Wrestlemania Results

The Undertaker def. CM Punk

CM Punk came to WrestleMania to prove  to the world that The Undertaker was not a Demon from Death Valley, that his mythical urn was nothing but a tin jar full of dirt, that The Deadman’s storied Streak was just another record waiting to be broken.

On The Grandest Stage of Them All, Punk faced the same reality as 20 other Superstars before him — the legend of The Phenom is not just “hocus pocus.”

See photos from the epic match

In what was perhaps the most personal of The Deadman’s 21 WrestleMania matches, Undertaker successfully defended his flawless Show of Shows record against a Superstar flagrant enough to publically desecrate the memory of Undertaker’s close friend and former manager, Paul Bearer. Last seen pouring the contents of Bearer’s hallowed urn on top of The Phenom’s fallen body, Punk was black-hearted in his pursuit to get inside The Deadman’s head, but he did not consider what it would be like to deal with the devils that dwell inside.

Entering MetLife Stadium to the bombast of a live Living Colour performance of his “Cult of Personality” theme, Punk walked fearlessly onto a battlefield where icons like Shawn MichaelsTriple H and Ric Flair had fallen before him. Was it confidence? Arrogance? It may have been both, but the wicked iconoclast from unforgiving Chicago streets did not lose his will when The Deadman approached him through bolts of lightning and plumes of fire in an entrance that has been intimidating challengers since the days when Hulk Hogan was WWE Champion.

WrestleMania is an event designed around spectacle, but once crew members have lugged the drum riser from the stage and the smoke machines have been turned off, what’s left are two gladiators with raw nerves, heavy hands and a willingness to do what is necessary to put the other man down. From the opening bell, this match was a fight — the ugly kind usually witnessed in parking lots of seedy bars on bad nights and not in front of more than 80,000 people.

WWE Official Mike Chioda talks about his experience refereeing the match

The Phenom has never believed in remorse. He’s put innocent men in body bags for no other reason than to prove a point. What he would do to the person who desecrated the memory of his close friend, Bearer, was a question some WWE fans were afraid to hear the answer to. It took seconds for The Deadman to drive his fist into Punk’s face, minutes before The Straight Edge Superstar was introduced to the people in the first row.

Punk, to his credit, would not play victim. Underneath a blackened New Jersey sky, the former WWE Champion mocked The Deadman the entire way, aping The Phenom’s patented Old School maneuver and barking insults about Bearer. In those perfect moments where Undertaker had Punk right where he wanted them, the slimy Paul Heyman would inevitably insert himself into the action. With Bearer’s urn in his slippery tentacles, Heyman appeared so slimy and vile that comparisons to Jabba the Hutt would seem like a compliment.

Oddly, The Straight Edge Superstar was his most dangerous when he played by the rules. Countering the best The Deadman threw at him on multiple occasions, Punk made it clear that he had been studying The Phenom’s playbook since he was in middle school. By the time the Chicago native splayed The Undertaker across a ringside table and blasted him with an elbow drop from the turnbuckle, it became apparent that The Streak was very much in danger.

Willed to the ring by what can only be described as supernatural force, The Deadman avoided a count-out loss by nanoseconds. From there, the one-upmanship between the two warriors was off the charts. When The Undertaker locked in Hell’s Gate, Punk countered with a creative pin attempt. When The Straight Edge Superstar connected with the Go to Sleep, The Phenom bounced back with a Tombstone. How Punk was able to kick out of that will be questioned for years to come.

The final moment nearly came when The Deadman went for the Last Ride and Punk responded by smashing him in the head with the urn. Crossing Undertaker’s arms upon his chest and sticking his tongue out at the WWE Universe, the unapologetic menace came closer than maybe anyone to pinning The Phenom on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

The Voice of the Voiceless had mocked The Undertaker’s fallen friend. He embarrassed him. He threw kicks at his knees and dangerous elbows to his head. He laughed at more than two decades of The Deadman’s legacy, thumbed his nose at the things that meant the most to The Phenom. But this match still ended the way these matches always end — with a devastating Tombstone from The Undertaker.

Unseen Undertaker photos | More Undertaker pictures

The Straight Edge Superstar is a man who puts weight in numbers. As the longest-reigning WWE Champion of the modern era, Punk recited the digits of his 434-days title reign like a personal mantra. It was a numerical accomplishment that mathematically proved that he was better than the rest. In WWE, though, the only numbers that matter are 21-0.

At WrestleMania, CM Punk entered as a dangerous skeptic with the hubris necessary to break sports-entertainment’s most vital Streak. He left as a victim, another soul claimed and, most importantly, a believer.

1 Comment on “Wrestlemania Results”

  1. What exactly did this finish accomplish? Punk is 34, getting up there for a wrestler who goes balls out on every match, televised or not. Undertaker, with all of his injuries, etc., could literally die at any time between any and all upcoming Wrestlemanias. Wouldn’t it have made more long-term sense for Punk to go over? We already know the Deadman. How about knowing that CM Punk is the most powerful heel to come along in a great while…
    Similarly—what exactly did it accomplish for HHH to defeat Brock Lesnar? HHH needed to cement…what exactly? WWE is paying Lesnar an awful lot to be a high-profile jobber who keeps putting over people who don’t need to be put over, and in all cases so far, shouldn’t be.
    Cena and Rock was predictable, of course—and points out what WWE doesn’t get anymore. Merchandise sales are NOT a good “business” factor in building stories and setting up finishes. In fact, it is incredibly short-term and insustainable. Long-term business decisions involve taking risks here and there and accepting lower sales and ratings while one builds for a more founded future. Is it a T-shirt company, or a wrestling company? If the former—then the latter is doomed to fail—and if the latter fails—eventually you’re not going to sell any T-shirts either.
    Still and all—I feel that a Very Big Corner has been turned with Undertaker continuing the Streak at Punk’s expense. A decision has been made to nullify the future for short-term gain in the present. A chance was there for WWE to revolutionize its unique form of American entertainment and to step into a bold future of more interesting and well-drawn characters, more challenging storylines and the sort of conflicts and resolutions that people like Brubaker and Millar brought into comics, which revolutionized that particular industry and brought it into relevance in the more modern era.
    Punk beating the Streak could have been a linch-pin to such change. Moxley, Black, Ziggler as representative of the younger guys—veterans who have made significant strides in more interesting directions such as Mark Henry as a backdrop—and Punk as the baddest heel to ever exist in WWE, (which of course also opens up being the greatest face).
    Imagine if Punk had won. Imagine if the WWE title match had instead been the culmination of a build between Cena and Moxley—with Moxley given free reign to use his own abilities—I see him in this case as having been in a role of Starscream to Punk’s Megatron.
    Moxley ends the Cena era once and for all—and for once Cena actually allows someone to get over—and his days of coming back are ended as Moxley proves just too sadistic and strong.
    Punk takes time off after the clash that saw him get the rub off the Legend of the Undertaker.
    While he is absent, Starscream/Moxley becomes more nuts—more egomaniacal. The locker room splits into those that he uses to further his goals and those who know that his reign of terror must be stopped. But none can.
    Eventually Moxley stands atop the heap and has destroyed all that came at him. He has started to become the same tyrant, (McMahon) that attempted to hold him down.
    Enter Punk. He has seen that while he wanted change that perhaps he unleashed more chaos than he intended. While not making a simple, complete face turn, he sees that he is responsible for Moxley’s tyranny in the end, and knows that it is his responsibility to stop it, (as well as proving that it is HE who is the best—keeping characters consistent while allowing for times where the same character can be cheered for certain actions and booed for others is a trick WWE hasn’t learned yet.)
    Moxley goes nuts and throws all he has at Punk. Punk is sorely tried as he runs the gauntlet to get at the mastermind at the top.
    Perhaps this eventually culminates with Punk challenging Moxley, a couple of months before the next Wrestlemania, to a “tournament” of a sorts–to prove who really is the best—and to make sure that their match at Wrestlemania is truly decisive. To that end, Punk picks opponents for Moxley from Moxley’s enemies. Moxley is allowed to pick opponents for Punk from his entourage of sycophants and enforcers. Each week on Raw, each man has to face and defeat that week’s opponent.
    Eventually—both come to Wrestlemania, where it will now be incontrovertible that whoever wins the title is the true champion—the true best.
    Annnd…Punk wins. Moxley goes into hiding, plotting an escalation to his goals and his means to them. A point can be made that he is still young–that as dangerous as he was—he has not peaked yet. He has only been stayed for a sort while. He wasn’t strong enough YET. Punk stands atop—but what will his motivations be? Has he learned a lesson about what can ensue when he goes at his own goals by any means necessary? Or not? Or does he struggle with it?—Either way—it would be interesting and would keep a consistent build to the character.
    The fact along the way of constantly building both Moxley and Punk would also allow for matches between other wrestlers which could receive a rub from that feud and which can heighten interest in them.
    Who does Ziggler side with? Does Black become a Starcream to Moxley as Moxley once did to Punk, or is he conflicted with something else? Does Sheamus feel out of place, being representative of an older paradigm, and slowly a change works its way through him? What becomes of him? Does Mark Henry become Moxley’s star enforcer, and at one point turn on his master, only to be defeated by Moxley, thus making Moxley look even stronger before his confrontation with Punk?
    Where is Cena? Can REALLY losing to someone and for once having no way to come back make his character more interesting? Will he become what he never has been—a support system for Punk—actually allowing the spotlight to fall on someone else and accepting it? Perhaps there is something vital that he can offer to Punk to help Punk beat the forces of Moxley. Maybe after the Punk win–it is Cena who encourages him not to fall into his more destructive and self-serving ways.
    And on and on.
    Yeah—imagine if that was what we were seeing now instead of this stale crap.
    WWE needs real creative direction. Shit, I’d almost do it for free…just to save wrestling.

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