Pros and Cons of Undertaker's WrestleMania Match vs. Brock Lesnar
On the February 24 episode of Monday Night Raw, The Undertaker made his much-anticipated return to WWE programming after nearly a year away. With the road to WrestleMania under way, the return was an expected one, as the Phenom never misses an opportunity to defend the undefeated streak that has become such an integral part of the Showcase of the Immortals.
This year, the man referred to as the Beast Incarnate by Paul Heyman, Brock Lesnar, will provide opposition to the Dead Man.
After scoring impressive victories over former WWE and World Heavyweight champions Triple H, CM Punk and Big Show, Lesnar is on a roll and more than capable of ending the legendary winning streak.
The match has the potential to be a suitably epic clash between two of the most imposing stars of this generation, or any other for that matter.
As is the case with most major matches, however, there are pros and cons to consider heading into the showdown.
What are they?
Find out after the jump.
Pro: Pre-Established History
At SummerSlam in August of 2002, Brock Lesnar defeated The Rock to become the youngest WWE champion in history.
A few weeks later, The Undertaker won a No. 1 contender's match to earn a shot at Lesnar's title and test the young star's legitimacy as a main event star. The first title match, which took place at September's Unforgiven, was accented by a very personal story.
Lesnar had confronted the Dead Man's wife and earned the ire of the No. 1 contender. This led to a very physical match in the main event slot of the show. Unfortunately for fans, no definitive winner was declared as both men's hatred for one another boiled over, leading to a double disqualification.
Soap opera elements and a former female companion of Undertaker's bogged the story down significantly prior to their October pay-per-view title match. For all of the storyline missteps that occurred, the Hell in a Cell match between the Dead Man and Lesnar more than made up for them.
Lesnar would defeat Undertaker in a bloody, violent match and would again retain his title against the legendary competitor a year later at the same No Mercy show, this time in a Biker Chain match.
They have very good chemistry, and their matches are typically entertaining due to the sheer violence and intensity that accompanies them.
Undertaker and Lesnar should be able to build on their previous matches and, given their growth as performers since then, could very deliver their greatest match on the biggest stage the business has to offer.
Con: Physical Style and the Effect on Undertaker's Health
It is no secret that Undertaker's body can no longer support a full-time in-ring schedule. He has been beaten up over the course of the last five years and can really only commit to one match a year.
That match is the annual defense of his WrestleMania undefeated streak.
This year could present the Phenom with his greatest challenge in terms of his physical health. Brock Lesnar is a physical specimen whose physique and athleticism is matched by few, if any. He is also a high-impact worker whose offense looks like it hurts—probably because it does.
There is no questioning the heart or toughness of the Undertaker, but one has to wonder how long he will be able to hold up under the punishing strikes and powerful offense that Lesnar incorporates into his matches.
A victory for Undertaker on April 6 is indisputable. He will leave New Orleans' SuperDome with his undefeated streak pushed to 22-0, but the real questions will surround his physical health after the bout.
Undertaker has very few 'Mania matches left in him. Risking the future bouts, and the one big draw the company has in the streak, in a match against Lesnar may turn out to be a major mistake.
Con: Match Type
As it stands as of this writing, the match between Undertaker and Lesnar is slated to be a regular one-on-one contest.
While Undertaker has been part of several outstanding singles bouts over the last five years, including his series against Shawn Michaels, the same cannot be said for Lesnar.
Brock's best matches since returning have been in bouts with special stipulations, such as no disqualification match or a street fight. He is no longer the young breakout star he was in 2002 when he could keep up with every star from the Rock to Kurt Angle. He wrestles with a much slower, more methodical and brutal style that lends itself well to matches with hardcore elements.
Given the fact that Undertaker went as far as to stab Lesnar through the hand to sign the match contract, then delivered a chokeslam through the table, the company has already hinted that a basic wrestling match may not be suitable enough to contain the two unstoppable forces.
Pro: WrestleMania Quality Match
WrestleMania has become the show where the biggest stars in the industry, past and present, come together for some of the most monumental clashes in wrestling history. They are the matches that both sell the pay-per-view and, at the same time, give the event a greater sense of importance than the company's other offerings.
This year's marquee match, The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar, is a match in that same vein.
It features the greatest phenom in wrestling history in the Dead Man and the a beast of an athlete in Lesnar, who presents Undertaker with a legitimate threat to his storied WrestleMania undefeated streak.
Both men are former WWE champions, Undertaker holding the title on four occasions and Lesnar doing so three times. They have both found tremendous success in high-profile 'Mania matches and are among the most recognizable stars in the sport.
The fact that they have not clashed in 11 years makes it a relatively fresh match that an all-new generation of fans can enjoy.
A proper build has the potential to make the match, already one of the hottest on the card after only one week of interactions, one of the event's most anticipated.