Before I begin, I should warn any WWE fan that this article contains spoilers to WWE SummerSlam.
So last night in the Barclays Center in New York, the Clash of the Titans took place in the Biggest Fight of the Summer! WWE's veteran gunslinger, the Undertaker returned to avenge his loss at last year's WrestleMania against the Beast that ended his streak, Brock Lesnar. Thirteen years ago, the Undertaker and Lesnar gelled well in the ring and put on some great matches (including a hellacious Hell In A Cell bout). Thus, last year when the match was made for WrestleMania XXX, hopes were high. However, the Undertaker suffered an early concussion and the match dragged and was a major letdown. Plus, it's highly controversial as it's the night the Undertaker's 21-0 WrestleMania Undefeated streak ended. Many feared that Lesnar was just too dangerous for the Deadman and that he should have never been allowed to compete against him.
After putting on stellar five star matches each year for about the prior 7 years, many people believed that age had set in on the Undertaker and the then 49 year old just couldn't do it anymore.
However, 15 months later, the Undertaker cost Brock Lesnar the WWE World Heavyweight championship at Battleground and the rematch "Too Big for WrestleMania" was set for SummerSlam.
And by God, did they bring the house down! The main event of Summerslam between Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker was everything that their match at WrestleMania XXX should have been. And yes, although the ending is swarming in controversy, with many claiming that it affects the myth of the Undertaker. The thing that impressed me the most was the man behind the myth. At 50 years of age, Mark Calaway should not have been able to perform like that, but he gave it everything he had! After the lackluster match last year, The Undertaker proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has still got it! Lesnar jumped on the Undertaker before the match started (and before he could take his hat and coat off!) and it looked like the Beast was set to maul the Deadman again, but the Undertaker fought back, delivering a thunderous big boot and a clothesline that knocked Lesnar out of the ring and sent the crowd into a frenzy. They knew at that moment that they were going to witness a battle for the ages.
A pretty even bout throughout, the Undertaker delivered chokeslams, snake eyes and big boots while Lesnar hit the Undertaker with 5 German suplexes (Suplex City!), F5'ed him through the announce table and delivered 2 more F5s, all of which the Undertaker survived and came back swinging.
Midway through the match, much like at their altercation a few weeks back, Lesnar told the Undertaker "I will kill you" to which the slow, wounded Undertaker replied, "You're gonna have to!" and just like that, the Deadman grabbed Lesnar by the throat and delivered one of the biggest chokeslams I've ever seen! Commentator Michael Cole aptly described it as a "wicked chokeslam".
Afterwards, the Undertaker took Lesnar to "Tombstone City" delivering his legendary Tombstone Piledriver to the Beast Incarnate. But Lesnar wasn't ready to go down and kicked out of the pin. What came next is definitely regarded as the highlight of the night. Both men spent, Lesnar surprisingly came to first and sat looking down on the Deadman's prone body. But like he has done so many times in his legendary career, the Undertaker sat up and glared at Lesnar who continued to laugh in his face. In a hilarious moment, the Undertaker responded with a maniacal laugh of his own, mocking Lesnar as he sarcastically cackled into the Beast's face before delivering a right hand. As the crowd erupted with laughter and cheers, both combatabts delivered powerful right hooks to each other as they attempted to stand up. The brawl ensued as the audience chanted "This is Awesome!" and indeed they were right.
After delivering a Last Ride, the controversial finish came when Undertaker was locked in Lesnar's Kimura lock and the timekeeper rang the bell, claiming that the Undertaker had tapped out/submitted. The referee scolded the timekeeper, claiming that he didn't see it (rightly so, it's the ref's decision to call for the bell). Lesnar and his manager, Paul Heyman celebrated their short-lived victory when the Undertaker delivered a low blow to Lesnar behind the referee's back as he waved off the decision and continued the match. The Undertaker then dragged Lesnar down into his Hell's Gate submission hold and screamed at Lesnar to tap out. Lesnar was trapped in the hold but refused to tap out, instead delivering a "defiant gesture" as he passed out into unconsciousness and the Undertaker was declared the winner.
I am over the moon that the Undertaker won. But I really wish that WWE came up with something better than this. The amazing brawl that these two had deserved a much better finish.
However, say what you will about the ending, or the fact that WWE is staged but Lesnar is an animal, a former professional UFC fighting Champion. And the Undertaker is a 50 year old veteran who's body has been put through brutal wars over the past 25 years. This match should not have worked, and many were fearful that it would end exactly like it did last year, with the Undertaker being taken to hospital. But this was the complete opposite, a much healthier looking, revitalized Undertaker stood toe-to-toe with Lesnar for the entirety of a surprisingly fast-paced match. The Undertaker proved that he has still got it and that last year's dud of a match was down to his concussion. The man who used to put on five star encounters is back and these two put on a showstopping war that would at least warrant a four star rating.
These two had an all out war, trading blows and finishing moves and the Undertaker walked out of it with a victory. But more than that, the Undertaker walked out of it, proving that this old Gunslinger still owns the Yard!
All photos are credited to and belong to: WWE.com