Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Toaster's Ramblings - RIP Undertaker's Wrestlemania Streak

I will admit that I did not see Wrestlemania this past Sunday. Frankly, I can't imagine paying such an insanely high price for a pay-per-view when nobody else in my house would give a crap. (Besides, the finale to Shameless aired. Yes, I know Game of Thrones returned too, but we haven't gotten around to that one yet.)

So, getting to the point, Wrestlemania XXX saw some interesting developments. The WWE made a very smart move in pushing Daniel Bryan (aka Bryan Danielson from the indie circuit) into the much loathed Batista vs Orton main event. They apparently made a good story out of his under-dog quest to "defy the odds." I think this was brilliant on the company's part as Daniel Bryan is extremely popular with fans, is one of the most impressive wrestlers out there and CM Punk doesn't look to be coming back. But something else happened at 'Mania. The Undertaker finally lost at the "Superbowl of Wrestling."

In 21 appearances dating back to Wrestlemania 9, the Undertaker had never lost. After a while, it became a huge focal point to the show. Some opponent would look to make a name for himself by "ending the streak" and the fans would back The Phenom in trying to keep his record intact. But all good things must come to an end it seems and Undertaker's 22nd match at Wrestlemania would go down as a win for... Brock Lesnar.

I don't like this move. Don't get me wrong, Brock Lesnar is an immensely talented guy. He's huge, strong, an excellent legitimate NCAA wrestler and a former UFC champion (where the belt isn't just a prop). I have no doubt that in an actual fight, Lesnar could beat The Deadman, but that isn't how wrestling works. It's all storylines. It was someone's decision to let Undertaker's record go to 21-1. I just don't think Lesnar was the right man for the job.

For one thing, Brock Lesnar is a part-time wrestler. This means that unlike the majority of the roster that is on the road over 300 days a year and wrestling at every venue, big or small, Lesnar just shows up for a set number of dates a year, mainly on television and some pay-per-views. He has this type of contract because he is an established name. He didn't need this win to be taken seriously and I think that is my problem with the situation.

The coveted win over Undertaker at Wrestlemania should have been treated as a passing of the torch or at the very least a means to put a talented youngster over the top as an instant legend. There are a ton of up and coming names in the WWE that could have benefited from such an acclamation... names like Antonio Cesaro (aka Claudio Castagnoli), Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Wade Barrett or Big E. Langston. Now this isn't an argument of who would have deserved the win the most, just some examples of young up and comers that could use such a means to reach main event status. Lesnar is already a fighting legend, surely a future WWE Hall of Fame inductee. Brock Lesnar is already at the top; he just didn't need that win.

Honestly, I would have preferred Undertaker just retire with his perfect Wrestlemania record than have him lose it to a part-time main-eventer. Maybe it was time for him to lose so he could move on, either retiring or just finding a different character direction in the twilight of his career. I just think there were much more deserving talent whose careers could have been immeasurably boosted by ending the streak.

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