the Bank contract to defeat a battle-worn Undertaker. But, one wasn’t enough to put away The Phenom and Edge was forced to plant a second one on his foe.
Suddenly, the twice-speared Undertaker locked in his mysterious submission hold and the Rated-R Superstar could only fight so much before tapping out with his last few breaths. A new World Heavyweight Champion was crowned and the lore of The Deadman’s streak claimed one more victim.
Now an astounding 16-0 at WrestleMania, Undertaker successfully reaped the soul of the Rated-R Superstar, and more importantly, cinched the highly coveted symbol of in-ring supremacy in the World Heavyweight Championship.