CM Punk showed throughout his WrestleMania feud with The Undertaker why he's widely viewed as one of the best in the business. Although he would be a tremendous choice to end the vaunted streak, it won't happen Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.
Given Punk's current status as a legitimate main event talent, who's also in the prime of his wrestling career and coming off a WWE Championship reign that lasted more than 430 days, he's exactly the type of superstar you could envision ending Undertaker's record run.
Nobody transcends the streak, however. Taker has won 20 straight matches at WrestleMania. His yearly return to WWE programming has become an event in itself, with rumors starting right after the holidays and continuing until the bells toll.
He's defeated countless legends during the streak, including Shawn Michaels, Jimmy Snuka, Jake Roberts and Ric Flair. Most recently, he's scored two straight victories over Triple H. Wrestlers who would otherwise rarely go under clean were defeated by Taker on the grandest wrestling stage.
Even though a strong case could be made in Punk's favor, especially after carrying the tremendous WrestleMania storyline to remarkable heights over the past couple weeks, the debate always ends with the streak on top. It supersedes any other argument.
Yes, Undertaker is past his peak. Yes, allowing somebody like Punk to beat him at WrestleMania would provide the type of boost that might exceed anything the WWE has even seen. Yes, eventually the streak must end either through a loss or Taker heading into retirement unbeaten.
Does any of that mean the streak should end tonight? No. Unless Undertaker has already decided to call it quits and has given his blessing to have Punk end it—and there's been no verified reports of that nature—he should, and will, move to 21-0 in front of a massive crowd.
So what does that mean for Punk? On the surface, it would be another setback. It would mark his fourth consecutive loss in a high-profile match. The others being two against The Rock for the WWE Championship and one against John Cena for the main event spot at 'Mania.
That clearly represents a sharp contrast from being the top title holder in the company for well over a year. At the same time, the way he's handled the entire feud with Undertaker illustrates his immense talents in every aspect of being a professional wrestler.
Punk's ability to ignite passion from the crowd by pushing the limits of acceptability in using the death of Paul Bearer to further the storyline is what makes him special. Some like it, others don't, but everybody has a spirited opinion and that's the key.
He was able to make himself seem like a serious threat to Undertaker, which wasn't an easy task considering the "Dead Man's" last four matches were against either Michaels or Triple H. Two big names in the industry.
Punk never looked out of place. He held his own in a key WrestleMania feud, and the same should hold true during tonight's match. They are going to put on an awesome show.
That said, racking up the losses isn't an ideal situation even as an established star. Just ask Chris Jericho, whose willingness to go under young talent and ability to carry a match has landed him a WrestleMania encounter with Fandango.
Punk is going to need a sustained rebuild to make it back to the top after his run of notable losses, but his other skills should ensure it comes sooner rather than later once the 'Mania hype fades away.
While he certainly deserves ample credit putting together some great work in recent weeks, it won't lead to a streak-ending victory over Undertaker at WrestleMania.
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