16 months ago, the wrestling world was rocked with one of the most shocking outcomes imaginable. At Wrestlemania 30, the undefeated streak of The Undertaker came to an end at the hands of Brock Lesnar. The shocked expressions on the faces of the fans served as a representation of how the entire wrestling world reacted to the end of the streak, and the amount of buzz surrounding the outcome was shown in numerous articles and reports from various news sources covering the event.
The rematch between the two is set for this year’s Summerslam event. It is being billed as a match that is “too big for Wrestlemania” and “the biggest rematch of all time”. Once the event is over, we will find out who the winner is. I am not here to make any predictions. What I am here to do is make a defense for why Brock Lesnar should win the rematch and why an Undertaker victory would be a huge creative mistake.
What followed in the wake of Lesnar’s victory over Undertaker was a huge positive for WWE creative. After hampering Lesnar with a loss to Cena in his first match back and a series of dull matches with Triple H, the win over Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30 successfully reestablished Lesnar as an unbeatable monster. The end of the streak was a bigger win than even winning a world title, so the decision to give that to Lesnar gave WWE the avenue to build Lesnar into an unstoppable force. This fully paid off at Summerslam later that year in which Lesnar destroyed the usually dominant John Cena to win the WWE Championship. Lesnar wasn’t just another muscle bound villain at this point. He was a force of nature that could not be stopped.
For WWE creative to show that level of dedication to keeping a monster character intact is beyond rare. It is nonexistent. If you look at characters like Mark Henry, The Big Show, and Kane, you see guys that they constantly tell us are monsters, but the problem is that they almost always lose. How can you tell me these guys are unstoppable when they do nothing but lose? Lesnar has overcome those creative pitfalls and is believably unstoppable. It also helps that he is a part time worker as that makes his matches and appearances feel more special and gives him a “can’t miss” appeal that the guys who show up every single week don’t have.
The benefit of committing to keeping Lesnar unbeatable is that eventually, he’ll lose, and whoever beats him will get a major feather in his cap. The guy that beats the guy that ended the streak and destroyed John Cena is going to gain a ton of credibility which could help WWE make a new main event star. Most of us were worried they were going to give that win to Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 31, but they even managed to find a way to get the title off of Lesnar without undoing all the work they put into Lesnar, leaving the ultimate victory over him up in the air for another time.
By ending the streak, Lesnar has in essence absorbed the credibility that the streak had. For 21 Wrestlemanias, Undertaker was unbeaten and nobody though the streak would ever end because the task of ending it seemed insurmountable for any character on the roster. Lesnar overcame that and beat it, essentially becoming the new insurmountable obstacle in the process. Add in a dominant win over John Cena and Lesnar has basically superseded Undertaker’s streak and a win over him is now the biggest win that a wrestler can achieve.
With that idea in place, what good would it do to turn around and have Undertaker be the man to defeat Brock Lesnar? The streak is still undone. That ca not be changed even if Undertaker beats Lesnar at Summerslam, Wrestlemania, and five more times after that. Fans may not like it, but a feel good victory 16 months later will only feel shallow. Some will probably argue that a win over Lesnar will set up Undertaker for an eventual showdown with Sting. The issue I have with that is that Undertaker already got that establishing win over Bray Wyatt this year, while Sting himself has yet to get any kind of a win in the WWE to set him up for Undertaker. Based on the current booking, Sting is already beneath Undertaker, so why does Lesnar need to be fed to Undertaker to set him up?
The other side of the equation is what it will do to Lesnar. The loss to Undertaker will undo the work they’ve done into making him an unbeatable force, because he will no longer feel like an unbeatable force. If they build up somebody else to eventually beat Lesnar in the future, it’ll still be a big win for the guy, but it won’t have the same impact it would if Lesnar’s destructive path had stayed unsullied, much like how the win Lesnar got over Taker wouldn’t have been as impactful of Undertaker had lost at Wrestlemania prior to it.
So what good does it do to give Undertaker his win back? Beyond making the fans happy, I don’t see any benefit in making that decisions, especially when looking ahead for long term potential. It would rob a potential new star out of a larger than life win over Lesnar, negates Lesnar’s ending of the streak while doing nothing to repair it, and doesn’t really provide any kind of long term benefit.
Bottom line: Brock Lesnar should go over The Undertaker at Summerslam.