The Long Con: Who the Undertaker Actually Passed the Torch to at WrestleMania 30

It was long believed (or at least for the last 7-8 years since ‘The Streak’ began to mean something), that the Undertaker would only take a loss at WrestleMania if it was the right situation. If a legitimate up-and-comer worthy of a push larger than a world title run were to come along, it would make sense for Taker to put that person over.

That up-and-c0mer has arrived, and Taker put him over at WrestleMania XXX, but he’s not Brock Lesnar.

Many were shocked that the Undertaker would choose to let The Streak end at the hands of a part-time WWE Superstar. A limited schedule means limited opportunities for Brock Lesnar to get mileage out of the victory, but it was never Brock Lesnar that Taker was going to put over at ‘Mania – it was Paul Heyman, and by extension, Cesaro.

Heyman is firmly entrenched amidst a run that has confirmed him as one of the best WWE managers and mouthpieces of all time. On the same night that The Streak came to an end, we witnessed Cesaro’s first “WrestleMania moment” (of many to come). Winning the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal in impressive and nostalgic fashion was the high point of Cesaro’s organic babyface shift, but instead of a full textbook face turn the following night on Raw, Cesaro embarked on a different singles’ route- he proclaimed to the WWE Universe that he is “a Paul Heyman guy”.

Superstars who declare themselves Paul Heyman guys can go one of two eventual routes these days: turn face and have a main event-level feud with Heyman and his other “guys”, or be slowly phased out of Heyman-dom and form an inconsequential tag team (I see you, RybAxel).

Cesaro aligning himself with Heyman won’t preclude a face turn, it will just raise the stakes for when it does happen. Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar are capable of generating much more heat than Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger. Cesaro and Heyman were assembled for one reason: the inevitable Cesaro-Lesnar feud. If Cesaro ultimately goes over a Streak-beating Lesnar, he’ll get the de facto rub of beating the Undertaker himself.

Brock Lesnar, as “the guy who beat The Streak”, is essentially holding a world title no one else has ever held. The accomplishment will be as closely associated with his character as any single victory will ever be attached to any one wrestler. The first person who beats Brock Lesnar cleanly will be the actual recipient of the Undertaker’s torch, he just passed it indirectly, and in a way, more effectively.

If the WWE had quickly cobbled together and promoted a Streak-ending WrestleMania XXX match between the Undertaker and any one of it’s rapidly rising young stars, it would have set in motion a predictable ending, based on Taker’s rumored promise of sacrificing The Streak to “the right guy”.

Had WWE booked Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan or Cesaro against Taker in the weeks leading up to Mania, fans might have felt that they were being force-fed their new savior, and an inorganic push could have rendered the end of The Streak as an unceremonious waste. Booking Brock Lesnar felt right- there was a history, and despite some sports talk radio-friendly upset predictions, nobody really thought Lesnar would win that match.

We all know the WWE makes a lot of decisions on the fly and embarks on some misguided storylines without a proper endgame planned, but historically they get the big things right. The Streak may have been the biggest thing going in our lifetime, and if this pans out the way it has the potential to, it might lend a hand in giving WWE fans our “Next Big Thing”.

 

 

Previous post:

Next post: