Posted by Ilyass Garara
Note: The following article is a purely subjective piece about a topic that is open to debate. If you disagree, which is encouraged, feel free to share your opinion in the comments section. Thank you!
Just a few months ago, the rumor was that this year’s WrestleMania could have the most stacked card to date or, according to some, the best ever. As far as the so-called IWC goes, that discussion topic has been outdated for a month now, because whether we are happy or disappointed by the WrestleMania 29 lineup doesn’t matter anymore, it is all about The Undertaker’s undefeated streak being in jeopardy again. While it remains subjective, this article will go through the major arguments that we should take into account so that you get the big picture and develop -or consolidate- your own point of view.
1- Undertaker’s Legacy
The legend known as The Undertaker is certainly the undebatable part of this piece. He is perhaps the biggest WWE legend who has yet to be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame. Putting the streak aside, the Deadman’s legacy is built on a very solid base already; a unique persona he excelled at and kept relevant for 20+ years, be it through historic storylines (e.g. Steve Austin, Kane, Mick Foley) or gimmick tweaks (e.g. Deadman, Ministry, Biker). Adding his 7 reigns as World Champion, 6 Tag Team Championship reigns and countless other consecrations to the equation, his streak becomes more like the icing on the cake. Remember, wrestlers like Roddy Piper never won any major title, but that does not make them anything less than legends.
Verdict: Should Taker lose to CM Punk (or to anybody else), his legacy will stay -almost- intact.
2- The Streak As a Statistic
This is something that few actually discuss. The streak is unique and prestigious by itself, no matter how much of a legend his holder is. Think about it, should we expect the WWE to make a 20+ year commitment to build another similar statistic? Judging by the current state, from short title reigns to a lack of commitment to middle and long-term projects (i.e the Tag Team division, Ryback), I highly doubt it. Furthermore, assuming they do try to rebuild another streak somehow, is there anybody who can earn that confidence from the WWE? When we look at the current roster, Cena and CM Punk are the only possibilities, but they are not undefeated, and I do not need to remind you how rare it is for a wrestler to reach that coveted “WWE #1 Guy” spot.
Verdict: Simply put, building a similar streak seems truly impossible.
3- CM Punk’s Legacy:
CM Punk’s fans, particularly the IWC ones, have been frustrated by the booking of his two bouts against The Rock. Whether he should have won at least one match is another topic, what matters in our discussion is that CM Punk has never won any “historic” match. By historic, I am not talking about the wrestling clinics he had with the likes of Daniel Bryan, I mean a hugely promoted supermatch against a living legend just like The Rock and Brock Lesnar this year. Then again, does it really matter? Some of us seem to forget that supermatches are very rare and bring huge momentum to both competitors, therefore making the outcome seem secondary. It is thus one of many ways of cementing a superstar’s legacy, not a pre-requisite. Moreover, CM Punk has always thrived by following his own rules and showing unique features through his promos and matches, and this is what makes him a legend in the making, at least in my view.
Verdict: CM Punk would gain a lot from Taker’s streak, but a loss would not hurt him either.
4- Short build
Let’s face it, even though this match has the potential to steal the show (and I am confident it will), the WWE placed it in the 3rd spot. The Rock and Brock Lesnar are two part-timers that the company want to make the most of so as to get some mainstream attention, and their ongoing storylines had months worth of promotion. In addition to that, The Undertaker’s last four matches with Shawn Michaels and Triple H just set the bar too high. In fact, if we look back at their feuds, each of these four bouts had the #1 spot as well as plenty of segments and confrontations on TV, and despite all the momentum and the unprecedented likeliness to end the streak (both kayfabe and shoot), The Deadman still prevailed.
Verdict: If CM Punk gets the victory, all the importance that was given to “Streak” matches in recent years will become meaningless, which will push The Undertaker to retirement.
The Undertaker’s streak should be kept alive in my humble opinion. When he retires, the prestige of the streak will have enough time to mature as the years -and decades- go by, which will increase its importance in the eyes of WWE fans. If you are an NBA fan, you will understand its similarity to Will Chamberlain’s record 100pts in one match; the record still lives and appears even more unattainable than in the past because of how basketball evolved nowadays. Let us just hope that the booking of the match does not add to the frustration some of the fans have about the two main-event rematches.
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