I have been wanting to write about this since 10PM last night. When the referee counted the 1..2..3 for Brock Lesnar, effectively ending the greatest streak in sports entertainment, I realized my chance as a columnist to take full advantage of this historic event. As I sat there with my group of friends at a local restaurant, watching WrestleMania, no one at the table thought Lesnar was going to win. In fact, let me go as far to tell you that 99% of the wrestling world did not think that Lesnar was winning that match. And yet…it happened. So as I was driving home with one of my friends, I decided that I was going to write my column as soon as I got home. When I got home, I decided to write it today. My emotions were at an all time high and I did not know if I could actually write what I was thinking. The Lesnar mark in me could not believe it. The Undertaker was a part of my childhood memories and I could not fathom that this moment arrived. There was no way that anyone could ever beat “The Streak”. If someone was beating “The Streak”, they were getting the biggest push in the history of the WWE. It was reserved for someone like Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, or even Daniel Bryan. The thought of the streak ending with Brock Lesnar was unthinkable…and yet it still happened. There are many speculative reasons as to why this happened, but until we learn when the Undertaker approved of this, we will not be able to complete the full puzzle. Just because we do not know the full story does not make me stop from speculating the following:
1) This victory was intended for…get ready for it: Daniel Bryan.
Some will speculate that this was where CM Punk might have defeated the streak this year had he signed a long term contract. I cannot disagree with this statement. But the bigger issue was the one I thought of this morning while researching the past few months about the Undertaker, trying to dig for information. What I realized was Daniel Bryan joined the Wyatt Family on December 31, 2013. It was reported three days later that the Undertaker had personally requested that Bryan be his opponent at WrestleMania. While the proposed heel turn of Bryan being in the Wyatt family never would have panned out (his popularity was too large at the time), fans could have rallied around Bryan challenging the Undertaker for the streak. While most of the time it’s heels that challenge the Undertaker, both HHH and Shawn Michaels challenged Undertaker and both were faces at the time. It’s not impossible to believe that the fans could have bought into Bryan chasing “The Streak”.
The problem is, when CM Punk walked out on the company, it threw the plans out the window. Punk was scheduled to feud with HHH going into Mania, which would have culminated in a match with “The Game” at WrestleMania XXX. Based on what we know from the events leading up to yesterday, it is not outside the box to think that Punk would have been inserted into this match to make it a triple threat match. What to do with Bryan then? It was clear his feud with Bray Wyatt was going to be over, so the only logical explanation would have been to put him into the match with the Undertaker. The result, though, would have been the ultimate question because you are talking about ending something that is eternal in wrestling. Ask anyone about what comes to mind with the Undertaker and the answer is clear: his Wrestlemania undefeated streak.
2) Something changed over the past few weeks…that led to this match becoming the end of the streak
No one is ever going to convince me that Brock Lesnar was the one that was set to end “The Streak” or that this was slated six weeks ago to be the Undertaker’s last match. Something happened in the past few weeks that convinced the Undertaker that it was time to go into retirement. If this was decided weeks ago, why not make the decision to put a guy like Roman Reigns or Bray Wyatt into the match. Was the safer play to always go with Lesnar winning the match? He might be a part time wrestler but at least you know where his “loyalty” lies. He will never join another wrestling promotion because of the schedule that the WWE affords him to use. The other factor in this is that did the Undertaker know that this would be it. Why would there be no buildup? You are talking about ending the greatest streak ever and all we have is a little promo before the match starts. It’s bewildering but it’s not the biggest thought I had…
3) What if the Undertaker wanted this all along? What if he wanted his last match to be against Brock Lesnar?
This would be the biggest story in a long time. The Undertaker has beaten the likes of Shawn Michaels, HHH, and CM Punk in the past few years to defend the streak. As I was typing this, information started leaking that this was in fact something that the Undertaker wanted to do since 2010. If this is the case, then the Undertaker has a great deal of respect for Brock Lesnar. Lesnar and Undertaker had an epic confrontation after UFC 121, which can now be classified as a work shoot. The WWE could never put the match together because of the fact that Brock was under contract to the UFC. If true, this match was basically 3 and a half years in the making. Lesnar was never made to look strong, even looking fearful before the match started. Once the bell hit, though, Lesnar took over.
I still cannot wrap my head around what happened last night. The Undertaker signified everything I enjoyed when I first started watching wrestling. To his gut wrenching victory against Kane at WrestleMania 14, to the Ministry of Darkness (and to a lesser extent the Corporate Ministry), to his gimmick change where he became the American Bad Ass, I have always respected what that man has done for this business. Brock on the other hand, was someone who left for the NFL and failed at that. He gave the UFC a try and while successful there, he had to end his career due to health issues. He is now back with the WWE and whether or not he will be back full time remains to be seen. An interesting note is the fact that Brock’s contract was ending this year at WrestleMania before he signed an extension. Maybe, just maybe, it was written into his new contract that he had to be on the road full time due to this big WrestleMania victory. Time will tell, but for the first time in awhile, I am interested in how this will play out. Brock is going to have some of the biggest heel heat this industry has ever seen. Heyman will be there to be the mouthpiece for him, but I cannot wait to see what either one of them has to say. This Monday Night Raw will see a celebration of Daniel Bryan, a monster promo by Heyman/Lesnar, and quite possibly the last appearance we will ever see of the Undertaker on Monday Night Raw. I, for one, cannot wait to see how this unfolds on TV. You should be just as excited. Last night, Brock Lesnar did not just become the man that defeated the Undertaker at WrestleMania, he became “The Legend that defeated The StreaK”. That in itself is something to marvel at