Let’s get this out of the way first: this guy is GOLD…
Give this man a contract. I don’t care what he does: just give him a WWE contract and get the rights to THAT face. Because it sums up virtually every feeling that went through the completely hushed crowd of 75,000 plus fans. For ten seconds I was even somewhat with them, but more so because I was shocked at how silent it was. The three count went down, and it was so quiet that I wasn’t even sure that the match was over. My first words were:
Safe to say that few people saw the Undertaker’s infamous Streak coming to an end last night, but what’s done is done. There will be eternal (hyperbole) debates between people over how it happened and who ended it, and many people have already “sworn off” the WWE because they feel like they lost their childhood or something, but the Streak is over, and frankly… it kind of works.
My opinion isn’t going to be the popular opinion, and I’m okay with that. This won’t even be a very long post, because despite how okay I am with the result I still have plenty of gripes. At the end of the day though:
The Streak itself, barring any outside story or logic, was finite. I came to terms with this a few years back, seeing how wobbly Calloway was following a match with Triple H. Was it kayfabe? Probably, but the mythos we were given was always that the Undertaker was infallible. He was defeatable, but not by anyone short of another god, and when they came to HIS turf, he was the closest thing we humans could see to true, dark divinity. All the same, he’s human. I say all this now because one of the early complaints was that “UnderTAKer cant looose!! Hes the Undertakaer and this is Wrestemaina!” Yes, it is, and after twenty plus Mania’s he has lost, somewhat poetically to the man he originally wanted to end the Streak years back.
So from a nostalgic point of view, I dig it. I like how it played out, honest. Brock Lesnar is one of the few people in history that I can realistically have seen defeat the Streak and actually take up that very spot left unoccupied by the new vortex. That isn’t story so much as conclusion, however. While not undefeated at Mania himself, Brock Lesnar is a monster of a human being (or a human being of a monster, I forget which) and he represents another version of the frightening mystique that the Undertaker brought to his role as the protector of the Holy Grail, so to speak. The Undertaker’s undefeated reign mattered because he’s a boogeyman. He comes across as nearly impossible to topple, and COMPLETELY impossible – but more likely for years now – to unhinge at home. The WWE has never been shy of creating real monster characters, but even they stepped to the Phenom and fell at his feet. Think about it: Giant Gonzalez, King Kong Bundy, Diesel, Kane, Triple H, Big Show, A-Train, Mark Henry, Batista, they all have a big, intimidating presence that was ultimately left humbled by a man whose very character embodies death.
There are few reasons Lesnar’s win makes sense though, the biggest of which being his status in the company. He’s a part-timer, no matter how his contract plays out. Plenty of people are saying he should be around full-time now, as some kind of solace to those who are literally threatening self-harm after how things played out (it’s still real to us, yes, but it’s TOO real to y’all… dammit) but that would imply that the Undertaker was going out there every PPV or taking on somebody more than once a year, if that. It’s easy to forget that the Undertaker was in several Wrestlemanias, not ALL of them. He’s an old(er) man, he can’t keep this up, and retiring would have come a long time ago if the Streak was meant to be maintained.
Undertaker might very well be signed full-time to the company, but his appearances are far from that. Enter Lesnar, who is part-time, maintains a very impressive physique, and to date, even in his losses, he’s managed to SEVERELY beat his opponents senseless. Let’s not forget the applause worthy ass whupping he put on John Cena during Extreme Rules following Wrestlemania 28. And how he destroyed Triple H. And how the World’s Strongest Man proved to be one of the world’s most bull-headed when he went to challenge Brock Lesnar THRICE and got murdered each time Solomon Grundy style. It’s very easy to put Lesnar into the role of the resident undefeatable monster like the dog from The Sandlot. Even when he loses he scares (read: beats) you crapless, and that realization puts him in a position where a Three 6 Mafia theme song, or an impromptu theme by Pharoahe Monch and Buckshot, works more wonders for him than anyone else.
And at this point, where the goal in the WWE might be to put the younger talent to carry the banner, having one monster be the man who took the Streak and flipped it into a Curse that needs to be broken (thank Ashley Morris for that one), the new big dog (or Cerberus if you want to be fancy) could be the once-a-year Lesnar.
Of course, we also have to remember that a few years back Undertaker expressed how he wanted Lesnar to end the Streak then. It would have been good then, and there’s an argument that can be made that he would have been that had it taken place then, Lesnar WOULD be the Undertaker right now. Not in terms of persona but in terms of prestige.
But at the end of the day, there’s the concept of story. Nic Johnson, L.E.W.D. brother, pro wrestling aficionado and bon vivant, expressed distaste at the way the story played out. I throw my hands up here, he has a point, the story going into last night’s storied match lacked… story. What could have been a compelling quest for vengeance from Paul Heyman played out as a rushed fight between a man with no reason to wrestle and Brock Lesnar. The way I saw it, the set-up could have been perfect IF the match was about Heyman’s pain in the form of a six foot monster who votes Republican. It could have been perfect if the match was about Heyman again lamenting his “fallen son” CM Punk (sidenote: if you were wondering on his whereabouts last night, he was actually at a Blackhawks game) and how the WWE universe chased him away, and how the Undertaker embodied the pinnacle of that universe.
But no. No, it was about… I don’t know. Much like last year with CM Punk’s duel with Taker, the set-up was a question of chance – and fortunate (story wise) – circumstance, but they played it well last year. Had CM Punk defeated the Undertaker last year, in a match that I’m led to believe he didn’t even want, the story would have been this: the Undertaker could not avenge the memory of Paul Bearer or honor his memory in combat. The set-up was perfect for an Undertaker victory WITH the promise of an awesome showing by Punk; it was set to show us that it could have gone “either way” but in fact it was set in stone.
Besides that, Punk wouldn’t have been a viable person to inherit the Streak. What many fail to accept is that whoever ends the Streak inherits the Streak, and they make it their own. Lesnar now has the Streak, and it’s more valuable than any title. Heyman will be on fire tonight, Lesnar will be smug, and frankly it makes more sense than a lot of people want to admit. So please, stop being butthurt over it, and if you MUST be butthurt, at LEAST be as amusing at homeboy in the opening picture.
If anything, this is my greatest gripe with the match (aside from having little emotional content):
The crowd DIED after it, and it was a shame that the Divas match had to follow it. They didn’t even get an intro, at a PAY PER VIEW I might add, and it was all so the crowd could recover:
And that’s to say nothing about the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. The crowd was slow to get into it. Thank God they did though, because despite the sorrow 99% of people felt at the end of the Dead Man’s Streak, there was nothing but triumph with the moment of seeing
Chris Benoit Daniel Bryan standing victorious after winning the title after a hard fought battle. If you want to really be suspicious, tell me why it isn’t the top story on WWE.com. Or rather, why it isn’t even a STORY up there.