Of the 21 times that Undertaker has battled at WrestleMania, victory has never been as uncertain as it will be against Brock Lesnar.
The smart money is still on "The Deadman" to stay undefeated at The Showcase of the Immortals, but Lesnar's power and resume, as well as Undertaker's age, make Lesnar the most believable threat to the streak. That element is going to elevate a match sure to be flush with suspense.
CM Punk had the last crack at Undertaker's perfect record at WrestleMania.
Punk was an underdog last year. He was a man fans knew would produce a great match with Undertaker but didn't come off as a legitimate danger for the future Hall of Famer.
Undertaker towered over him and outweighed him by about 80 pounds. He will not have that same advantage against Lesnar.
He has faced larger opponents at WrestleMania before, but no one with Lesnar's athletic pedigree. Giant Gonzalez, Big Show, King Kong Bundy and Mark Henry were all lumbering giants. They matched up with Undertaker well in terms of size, but "The Phenom" was always a step quicker and could outmaneuver them.
That won't be the case against Lesnar.
Back in 2011, Kurt Angle told TapouT News, via MMAMania.com, "Brock Lesnar is the best athlete over 250 that I've ever seen in my life." Angle is not alone in that line of thought. Lesnar is a seemingly impossible blend of power, speed and agility.
With that in fans' minds as Lesnar and Undertaker prepare to face off, the end of the undefeated WrestleMania streak is the most plausible it has ever been.
Some of the freshest images the audience has of Lesnar is him tearing through both Henry and Big Show. At the Royal Rumble, Lesnar throttled Big Show with chair shots. He broke steel chairs into pieces and left the big man in need of medical attention.
Henry has been his victim on multiple occasions. Lesnar laid Henry out at the end of December and dislocated his elbow just a week later. Henry, a man who once put Kane, The Great Khali and Big Show out of action, fell to Lesnar once more on March 3.
"The Beast" manhandled him and sent him through the announce table.
Lesnar has left his mark on a number of Undertaker's recent WrestleMania opponents as well. He defeated Punk at last year's SummerSlam, left Triple H suffering from concussion symptoms after their cage match at Extreme Rules 2013 and broke Shawn Michaels' arm.
This is the destructive force that is heading Undertaker's way. This is the man who outlasted Undertaker inside the Hell in a Cell back in 2002.
Thanks to this history and Lesnar's imposing physique, WWE will have no trouble building up Lesnar as a threat to Undertaker.
Even if WWE doesn't plan to have Undertaker ever lose, it must convince the audience that it could happen. That becomes a far easier task with a beast like Lesnar. Show clips of his latest havoc before the bout and have him hammer Undertaker with right hands during it. Suddenly, those sure of Undertaker going 22-0 will have ample reason to be nervous.
That's doubly true considering what stage Undertaker's career is in. The longer the streak goes, the older the man defending it is.
Undertaker will be 49 when WrestleMania arrives. Henry faced Undertaker when he was nearly a decade younger than he is now. Diesel and Sycho Sid battled Undertaker while he was still in his early 30s.
Lesnar now greets him after 30 years in the business, his predatory fury aimed at a man with a long injury history and who has looked rather old as of late.
Every near-fall Lesnar gets on Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX promises to fill fans with nervousness. It seems impossible that Undertaker will finally prove mortal at the event, but doubt will be ever-present this time around.
Undertaker's WrestleMania matches have not often been against men who can outpower him. They have never been against former UFC champs and never with him being so close to being 50.
This impending confrontation has a hungry, merciless animal challenging the longtime leader of the pack. The unending sight of Undertaker knocking back his foes at WrestleMania is set to be threatened like never before.
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