October 25th, 2015: the date when the longstanding rivalry between The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar should come to a vicious end when the two iconic figures meet in Los Angeles, California inside the Hell in a Cell structure.
Rivalries are what make competition so great. Every sport has its share of legendary rivalries. The wars that help define the game for future generations. Those bad blood battles that stand the test of time as new crops of young fans grab hold of their grandparents and parents hatred for a rival city and keep that disdain rolling; hoping someday to pass it along to their own children. It is ever apparent that in the world of professional sports, certain rivalries will never die.
As I write this piece on a sunny day in Montreal, I can’t ever imagine a day when the Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs will be welcomed to the city with open arms by the fanatic Montreal Canadiens supporters. No sunshine for those we despise, only gloom and the hope that our beloved and storied hockey franchise will send our enemies back to Beantown and TO with tears in their eyes and hurt in their hearts following their defeat at the hands of our bleu, blanc, et rouge rebels.
Of course, the differences between hockey hatred and a wrestling war are vast. Hockey is not scripted and the unpredictability never fades. Wrestlers are singular humans who will not live forever while franchises will continue to find new bodies for the fight.
The story of The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar dates back to the days of “The Next Big Thing.” When a new and seemingly unstoppable rookie entered the WWE with one goal in mind: utter domination. And it appeared as though nothing could stop the young sensation, not even a wily veteran.
The following piece is a retrospective of the lengthy and unlawful feud that has finally reached its breaking point.
These are the top 15 highlights of The Undertaker/Brock Lesnar rivalry:
15. Unforgiven 2002
In August of 2002, Brock Lesnar would make history when he defeated The Rock at SummerSlam to become the youngest WWE Champion in history, setting the precedent for what would become his WWE career.
The following month at the Unforgiven Pay-Per-View, the young WWE Champion would place his title on the line against the heartbeat of WWE, The Undertaker, in their first ever in-ring battle.
Oddly enough, this first encounter would take place in Los Angeles but would leave issues unsettled as the match would end in a double disqualification.
14. Lesnar Intimidates Taker’s Wife
In the build to Unforgiven 2002, Brock Lesnar and his manager Paul Heyman would make things very personal when they would disrupt a pregnant Sara (then wife of The Undertaker) while she awaited her husband in the locker room.
The Undertaker was in the middle of a match with Matt Hardy when Paul Heyman was shown on the titantron approaching his wife. The Undertaker would then abandon the match in order to help his frightened wife.
This would lead to an attack on The Undertaker by Brock Lesnar with a steel chair. With Sara standing against the wall in fear, Lesnar would touch her stomach and inform her that “life is a b***h.”
13. Lesnar Breaks ‘Taker’s Hand
The Hardy Boyz have a history of trying to make a name for themselves at the expense of The Undertaker (Reference Jeff Hardy/Undertaker in a Ladder match). On an episode of SmackDown, Matt would face The Undertaker in a Falls Count Anywhere match.
The action would spill to the backstage area where Brock Lesnar would enter the picture and attack The Undertaker. An F5 from Lesnar would incapacitate The Undertaker enough for Matt Hardy to score the pinfall victory.
Following the match, Brock Lesnar would smash a propane tank on the arm of The Undertaker, breaking his hand in the process.
12. No Mercy 2002
This October, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar will step into the Hell in a Cell structure to settle a lingering score in one of the most barbaric WWE match concepts ever conceived. However, this will not be their first time in the Cell together.
Some thirteen years ago at No Mercy 2002, Brock Lesnar would place the WWE Championship on the line against The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match; a contest which was won by Lesnar.
Their first go-round in Hell in a Cell would prove to be a bloody battle. The new WWE may not allow for such situations this time around but we find out soon enough.
11. Taker Gives Lesnar His Props
While this rivalry is now based on perceived mutual hate, The Undertaker – a man who commands respect – would prove just how much of a man he truly is on the episode of SmackDown following No Mercy.
The Undertaker would take to the ring and the mic to discuss his match with Brock Lesnar; bringing out the WWE Champion in the process to look him in the eye and shoot straight with the Hell in a Cell victor.
In an odd turn of events, The Undertaker would speak highly of Brock Lesnar and make no excuses for his loss at No Mercy.
10. A Common Cause for Chaos
Remaining with the respect once shared between The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, the two men were able to place their differences aside for a short while following Lesnar’s first face turn.
With Brock Lesnar under attack on SmakDown, an unlikely ally would come down to the ring and help Lesnar clear the ring of his attackers (Big Show and A-Train) before both men would turn their attention to Paul Heyman.
In all likelihood, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman will never again be at odds, nor should they as Heyman is an integral part of Lesnar’s current character.
9. Lesnar Eliminates Taker from the 2003 Royal Rumble
All the greats have been able to call themselves Royal Rumble winners and the same can be said for Brock Lesnar who won the annual match back in 2003 before going on to win the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XIX from Kurt Angle.
Brock Lesnar would enter the Royal Rumble from the #29 position with the final entry being none other than The Undertaker. This would set up the impending collision as Lesnar and Taker would stand as the final two competitors in the match.
In the end, it would Brock Lesnar eliminating The Undertaker and earning himself a spot in the main event of WrestleMania.
8. No Mercy 2003
For the second year in a row at the No Mercy Pay-Per-View, Brock Lesnar would place the WWE Championship on the line against The Undertaker. This time the bout would be contested in a Biker Chain match.
In what would be another violent encounter, Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker would tear each other apart once again with their pride and the WWE Championship at stake. However, once again, Lesnar would emerge victorious.
This match was not without controversy as the Lesnar victory would come in part thanks to interference from Mr. McMahon.
7. The SmackDown Brawl/Match
On the final episode of SmackDown prior to No Mercy, The Undertaker would be interviewed by Tazz and asked to explain the entire “Biker Chain” match stipulation. However, the interview would be interrupted by a Brock Lesnar ambush.
The fight would lead out into the arena where Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker would brawl in front of the live audience. Lesnar would eventual leave but would return shortly to resume the fight, which turned into an impromptu match.
The end result would see Brock Lesnar walk away and get counted out, thus providing The Undertaker with the win but not the desired victory.
6. Altercation at UFC 121
The Undertaker/Brock Lesnar story has not been told entirely on WWE programming. A certain element of this tale would transpire on live television but for another promotion: UFC.
At UFC 121, Brock Lesnar – defending champion – would lose his title to Cain Velasquez in the opening round to a set of TKO punches. The Undertaker – who was in attendance – would be interviewed after the fight.
While providing his thoughts on what had just gone down, a defeated Brock Lesnar would walk past to which The Undertaker would ask: “you wanna do it?”
5. The Undertaker Accepts
Heading into WrestleMania XXX, The Undertaker was in need of a formidable opponent and who better than Brock Lesnar to step up and challenge The Undertake to a match on the “grandest stage of all?”
On an episode on Monday Night Raw, Brock Lesnar and his advocate, Paul Heyman would make their way to the ring where a contract for WrestleMania was placed on a table. The Undertaker would appear and Lesnar would sign on for the match.
The Undertaker would follow suit but not without first making a statement. The Undertaker would stab the hand of Brock Lesnar before signing the contract.
4. Battleground 2015
This past July at the Battleground event in St. Louis, Brock Lesnar would challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship; a match that would prove to be the toughest task in the young career of Rollins.
The match itself would be a one-sided contest as Seth Rollins was unable to mount much offense against Brock Lesnar. “The Beast” would take Rollins to “Suplex City” and move in on regaining the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
With Brock Lesnar set to win the match, the lights would go out. When they came back on, their stood The Undertaker who would lowblow, chockeslam, and tombstone Lesnar, costing him the title.
3. The Monday Night Raw Brawl
Following Battleground, The Undertaker would appear on Monday Night Raw to explain his actions. The Deadman was back to fight Brock Lesnar again and reignite a rivalry that was far from over.
While backing down Paul Heyman in the ring later that night, Brock Lesnar would storm the ring as Lesnar and The Undertaker would engage in a fight which would require assistance from the WWE locker room in breaking up the altercation.
“I’m gonna kill you,” shouted Brock Lesnar to which The Undertaker responded: “you’re gonna have to,” setting up the match of the summer.
2. SummerSlam 2015
This past August, WWE would present its biggest SummerSlam event of all time, as the show would become a four hour long extravaganza. The main event of the evening would of course be The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar.
In what would turn out to be a controversial finish, The Undertaker would technically walk away with the victory when Brock Lesnar passed out to Hell’s Gate. Of course, this would come after The Undertaker tapped out to Lesnar, a submission unnoticed by the referee.
The ending of this match would not conclude this rivalry in any way. It would instead push it to one more match at Hell in a Cell.
1. Brock Lesnar Conquers “The Streak”
WrestleMania moments are a-plenty but the most shocking of all would come at WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans at the conclusion of a match between The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar.
The Undertaker would enter this bout at an incredible 21-0 … many have tried but all have failed at defeating The Undertaker at WrestleMania; it had become almost impossible to end “The Streak” … almost.
Then, along came Brock Lesnar and the first notch in the loss column.
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