At SummerSlam 2002, Brock Lesnar won the WWE Undisputed Championship when he pinned The Rock right in the middle of the ring. The victory marked a new era in professional wrestling. Lesnar became the youngest WWE Champion in the history of the company at the age of 25. In just a matter of five months, Lesnar had won the King of the Ring and now the WWE Undisputed Championship.
However, there was one veteran that wasn’t going to allow Lesnar to run through the WWE roster. That man was the locker room leader and a former WWE World Champion, the Undertaker. Undertaker earned a title shot against Brock Lesnar shortly after SummerSlam when he won a series of matches to become the number one contender. With Lesnar having his first challenger, they met face to face on the September 5th edition of Smackdown. However, the confrontation soon turned personal as Paul Heyman decided it was a wise idea to bring Undertaker’s home life into the equation.
Heyman quickly brought the feud to a high level as he continually told Taker that he had to divide his attention between wrestling and his pregnant wife, Sara. Once Heyman told Taker that he’d look after Sara, but not their unborn child, after the match at Unforgiven, Taker lost his cool and shoved Heyman. Heyman prevented Lesnar from getting involved.
The following week, Heyman appeared on the big screen while Taker was involved in a match against Matt Hardy. Heyman was with Sara and mentioned how great she looked. Mind you, she is pregnant. Paul wondered how she’d take care of the unborn child when Taker would be left as an invalid. Taker managed to get backstage, but was attacked by Lesnar. Brock would take out Taker and then put his hand on Sara’s stomach saying that life is a bitch.
This all led up to their match at Unforgiven. The highly personal feud was given the main event spot for the show and they battled it out for twenty minutes. The match is eventually thrown out when the referee loses control of the action. Both men were bloodied and continued to brawl even after the bell. Eventually, they battled to the floor and Taker tossed Lesnar through the Unforgiven set. The feud wasn’t going to be over with yet. Instead, it just got more intense.
On the September 26th edition of Smackdown, Lesnar continued the feud when he attacked Undertaker with his belt and caused Taker to bleed. This caused Heyman to worry that this would likely cause a rematch to take place with a stipulation, but Lesnar didn’t seem to care much.
Leading into the next pay per view, No Mercy, Lesnar and Heyman introduced a woman named Tracy. It was alleged that Tracy had been having an affair with the Undertaker for the last three months and she was unaware that Taker was married or had a pregnant wife. This led to Taker brawling with Lesnar and even though he had originally denied known Tracy, he admitted to have known her, but hadn’t seen her in seven years and their relationship had ended years before he had even met his wife. Despite having a broken hand, Taker was cleared to compete at No Mercy inside Hell In A Cell.
Inside Hell In A Cell, Lesnar managed to retain the WWE Championship when he pinned Taker after twenty-seven minutes with the F-5. It’s an absolute bloodbath of a match and I greatly enjoyed it. I consider it to be a gem of a match that doesn’t get talked about all that much and has been seemingly forgotten about following their feud later on, which will be mentioned in this article. The stipulation made sense and the personal nature of the feud came across really well.
Their next interaction would come almost a year later in terms of a meaningful feud. On the September 4th, 2003 edition of Smackdown, Lesnar cost Taker the WWE Championship in a match against Kurt Angle. Two weeks later, Lesnar won the WWE Championship when he defeated Angle in a sixty minute Iron Man match. Following the victory for Lesnar, Taker revealed that he had been granted a WWE Championship match and it would be contested in a chain match at No Mercy 2003.
At No Mercy 2003 in a biker chain match, Lesnar was able to retain the championship when he pinned Taker following an F-5. The match wasn’t up to the level of their Hell In A Cell match. The chain match is usually restrictive and that was the case for this match. The match would be the last time they competed against each other for over a decade. Lesnar would leave the WWE attempting to become an NFL player, but didn’t make the Minnesota Vikings team. Lesnar would go on to have a successful tenure with the UFC from 2008 to 2011. Lesnar won the UFC Heavyweight Championship during his time with the promotion.
Lesnar made his long awaited return to the WWE on April 2nd, 2012. It would take two years before Brock and the Undertaker would meet in the ring again. Lesnar wanted a shot at the WWE Championship, but on the February 24th, 2014 edition of RAW, the Undertaker returned and ended up putting Lesnar through a table to setup their showdown at WrestleMania XXX.
Going into WrestleMania XXX, Undertaker had a record of 21-0. The streak had become a staple of WrestleMania. It had become one of the major attractions for the yearly event. Nobody believed that the Undertaker would ever lose at the biggest event of the year. Thus, when Lesnar was able to hit three F-5’s and keep Taker down long enough to get a three count, it was one of the biggest shocks in the history of professional wrestling.
With the victory, Lesnar and Heyman would become quite vocal about their accomplishment, especially Heyman. Lesnar moved on and won the WWE Championship from John Cena at SummerSlam 2014. After losing the championship at WrestleMania XXXI, Lesnar attempted to regain it from Seth Rollins at WWE Battleground 2015. However, the Undertaker made his return and attacked Lesnar costing Brock the opportunity to regain the championship.
Undertaker’s attack was not because of the streak ending but rather because of how vocal Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar had been about ending the legendary streak. They didn’t have much modesty about what they had accomplished. This latest turn in the feud led to a match SummerSlam 2015. It appeared that Lesnar had won the match by submission with the Kimura lock, but the referee had been knocked out. Thus, Taker took advantage and nailed Lesnar with a low blow before putting Hell’s Gate on Brock and won the match by TKO, in a rater controversial match.
Since there was a controversial finish, they were booked to have one final match. For the second time they’d meet inside Hell In A Cell at the pay per view of the same name on October 25th, 2015. After nearly twenty minutes of action, Lesnar was able to prevail inside the cell after delivering an F-5 on the exposed canvas. As of November 2017, it would appear to be the final time Lesnar and Taker ever wrestled.
The rivalry between Lesnar and Undertaker has always been an interesting and entertaining one. Their feud back in 2002 was quite interesting even with the dramatic soap opera nature that it had. I really enjoyed their 2002 Hell In A Cell match and watched it countless times when I bought the DVD. It was a bloodbath and I’ve always enjoyed those kind of matches, especially when it serves a purpose.
Lesnar breaking the streak was a shocking moment and one that I’m not sure I’ll ever truly agree with. That kind of moment should have been for someone that they wished to make a star instead of giving the victory to someone who simply didn’t need it.
What are your favorite memories or thoughts on this feud?
Thanks for reading.