Best Ways to Book Reported Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker Bout at WrestleMania
It had been considered likely for a while, but one of the main events of WrestleMania 30 is reportedly a lot closer to being in to WWE's creative plans now. In the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter at F4WOnline.com, Dave Meltzer wrote that The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar is set to happen as long as Undertaker feels good enough to work a Lesnar-style match (h/t WrestlingInc.com).
Lesnar vs The Rock was originally planned for the show, but the Rock suffering more than one muscle tear in this year's main event against Cena and having movies filming right before and after WrestleMania 30 makes it pretty unlikely at this point. The only movement towards the match on WWE programming was a quick tease not long after this year's show, when Lesnar stared at a photo of The Rock on the wall of Titan Towers en route to destroying Triple H's office.
It's not a secret that The Undertaker has been in rough shape physically for a long time. More than anything else, that's why he's down to effectively one match a year. The style of match Lesnar does nowadays with the MMA influence and extra-stiff strikes, is not exactly a walk in the park, though Undertaker does go all-out in his one match per year.
Still, Undertaker is nothing if not incredibly mentally tough, and if he feels he can do the match, he will do it. Even more so since he's likely wanted to do it for a few years.
So, how do we get there? One of the best ways might be to tie in real life...or at least something approximating it.
On October 23rd, 2010, Brock Lesnar was UFC Heavyweight Champion. In his second fight since nearly dying from a bout of diverticulitis, he was making his third title defense, this time against top contender Cain Velasquez. Velasquez overwhelmed him and won the title.
Right after the fight, Ariel Helwani was interviewing celebrities who were sitting cageside. As he was talking to The Undertaker, Brock walked by with his cornermen, and 'Taker asked "You wanna do it?" Lesnar didn't reply. Helwani asked what was going on, only to be told that it was personal.
Immediately the buzz was WWE was trying to get Lesnar for a match with Undertaker at WrestleMania. UFC President Dana White quickly told TMZ that it wasn't happening due to the conditions of Lesnar's contract. Eventually, it did come out that WWE tried to get UFC to agree to let WWE book the match (with Vince McMahon even offering to put over White in the semi-main event!) but it didn't go anywhere.
Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker...
At any rate, while this got a ton of attention online at the time, driving a ridiculous amount of traffic to wrestling and MMA websites, WrestleMania 30 is about three and a half years out from this incident. You can't just ride the way of momentum that you could have at the next WrestleMania or even the following year's show. Still, it can be used to fill in some backstory and add a "realistic" edge to the proceedings that will add to the aura of the match.
Even if every single fan knows pro wrestling is not a legitimate professional sport, a match always has more interest if fans believe the participants really don't like each other. For example lot of the anticipation for the Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels match at Survivor Series '97 in Montreal was because it was their first match together since their backstage brawl several months earlier.
To establish that kind of atmosphere, they need to overcome any desire to do any kind of wacky supernatural angles with The Undertaker during the build. Even if they don't go for the "fight between two guys who really don't like each other" story, that's just not what works for Brock Lesnar in 2013 and they should be avoided at all costs.
WWE can also try to dig back further and use the original Lesnar-Undertaker feud from 2002 to push the feud. With that, you have to focus on the brutality of their Hell in a Cell match as their backstage issues during their feud were centered around topics (Undertaker not wanting to lose their first match) that would completely obliterate kayfabe.
So, what does everyone else think? Do you want a relatively realistic storyline for this match or do you want to see Brock in the context of Undertaker using his magic powers? Should the UFC incident be mentioned or was it too long ago to matter now? Let us know in the comments.
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