Tiffany reviews the legendary Streak of The Undertaker at WrestleMania, including the night where The Streak…ends?
The years of 2013 and 2014 were a turning point for Undertaker and the Streak. After years of facing contemporaries and young up-and-comers, Time was catching up to the Deadman and his opponents in these years would step up their games to be the man to defeat the unbeatable Streak and one of them would succeed.
The brash CM Punk would be the first to step up. Targeting the Undertaker and mocking the Deadman in a time of genuine grief and vowing to be the one to end the Streak and proving himself to be the best in the world.
Brock Lesnar, returning from UFC, would be the next to step up in a brutal encounter with the Deadman that would have a shocking outcome for both the Streak and, seemingly, the Undertaker.
WrestleMania 29 Punk Gets Schooled:
CM Punk vs. The Undertaker
The start of this feud was actually pretty innocuous. CM Punk won a Fatal Four Way match to earn the right to be the man to face the Undertaker at WrestleMania, no big deal, until Paul Bearer, Taker’s longtime friend and manager died just weeks before WrestleMania. As Taker took to the ring to mourn his friend, he was interrupted by Punk and the sleazy Paul Heyman, Punk’s manager at the time. Punk would spend the next few weeks mocking and belittling Undertaker, and his genuine grief, even stealing the sacred urn and dumping its contents on the Deadman. It was time for Punk to meet the Reaper.
Punk, and the slimy Paul Heyman, come out, Heyman carrying the urn. Both of them seem to be relishing the boos they’re getting.
The Deadman Cometh. Taker from the floor, with a lot of smoke, and his entrance looked like he’d literally walked out of hell, backlit in his cape thing and moving toward the ring. It was time for the brash Punk to to pay for his many sins. I will say that the cockiness that Punk showed in his entrance faded quite a bit when Taker came out, but he recovered quickly, even tossing the urn into the air and playing catch with Paul Heyman, but it was time to face the Reaper
Of all the matches in the Streak, this is the first one I can remember where I really wanted Taker’s opponent to get the snot beat out of them. I never liked CM Punk and this feud only furthered my dislike. That said, this was a really good match. Taker and Punk had had a rivalry a few years before, so it’s not like this was a cold match.
It sound trite to say Taker was in a BAD mood in this match, but he was. Punk definitely got the snot kicked out of him for his sins, but Punk proved that he was more than capable of hanging with the Deadman. Paul Heyman nearly paid for his own misdeeds with a chokeslam, but was saved by Punk.
There was a NASTY botch. Punk went for his elbow drop from the top turnbuckle to the Spanish announce table where Taker was and he nailed it, but the table didn’t break, hurting Punk and Taker more than either of them wanted. Taker went for Hell’s Gate, but Punk BARELY got out and barely managed to get a roll through attempt. Punk then went for the Anaconda Vise but that just ENRAGED Taker. Punk then went for GTS, but Taker was a little too tall for him to hit it properly.
In the end, even getting conked on the head with his own urn wasn’t enough to keep the Deadman down and Punk would learn that it wasn’t nice to mock the Reaper as he suffered a Tombstone to be the 21st victim of the Streak.
Victorious, Taker went outside the ring and found the urn that Punk and Heyman had desecrated and brought it into the ring for a celebration, just he’d done with Paul Bearer countless times.
Highlight: Heyman visibly asking Punk if he was okay. Taker celebrating with the urn.
Rating: 7/10. It was an okay match, but not as good as it could’ve been.
WrestleMania 30 – The End of the Line:
Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker
Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker had a BRUTAL feud back in late 2002, but as the road to WrestleMania 30 got going, Brock Lesnar wasn’t thinking about facing the Deadman, he, through his mouthpiece, the still sleazy Paul Heyman, thought he should be included in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match that was going to be happening. To appease Lesnar somewhat, and probably keep him from destroying the place, the Authority offered him a match with anyone else on the roster, Lesnar’s decision was made when Taker interrupted the proceedings. Lesnar signed on the dotted line and Taker signed in a way fitting for the Deadman: He stabbed Lesnar’s hand and signed the contract with Lesnar’s blood.
Lesnar comes out first, with Paul Heyman. Even though it’s usually mild in New Orleans, Lesnar is wearing a beanie.
The Deadman Cometh, and because it’s the thirtieth WrestleMania, the WWE pulled out all the stops with a montage of the Streak along with a casket for each opponent Taker beat. It was suitably frightening and cool. Taker came out of the back in his Deadman gear and made the long walk to the ring and very kindly showed Lesnar that there was a casket made for him too, and then set it on fire. Lesnar looked LEGIT freaked out. It was time.
I’m going to be honest, when I heard what happened, I refused to watch the match. I didn’t want to see the Streak end, and certainly not to Brock Lesnar, who I can’t stand. When I watched the match last year, I was shocked at how…old Taker looked, even compared to 2013.
The thing that struck me most about this match is how…not good it was. I don’t expect art from Taker, but this was just not a good match for the Streak to end on, especially after Taker was VISIBLY out on his feet about halfway in and made the whole thing much worse.
Another thing that struck me was how the commentators tried to warn the audience watching at home what was coming. They didn’t come straight out and say ‘BTW, Taker’s losing’, but they kept hinting that Taker was going to lose.
The end would come, but it would take five F-5s for Lesnar to finally be the first man to beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania. The crowd was stunned silent as the music hit, no one expected Taker to lose, not when he’d beaten the best the business had to offer. Lesnar and Heyman beat a pretty hasty retreat, leaving Taker in the ring. Taker finally got up to a standing ovation, looked around at the crowd, and slowly made his way up the ramp. The Streak was over.
Highlight: Heyman’s reaction to Lesnar winning. The standing ovation of the audience and commentators.
Rating: 6/10. It wasn’t a great match to end the Streak on.