Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker : One Last Ride To Hell
At Hell In A Cell, Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker’s 13 year rivalry will reach it’s final chapter. The two legends have been linked together for the rest of history due to shocking match outcomes like Brock Lesnar’s conquering of The Undertaker’s Streak at Wrestlemania XXX, Summerslam 2015’s false tap out finish, and a career shortening Hell In A Cell match at No Mercy 2002.
While WWE is suggesting this is the end of a trilogy that started in April 2014, Lesnar and Taker were putting on sheer displays of brutality long before they stepped foot in the New Orleans Superdome.
Furthermore, their rivalry is as unique as they come. With both men occupying the same space on the roster for their era (the otherworldly freak athlete wearing black, who is a step above the rest of the roster) luckily they have crossed paths to give fans a matchup that would have been one of the great what if’s had it never happened.
With their rivalry set to conclude, there is no better time than now to look at the different levels of their classic rivalry. Not only just the matches, but how the two men have divided fans, and evolved what was a simple rookie vs veteran storyline into a history defining series of encounters.
Rookie vs Legend
In 2002, the idea of Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker was simply based on it being a rookie champion, vs a legendary cagey veteran. Following Lesnar defeating most of the roster in dominating fashion, culminating with his victories over The Rock and Hulk Hogan, the question was who could contend with this young beast?
The answer was thought to be The Undertaker, as the two collided in an extremely personal storyline involving Taker’s then-wife, Sara. Brock placed his hand over Sara’s stomach while she was carrying a child and uttered the words, “Life’s a b***h.” From there, they fought in an uncontrollable match at Unforgiven where both men were disqualified.
However, Taker too would fall to Brock at No Mercy 2002, in one of Hell In A Cell’s bloodiest, and most storied contests. To see Lesnar reach the peak of his rookie year holding the WWE Championship high over his head, standing on top of a cell which contained a fallen Undertaker, drove home the point that Brock was truly phenomenal. Each man pushed their bodies to their physical limit, with Taker competing with a legit broken hand.
We should have all known this match would leave the door open for this feud to be revived at any time.
Classics and Duds
Throughout their rivalry, and their own personal match history, Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker have been performers of the first class, turning in memorable matches with opponents of every body type, and skill level. However, even two of the most athletic heavyweights ever weren’t immune from a few stinkers.
As previously mentioned, their No Mercy 2002 Hell In A Cell match is required viewing for anyone who wants to see what exactly the best of that gimmick looks like. Their Summerslam match this year was also memorable, but how about that Biker Chain match? Marred with inference from the FBI and Vince McMahon, it failed to live up to their meeting a year prior, and serves as a primary reason WWE tends to skip over certain portions of their rivalry.
Furthermore, their Wrestlemania 30 encounter just wasn’t good at all. A concussed Undertaker, and subdued crowd watched these two lumber through a 25-minute snoozefest, that only turned legendary due to the shocking result of the contest.
The matches in their rivalry are either very good, or stuff you’d never watch again.
You Wanna Do It?
Following Brock Lesnar’s loss to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121, an unlikely faceoff between The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar occured. At this point, Lesnar hadn’t been in WWE for over six years, and a confrontation between them looked to be as legit as they came.
During an interview, The Undertaker was speaking on the result of Brock’s fight but looking off into the distance, seemingly distracted by something or someone. As Lesnar approached, The Undertaker and Brock went face to face as Taker uttered the memorable “You Wanna Do It?” line which should be referenced in all fighting situations anywhere in the free world. Seriously, the next time you challenge someone to a fight try that.
According to Brock, it was the result of some personal things said between a mutual friend of theirs to each other. Around this time, fans speculated Lesnar’s return to WWE, and it was later said that an original plan for Wrestlemania 27, was Brock returning to do battle with The Deadman and break The Streak back in 2011.
Not a single wrestler has ever driven The Undertaker to embrace real life in a feud like Brock Lesnar has. Even while clad in his Deadman attire, Lesnar makes Mark Calaway shine through like no one ever has.
Andre To Taker To Brock
For the last 40 years of WWE history, there has been an other worldly presence, typically wearing black, that was either the biggest, most athletic or most physically dominating member of the roster, sometimes all three. When looking at that criteria, three men meet that description. Andre The Giant, The Undertaker, and now Brock Lesnar.
For more than 20 years Andre toured the globe as a special attraction showcasing his size, strength, and massive personality. When his days wound down at Wrestlemania 6, his spot would be filled by a 25 year old later that year at Survivor Series, who previously made his home in the NWA, The Undertaker.
Over the next 12 years, WWE had no other presence on the level of The Undertaker, as he showcased his amazing agility, persona, power and size. As he began to age, Brock Lesnar appeared in 2002, and became the next man in line to carry the weight of being WWE’s new Andre The Giant/Undertaker style guy. (I mean Big Show was there too…but yanno)
While Andre and The Undertaker never had the chance to collide, Brock has been directly involved in eclipsing the legend of The Undertaker. When thinking about it in this sense, it makes Lesnar vs Taker seem even more viable as a classic rivalry.
Brock Lesnar Breaks The Streak
While the early history between Brock and Undertaker had been a defining moment in time, when Lesnar ended The Streak at Wrestlemania 30, it instantly vaulted him into mythical form. The result completely smothered the not so great match that it was, and became the most shocking moment in WWE history.
Going into the match, few gave Lesnar a chance to win, due to his part-time status, and Taker looking completely dominant in the lackluster build-up. Besides, after Batista, Edge, Shawn Michaels (twice) Triple H (twice) and CM Punk failed to beat him, why on earth would WWE have Lesnar win?
Since Lesnar’s win, he’s been basically booked as a god, only flat out losing to The Undertaker at Summerslam (more on that later) and taking everyone else to what became known as Suplex City.
By letting Lesnar break The Streak, they’ve given him the soul of every man who challenged it, (yes Brock became Shang Tsung), and laid the foundation for the only new Undertaker story that could be told at this stage.
Revenge For The Streak
As mentioned before, following the The Streak being broken, we launched into what could be known as “The Suplex City Era.” At Summerslam 2014, Lesnar suplexed John Cena into that “bolivion” Mike Tyson referenced following his final fight. He followed that with retaining over Cena at Night of Champions, and in a classic Triple Threat match with Rollins and Cena, before Roman Reigns was pinned via Money In The Bank cash-in during his match with Lesnar. Throughout that entire time, Paul Heyman trumpeted Lesnar’s merits by repeatedly mentioning Brock’s greatest achievement…breaking The Streak.
Eventually, Brock got his rematch with Seth Rollins and looked to avenge his infamous cash-in. During his mauling of Seth Rollins, it looked like a foregone conclusion that Brock would head into Summerslam with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Until the lights turned out and The Undertaker appeared.
Subsequently, Seth Rollins once again escaped with the championship, as The Undertaker attacked Brock Lesnar with a kick to the groin, and Tombstone Piledriver. The message was clear, The Undertaker was back to avenge his humbling Wrestlemania XXX defeat. The underhanded nature of his attack was a hot subject of debate, as people openly wondered if Taker was now a heel?
Undertaker Cheats His Way To Victory
While The Undertaker wouldn’t assume full heel status, he exhibited numerous heel tendencies in the build-up, and subsequent match he and Lesnar had at Summerslam. All of a sudden it seemed like Taker replaced Old School with the Low Blow, and many fans saw it as a cheap tactic of a desperate man eager to regain his place in hierarchy. Personally, it made me want to see Lesnar turn up the level of destruction.
Never before had The Undertaker used underhanded means to secure a victory. To heap on to the controversy, Brock actually forced Taker to submit, but due to the referee being out of position, the call was never made. Panic ensued, and an erratic timekeeper caused all types of chaos.
In that confusion, Taker was able to hit Lesnar low for what seemed like the 22nd time, and locked in a Hell’s Gate until a middle finger yielding Brock Lesnar was forced to pass out. It was a stunning contest where The Undertaker seemed to look as good as he did since Wrestlemania 28 against Triple H, until the finish marred everything.
In the immediate aftermath, fans knew a rematch was in the cards, and it was probably coming at Wrestlemania 32, until it didn’t. We were headed to the Cell, and about to see these men go to hell in the process.
The Final Chapter
So here we are. At this year’s Hell In A Cell event, Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker are once again locking the doors, and finding out who can withstand more punishment, in hopes of determining the winner of this rivalry. It has been fairly one sided, with Taker’s only win coming via nefarious means.
At this point we’re well beyond seeing who the superior grappler is. This is going to be a flat out war, with each man leaving a bit of himself within those four walls. It’ll be a flashback to their greatest encounter, No Mercy 2002, and a fitting way to conclude their issues.
As for the winner, I find it hard to see Brock Lesnar losing, as too much has been invested in his aura for him to take a back-step here. After a savage like effort from each man, I could picture both men embracing after the contest, and paying each other the respect they’ve each earned from one another over the last 13 years.
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