You know Ted DiBiase Jr. in consideration to end the streak one year, right? I’ll get back to that in a second.
I had two thoughts going through my mind during the Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar match that ended the Undertaker’s 21-match winning streak at WrestleMania.
1. I should have gone to the concession stand during this match. I bet no one’s there and this match stinks.
2. Why are people getting excited for these near falls? Clearly the Undertaker is going to w-whuuuuuh?!
I literally turned to Brandon Stroud after Lesnar hit that final F-5 and started saying, “Why are people even acting like he’ll win?”
Then the ref counted to three.
The streak was over and 75,000 people were in total shock. At first, I was just like everyone else – shocked, confused and shaking my head at the decision to end the biggest attraction to WrestleMania every year.
When Gotty™ asked me what the big fuss was over a “fake” event, I explained it to him like this: imagine a show like Law & Order is your favorite show. And the main detective is in one of those dark alley slow chase scenes they do every week. Then, out of nowhere, he gets shot in the face and dies. No warning. No previews promising a main character would die. Nothing. Now, a character you’ve grown to love is gone and you never saw it coming.
I saw kids cry. I saw grown-ups cry. Men punched their chairs and some people stormed out of the arena. They booed through the subsequent Divas match and halfway through the main event. Even during Monday night’s taping of Raw, people were chanting for Undertaker and yelling “bullish*t” at Brock Lesnar.
But here’s the rub: Brock Lesnar is the only logical choice to end Undertaker’s streak.
The last person who had a real shot at ending the Streak was Randy Orton at WrestleMania 21 almost a decade ago. Orton was a sure thing. He’s still in the title picture and is one of the most preeminent stars in the company. He would have been a worthy winner, to end the lowercase streak.
However, in the nine years since ‘Taker/Orton, the streak became an uppercase word that’s ended Shawn Michaels’ career, won two World Titles and “ended an era” or whatever that means. The Streak is too big for a new star to take. There are just too many uncertainties.
After all, Ted DiBiase, Jr. almost ended the Streak. Throughout the years, Undertaker has wanted to give his streak to young wrestlers to give them a push, but there just isn’t a sure enough guy ever worthy enough of the Streak because you just never know how their careers will end. Ted DiBiase, Jr. isn’t even wrestling anymore. Kurt Angle, who Undertaker contemplated having end the Streak, is at TNA. CM Punk quit the company less than a year after his Undertaker match and refuses to come back. Imagine giving the win to someone like Bray Wyatt or Roman Reigns. As much as they seem like sure bets to carry the WWE into the future, it’s just too hard to bank on a young wrestler that much. And, after this weekend, it’s pretty clear that giving the win to a babyface is virtually impossible as the fans would instantly turn on him.
Imagine Roman Reigns ending the Streak out of nowhere like Brock did. You think the crowd crowns him as the future or do they hold him to the fire, booing him out of the building every time he shows up on RAW? It’s enough to derail a young career.
But Brock? Brock is perfect. He’s already sort of hated enough and Paul Heyman, as evident by his instant classic promo on RAW, can handle nuclear heat and turn it into more fire from a crowd while Brock just stands there and looks like he can murder everyone.
Plus, from a storyline perspective, it all makes sense.
Brock has always seemed like the closing thing wrestling has come to Bane. He’s a monster. And this is the Undertaker’s Knightfall story. Batman’s Knightfall is the story of how he got his back broken by Bane. In that story, every villain from Arkham Asylum breaks out and Batman has to fight them for three days straight with no sleep. By the time he faces Bane, he’s done. Worn out, battle weary and can barely throw a punch. He’s vanquished without much of a fight and it’s clear that he’s up against someone he had no chance against in the first place.
The Undertaker has been telling that story for the last few years. He’s gone to WrestleMania more and more beat up than the year before, looking more weary after every match. By the time he got to Brock, he could barely move. He’s a 49-year-old man trying to beat a guy who’s built like a tank and will legitimately murder you if he feels like it.
Wrestling isn’t just scripted television. It’s scripted television that mimics a sporting event. For people who complain that WWE has gotten too scripted and less like a sport every day, this was the closest thing to a sporting outcome you’ll get. Sometimes the Patriots lose when they’re chasing 18-0. Sometimes Peyton Manning gets his ass handed to him when he’s trying to tell his comeback story. Sometimes Bret Favre throws an interception to cost his team a storybook Super Bowl run. It happens in sports. And what the WWE and the Undertaker gave us was a sports ending: he got his ass kicked by a guy who should be able to easily kick his ass.
Sorry that makes fans upset, but that’s sort of the point. Sometimes the guy we want to win loses. If that’s “bullish*t” then you’re watching it wrong. WWE didn’t promise the Undertaker would win and lied to us. You assumed he’d win and he didn’t. Whoops. In actuality, the idea that old ass Undertaker could beat Lesnar in anything is more a suspension of belief than any other outcome.
Now, Brock Lesnar cements himself as one of the biggest badasses of all time. He builds his aura and will turn Roman Reigns into a star by losing to him or create the ultimate underdog story when he wrestles Daniel Bryan at Summerslam. I can’t wait to see what’s next with Lesnar, which I wouldn’t have said after WrestleMania XXX if he’d lost.
As wrestling fans, we want the unexpected. We want to be challenged. We want to feel emotionally involved in the product. That’s what we got.
In the end that’s all we as wrestling fans can ask for.