The Undertaker is headed for a showdown with CM Punk on April 7 at WWE WrestleMania 29. The match-up became official on the March 4 edition of Monday Night Raw, ending months of speculation among fans. No back-story is needed for this one, the fact is that this match will be big.
The issue of no prior buildup may be a problem for some fans out there. And to be honest I have to say that I can see their point.
Undertaker’s first WrestleMania match against Shawn Michaels in 2009 was considered an instant classic. Shawn gave everything he had, all in effort to find out who was the better man. But, he ultimately came up short.
In 2010, The Heartbreak Kid came back for round two and this time put his career on the line. Both men brought their A game and turned in a match that rivaled, and arguably topped, the first one. Shawn left with a loss and shut the door on his Hall of Fame career.
Triple H was the next man up to bat and had a very intense match with Taker in 2011. At the end of the bout, The Deadman was carried off and for the first time in his career, looked very human.
For their rematch in 2012, Hunter and Undertaker faced off in the Hell in a Cell with Shawn Michaels as the guest referee. Hunter was convinced that he would defeat Taker this time and Shawn’s presence did nothing but heighten the drama. It was an epic match that was the perfect fourth act for Undertaker.
The matches against Shawn Michaels and Triple H were truly great storytelling. Each one was based on a believable premise, fleshed out through promos, and fully realized in the ring.
How do you top that? How do you book Undertaker after four great years at WrestleMania, four years of heart stopping action against two of WWE’s biggest Superstars of all time?
With the Best in the World.
CM Punk is the only logical choice to face Undertaker at WrestleMania 29. To me, there is no disputing that. He was the only top name not booked to perform and Undertaker needs a high profile talent to defend the streak against. Punk has done more than enough to earn this spot against him. It only makes sense.
But, where’s the story? Where’s the reason for these two Superstars to touch, other than the obvious lack of big name talent to book?
Again, I see where some fans may have a problem with this.
But I believe this story will ultimately write itself. Punk, though hot on the heels of losing twice to The Rock and once to John Cena, is—at least in his mind—still the man to beat in WWE. His arrogance will not allow him to believer otherwise. Facing Undertaker is Punk’s one true shot at redemption, to prove that he is the best in the business.
Undertaker fought off the one two punch of both Triple H and Shawn Michaels at last year’s WrestleMania. He came back from one finisher after another, and unlike in 2011, he ended the match on his feet. He was the Undertaker that we have known for years, the one who walks into WrestleMania and walks out with another win.
Taker has every reason to believe that no matter who steps up to him next, the result will be the same. Punk just happens to be the next man who will meet his fate at the hands of The Deadman.
Now for the storyline behind that storyline.
For CM Punk, this match is different from any he has had with Undertaker in the past. After all, this is not the same CM Punk who worked a program with Taker back in 2009. That Punk was a man believed by many to have been a fluke World Champion, a guy who did not deserve to be on the main event level he was on.
But the CM Punk we see before us today is the man who weathered that storm, and then created his own in 2011 when he picked up a microphone and told the world how he really felt about WWE. That Punk is now a made man, an established star who has been enjoying all the press and spotlight that being a top tier talent can bring.
At this point in Undertaker’s career, he needs to headline with someone of main event caliber. The undefeated streak means more when the opponent is a viable contender, someone who could legitimately defeat Taker. Brock Lesnar is booked against Triple H, John Cena is facing The Rock and so far Chris Jericho is not on the card.
Add to this the fact that CM Punk has been one of the best in ring performers that WWE has featured in the past three years and the decision must have been a very easy one for Undertaker to make.
CM Punk versus The Undertaker will be big business at WrestleMania 29. They will definitely bring it on the grandest stage of them all and despite the lack of back-story, the fact is that on April 7, none of that will matter. When it’s all said and done, I believe that this is the match we will be talking about long after the fact.
For me, that’s all the storyline I need.