Finlay v The Undertaker (Smackdown!, 3/9/07)
This was pretty badass. I don't much care for anything Undertaker has been involved in since the Wrestlemania 26 match with Michaels (basically because he's had two matches that I can recall since then, and those were both against Helmsley, and, well, I thought one of those was kind of rubbish and the other was really rubbish), but he's a guy that I thought got really fucking good around the beginning of 2006 and has more or less stayed at that level since (excluding the Helmsley matches). One thing he got real good at was making himself look vulnerable while still coming across as a zombie. You can't kill what's already dead, but you can apparently still hurt its leg or shoulder or ribcage. His body part selling was one thing I'd always look forward to in Undertaker matches, and he has some great body part selling in this. Starts out with Undertaker probing with jab fakes, trying to back Finlay into the corner so he can really unload. You get the sense that in the real world Finlay would just get to breaking teeth if someone dressed like a True Blood character wearing eye-liner came up to him and started throwing jab fakes, but this is WWE world, and in that world Undertaker is sort of the pro-wrestling Cro Cop, so Finlay doesn't get to breaking teeth. He does get to laying it in, though. First few minutes are mostly about the strikes, and these are guys that can strike. Undertaker as best striker in sports entertainment history is obviously WWE carny nonsense, but his punches always seem at the worst fine to me. Finlay will also stiff your nose bone up into your brain, so this was a good opening few minutes. Match hits another gear when Hornswaggle runs distraction (with bug-eyed "oh shit!" look when Undertaker spots him) and Finlay digs 'Taker in ribs with a chair. Undertaker's sell of the ribs probably isn't quite as good as his sell of the leg in the Wrestlemania match with Michaels (although I've only seen that once, and it was live, so I don't really remember), but it's still a heck of a sell job. He'll always grimace or clutch at his midsection after hitting an offensive move, and he practically hangs his left arm down by his side as a form of padding for the rest of the match. Nothing he does looks like it's coming easy to him, and that's really all I can ask for out of long-term selling. Finlay will always go back to the ribs to get him out of a jam, too. Any time Undertaker looks to be building up some steam, Finlay will just crack him in the ribs to cut him off. It even leads to a great nearfall down the stretch where Hornswaggle runs distraction again (so Undertaker dismissively kicks him in the head and sends him flying) and Finlay nails him in the ribs with the shillelagh. Bossy TV match. Undertaker's sell job is the highlight, but you need someone to dish out a beating for it to REALLY work. And of course Finlay looks totally capable of beating up the grim reaper.