7. The Undertaker vs. Batista – WrestleMania 23
The Undertaker earned his way into this World Heavyweight Championship match by way of winning his first and only Royal Rumble match in January 2007. He was able to pick which champion he would face, as this was still during the initial brand extension, and went with World Heavyweight Champion Batista as his choice, thus setting up the match at WrestleMania 23 at Ford Field in Detroit.
I’ve never been one to really praise Batista but he was pretty great here and he took it to The Undertaker early on and knocked him to the outside with a nice clothesline. He then whipped ‘Taker into the steps and The Deadman went flying over them like he was Mick Foley in a very impressive spot. Batista then went up top (seriously) a hit a big shoulderblock, then another clothesline for a two count. The Animal looked really great in the opening moments of this match.
They then went back and forth with some blows and then it was The Undertaker’s turn to get some offense in. The crowd popped big for “Old School” and he eventually also hit his leg drop on the apron before soaring over the top rope for one of his best dives. Batista did a great job of making sure that landed correctly, something that we’d have a problem with a couple of years later. The two fought it out on the outside and Batista got the edge once again. He whipped ‘Taker into the barricade before picking him back up and draping him over his shoulder for a huge running powerslam from one announce table to another in a really big spot that looked great.
The Animal did the honorable thing and rolled ‘Taker into the ring before the ten count because he wanted to prove that he could beat him in the ring and got himself a two count. He then tried a Batista Bomb but ‘Taker fought it off before taking a belly-to-belly suplex. Batista was pulling out all the stops here. The former Evolution member tried the punches in the corner and just like everybody else, he got a Last Ride for being so stupid. He was able to kick out at two and the two traded some fantastic near falls over the next couple of minutes before The Undertaker was finally able to finish Batista off with a Tombstone, closing out close to 16 minutes of really hard-hitting action. The expectations weren’t that high for me for this one but this turned out to be really fun and the two would continue to have some more great battles throughout the year. This was the first of seven consecutive great matches at WrestleMania for The Undertaker. 15-0.