WWE: Why CM Punk Will Not End The Undertaker’s WrestleMania Streak
We are a few weeks out from Wrestlemaina and of course this has created much buzz and hype around the staple...
We are a few weeks out from Wrestlemaina and of course this has created much buzz and hype around the staple match of the event, the yearly Undertaker match. CM Punk will step up and try to end the “Streak” this year. The promos of Punk have led many to believe that the time is now to end the “Streak”. This week’s episode of RAW was no different, with CM Punk interrupting the Undertaker’s tribute to the late Paul Bearer on Raw. In the aftermath, social media sites, radio shows, columns and even JR’s blog are continuing to proclaim that the “end is nigh” for the Streak. JR said the following:
“So, does Taker being 20-1 at WrestleMania’s adversely affect his legacy? Not in my view. However, does beating the Undertaker at WrestleMania essentially make Punk even more special? Absolutely.”
A Punk win at WM29 would essentially punch Punk’s WWE HOF ticket and whether the outspoken Punk would admit it or not, being inducted into the WWE HOF is an amazing honor even for the most devout of individuals.”
Is it really time for Taker to pass the torch? Will we finally see an end to this Odyssey? Indeed Ross does make some good points but I find this one to be a little out there. Here are some reasons why the Streak is going nowhere.
This match is much more than a belt, it is more than a King of the Ring honour and it is more important than a simple moniker. It has become a brand; it is a selling point of the Wrestlemaina show. I would liken it to the Royal Rumble match as a reason that people, even casual fans, buy the show in the first place. WWE Creative have spend the better part of a decade building this into something important and something meaningful. The mystic around the Undertaker at Wrestlemaina alone makes it something that cannot be replicated, as he is still one of most unique elements that exists in the WWE Universe today. The DVD sales will testify that the Streak is something that must be preserved and not spoiled on a whim.
What if Punk were to go over at Wrestlemaina, what would be the pros? Would it establish Punk as the best in the world? I believe his 434 day title reign has done that. Would it make CM Punk a top guy? He already is. Or would it even build towards the future? Well no. Punk has talked about retiring in the near future for a while now. With this in mind, is there any real long-term gain for Punk ending the Streak aside from just doing it? I believe not.
The Undertaker is very close to retirement. This is a sad but true fact. We are seeing the dying days of the Undertaker gimmick in the WWE. I would not be shocked if this upcoming match was his last. However I do believe that next year will be it the end for the Deadman; possibly with Kane to make it 22-0 at Wrestlemania and allow them both to retire on that. There is a well-founded belief that you “job on the way out” in the wrestling business. In other words, you lose your last match to establish a new top guy. Austin did it, as did Foley and even Triple H to an extent. Will Taker follow suit? According to Sun in the UK’s Phil Alley, who I interviewed this week on my wrestling radio show, said:
“I think there are certain people that don’t have to do the job. I think that even to him the Streak means something…and a lot of people that I have spoken to have said the same thing.That fact is that Undertaker doesn’t have to wrestle. He does so only when wants to.”
This match, as a defining Wrestlemaina staple, is something that has kept him relevant. With every win he etches his legacy into the minds of the WWE fanbase forever. There is no way that he would throw that away so easily, or without a really good reason.
Let us just say that it is the day after Wrestlemaina and Punk has won. He has beaten the Undertaker and ended the Streak. What now? How do you top that? What could Punk do that can ever best that achievement? The answer is nothing. That decision would divide opinion for years to come and prohibit Punk from ever impressing us again. There would be nothing else left to accomplish for him. And it would make the “immortal” Undertaker but a mortal foe without his Wrestlemaina aura.
On paper, I can see why this could be a good idea. It would make Punk the real legend killer and it is the ultimate push. That said the gift of turning everything you touch into gold is a good thing too. However King Midas regretted that one pretty fast and I think this would be no different. Punk would never be able to overcome his own hype. The Warrior/Hogan match is a perfect example of this. Six months later we would be screaming that we wish that Punk had never won. With the overwhelming response being something like, “why did this happen with such a short build? It was out of nowhere.” Punk is not the guy to end this streak. I don’t think anyone ever can be.
Casual fans could lose interest in Wrestlemaina 30 altogether with an Undertaker loss, and that is a legitimate concern. Why blow this decision now? Why not save it for WM30? It makes no sense. Even if they brought Taker back next year with a loss on his WM record, it would be met with apathy. If you de-fang the monster he isn’t scary. Beating the Undertaker and ending the Streak would be a huge setback for next year’s show. When a streak is ended there is a void that is very hard to fill. In recent years we have seen the aftermath of a streak’s death, with Goldberg in WCW and that of Ryback in 2012. Like Goldberg and Ryback, the Streak is a defining attribute of this era’s Undertaker. It cannot be removed. If the unbeatable element of the Phenom is gone, we will be left with an old man who will fade away into WWE history. The Streak is the last thing left that defines the Undertaker, and even he is sure that fact. Aside from the creative wisdom that warrants holding onto the Streak, it would be a personal show of respect for the Undertaker to walk out of MetLife Stadium with the win.
To quote Phil;
“Anyone that I’ve talked to, be it an insider, a wrestler or anyone else they all say the same thing. Vince McMahon has such respect for Undertaker… he will take that Streak with him. When he retires that will be still be something that means something to him.”
If Punk does win. It would be a shock to say the very least and it would be rather out the blue. There would have been at most a month build for this match. These two have had matches in the past, however they were fairly quick and honestly squash matches. The most infamous pairing was their blow off match at Hell in the Cell 2009. I don’t see how they can make this match feel important enough to justify Punk ending the streak. There is simply no good reason for him to go over. If they were going to end the Streak soon. We would have had montages, video packages anything to make it feel like a big deal. Instead it still feels forced.
CM Punk is my personal favourite wrestler and I would love for him to be the top guy in the WWE again, but as the WWE champion. This is not the way. I feel that this match is still somewhat of an afterthought. I feel that Punk is someone to take the fall in April rather than the anointed one to end the Streak. A blockbuster move like that does not come out of nowhere. Despite the comments of JR, I don’t buy it. The match will probably be great but I am certain that CM Punk will be just another number to make the Undertaker’s record 21-0 at Wrestlemaina.
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