The term ‘main event‘ is an old-school combat sport reference, referring to the last match on a specific night’s card. Typically, the main event is the most anticipated fight and is therefore expected to be the most entertaining. This is the story of CM Punk vs The Undertaker from WrestleMania 29. Unfortunately, WrestleMania 29 is a prime example of this presumption being proven wrong by two men placed in the undercard, with a point to prove.
Both CM Punk and The Undertaker felt they could put on a match worthy of overshadowing John Cena and The Rock’s main event rematch. Punk, in particular, was determined to cement his mark as ‘the guy‘ in the company. So, were they able to steal the show? Let’s take ourselves back to April 7th, 2013, WrestleMania 29, and revisit this dream match on paper, and see if it lived up to its extremely high expectations.
WrestleMania 29 took place in East Rutherford, New Jersey, at the MetLife Stadium, with 80,000 fans packing out the arena. The show started slowly. The Shield secured an impressive victory in their mania debut against Sheamus, Randy Orton & Big show; however, the match was nothing special. Secondly, Mark Henry defeated Ryback in a sluggish and lethargic contest.
The following matches, including Team Hell No, vs. Big E and Dolph Ziggler, Fandango vs. Chris Jericho, and Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger, were all better than the openers; however, for the biggest show of the year, the crowd were understandably expecting the quality to pick up, and fast.
CM Punk vs The Undertaker – The Build-Up
Heading into their match, The Undertaker was 20–0 at WrestleMania and seemingly unbeatable at the grandest stage of them all. The Undertaker’s former manager and lifelong friend Paul Bearer had sadly passed away a month before the event. CM Punk skirted close to the line by using the death of Bearer to create an extremely intense feud.
He proceeded to carry around an urn containing Bearer’s ‘ashes,‘ finally tipping them over the deadman and himself during the Raw before mania. Punk himself entered this match with a major chip on his shoulder. The year after this event, Punk would leave the company and aired his negative feeling towards wrestling at this time.
“And I went out there, and I absolutely destroyed it. They couldn’t follow me no matter what they said. People still to this day will be like, ‘Oh, you never main evented WrestleMania,’ and I say, ‘Yes I did’ because it’s that one.“
This quote taken from his podcast appearance with Colt Cabana shows that Punk’s sole intention that day was to steal the show, as he felt aggrieved at having his main event position and WWE championship taken by a ‘part-timer‘ in The Rock.
Entrances – CM Punk vs The Undertaker
CM Punk enters first, as The Undertaker’s opponents are often made to do. Living Colour performed a live rendition of ‘Cult of Personality,‘ and Punk approached the ring with advocate Paul Heyman, carrying Paul Bearer’s Urn. Once again, The Undertaker’s entrance was both spectacular and spooky. The Undertaker enters in darkness, with dozens of shadowed hands waving around him, seemingly coming out from underground.
The Undertaker methodically walks to the ring as the pyro goes off, maintaining solid eye contact with Punk. As The Undertaker takes off his jacket and prepares to start, Punk begins playing catch with the urn, even pretending to drop it, as one last mind game to attempt to gain a late leg up before the match.
CM Punk vs The Undertaker – Ring The Bell
The match starts with Punk playing the stereotypical, cowardly heel. He dodges and dives away from The Undertaker’s strikes before slapping him across the face and scurrying out of the ring to safety. After a short back and forth, The Undertaker throws Punk outside the ring and punches him a few times before tossing him over the barricade and into the timekeeper’s area. He then clears the top of the announce table for a later spot and hits a leg drop on Punk on the ring apron before taking the action back inside the ring.
The Tables Turn
The Undertaker grabbed Punk by the arm and climbed to the top, ready to hit ‘old school,‘ however, Punk rolls him off the top rope, and after a few strikes in the corner, Punk himself hits ‘old school,‘ on the Undertaker, humiliating the phenom by using his own move against him. Punk hits a side Russian leg sweep and gains the first two count pinfall of the match, to which Heyman can be heard shouting, ‘One Second Away,‘ knowing that Punk is not far from breaking the legendary streak.
Throughout the middle portion of the match, Punk controls the pace and gains two more near falls. However, the straight edge superstar gets cocky and attempts to hit ‘old school‘ again, but this time slips and lands in an unfortunate position on the ropes. Punk falls outside the ring, and The Undertaker sets up to hit a suicide dive but is stopped by Heyman climbing the ropes in front of him.
The Undertaker grabs Heyman, ready to chokeslam him, but Punk saves his advocate, hitting a moonsault from the apron and pinning The Undertaker for another two count. He quickly climbs the ropes and hits an impressive elbow drop, which results in the closest two count so far. Both Heyman and Punk know the streak is in a vulnerable possession, and one or two big moves could be enough to slay the deadman.
CM Punk vs The Undertaker – Never count out The Phenom.
CM Punk lifts The Undertaker up into the GTS position, but Undertaker escapes, and from nowhere hits a chokeslam and almost defeats Punk, who kicks out just before three. Once more, the action spills outside, and Undertaker looks to finish Punk off with the last ride through the announcer’s table. Punk escapes and hits a head kick to lay The Undertaker out on the table instead.
Punk hits an elbow drop to The Undertaker off the top rope, but the table doesn’t break. He rushes back inside the ring to try and win by count-out, but The Undertaker makes it back in just before the ref counts ten. The Undertaker manages to lock in hell’s gate, but Punk manages to reverse into a pinfall, then an anaconda vice. The Undertaker manages to power out and get to his feet but is hit by a GTS.
He stumbles back into the ropes but uses his momentum to lean and pick Punk up and hit a tombstone piledriver and fall into a pin, which Punk incredibly manages to kick out of.
The Undertaker looks to chokeslam Punk; however, Punk manages to elbow the referee and knock him to the floor. The Undertaker then looks for the last ride, but Heyman passes Punk the Urn, which, with the referee unconscious, he uses to hit The Undertaker over the head with, again pinning the deadman, but still failing to keep him down for the count of three.
After one last attempt from both men to hit their finishing moves, The Undertaker hits Punk with a second tombstone piledriver and secures his twenty–first victory at WrestleMania. This match certainly didn’t disappoint and with the benefit of hindsight, should have certainly been that year’s WrestleMania main event.