Let me be clear: there is one reason and one reason only that this match is on the list. Spoilers ahead….
That reason is Brock Lesnar ends The Undertaker’s Streak. There, I’ve just saved you sixteeen minutes of boredom. Lesnar and Taker have had many better matches that this dull, slow brawl. This is the point where Taker looked past it. Lesnar was just about to lose his enthusiasm for wrestling (if he hadn’t already). There’s not a great deal to say about the match itself apart from this: just skip to the end!
There is an explanation for the tedium of this match: Taker suffered a concussion minutes into the match, after Lesnar pushed Taker over on the outside. Taker’s lands on the back of his head and looks clearly injured and in pain. I can understand why the match is so lethargic. Lesnar had to carry an aging wrestler who had been knocked silly! It’s clear that Taker doesn’t know his location or even his name. I guess it’s amazing that we even had a match at all. You have to give credit to Taker for continuing to fight. You also have to give credit to Lesnar for protecting Taker for the rest of the match. But giving credit doesn’t mean that you can find anything to appreciate in this match. Because there isn’t that much at all.
If I were Vince watching the match in the back, I’d have had Lesnar quickly end the match after two or three F-5s right there and then. Just imagine the even greater shock of the crowd after Lesnar beat the Streak in mere minutes. There’s always a big fuss made about concussions in the modern era of WWE, but Vince allowed to wrestle almost a full match after suffering a concussion. Yes, I know after the match, Vince got into an ambulance with Taker and went straight to the hospital. But that should have happens shortly after the concussion. Just think, after suffering a concussion, Taker suffered two German suplexes from Lesnar. He also executed the Tombstone Piledriver on Lesnar, a move that can go dangerously wrong. What were they thinking?
The crowd’s reaction to the Streak ending is the main reason for even considering watching this match. The reactions range from tears, to disbelief, to wide-eyed shock, to laughter. People couldn’t believe what they had seen. I still can’t believe it myself, nearly four years on. My girlfriend didn’t understand my disbelief at the time. “He’s only lost one match!” she said, laughing. But she couldn’t comprehend the importance of Taker losing a match at WrestleMania. The Streak was over, and Taker hasn’t been the same since. You can see he is a few shades from okay during his match at Mania 29 against CM Punk (which was on the original WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches…List, but was removed from the latest one!), but he still put on an incredible performance. His Mania matches after the Streak ended have been lacklustre.
There’s not a lot else I can say about this match, or its outcome. Some people disagree that Lesnar should have ended the Streak. He didn’t need the rub, but a younger, upcoming wrestler needed that rub more. Imagine if Roman Reigns had ended the Streak, instead of just beating Taker at Mania after someone else already had? That would have been a landmark in his career. I disagree with the decision myself. Lesnar was a huge star already. He didn’t benefit from ending the Streak. He doesn’t seem to care much about wrestling, either. The paycheck seems to be what matters most to him.
But apart from everything else, Lesnar vs Taker at Mania 30 is dull. Yes, that’s mainly because Taker suffered a concussion earlier on, but Taker looked shaky in his match against CM Punk at Mania 29. He’s old, for a wrestler, and has wrestled long and hard for decades. His body can’t take much more. We’ll never know what the match would have turned out like if Taker didn’t suffer a concussion. But he did, and Lesnar struggled to carry a man who had been knocked out. Put Lesnar vs Taker’s Hell in a Cell match from No Mercy 2002 in this place. Or Lesnar vs CM Punk, which was originally on this list but has been removed (click here to read my review!). Or either Taker vs Edge or Taker vs Batista from Mania’s 24 and 23 respectively. Just don’t put this match on here simply because it’s the end of the Streak.
VERDICT: 3/10. A dull, lethargic affair that feels like it will never end. The Undertaker suffered a concussion, and Brock Lesnar can’t carry a match on his own. They stumble and stutter through random moves until Lesnar ends the Streak. That’s all you need to know.
Does this match belong in the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die? Leave your comments below!
Click here for my review of #52 Vader (c) vs. Ric Flair (WCW World Title, WCW Starrcade 1993)
Click here to view my list of reviews of the WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die
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