I know I’m not the only one who does this, but every now and then, I like to browse the WWE Network for new and/or random things to watch. It usually happens in the middle of the day, as I like to have things to watch while I eat lunch and have some down time with my daughter. This week, as I was checking out the “Originals” section, I saw that the new Brothers Of Destruction show had just premiered. I had heard that it was going to be a sit-down interview with The Undertaker and Kane as they discussed their journey together, both in the world of wrestling and as friends out of the ring. Works for me, so I fired it up and got to watching. The episode itself was good. It was everything I heard it would be, going all the way back to Glenn Jacobs’ days in Smoky Mountain Wrestling as Unabom, when WWE sent The Undertaker to work a match with him on a show in 1995, and moving all the way through their now infamous match at Crown Jewel against Triple H and Shawn Michaels in 2018.
As I’m watching the show, they start discussing Taker’s WrestleMania streak, and obviously, they get to talking about WrestleMania 30. Kane immediately starts to ask questions about what happened that night. He says that, when he was watching it live, he thought something went wrong with the finish. He assumed the match would get restarted because of the “botch” that took place with the pin, and when no restart happened, he was so angry that he stormed out of the locker room. Kane then asked Taker about how it all went down, with Taker responding that the finish was a last minute decision. Taker said that the original plan was for him to win the match. In fact, when he arrived at the Superdome that day, the plan was still for him to win, but that Vince McMahon eventually came to him and said the finish was being changed. What was Taker’s initial reaction to hearing that he was going to lose?
“Okay, I don’t think Brock needs it, but at the end of the day, it’s your show, it’s your call. If you’re sure about it, then that’s what we’ll do.”
Kane seems to agree about Brock not “needing” the win, and for good reason. Brock didn’t “need” it. He never did. They then turn to whether or not the streak should’ve ended at all, and Taker reveals that he had an idea for someone else in particular to come along and hand him that first loss at WrestleMania… Roman Reigns. That gets an agreement out of Kane, and it was right then and there that I knew what I’d be writing about this week. Yes, it’s an older topic, but it’s one that is still talked about, even though WrestleMania 30 was over six-and-a-half years ago.
If you’ve been reading my columns from day one, you’d know that I would scream from the mountaintops that a “proven” talent should not be the person who ended Taker’s streak. Through the years, his Mania opponents have ranged from over-the-hill veterans to big men that could have “special attraction” matches with Taker to top-tier workers that could get the best possible in-ring performances out of him. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t think Taker had a chance of losing until WrestleMania 14, when he had his first encounter with Kane. That was the year he pushed the streak to 7-0. WrestleMania 21 was the next time I even saw a possibility of him losing, and that was the year he defeated Randy Orton to go 13-0. When WrestleMania 23 rolled around, that began the yearly talk of “this could finally be it” when it came to him finally taking his first loss. Batista at 23, Edge at 24, Shawn Michaels at 25, Michaels again at 26, Triple H at 27, Triple H again at 28, CM Punk at 29, and then Lesnar at 30… all years where I participated in serious conversations with people about how it could happen. I didn’t think that he SHOULD lose any of those matches, mind you. It was just the time where I could actually see it happening.
Go back to those names I listed in the previous paragraph. Pretty much all of them were very much “proven” when their WrestleMania showdowns took place. The epic story of Taker and Kane could’ve used a Kane victory to show how powerful he really is, but think about how that might have changed the entire course of wrestling history. Yes, Kane becomes a true main event player, but Taker’s record at Mania is now 6-1. The streak never reaches epic proportions. It never becomes bigger than Mania itself. No multi-year storytelling with Taker putting an end (temporarily) to the career of Shawn Michaels, and then Triple H becoming obsessed with avenging his best friend. No controversy about whether or not the late Paul Bearer should’ve been involved as the focal point of a storyline. Same goes for a Taker loss to Orton in 2005. Yes, Orton really could’ve used a win there, but think of everything we wouldn’t get if “The Streak” was put to an end there.
Brock is an interesting debate to have. On one hand, he was certainly a main event player and a big star for WWE before WrestleMania 30, so he didn’t “need” the win to make him reach those levels. On the other hand, the win did propel him to mythical levels that made him pretty much bigger than the business itself, for better or for worse. WWE was able to use the momentum Brock gained from that win for YEARS. If/when Brock returns to the company, they’ll continue to use that momentum. Therefore, it did serve a purpose, at the very least. I have to go back to what I said earlier, though. A “proven” talent never should’ve been the person who finally defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania. That’s the type of win that can “make” someone forever.
WWE had one perfect opportunity to make that happen. One beautiful chance where they not only could’ve turned someone into a “made man” for the rest of his career, but given that person the second chance they needed after they were nearly ruined the previous year. If you’re doing the math, you may have already figured out who I’m talking about. If you haven’t figured it out, travel back to July 8th, 2013 with me. Monday Night Raw came to us from the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. Relatively late in the show, we saw Kane take on Christian. As the match came to an end, we witnessed the main roster debut of The Wyatt Family. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan would decimate Kane while Bray Wyatt looked on. From there, Bray Wyatt went on an absolute tear. In his first match on the main roster, he defeated Kane in a Ring Of Fire Match at SummerSlam. He wouldn’t be involved in a losing effort for three months, and that came in a 12-man tag on Raw where he wasn’t involved in the pin. He would pick up win after win, being built up to a marquee match at WrestleMania 30 against John Cena. This would be his chance to get pushed to the stratosphere and become a permanent main event wrestler. If he could beat Cena, he would be lined up for a World Title shot right away. It all made sense. So, what happened?
Cena pinned Wyatt.
Poof. Just like that, Wyatt’s momentum came to a screeching halt. The Wyatts were still getting plenty of television time, but a lot of their luster had worn off. More losses kept piling up, and people were mad about what was happening with Bray. After an up-and-down rest of 2014, 2015 rolled around and we saw another opportunity for Wyatt to become a megastar. He began to stalk The Undertaker and challenged him to a match at WrestleMania, which Taker accepted. Now, think about it for a moment, and let’s say Taker defeated Lesnar at WrestleMania 30. Taker is 22-0 at Mania. His next challenger is someone who could defeat him and not only get the win, but take over the semi-supernatural vibe to his character that Taker had been using for years.
That is when I would’ve had The Undertaker lose his first match at WrestleMania. That is when I would’ve pulled the trigger on a push to the moon for Wyatt, especially if I could’ve had him come out on top in his feud with John Cena the previous year. Do you realize what that could’ve done for Bray Wyatt’s career? Imagine making your main roster debut, defeating Kane, going on an unstoppable rampage, defeating John Cena at WrestleMania, continuing your rampage for an entire year, and then ending The Undertaker’s undefeated streak. That would’ve given Vince McMahon an absolute monster that he could use for years to come. It would be a big enough “rub” to save Wyatt from the random bullshit he would be given for months and months to come after WrestleMania 31. He fell into a rut for a lengthy period of time, delivering cryptic promos against a random opponent, only to “lose” the feud against said opponent before delivering cryptic promos against a random opponent so the cycle could continue. People went from calling Wyatt “the next Undertaker” to wondering if he would be on the receiving end of an outright release from the company. Even after WWE seemingly righted the ship with Wyatt, they still found a way to screw things up with him. He opened up December 2016 out by winning the Smackdown Tag Team Titles (with Randy Orton) but they dropped the straps before the month had even come to an end. He won the WWE Title at Elimination Chamber 2017, and people thought he had finally turned the corner, but it was all part of Orton’s plan to destroy him, and Bray dropped the title seven weeks after winning it. In 2018, Wyatt would team with “Broken” Matt Hardy to win the Raw Tag Team Titles… only to drop them (and lose the subsequent rematch) to Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, of all teams. 2019 saw Wyatt debut the new Firefly Funhouse version of his character, as well as the debut of The Fiend, which was well received as one of the best “new” gimmicks in years. Everything about it was just perfectly done. It gave Wyatt another push that had him win the Universal Title in September 2019, but it was all so that he could be fed to Goldberg, of all people. By that point, the bloom was off the rose with Wyatt. He was back to that same rut I mentioned earlier. Obviously, I can’t guarantee this because Vince McMahon is out of his fucking mind, but I think most… if not all… of that stuff is “fixed” if Wyatt defeats Taker at WrestleMania 31.
Wyatt is who should’ve defeated The Undertaker. Not Lesnar, who was already one of the biggest names of the era. Not Reigns, who was already being positioned as the top guy, even with Vince McMahon deciding that the answer for “the fans are rejecting Reigns because he wins too much” is “Reigns should win more.” I’m sorry that this went from being a “let’s journey down memory lane with The Undertaker” column to a “THEY RUINED BRAY WYATT, YOU SONS OF BITCHES” column. It be’s that way sometimes.
Weekly Power Rankings
- Drew McIntyre: His big week started on Smackdown, when he not only stood tall next to Roman Reigns, looking like every bit of the star Reigns is, but then he defeated Jey Uso in a good match. It was Uso’s first non-Reigns loss since this storyline began, which says a lot when you consider who he has defeated in the last month-and-a-half. McIntyre’s big week continued on Raw, where he defeated Randy Orton to win the WWE Title. It was another very good match. Yes, it made Drew losing the title to Orton in the first place pretty pointless, but I’m trying to focus on the positives here. Now, we get a mega showdown between McIntyre and Reigns at Survivor Series, which is a very intriguing match that can be booked in a bunch of different directions.
- Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods vs Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander: There were some really good matches on television this week, but this was the best of the bunch. Nobody should be surprised about that with the level of talent involved. It was the right outcome, too. New Day vs The Street Profits at Survivor Series is the bigger match, and now, that’s what we’re getting, barring some surprise title change on Smackdown this week. I do think Benjamin and Alexander end up taking the Raw Tag Team Titles off of Kofi and Woods, though, and probably soon. It just didn’t need to happen this week.
- Leon Ruff: Folks, we have the new version of The 1-2-3 Kid shocking the world by pinning Razor Ramon. I like Leon Ruff. I really do. I’m just not sure his big moment needed to happen in a North American Title match. We’ve all got a pretty sneaking suspicion that this title reign won’t last long, especially with Johnny Gargano getting his rematch a mere couple hours from the time I type this sentence, but my point remains. Ruff could’ve stunned the world by pinning someone who isn’t a champion, or even pinning Gargano in a non-title match. You know, since champions never win non-title matches under the WWE umbrella.
- Penta El Zero Miedo vs Rey Fenix: Another good match between these real-life brothers. The in-ring chemistry they have is off the charts. My only (minor) gripe is that the match itself won’t really be remembered because of the post-match angle. Speaking of that post-match angle…
- Pac: “The Bastard” is back. Pac has immediately set his sights on Eddie Kingston, and while I have no doubts about the quality of match those two can have, I really like the added intrigue of everyone else involved in the story. If you remember, before COVID-19 changed everything, Pac was in a group with Penta and Fenix. Then, Pac had to go away for a while, and the brothers would find themselves aligned with Kingston. Now, as Pac returns, it seems like Kingston was on the verge of kicking Fenix out of his group. What happens next? Will Fenix join up with Pac? Is it all a swerve? Will none of it matter? Time will tell.
- MJF’s Poem: Now that was entertaining. The poem… WHICH HE ABSOLUTELY WROTE AND DIDN’T STEAL FROM DRAKE MAVERICK, DRAKE FROM DRAKE & JOSH, OR WHOEVER YOU GUYS ARE ACCUSING HIM OF TAKING THE WORDS FROM… was wonderful and, no doubt, made the world emotional. This might have been my favorite work from MJF during his time with AEW.
- Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall vs The Butcher & The Blade: AEW continues to blend the old school and new school, and this was their latest example of that. A nod to the old WCW match type, these four men delivered a wild, bloody brawl. That, in and of itself, is a nod to the old school. Some say AEW relies on blood too often, but I think a lot of that is just in comparison to WWE, who never really uses it outside of the occasional accident.
- Alexa Bliss Attacking John Morrison: Alexa is doing an incredible job in this role, providing an extra layer to what is going on with Bray Wyatt these days. I legitimately laughed out loud when she ran at Morrison and LAUNCHED herself off of the ring steps at him, sending them both tumbling over the ringside barricade. Good stuff.
- Pat McAfee, Oney Lorcan, Danny Burch, & Pete Dunne: McAfee continues to be the biggest heel in NXT by a country mile, and he is lifting the rest of the group as a result. Lorcan and Burch retained their NXT Tag Team Titles, and now, the entire group looks to be heading to a War Games showdown with Undisputed Era. My goodness, the potential there is insane.
- Adam Pearce: It’s nice to see that the new Chairman & CEO of WWE finally has his own office.
This Week’s Playlist: “Holiday” by Lil Nas X… “Fight” by Th1rt3eN, Pharoahe Monch, & Cypress Hill… “Realize” by AC/DC… “Shame Shame” by Foo Fighters… “Cold” by Chris Stapleton… “Push” by Matchbox 20… “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind… “Barely Breathing” by Duncan Sheik… “Song 2” by Blur… “The Impression That I Get” by Mighty Mighty Bosstones… “Everlong” by Foo Fighters… “Dammit” by blink-182… “Fly” by Sugar Ray & Super Cat… “Breathe” by The Prodigy… “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger… “Superman” by Goldfinger… “Fly Away” by Lenny Kravitz… “Again” by Lenny Kravitz… “Whatever” by Godsmack… “Save Tonight” by Eagle-Eye Cherry