With Hell in a Cell coming up in a few weeks, there’s a strong possibility that The Undertaker will lose by tapout. But did you know that it wouldn’t be the first time?
No, I don’t mean when he tapped out to Lesnar and only the timekeeper saw it.
And no, I don’t mean the time in 2002 he tapped out to Kurt Angle while simultaneously pinning him, or even the time an hour later when Vince made them film it again with an audience full of plants because they didn’t get the timing right the first time.
I mean the time in 2009 when Taker lost to CM Punk by tapout. The reason you probably don’t remember that one is because The Dead Man didn’t really tap out. Instead, the finish to the match was just another example of Vince McMahon’s favorite pastime: re-enacting the Montreal Screwjob.
The payoff to the original Montreal Screwjob was that it made Vince McMahon perhaps the greatest heel in wrestling history.
The payoff to the 2009 Montreal Screwjob was this:
to see another Montreal Screwjob coming.
In fact, given that there was only ever one Breaking Point event, I’m pretty sure that the whole point of making the pay-per-view in Montreal a submission-centered affair was to re-enact the screwjob, even if it made no sense in whatever storyline they’d have to shoehorn it into months later.
|Why else would WWE have the beloved Smackdown GM, the rare fan-favorite authority figure who always gave the viewers exactly what they wanted (as long as it was a tag team match), turn heel for for no good reason…|
|…first waving off The Undertaker’s initial victory by ruling that his Hell’s Gate hold was still illegal…|
|…which allowed CM Punk to put Taker in the Anaconda Vise and win when the referee immediately called for the bell…|
|…then posing with the heel champion?|
|Well, “posing” is stretching it a bit. Actually, “stretching” is stretching it a bit, too.|
|Why did Teddy do something so completely out of character? Apparently, because that’s what he thought Vince McMahon would want. Having been put on probation months earlier, Long figured that keeping the title on CM Punk would put him in the boss’s good graces.|
|Of course, this didn’t make a lick of sense. Did Vince have some long-standing beef with The Undertaker? No. Was Vince a huge CM Punk mark who wanted the Straight-Edge Superstar to succeed at all costs? Goodness, no. Did the Chairman have some infantile obsession with re-living a spiteful stunt from his glory days a decade earlier? N- Yeah, okay maybe it made more than just a lick of sense.|
|The next Friday, instead of declaring that Taker screwed Taker, Long explained that he did what he did to provide for his family, that he was very sorry, and that he hoped the Undertaker would forgive him. It was the kind of mea culpa damage control designed to stop people from wanting to see you get your ass kicked, which, in Long’s line of work, is unfortunately the opposite of what you want to do.|
|There was still one person not overcome by the power of apathy, though, and sadly for Teddy, it was The Undertaker himself. After Teddy was whisked away by security, he stepped into his limo and, apparently, right into another dimension….|
|…a dimension where Smackdown’s producers forget that it’s a mock-sports telecast, and where viewers at home are treated to multiple camera angles in a single limo, each revealing that there are no cameras anywhere.|
|What else but a portal between worlds could explain this most campy of all WWE backstage skits, capped off by this immortal line from The Phenom himself before finally putting his chauffeur’s license to good use [edit: again]?|
|Maybe WWE was going for a “Here’s Johnny” moment, but “Buckle up, Teddy!” sounded less like a terrifying line from a horror movie and more like something from a PSA (to go along with the ones Taker filmed against drugs, drunk driving, and tacky clothing).|
|Teddy, for the record, never did buckle up.
|It was hard not to feel sorry for poor Teddy there, flailing about while his voice inexplicably doubled and deepened.|
|There was a pathetic, Arnold Jackson-like quality to the helpless, panicked Long.|
|After a week in the Undertaker’s captivity, Teddy Long emerged from a casket to announce that not only was the ban on Taker’s Hell’s Gate submission lifted, but The Dead Man would be granted a title rematch at Hell in a Cell. You know, if, after kidnapping Teddy and locking him in a casket for seven days, the most Undertaker could squeeze out of him was a rule change and a wrestling match, you’ve really got to question Mark Calaway’s negotiating skills. Do you think he even gets paid for his Mania appearances?|
|A few fans in the front row chimed in with chants of “Buckle up, Teddy! Buckle up!”, kicking off a trend of hilarious PG parodies of established chants, such as, “Bull-Fit!” and
|At Hell in a Cell, Undertaker unceremoniously beat Punk for the World title, yet Teddy still kept up his support for Punk, despite the former champion openly berating the Smackdown GM at every opportunity.|
|Even after Vince McMahon himself refused to give CM Punk a one-on-one rematch for the title, making it clear that Teddy couldn’t endear himself to the Chairman by favoring the Choice of a New Generation, Long still tried in vain to screw over Taker again.|
|And when that didn’t work, he fed the offending referee to Punk as punishment.|
Eventually, Teddy slipped quietly back into his familiar babyface role, and WWE had to find other ways to cram stupid limousine stunts and Montreal Screwjob references into their TV shows.