The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar: A Subpar Build

take-les

On the go-home episode of RAW last night, the Beast Incarnate finally got the upper hand on the Dead Man with a little help from his advocate, blasting with a devastating F-5 after Heyman provided the distraction.

Thus far, there has been little physical contact between the few, with the only instances being the Undertaker chokeslamming Lesnar through a table during their contract signing and Taker hitting Lesnar with a few punches after popping out of a casket.

To say that this feud has not been fully fleshed out would be a serious understatement. In fact, I would not even hesitate to call it a complete disappointment.

Unlike Undertaker’s feuds the past few years, this one seems rushed together with no backstory, made even worse by the fact that both superstars are part-timers who have rarely appeared on television together.

The CM Punk/Undertaker program was an epic feud  that truly felt personal.

The /Undertaker program was an epic feud that truly felt personal.

Last year’s feud with CM Punk was a masterful build, with a compelling backstory (Punk stealing the urn and mocking Paul Bearer), a weekly confrontation between the two leading up to WrestleMania, and action that actually made the feud feel personal (Punk dumping the contents of the urn on Taker).

This year has been the polar opposite. The two are fighting simply because Lesnar said he has accomplished everything in WWE except conquering the streak. I get that breaking the streak is a valid reason for a feud. After all, it was the reason CM Punk originally wanted to fight the Undertaker in the first place.

However, the difference between last year and this year is that last year’s feud was actually escalated throughout the weeks leading up to WrestleMania, while the Lesnar/Taker feud is literally in the exact same place as it was on the night of the contract signing weeks ago.

It is a shame too, because it is not like creative did not have material to work with. They could have mentioned the infamous confrontation between Lesnar and Taker after Lesnar’s UFC fight a few years back, or their previous feud back in 2002. Instead, it almost seems like the Undertaker has no stake in fighting other than defending the streak, and Lesnar seems disinterested as well. There were elements in place to make the feud seem personal but creative has failed to do so.

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  • Guest

    CM WHO?

  • http://www.rabidpictures.com yrabadi

    In my opinion, subpar is being too kind. The build to this match is just downright horrible. Even the Lesnar getting the ‘upper hand’ this week on RAW was what this whole feud has been: anti-climactic. A clothesline and an F5 and the deadman is out? Seriously? And the announcers are shouting that if that happens at WM the streak will be over…? And I’m supposed to want to order this PPV when they have sold me on the idea that this match could be over after a clothesline and an F5? LAME.

    The match might be decent, but a great build to it would have had more people invested. It’s Taker, so fans will be hot for it no matter what, but it’ll be the first time in a long time that I actually feel the Taker match shouldn’t be going on last at WM. Other feuds have much more steam.

    • Cujo999

      If at least one of those Brock Lesnar destroying Mark Henry segments had been The Undertaker instead, then it would have helped the build tremendously. Unfortunately, ‘taker isn’t going to take those kind of bumps outside of a match, which handcuffs a guy like Lesnar who is reliant on being overly physical to build feuds. The past 5 years, HBK, Triple H, and Punk are all guys who can properly build a feud without a lot of physicality. Heck, Triple H coming out to his music, standing toe-to-toe with ‘taker, and both of them looking at the WM sign was better build in 2 minutes than Brock-‘taker have had in weeks of physical confrontation. That, and the feuds the past two years have devalued the importance of The Streak. When HBK and Triple H were going after it, they both made The Streak seem more important than the WWE title. Conversely, both Punk and Lesnar have presented The Streak as a consolation prize for not being in the main event for the WWE title.

      • Chris

        No offense but I disagree. It was lazy writing when Shawn/Triple H fought Undertaker. There was absolutely no incentive to beat him other than “the holy streak.” Punk facing him was because Punk stole the urn and started mocking the Undertaker and Paul Buerer. That’s how you do a fricken build up. Toss the streak crap out the window and make it a secondary thing that just happens to be true just like it was back in the day. Don’t make it the central focus of why two guys are going at it especially on more than one occasion.

        • Cujo999

          None taken. I think it’s impossible to ignore The Streak, because Undertaker only shows up to build a feud for ‘mania to defend it. The HBK/HHH feuds really wound up being a 4 year program. Shawn became obsessed with ending The Streak, and it was ultimately his downfall. Then HHH wanted to avenge Michaels, but there was also the undertone that if he succeeded where Shawn failed, he would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt he was better, which built tension. While Punk’s build was entertaining, it was really a bad build. The point of building a program with ‘taker is to plant a seed of doubt that this might be it and ‘taker might job. After all the outrageous stuff Punk pulled, everybody knew there was no way ‘taker was going to put him over in the match. There was no drama.

    • SOBI

      Yeah wwe know that everyone knows that Taker is going to win
      so they just went “meh” and didn’t really put any thing in that

    • Forceton Banfodder

      They need to create the appearance that Taker could possibly lose this match. Nevermind that Taker has full control over when and who he loses to.

      • http://www.rabidpictures.com yrabadi

        Exactly. They need to do this but really haven’t this year. In the past, you always knew Taker would win, but there was always that glimmer of ‘what if?’. This year that is totally non-existant. Taker has owned Brock. The last RAW he pretty much owned him on the mic, too… The extent of Lesnar’s attack was a clothesline and a F5.

        I get Taker can’t take a beatdown the likes of Henry or some of the younger cats, but WWE could have figured something out. A submission for instance. Lesnar could have F5’d Taker, than locked him in the arm submission and ‘broken’ the arm. Given him more of an advantage.

        I don’t know… The build is completely underwhelming.

        • Forceton Banfodder

          I never get much out of the build to Wrestlemania. In the last 4 or 5 years Wrestlemania has turned more into pageantry than a regular PPV. Guest appearances from Part-Timers, Actors and wasting an entire spot for a bad music act? Idk, somewhere in the last few years they crossed a line that makes Wrestlemania less of a wrestling event, and more of just an event. I’ve honestly been underwhelmed for so many years as far as the wrestling on Wrestlemania goes that the only reason to tune in normally was for the Taker match.

          However this year has an epic storyline lead into the main event with Daniel Bryan, there’s the ATG Battle Royal, and a few other matches that I’m actually looking forward to, so I really don’t care that much that the build for this particular Taker match isn’t that great, considering especially that it would be a waste to end the streak on a part-timer who doesn’t even care about the WWE beyond his massive paychecks.

          • http://www.rabidpictures.com yrabadi

            Yeah, you def nailed it with your first paragraph.

            This year is far from awful. Yes, Bryan/HHH/Main event is a good story that has a decent build – if not one full of bumps along the way. ATG BR doesn’t do much for me, but maybe it’ll be an entertaining bout. Bray/Cena actually has a good chunk of my attention, and might be the contest that steals the show. I guess it’s just unfortunate as I’ve always viewed the Taker bouts as being the ‘main event’ over the past few years. With a guy like Lesnar in there, it could have still be viewed that way. Disappointing, I guess.

  • Cena Swallows

    I think they had so much work to do together planning the match so that Brock doesn’t hurt Taker ( which was the reason the match almost didn’t happen ) that they worried less about the build up and are forming an amazing match , we know that Takers opponents at Mania have to take a lot of time to go over the match with him prior let’s just hope this is the case …

    • http://www.rabidpictures.com yrabadi

      Don’t get your hopes up. I think this match will be like Hogan/Rock at WMX8. Lots of squaring off, taunting and going through the motions. Get ready for a slow-paced one.

  • Josh Sherman

    To me this feud and build seemed like a backup plan in case WWE hadn’t signed Sting in time or failed to bring back Punk. So if this storyline seems thrown together, it probably was.

    • raVen

      wrestlmania seems thrown together.

      • Josh Sherman

        I agree with that. There was a point after the rumble where Creative still was hesitating on what directions to go. Good thing its gonna be on the WWE Network. I wouldn’t buy the PPV with this card.

  • pwnez

    Another year, and another boring road to WrestleMania. Cena vs Bray surprisingly has one of the best build up out of any matches on the WM card. Bryan/HHH/Orton/Batista also included as one of the best.

    • Stephen

      Wrong.
      No feud has been given a better build then Hunter v. Bryan. Even if it is partly an accident, the match has been building since Summerslam. The occupy raw was unprecedented, and this past Monday, based on Bryan missing last week, and everything happening in New Orleans and New York, I believed he wasn’t there. So the end of Raw, to me, was truly epic, and very worthy of the road to WM.

      • pwnez

        I said “One of the best” for each feud. How can it be wrong? The Bryan/HHH feud practically intertwines with the Orton/Batista feud.

        • Stephen

          You worded it as if the builds were tied.
          I clearly ranked the build to the Main Event as better.
          … or I was tired and really miss-read your post?

      • Guest

        You believed he wasn’t there? How old are you 8?

    • SOBI

      Yeah true that I think Cena Wyatt will be the second last match and It would be one of the Loudest of the night too
      I hope Cena puts over Wyatt

  • Wolf Haley

    this supbar build started way before this match. Brock should have been built as an unstoppable force. wwe knew this was the plan eventually that Brock would face Taker. yet Brock is 4:2 in terms of win loss ratio. he should have beaten Cena and HHH and been on a 6 match winning streak. the fact he has lost twice has taken away from the match since its obviously Brock is losing. people should be used to Brock losing, Brock losing to (casual fans) should be as unthinkable as Taker losing at mania, but the fact they have seen him lose 2 (Cena and HHH) and barely win 2 (HHH And Punk) out and only dominant 1 (Big Show) no one can get into him

    Then there is the booking of this. why in gods name is Brock Lesnar. a former UFC Champion and in that regards one of the most dangerous fighters in the world scared of anyone. this should have been booked as Brock simply seeing another challenge to destroy while playing up the Undertaker’s age AND playing up the fact that Taker has never beaten Brock and that was before Brock done UFC . Taker should never get the edge of Brock especially not mind games since as Brock shirt says he “eat, sleeps, conquers, repeat” that is all the beast is. why is he afraid.

    And i hope all you smarks thinking Brock will start putting people over dont still have that hope. after this match brock is gonna be 4:3 rathen then the 5:1 it should be. so there is no way wwe will have brock losing any more matches then he has now. infact brock’s next couple of victories will most likely being coming at the expense of some young talent. sigh wwe fucked up

    • Bam Bam

      Yup I agree I think I even read where Brock was suppose to lose a match but they changed it for him to win because he was a name to face the Undertaker and they didn’t want him to have a terrible win/loss record since returning to the WWE.

    • Cujo999

      Well, part of ‘taker’s gimmick has always been that everybody gets scared to death and intimidated facing him. As far as Brock goes, I think it has more to do with how he’s been presented in his matches than his W-L record. He had his long program with HHH, and came out ahead in all respects, winning 2 of the 3 matches, including the final encounter, and kayfabe breaking HHH’s arm 2-3 times. However, he was made to look extremely weak in his match with Punk, as Punk would floor him over and over with his standard moveset and Lesnar would lie there helplessly as Punk went after Heyman over and over again. You know with Punk’s stance on “part timers,” he wasn’t thrilled with having to job to Brock, and he did everything he could to make sure that he looked like he would have beaten Brock if not for his rivalry with Heyman. Punk vs. Heyman overshadowed Punk vs. Lesnar, unfortunately. Then, feeding him Big Show did little to help him. Plus, it’s been almost 2 years since Brock returned, and people have sort of naturally cooled on him. It was a big deal when he jumped ship back to WWE, but now, it’s like, “Oh hey, Lesnar’s going to be on this ppv. Cool.”

      • Michael Hicks

        Great points. I feel like it’s hard to book Lesnar because of his extremely limited schedule. On one hand, they definitely want to build him up to be a monster because he’s Brock Lesnar but on the other hand they can’t have him decimating everyone who crosses his path if he’s just going to disappear for multiple months and work a part-time schedule.

  • Vin

    The entire WM 30 event has a subpar build… the only match heavily focused on was HHH and Bryan. And they couldn’t focus on the main event of WM 30 because it would be settled after HHH/Bryan. Everything in WM 30 is about HHH vs. Bryan. lol…

    • Michael Hicks

      I think the Cena/Wyatt match has been built up well, but otherwise, I definitely agree that the build has been less than stellar.

  • Bam Bam

    The only reason the Undertaker/CM Punk feud was personal was because of Paul Bearer’s untimely death if it wasn’t for that the build up might have been more blan. The segment this past Monday was actually pretty good but Paul Heyman is one of the best in the business in building up feuds. Tho the build up could of been better I think the match will still be good and I don’t believe Brock is gonna end the streak I think when Taker said all streaks must come to an end and all that was to make believe Brock might actually win. I still believe Undertaker is gonna be 22-0 at Wrestlemania.

    • Knoxer

      True but nobody else would have the balls to ask taker to use bearers death in the storyline

  • brad

    Honestly mania doesn’t seem bad this year but at the same time I think it’s safe to say that it is a little bit disappointing as it is wm 30 and I think we were all expecting some awesome matches and maybe some more returns from guys like Jericho, rock angle and maybe even Austin and sting buy no none of those guys will be there instead we get hulk hogan hosting wm and that’s it. Well it’s not all bad I mean cena vs bray has a nice build as well as Bryan vs hhh, and while taker vs lesnar has a bit of a lackluster feel to it, I think that they will still deliver a decent match despite the build. The thing that I am most excited about at this years mania is that we will hopefully be seeing dave batista walk out as the world champ, and even if he doesn’t it will still be nice to see him in the main event at mania once again.

    • Michael Hicks

      You are one of the first commenters I’ve seen who is hoping Batista wins the championship. Are you expecting HHH or Bryan to round out the triple threat match?

  • BMPunk

    hopefully they can make up for this build and put on a great match.

  • Mr_DJ

    Punk’s build against Taker has probably been the best one since he became a once a year attraction.

    • Michael Hicks

      I definitely agree. That build was fantastic. As someone else mentioned, the untimely death of Paul Bearer certainly helped but I think it would have been great regardless.

  • Joe

    Taker vs Brock is gonna be horrible. Taker is not in good health, he’s old, and Brock is rough. He’s always been rough. He’s either gonna put him in a wheelchair or have to be so gentle that the match is gonna look overly fake.

    • Michael Hicks

      I’m also concerned that the quality of the match will be worse than it should be because they fear Lesnar will injure Taker if it is not dumbed down.

  • TVR

    I am not surprised that the build for lesnar and taker has been crappy. Everyone knows brock is going to lose but they shouldve at least tried to make us think he might have a shot of winning. Anywho lets all be honest none of us is watching mania to see brock vs taker. Were watching to see what happens with daniel bryan and bray wyatt

  • Guest

    25655

  • Forceton Banfodder

    These are some of the worst editorials I’ve ever read. You’re a mark and you believe everything you see on TV.

    • Michael Hicks

      Yes, I believe everything I see on TV. I believe that this has been an awful build, because well, that’s what I’ve seen on TV. You got me.

      • Forceton Banfodder

        And you are awful at editorials.

        • Michael Hicks

          Thank you for your feedback. It’s much appreciated.

          • Forceton Banfodder

            Michael Hicks


            9 months ago

            I usually don’t respond to comments, but I guess I’ll bite
            here.

            You should go back to doing this.

  • Chris

    i actually am looking forward to this match. I dont think the creative department will have Lesnar go down easy, due to his big name. Maybe 3 tombstones might do the trick. But the match I am looking forward to the most is Bray vs Cena. Not sure who they will have win that one. Bray is one of the best heels the business has seen on a long time. I personally would like to see his momentum continue. But you never know.