– The Undertaker vs. CM Punk w/Paul Heyman
We get footage of what has easily been the most polarizing buildup of almost any WrestleMania match ever. With highlights of Taker’s streak thrown in for good measure, we also get a lot of highlights of Punk disrespecting the memory of Paul Bearer, and playing mind games with Taker like no one else has ever been able to.
Living Color is introduced to play Punk down to the ring. They do a hell of a job, and in my opinion they may be the best special musical guest in Mania history.
Paul Heyman holds the urn high over his head while Punk gets ready for the match. Punk drops to his knees with Heyman behind him. The gong tolls and Punk looks pumped up as the lights go out in New Jersey.
The Undertaker slowly makes his way to the ring through what looks to be a sea of shadows all reaching up to grab him. It’s a pretty neat effect. Taker makes his way down to the ring, and as in the past couple of years, Punk doesn’t look scared, as much as he looks ready for a challenge that’s been laid down 20 times, but still has yet to be won.
Taker brings up the house lights, and a ton of fireworks shoot off out of the stadium rim in an impressive display.
Punk and Heyman toss around the urn for a bit before Punk heads into the ring. The bell rings and Punk dodges a couple of shots from Taker. Punk tells him to bring it on, ducking a right and slapping the Dead man. Taker chases Punk in and out of the ring and gets caught with a series of forearms from Punk. Taker catches Punk around the throat, but Punk ducks a right and slaps him again. Punk hits the ropes and runs right into a big boot. Taker throws Punk to the floor and heads out after him. Taker blasts Punk with a right hand, then another. Taker whips Punk into the timekeeper’s area.
Taker goes to bring things back into the ring, then slams him into the Spanish announcer’s table instead. Taker dismantles the table, then lifts Punk up and slams him back first into the ring post. Taker brings Punk back into the ring, but pulls the top half of him out onto the apron and hits him with another big right. Taker walks up the stairs and hits the apron leg drop, coming down across Punk’s throat.
Taker heads back into the ring and hits Punk with a big right hand before scaring away the referee with a stare down. Taker grabs Punk by the arm and kicks at him before heading into the corner. Taker walks up to the top, but Punk pulls him down to the mat. Punk pops up to his feet and kicks away at Taker, stomping on him in the corner. Punk pulls Taker to his feet and kicks at the big man’s knees before grabbing his arm and heading up to the top. Punk walks the ropes and comes down with old school to the Undertaker. Punk lays Taker out with a Russian leg sweep for a two count.
Punk traps Taker in a submission hold, but Taker quickly fights to his feet and takes Punk into the corner for a series of strikes. Punk whips Taker across the ring, but misses a running kick and crashes knee first against the top turnbuckle. Taker rolls to the apron, and he’s kicked to the floor by Punk. Punk heads to the top rope and dives out with a body press to wipe out the dead man.
Punk rolls Taker back into the ring and hits a big neckbreaker for two. Punk traps Taker’s arm and hits a couple of big shoulderblocks. Taker responds with a right hand, then another, and a third. Taker misses a fourth punch and Punk counters with a swinging neckbreaker for a two count. Heyman has been shouting encouragement through the whole match. Punk clamps on a rear chin lock, and Taker struggles to get up to his feet. Taker stands up and knees Punk in the gut before hitting a snap suplex to take Punk over.
Punk avoids a charging Taker in the corner and tries for old school again. Punk starts the rope-walk, but Taker crotches him on the top rope and kicks him to the outside. Heyman gets up to the apron and Taker grabs him around the throat. This allows for the distraction for Punk to hit the springboard flying clothesline for another two count. Punk hits the high running knee in the corner and follows it with a clothesline. Punk goes to the top and points to the sky, coming down with a giant elbow drop. Punk goes for the pin but still only comes away with two.
Punk stands up and calls for the G2S. Punk shoulders Taker, but Taker fights out and grabs Punk around the throat, hitting a big chokeslam. Taker pins Punk and gets two, not looking happy about it. Punk and Taker fight up to their feet with Taker getting the advantage. Taker sends Punk into the corner and wails on him before sending him across the ring and hitting a running clothesline. Taker hits snake-eyes on Punk, but Punk responds quickly with a kick to the jaw.
Punk clotheslines Taker over the top to the outside, and Punk looks to the announcer’s table. Taker stands and catches Punk with a right, then a head butt. Taker gets Punk in powerbomb position and tries for a last ride, but Punk fights out and lands on hits feet, hitting a kick to the side of Taker’s head. Taker ends up laid out on the announcer’s table and Punk looks to the top rope. He heads back into the ring and climbs to the top turnbuckle. Punk points to the sky and leaps off the top with a giant elbow drop but the table doesn’t break.
Punk gets back into the ring fairly quickly, but Taker is slower. He falls to the floor, but makes it back into the ring at 9. Punk can’t believe it, grabbing his head. Punk is grabbing at his shin which crashed into the announcer’s table on the elbow drop. Punk crawls right into Hell’s gate, getting trapped by Taker. Punk counters into a roll up and Taker has to break the hold. Punk locks in the anaconda vice.
Taker sits up with the hold locked on and stands straight up. Punk looks shocked as Taker grabs him around the throat. Punk avoids a chokeslam and hits the G2S but Taker responds immediately with a tombstone piledriver. Taker goes for the pin but Punk kicks out at two!
Taker crawls toward Punk and the two men fight up to their knees, trading right hands, head butts and chops. Taker gets the upper hand, but Punk kicks him in the chest. Taker grabs Punk around the throat and Punk knocks the ref down. Heyman distracts Taker and Punk catches him with a kick to the gut. Punk hits the running knee in the corner, but Taker counters into the last ride. Heyman hands Punk the urn and Punk brings it crashing down on Taker’s head. Punk pins Taker in the classic pose, sticking his tongue out, but Taker kicks out at two.
Punk stands tall and brings his thumb across his throat. Punk shoulders Taker but Taker fights out of it. Taker tries for the tombstone but Punk counters out. Punk tries for the G2S again but Taker counters into the tombstone, bringing Punk down once more for the three count.
Winner: The Undertaker
Following the match Taker bails from the ring and immediately grabs the urn from the ring steps. Taker heads back into the ring and stares out at the fans. He looks to be a bit choked up as he gets to one knee and salutes the urn while pyro goes off in the background. The Undertaker is an astonishing 21-0 at WrestleMania, something that will likely never be duplicated.
On his way to the back, Taker stops to look back at the fans before raising his arm in victory and walking slowly away.
Richard Reacts: CM Punk downplayed this match every time he was asked about it but they just put on a classic. Wonderful story told early on with Punk mocking Undertaker with old school after an arm drag takedown from Undertaker trying to perform the move himself. Undertaker looked good and better than he did in Texas when he returned at a live event.
Punk took it to another level with his Randy Savage elbow off the top rope onto Undertaker on the announce table. We saw all the classic Undertaker moves, including snake eyes and Hell’s Gate. There was a great sequence where Punk hit GTS but it didn’t phase Undertaker and he hit the Tombstone. Punk kicked out, shocking the crowd.
The false finishes were brilliant, including Punk covering Undertaker in “Undertaker-style” but the immortal one kicked out. Punk mocked Undertaker one more time with the “throat slash” but Undertaker ended up hitting the tombstone and preserving the streak. This is pretty much impossible to top and one I could definitely watch again. The best match by far and yet another bout Undertaker can add to his hat as a five star match.
We get another video package about John Cena, and how he’s focused heading into tonight.
From one video package into another as we see the events over the past few months since Summerslam, including Lesnar retiring and then later attacking Vince McMahon, that have led up to this match.