When The Undertaker defeated CM Punk at WrestleMania 29, he proved he has what it takes to keep going.
The Deadman is far from dead.
Any doubts about Undertaker’s health were put to rest on April 7 at MetLife Stadium. His bout with Punk entertained and energized the crowd.
For the past several years, Undertaker's appearances at WrestleMania have been more about his lengthy winning streak than about his opponents. The setup is always the same: This is the year the streak will end. This is the guy (whoever it may be) who will beat Undertaker.
The streak being important is fine. The best wrestling matches always have something tied to them to make them rise above the rest, whether it is an emotional storyline, a retirement or a winning streak.
But as Undertaker gets older and his injuries began to catch up to him, his in-ring performances begin to suffer. At what point does defending the streak take a backseat to putting on a respectable match?
That was the case prior to the match with Punk on the grandest stage of them all.
Before the matchup was even announced, rampant speculation said Undertaker might not wrestle at this year’s event. Nagging effects from hip and shoulder surgery didn't allow Undertaker the time to workout.
When he did agree to appear, the Phenom did not look his best. At a live event in Texas, Undertaker was out of shape.
Once the feud geared up, Undertaker kept to his robes, presumably hiding himself as he got his body back together. When he attacked Punk on Raw, and those robes finally dropped, the Deadman had toned up, but not anywhere near where he was at WrestleMania 28.
Thankfully for the WWE and the fans, when it came time to perform, Undertaker (and Punk for that matter) didn't disappoint.
The bout electrified the crowd, garnering cheers and reactions that were deafening. Both men gave it their all, despite nagging injuries on both sides. The match was full of psychology, reversals, submission holds and one painful non-breaking table. The match felt like a WrestleMania bout.
Punk, unsurprisingly, didn’t defeat Undertaker. But it didn't matter, because Undertaker proved he could still go in the ring. His once-a-year match was more intense and got bigger reactions than both of the other two main events, which featured The Rock against John Cena and Triple H squaring off with Brock Lesnar.
Undertaker may not have many years left him. At age 48, he is well past his prime as a performer. But at WrestleMania he showed that he could still play the game with the best of them.
If the WrestleMania match with Punk is any indication of what Undertaker has left in him, then in his final years, the Deadman will be going strong.