CM Punk, the so-called “Best in the World”, had one of the most impressive years of any WWE Superstar in history. In November of 2011, CM Punk would begin a historically long WWE Championship reign. In the midst of the title reign, however, Punk would become a different person.
CM Punk would become consumed with the WWE Championship, and himself for that matter. He would become an egomaniacal, self-centered, and conceited champion. The WWE Championship meant absolutely everything to him, and he admitted that it was his life. The WWE Title was CM Punk, and he felt it defined him as a man.
The so-called “Best in the World” would go on to have a tremendous 434-day reign as WWE Champion. Punk did everything in his power to keep the gold around his waist, even if it meant doing things that most men would not be proud of. Using Paul Heyman, The Shield, and his own various dirty tactics, CM Punk would retain the WWE Title each and every month. The Second City Saint was proud of his reign, and there was nothing that anyone could do to take it from him.
That was, until the Royal Rumble.
At that show CM Punk would lose his championship to The Rock, and it would send him into a downward spiral. Punk would lose his rematch at The Elimination Chamber. CM Punk was then given one final opportunity to be in the main event of WrestleMania 29. One final chance to gain a shot at what he considered to be his entire life. CM Punk would face John Cena with the winner going on to face The Rock for the WWE Championship in the main event of WrestleMania. And Punk dropped the ball again.
Akin to his two previous matches versus The Rock, CM Punk failed.
The man who was once the most dominant person in the WWE was now just a shell of his former self. CM Punk had no purpose heading into the biggest show of the year. His passion and his life was gone in the WWE Championship. His two most storied rivals in John Cena and The Rock had beaten him in three of the most important matches of his career.
Then, CM Punk witnessed the return of the deadman.
And he now understood his purpose for WrestleMania. He knew that he needed to do something to fill the void left from his previous failures. Punk knew that at WrestleMania, he needed to face The Undertaker, and snap the legendary 20-0 winning Streak.
CM Punk needed to earn that opportunity though. The Big Show, Sheamus, and Randy Orton all wanted to be the men to try to break the Streak this year. A Fatal-4-Way match was set. Sheamus vs. The Big Show vs. Randy Orton vs. CM Punk. The winner would face The Undertaker at WrestleMania. And by somehow finding a second wind, CM Punk was able to beat all three men, and get his chance at The Undertaker in MetLife Stadium on the grandest stage of them all.
On March 5th, 2013, the iconic manager Paul Bearer passed away. The man had long been a friend and confidante of The Undertaker. He assisted and used the powerful urn to help The Undertaker through his biggest battles. Paul Bearer would become the backbone of the Phenom.
The next week, CM Punk grabbed a golden opportunity to use mind games with The Undertaker. CM Punk first interrupted The Undertaker’s personal tribute to Paul Bearer, at the same time firing the first shot in this feud. Punk then stole Bearer’s infamous urn, and took out Kane with it. Punk then did what very few men have ever dared to do. Punk mocked The Undertaker, using the urn that was once the source of Taker’s power.
The next week, CM Punk went as far to mock Paul Bearer. Punk would use Bearer’s voice, and even throw the urn around like it was a piece of garbage. The Best in the World would then drop the precious urn onto the floor. Punk, however, made sure that The Undertaker knew that if he got counted out or disqualified, his Streak would still end.
CM Punk declared that he doesn’t live in peace. He doesn’t rest. And he will make sure that at WrestleMania, the Streak will Rest In Peace. CM Punk was then blindsided by The Undertaker’s gong. The Lord of Darkness appeared behind Punk, and in a fit of range over the Straight Edge Superstar’s recent actions, he beat the holy hell out of CM Punk.
Paul Heyman, however, was able to sneak away with the urn. Punk then got an opportunity to retreat from the ring as well. This would only work in making The Undertaker even angrier, which was CM Punk’s master plan.
The Undertaker was now angry, and he wanted CM Punk to know that at WrestleMania, he will be destroyed. The Undertaker told CM Punk that he would be eviscerated at WrestleMania, and that there is no way that CM Punk could escape his fate.
CM Punk would then play the ultimate mind game. Paul Heyman would dress up as Paul Bearer, and CM Punk would dress up as one of The Phenom’s druids. Punk would then brutally attack The Undertaker with the urn. Punk would beat Taker’ down to the point of no return. The Undertaker looked broken and hurt. It was now The Undertaker who looked like a shell of his former self, instead of CM Punk just a month earlier.
Punk then committed the ultimate act of disrespect. CM Punk poured the contents of the urn onto the broken Undertaker. It seems that what was inside the urn was something that The Undertaker cherished and loved more than anyone ever expected. Paul Bearer’s ashes looked to be in the urn. And now those ashes were being dishonored and poured all over the lifeless and beaten down body of the deadman. Punk even smeared the ashes on himself.
CM Punk did what no other person would have dared to do. And he did it just to get inside The Undertaker’s head before their clash at WrestleMania.
CM Punk has been able to do what very few men in history have been able to do. CM Punk has played mind games with the master of mind games himself. CM Punk has been able to anger The Undertaker, arguably unlike anyone ever before. And to top it all off, CM Punk has disrespected the legacy of the most important man of The Undertaker’s career: Paul Bearer.
CM Punk found a goal at WrestleMania. CM Punk found a purpose at WrestleMania. Punk wants to snap the Streak. It is The Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak that has taken out some of the best in professional wrestling history.
Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Edge, Randy Orton, Batista, Kane, Mark Henry, and The Big Show. All are former multi-time World Champions. On any given night, they may have been able to beat The Undertaker. At WrestleMania though, they were just a sacrifice for The Streak.
At WrestleMania, CM Punk is battling to be the one in 20-1. He is out to accomplish a goal. Accomplish a goal that no man in history has ever been able to do: CM Punk wants to break the Streak. More importantly, CM Punk is going to go to incredible lengths to do just that. Much like he did anything and everything in his power to keep the WWE Title around his waist for over a year, he will do anything and everything to beat The Undertaker at WrestleMania. Even if that means making Taker’ get counted out or disqualified.
CM Punk is out to snap the Streak, and there is nothing more dangerous than a man with nothing to lose.
The Undertaker has risen once gain. Much like he rises every year around this time of year. He has risen to defend the only thing that keeps him still going each and every year: the Streak. Because the fact is, the Streak is the foundation of the deadman. It is his holy grail, and he has never, ever let anyone stop it. He has made sure that for 20 years he has blocked every man dead in their tracks before they could even think about beating him at WrestleMania. And now, The Undertaker is frustrated and angry. He is out to not only keep the Streak intact, but also for vengeance.
The deadman is out to avenge the loss of his best friend in Paul Bearer. And when The Undertaker is out for vengeance on the grandest stage of them all, no one is safe.
At WrestleMania it will be The Undertaker vs. CM Punk. A battle for the Streak, the memory of Paul Bearer, and immortality.