WWE WrestleMania Rewind: When “The Best in The World” met “The Phenom”

The Undertaker resiliently risen out of the dark abyss of a flamed phoenix from the incinerated ashes before staging a grand return on March 4, 2013 episode of a jam-packed WWE RAW.

This inserted a phenomenal footnote after a long eight month sabbatical returning on the longest-running weekly episodic television show on network television – WWE RAW (Debut: January 11, 1993). The demon of death valleys nefarious, sacrilegious, masonic-overtoned, iconic entrance sent dark nerve-trembling trepidation through the shady spirit of the deadmans unapologeticly smug WWE Wrestlemania 29 opponent: CM Punk.

CM Punk, who once held the WWE Championship for a marathon benchmark of 434 days, claimed a must-win victory over Randy Orton, The Big Show and Sheamus in a fatal four way clash leading toward their WrestleMania 29 moment of truth; opening the door of oportunity for CM Punk to face The Undertaker at Metlife Stadium.

Bestowed upon the awe-inspiring reappearance of the legendary Undertaker, WWE RAW viewer ratings soared instantaneously from a respectable 3.6 (February 25, 2013) to a rock-solid 5.0 (March 5, 2013) on the vintage vibed RAW old school-themed show; with a fittingly pivotal moment for The Undertaker; who during that moment debuted in the WWE twenty three years ago prior as Kane The Undertaker, before undergoing various embellishment throughout two decades of destruction and burying souls.

The Undertaker’s then unblemished 21-0 streak hung anxiously in the balance – and in prestigiousness – as much esteem as any honorific WWE championship title before facing the self proclaimed “Best In The World”, CM Punk at WWE WrestleMania 29.

The calculatedly-cunning, sly fox-minded CM Punk aimed to write the career epitath on the holy grail of the sacred winning streak; which credible US publication Sports Illustrated named as one of the most dominant win-loss records in American professional sports history.

In hindsight, ‘The Phenom’ had far more to lose than to personally gain in the now WWE Wrestlemania 29 classic contest on April 7, 2013. The Undertaker’s WWE Wrestlemania casualties in his legendary domination enlist names of wrestling royalty: “Mr. WrestleMania” himself, ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels (Whom Undertaker personally retired in 2010 after an epic career vs. streak showdown at Wrestlemania 26), Triple H, Randy Orton, Edge and ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair.

CM Punk’s long-reigning historic championship run came to a curtain call after Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson miraculously claimed the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble 2013; yet CM Punk’s indelible imprint on the lineage of the title officially eclipsed a litany of WWE legends who had previously held the coveted WWE championship in: ‘The Rated-R Superstar’ Edge, Eddie Guerrero, JBL and Mick Foley.

CM Punk, ever-unafraid of biting his acid-tongue, largely thanks to oral gift-of-gab weapon of choice – ‘Pipe Bomb’, had seen everyone from 16-time WWE Champion John Cena to Multi-platinum selling R&B superstar, Chris Brown, viciously stung by the superiorly snide comments of the Chicago-made, holier than thou, second city superstar.

Ironically, CM Punk’s then slimy, walrus-like manager, Paul Heyman, (then CM Punk personal advisor) steered both respective superstars to glory in his stellar managerial career; when the fast-talking, balls-to-the-wall, extreme, media-savvy marketer managed the 6″10 agile bigman (then named: Mean Mark Callous) in the now defunct, Ted Turner-owned World Championship Wrestling (WCW) before WWE billionaire owner Vince McMahon made The Undertaker a household name in WWE (Heyman managed in two main event WrestleMania 29 contests).

The memorial tribute on RAW for The Undertaker’s former manager, Paul Bearer, after the ghoulish-sounding, urn-holding great passed away on March 5, 2013 was hijacked by the attention-seeking, outspoken, brutally honest CM Punk, who shown grave disrespect to Bearer and The Undertaker after juggling Bearer’s urn as well as pouring out the ashes on to the ground. In addition, the eloquently devious and smarmy Paul Heyman dressed up as the late-great Paul Bearer to further mock the The Undertaker’s former manager, to which incited further conflict between The Undertaker and CM Punk.

However, the three-word, eulogy-associated words callously uttered to CM Punk on Wrestlemania 29 were not ‘Go To Sleep’, yet ‘Rest in peace’. CM Punk and The Undertaker delivered with precision and included memorable moments such as The Undertaker and CM Punk utulizing Mixed Martial Arts gogoplata submission holds, coupled alongside Punk mocking The Undertaker with The Undertaker’s Old School maneuver on the top rope. The suspense, surprises and near falls created perhaps CM Punk’s most memorable WWE WrestleMania moment and one of The Undertaker’s many cherished WWE WrestleMania encounters.

CM Punk vs. The Undertaker at WWE WrestleMania 29 was unquestionably the most memorable WWE match of the 2013, whilst also being on the grandest stage of them all – WWE WrestleMania. Even after five years, CM Punk versus The Undertaker has stood the test of time and fans reminisce about what was undoubtedly a moment which left the WWE Universe hanging on the edge of their seat as well as gasping for more.

Dean Perretta

Dean Perretta is a 2x SEA Award-winning creative, Broadcast Journalist, Reporter, Courtside Analyst for BBC televised London Lions and Executive Producer who currently contributes to FOX Sports 96.9 FM/1340 AM, NBC News featured hit News2Share in Washington, D.C and VAVEL in New York. Perretta's work has been published in reputable publications in newsstands and online in the United States, Germany, Spain, Canada and the United Kingdom and has interviewed a plethora of influential superstars in the world of professional sports (Asafa Powell, Michael Vick, Alysson Felix, Valentina Shevchenko, Todd Grisham, Lisa Guerrero); Perretta is a one-time AAU basketball reporter who has also covered the acclaimed NBA Footlocker 3x World Tour (interviewing NBA San Antonio Spurs star Rudy Gay); Perretta was invited to the world class Gracie Jiu-Jitsu seminar in May 2017 hosted by Bellator MMA Brand Ambassador, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Pioneer, Brazilian national treasure/hero and UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie and has a global reach outside of the United States into desirable markets such as Asia and Europe. Furthermore, Perretta was also officially invited as a guest to the Olympic Musuem in Laussane, Switzerland prior to the advent of the London 2012 Olympics to bear the Olympic torch. In the United Kingdom, BBC Radio's Nicola Richards, SKY TV's Vanessa Cruickshank, Fubar Radio/SKY TV Presenters Olivia Cox and Rachael Downie and BBC 5 Live's Award-winning presenter Claire Clottey have interviewed Dean Perretta as well as CBS Radio, ESPN Radio and FOX Sports Radio in the United States. Perretta has collaborated with globally reputable blue chip corporate businesses such as UFC, Bellator MMA, Singapore's ONE Championship, New Japan Pro Wrestling, RIZIN Fighting Federation, INVICTA FC, NBA, BAMMA, Arsenal W.F.C, IAAF Athletics, GLORY Kickboxing, Major League Soccer, English Premier League, SKY BET Championship, USL, WWE, Podcast One, GFW/Impact Wrestling, ROH and DDP Yoga.