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   September 23, 2014



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Debate: Should CM Punk end The Streak?
By MATT BISHOP and NOLAN HOWELL - SLAM! Wrestling


Paul Heyman listens to CM Punk expound his virtues. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

For years, The Undertaker's WrestleMania undefeated streak has continued to grow and grow. He's knocked off legends and topped giants, but now, as he looks to go 21-0 at WrestleMania, a new challenge stands in his way: CM Punk.

SLAM! Wrestling's Matt Bishop and Nolan Howell debate whether or not Punk is the man to end the vaunted Streak.

Bishop says no, Punk should not end The Streak.

There is no good reason for CM Punk to end The Streak.

For 20 years now, The Undertaker has somehow managed to make a professional wrestling storyline seem real. That right there is an accomplishment that should go unnoticed.


In an era of professional wrestling where so few things matter any more, The Streak is one of the only things that still does. WWE had ruined the credibility of its titles. The United States and Intercontinental champions are nothing more than glorified jobbers, especially now, who deserve better. Even the world titles are nothing special.

But The Streak.

Man, The Streak really is special. And when you look at the matches The Undertaker has had since 2007, there's no reason for it to end. You could argue that he's had the best match on five of the last six WrestleMania cards.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think last year would've been a great time for The Streak to end. Not by Undertaker losing, mind you, but going out on top, retiring at 20-0. The scene of Undertaker, Triple H and Shawn Michaels arm in arm on the top of the ramp is one of those moments I'll never forget. Now, I'm not saying The Streak is going to be tarnished by having another match, but there's a certain sizzle lacking this year.

If WWE even considered ending The Streak, which to me is not even fathomable, but if they did, I'd be very concerned about their decision-making in general. There's nothing truly special in WWE any more. It's the same old, same old. We see the same matches and angles on Raw that we just saw three days prior on Smackdown. It's the same stuff repeated over and over and over again. That's why The Streak stands out. It is special.

I know CM Punk is a full-time performer, and it'd be extremely generous to categorize The Undertaker as even a part-time performer these days, but it doesn't matter. The Undertaker has earned the right to have The Streak remain intact.

Now, don't get me wrong, there was a time when I thought The Streak should end. But then it became so much bigger than anything else going on. It's the same premise I had when it became obvious Ric Flair was going to retire. At first, I thought, “Hey, why not let a young guy beat him and get him some exposure of that?” Well, I was dead wrong. Shawn Michaels was the exact guy for that spot, and the whole thing could not have gone any better. No one else would've been able to derive the emotion out of that than Michaels did.

It's the same premise here. You have things that are important and things that are special. The Streak is both.

And if CM Punk beats The Undertaker next weekend at WrestleMania XXIX, it will be one of the biggest mistakes in company history.


The Undertaker will march into WrestleMania with a perfect record on the big show. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
Howell says yes, Punk is the man to do it

Passing the torch is a concept integral to any sport. Older players mentor and inspire young bucks to raise their competition until they eventually usurp their position.

In this case, it is the right time for professional wrestling to pass the torch. You'll find few men as popular as CM Punk is today, awing and angering fans with his vicious nature in the ring and on the microphone.

With Punk being the potential for the future, it is finally time for the future to cut ties with the past. WWE has shown a hard time embracing that, as evidenced by Triple H still sitting atop the card here in 2013. In order for the WWE to have a more respected product in the future, they need to stop letting the past reign over their current crop.

The Undertaker has been a man who has always done right by "the business." It is time for "The Dead Man" to do what's right for business to hang up his gloves and stow away his boots.

Undertaker taking the pin here will tell people not to lament how there are no more Steve Austins or Hulk Hogans, but recognize that the future could be just as bright on the shoulders of a CM Punk or a Dolph Ziggler.

WWE has never shied away from rewriting and erasing history. It has also never had a problem milking history for all it is worth. Next Sunday, for the sake of their current product, it is time to let the old legends ride into the sunset without being called back. It is time for new legends to be born.

RELATED LINKS

  • CM Punk bio and story archive
  • The Undertaker bio and story archive
  • More on WrestleMania 29

    Matt Bishop and Nolan Howell are SLAM! Wrestling reporters. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mbish86 and Nolan @nolanhowell. Should be a good one!