The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar’s storied rivalry will come to a close tonight and with that an ultimate victor will emerge in their more than year-long battle. Lesnar took the first installment at WrestleMania 30 — ending Undertaker’s historic undefeated streak. Undertaker sought out and gained some measure of revenge with a victory over Lesnar, albeit a controversial one, at August’s SummerSlam.
Their match inside the Hell in a Cell tonight promises to be a brutal war befitting the structure, but the question of who should emerge as the rivalry’s ultimate victor remains pertinent. It’s not an easy question to answer.
On the one hand, Undertaker’s one of the most iconic superstars in WWE history. He’s also one of it’s strongest. Rare is it that one of the Phenom’s matches has ended with him flat on his back. At 50 he’s clearly lost a step as a performer. Fortunately, he’s among the most gifted performers in the company’s lengthy history and had a step to lose, but he’s got a limited shelf-life. All the same, as evidenced by fan reaction to his streak-breaking loss to Lesnar, it’s not easy to see ‘Taker suffer a clean loss.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, Lesnar hasn’t taken a clean loss in more than two years. He’s been established as an unstoppable force and when he finally does suffer a clean loss it should be a career-making moment for an up-and-comer. Lord knows that isn’t the Undertaker, his legitimacy was solidified long ago.
Of course, outside interference could always play a role. In a match of this caliber, that would need to be in the form of a bona fide legend. There are a few guys who both make sense and fit the bill.
One man who makes sense to interfere on Undertaker’s behalf is The Rock. Lesnar vs. Rock is a match that’s been rumored for WrestleMania 32 for some time. The WWE wants the show to be the biggest in it’s history and pitting two stars who transcend the world of sports entertainment against one another is a good way to draw viewers who wouldn’t otherwise be interested and kickstarting the program in October leaves plenty of time to get the hype train rolling.
Rock interfering on Undertaker’s behalf seems somewhat random, but it wouldn’t be a hard story to tell. The Rock could simply be fed up with Lesnar’s lack of respect for wrestling legends and even, in the eyes of some, the business as a whole. Still, there’s another man who’s involvement in the match makes more sense — Kane.
Undertaker’s half-brother recently returned to the demonic persona that made him famous. It’s hard to believe that this doesn’t somehow coincide with the Undertaker’s return to action. After all, the Dead Man’s likely got single-digit matches left and it’s hard to believe that perhaps his greatest rival, and greatest ally, won’t work his way into at least one of them.
That’s where things get murky. Kane could actually interfere on Lesnar’s behalf, calling back to his 1997 debut and reigniting his rivalry with The Undertaker. More likely, however, is that Kane would come to the aid of his brother, both because Lesnar sidelined him with a leg injury this past summer and, from a business standpoint, fans would eat up a Brothers of Destruction reunion.
Either scenario, or another, could play out, but the only way this match should end is with a clean pinfall. SummerSlam’s double finish rubbed many fans the wrong way and, for what the WWE’s invested into this rivalry, a clean finish in it’s final chapter is the only logical conclusion.
Again, tough though it may be to watch either of these men suffer, they’ve both got reputations that can withstand it. But, as things stand, it’s The Undertaker who should take the loss. His legacy’s safe regardless of this match’s outcome and, at age 50, should be commended for even taking what’s sure to be a hellacious fight to Lesnar in this matchup. Lesnar could bounce back from a loss to Undertaker, but his aura will only grow if he ultimately vanquishes the Phenom.
That said, the fan and the 7-year-old in me will be rooting for The Undertaker tonight.