NOTE: Be sure to check out the last two parts before reading ahead.
PART ONE: Introduction
PART TWO: John Cena
We discussed the possibility of John Cena breaking the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. We discussed the strengths and weaknesses of his claim to end the 20 year legacy. Now it’s time to do it again. If it shouldn’t be either Brock Lesnar OR John Cena, then who should it be? It’s actually fairly simple. In fact, it’s somebody that was a victim of the streak in the past. Had the booking of this fellow been adjusted a little, he would have been in a prime position to end the streak and etch his name as one of the all-time greats rather than becoming just another victim of the Undertaker. It’s a popular choice among fans and it’s somebody who can be transformed once more into a top draw in the company. Perhaps than the streak should have been broken… by CM Punk.
Yes, CM Punk was himself a victim of the Undertaker’s streak. Having just had his own “streak” of being WWE Champion ended by The Rock, Punk walked into Wrestlemania 29 hoping to be the one in 20-1. Instead Punk was beaten like the rest by the Undertaker, joining the likes of Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Edge as part of the most legendary streak of all. But what if Punk had actually ENDED the streak which Paul Heyman apparently actually pitched to Vince McMahon back in 2013. It’s also a topic discussed in the video down below by the YouTuber DenkOps…
In the video, he discusses the idea of CM Punk’s 434 day title reign going on even further. He would have beaten The Rock at the Royal Rumble and the Royal Rumble would have been won by the Undertaker. DenkOps suggests that Rock/Punk would be the main event of the show, but if Undertaker were to come back as a surprise entrant you’d think that would be bumped up to the main event. After all, they would be planting the seeds for the main event of Wrestlemania with this night. So Punk would win the title FOLLOWED by Undertaker winning the Rumble if I were to book this. This would lead all the way to Wrestlemania 29, where Punk would be challenged by the Undertaker. A Title vs Streak match which see Punk conquer the streak.
I personally believe that it would have supported Punk’s claim to break the streak MORE if he had done it as WWE Champion. To have Punk simply HAVE the title for as long as he did is not enough to make someone a main event calibre star. You have to give the champion big wins over big stars to truly define him as one of the greatest champions in wrestling history. Granted, he was wrestling week-in and week-out so that puts him above the likes of Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior in terms of activity as a wrestler. Hogan and Warrior only defended the WWF title on certain events where as Punk was defending it at least once a month against a huge list of wrestlers. However, the list of contenders for Punk’s title really was really lacking in star power. He did go up against main event talent like Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho, but I’m talking about bonafide megastars in WWE. The only true TOP star Punk actually successfully defended the title against… was John Cena.
If he had beaten the likes of The Rock en route to facing Undertaker, than obviously his title reign would have been given a little weight to it. And if he beat Undertaker at Wrestlemania as well, it would have meant that the Deadman would have been beaten by somebody who, according kayfabe, were actually in the prime of their life. Undertaker was given a true top talent at the top of his game. He was given the WWE Champion. He was given the true Best in the World. And Punk’s title reign and victory over Undertaker means a HELL of a lot more than if he had just come off from LOSING the championship.
Now the one thing we’ve established so far in this series, is that it should have been someone special that broke that streak. Brock Lesnar and John Cena both fit this bill. Cena was the top dog in WWE for more than a decade and Brock Lesnar is the former UFC champion that conquered everything in his path… well almost everything.
The point is, the breaker of the streak actually HAS to have that unique and mystique about him that separates him from the rest. Brock Lesnar and John Cena are different from the rest. Does CM Punk fit that mold? What separates him from everybody else? Well let’s take a look at Punk as a character.
CM Punk doesn’t have the UFC background of Lesnar nor is he the “franchise player” of WWE like Cena. But he does have qualities that separate him from everyone else. Think about it. On June 27th 2011, CM Punk’s original “pipebomb” was one of the first instances in years that the line between fiction and reality was beginning to shatter on WWE television. Some will argue that it was the genesis of the newly-dubbed “Reality Era” of WWE. It was the beginning of WWE’s integration into social relevancy as it attracted huge buzz on mainstream and social media. In many ways, Punk LEGITIMATELY was the catalyst of change for WWE.
Now obviously his role in throwing WWE into the social media spotlight is not a strong enough reason to have him breaking the Undertaker’s undefeated streak. But keep that last paragraph in mind if Punk actually broke the streak. WWE is now in the “Reality Era” of wrestling. Punk beating Taker gives the WWE audiences a huge reality check. It’s the reality check that literally ANYTHING can happen in WWE. Nothing would represent that change for WWE than to have the streak of the Undertaker end at the hands of CM Punk. Punk would have been a true agent of change in WWE by doing something you’d think nobody would ever do.
I think this special effect Punk had on WWE television gives him the uniqueness that separates him from everybody else. That and his historic title reign puts Punk in a very strong position to break the Undertaker’s streak. There’s a number of other unique aspects about Punk to talk about. It may be minor but there’s nobody else that’s been given all the time on-and-off screen to speak his mind about the WWE than CM Punk. And there’s few people as polarizing as Punk either. Those that are fans of Punk are extremely passionate about him to the point where even 18 months after he left, they are still chanting his name at events. If anything, Punk’s influenced so many fans to express themselves to the point where it’s actually having drastic changes in the WWE’s plans for big events like Wrestlemania.
Fans have always been been vocal when it comes to wrestling, but Punk’s brought some of the more extreme fans out of hiding. He’s an incredibly beloved character. That’s why his name is thrown around so much for a candidate to beat Undertaker. If you love a wrestler so much, you’ll want to see them get everything you think they deserve. And it’s for this reason… why he SHOULDN’T have been the one to break Undertaker’s streak…
Let’s discuss our other candidates. Brock Lesnar’s story is about a conquering freak of nature that is capable of beating everyone in his path and doing everything he sets his mind on. John Cena’s story, on the other hand, is of a hero who inspires others to never give up no matter the odds. If anything, he’s WWE’s version of Goku from Dragonball Z. A true representation that anything is possible. On the other hand, Punk’s story is about a man who’s true addiction is wrestling and having the desire to be the best. He’s scratched and clawed from his days as an indie wrestler to make it to the top, and is always wanting to prove that he is in fact the best in the world. He wants to prove that it doesn’t take a certain look and the build of an Olympian to be the best.
Despite calling himself the best in the world, Punk’s an underdog in the majority of his matches. Everybody likes a true underdog. But if that underdog accomplishes everything the big dogs accomplish, why would you want to root for him? What else would be left for Punk to do after conquering the streak? Punk could hold the championship for another year after beating the streak but after losing the title, Punk would have nothing left to aspire to in WWE. Having gotten his big Wrestlemania match, an historic WWE title reign and even the STREAK, he doesn’t really need anything else.
There’s also Punk’s mentality around the time with Heyman suggesting in podcasts that Punk was itching to leave WWE a lot sooner. It would be a real shame for the streak to be broken by someone who might not even be here for years to come and whose heart’s not in it anymore.
There’s other reasons for Punk not breaking the streak too but I think I’m pretty much gonna wrap things up here of my analysis of CM Punk. In the end, it would go against everything you’d love about Punk as a character if he were to break the streak. Why would you care for an underdog that accomplishes everything there is to accomplish?
To read more about what I thought about the potential of CM Punk vs Undertaker being the main event of Wrestlemania 29, click on the link below from a past “How I Would Book“. Be sure to check out Part Four of the series, when I move onto my own picks about who I thought truly should have broken the Undertaker’s streak.
How I Would Book… Undertaker vs CM Punk