While it seems like some fans have an issue with almost every match of the WrestleMania XXIX card, the consensus is that CM Punk and The Undertaker are primed to put on a fantastic show. Both men are reportedly dealing with injuries at the moment, though, so they'll be forced to push even harder in order to deliver.
According to F4WOnline (via WrestlingInc.com), Punk suffered an arm injury during his match with Kane on Raw a couple weeks ago. Because of the ailment, he has been pulled from all live events leading up to WrestleMania XXIX. The WWE obviously wants to protect one of its biggest stars, so even if the injury isn't severe, resting Punk is the right move on WWE's part.
Things aren't quite as clear when it comes to The Undertaker. Taker is a very secretive person, and the WWE is always mum on his status so as to keep his mystique intact. Because of that there are no concrete injury reports, but there was plenty of scuttlebutt regarding The Phenom's health prior to his return at a WWE house show several weeks ago.
Even if Taker isn't dealing with something as obvious as Punk's arm injury, it stands to reason that nagging injuries are a factor. The Undertaker just turned 48 years of age on Sunday, so his prime years are clearly well behind him. When you consider how much punishment he has taken over the years, it would be a miracle if he is in perfect health.
Ultimately, the WWE is counting on two ailing superstars to carry the load on the biggest night of the year. The Rock vs. John Cena may be a bigger match in terms of star power, but most fans are lukewarm regarding that encounter. Even though Punk and Taker have feuded in the past, they have never gone head to head at the show of shows, so there is a lot of excitement ahead of their bout.
If Punk vs. Taker doesn't deliver like most expect, then WrestleMania XXIX could very well be considered a colossal failure. There aren't many fans out there willing to give The Rock vs. Cena II a second chance, so it's a self-fulfilling prophecy that it won't live up to the hype.
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar should be entertaining, but there has already been some criticism regarding that match as well due to the fact that the No Holds Barred stipulation was used at SummerSlam.
Aside from those matches, it doesn't seem like there's an undercard bout that is going to captivate the crowd. Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger should be solid, and Ryback vs. Mark Henry is intriguing to say the least, however, I don't see a match capable of stealing the show.
With all of that in mind, both Punk and Taker absolutely must be on top of their respective games in order for WrestleMania XXIX to live up to expectations.
Common sense probably dictates that Punk and Taker won't be able to perform at the level they are accustomed to, but I fully expect them to rise to the occasion regardless. I would be skeptical of pretty much anyone else in wrestling today, but Punk and The Undertaker are probably the two superstars I trust most to bring down the house at WrestleMania no matter how they're feeling.
Even though Punk has won Money in the Bank twice at WrestleMania and retained his WWE Championship against Chris Jericho last year, he is still waiting for his WrestleMania moment.
The odds of him beating Taker aren't good at all, but he can still have his moment in a losing effort. Both Triple H and Shawn Michaels fell short against The Undertaker at 'Mania in recent years, but they still managed to captivate the fans and steal the show.
Punk is arguably the best in-ring worker in professional wrestling today, and he manages to bring the best out of almost all of his opponents.
Cena isn't as poor of a grappler as some fans would have you believe, but he does need a strong dancing partner in order to put on a great match. It can be argued that many of his best matches have come against Punk, and that is truly a testament to what Punk can do in the squared circle.
Will mounting injuries affect the quality of Punk vs. Taker at WrestleMania?
Taker isn't as well conditioned as Punk is, but that is to be expected when you take his age into account. The Undertaker has been getting the job done in the WWE since 1990, though, so he can essentially sleepwalk his way through a great match.
Even performing at WrestleMania has become second nature to him, as his unprecedented 20-0 streak would suggest. The Deadman was great against fellow veterans like Triple H and Michaels, so he should be even better against a guy like Punk, who can shoulder the burden a bit more.
Punk is an absolute workhorse who is used to working through injuries. Prior to the knee issue that kept him off the card at TLC, he hadn't really missed extended time with the WWE.
He did have a shoulder injury that forced him to commentate for a little while prior to taking over leadership of Nexus, but when you consider how long he has been with the company, his thin injury record is quite impressive.
Fans have questioned Taker's health for the past couple years as well, but he has managed to show up at WrestleMania and impress like he always has.
Perhaps he'll lose the ability to do that at some point; however, I haven't seen anything that would suggest the end of the line is on the horizon. The Undertaker has at least one great match left in him at WrestleMania.
The circumstances surrounding Punk vs. Taker aren't ideal as both men could probably use some rest, but they are fully aware of what is at stake, and they simply won't allow the fans to go home disappointed.