Revisiting CM Punk vs The Undertaker: WWE’s Greatest Ever Match?

Hamish Woodward

WWE
cm punk vs undertaker

With five-stars being thrown around for any old multi-man brawl, we look back at one of the best WWE matches of all time – CM Punk vs The Undertaker at WrestleMania 29.

CM Punk took on The Undertaker at WrestleMania 29 in a titanic clash between top stars which weaved real-life and kayfabe into one incredible story that is still talked about to this day.

The Undertaker’s legacy exists almost solely upon his incredible Wrestlemania performances. 25 times The Undertaker stepped into the ring at Wrestlemania, and 23 times he walked out victories.

He has two losses that scar his impressive record. First was at Wrestlemania 30, when Brock Lesnar ended the Streak by defeating The Undertaker after three 5-F’s.

The second was four years later, when Roman Reigns appeared to put away the Deadman with a super-spear. After the match The Undertaker seemed to hang up his boots, but he would wrestle twice more at Wrestlemania before ending his career on his own terms.

While his later matches, like Undertaker vs Goldberg, failed live up to his incredible usual level, this match did just that and exceeded it.

CM Punk vs The Undertaker is the greatest Wrestlemania match of all time.

CM Punk vs The Undertaker

undertaker vs cm punk
The Undertaker’s entrance against CM Punk was one of the best of all time (Credit: WWE.com)

The Undertaker vs CM Punk had one of the most unusual starts to their feud.

Whilst an Undertaker Wrestlemania match usually had incredible stakes and personal rivalries, this one was very different. The Undertaker was 20-0 at Wrestlemania and in the middle of the greatest streak in sports history, but at Wrestlemania 29 he seemingly had nobody to face.

CM Punk and The Undertaker had no reason to fight. Aside from Punk wanting to break the streak, there was no reason the WWE writers could come up with to book this match.

So they just didn’t bother. CM Punk had to qualify for the match (which is ridiculous), and did so by defeating Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show in a Fatal 4 Way match on Monday Night Raw.

Such a boring and uninspired start to this feud doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a fantastic match. However, it was the storyline leading up the Wrestlemania that helped tipped this match over the each from great to greatest of all time.

CM Punk had just lost his WWE Championship prior to CM Punk vs Undertaker. His 434 day reign had been ended by The Rock at the Royal Rumble, and he was annoyed and looking for revenge.

The Undertaker looked like the best target for that revenge, thought Punk.

CM Punk and his manager Paul Heyman decided the best way to defeat The Undertaker wasn’t physically in the ring. Undertaker had the size and weight advantage over CM Punk, so it would be a fruitless endeavour.

So instead they focused on beat him mentally. Undertaker had recently felt the sting of grief as his former manager and friend Paul Bearer had passed away, a death that had taken a huge toll on hi.

CM Punk saw this and took advantage (with permission from the family of Paul Bearer). He took possession of the famous Urn that Paul Bearer would carry around, using it as a weapon to attack the Undertaker.

He also had Paul Heyman dress up as Bearer, while also pouring “Paul Bearer’s” ashes over him live on Monday Night Raw.

The rivalry had blown up, and the match was no longer about CM Punk wanting to end the streak. The Undertaker vs CM Punk was a psychological battle that was fought over the honour of the late great Paul Bearer.

The Match

CM Punk vs The Undertaker started at a break-neck speed. CM Punk came flying out of the gate, working over the Undertaker with frantic kicks and punches. He was occasionally swatted away by the larger Deadman, but his attack was relentless and he soon got on top of the Deadman.

CM Punk was undoubtedly the star of the match. While The Undertaker was the biggest star in the match, CM Punk took control and showed why he called himself the best in the world.

It was clear he had something to prove when he stepped into the ring to the backdrop of a live Living Colour performance. He had a chip on his shoulder after his loss to The Rock and missing out on another Wrestlemania main event.

cm punk vs the Undertaker

He was determined to make this the match everybody remembered, and The Undertaker was just along for the ride.

The pair had an undeniable chemistry in their match and it meant everything. Every single move was smooth, every counter was unexpected yet executed with beauty. Everything was brutal looking, but safe in execution.

CM Punk mocked The Undertaker by hitting him with own signature moves. He counted The Undertaker’s own Old School by throwing the former WWE Champion from the top role with an arm drag, and the Deadman bumped beautifully from high.

He then climbed the ropes and his his won Old School, which was even more impactful as he mocked his opponent by wearing trunks in The Undertaker’s signature colours.

CM Punk’s reactions to The Undertaker were also a highlight of the match. Everytime he was picked up for a move, or saw the legendary “Undertaker sit-up” you could see the fear in his eyes with the realisation of what was about to happen.

In some instances, he used that to his advantage. He leapt out of a Last Ride on the outside, landing a huge kick to the Undertaker’s head, before hitting a beautiful elbow drop onto the announce table. Maddeningly and painfully, the table refused to break.

CM Punk was sure that he won the match on multiple occasions. Multiple GTS’s and Anaconda Vices had he and Heyman in shock as the Undertaker refused to stay down, as he battled for the honour of his former manager.

The Undertaker won the bought with an exciting counter. He was about to be hit with a final GTS which he knew if he hit the ground, the streak was over. He used every ounce of his strength to escape from Punk’s grip, lift him excruciatingly into the a Tombstone Piledriver before pinning CM Punk to win the match and keep the Streak alive at 21-0.

This was CM Punk’s last Wrestlemania match, and the last of the great Undertaker matches. The streak would fall to Brock Lesnar a year later and The Deadman would never truly perform at such a standard as he did vs CM Punk at Wrestlemania 29.

CM Punk vs The Undertaker is the greatest Wrestlemania match of all time in my view. It was CM Punk at his best with a chip on his shoulder and proving why he should be in the Wrestlemania main event.

Sadly he would never get to achieve that dream and would walk out on WWE less than a year later. He now wrestles for AEW and looks like he could be the next AEW World Champion.

Meanwhile The Undertaker has retired from wrestling and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2022 as the headline act in his home state of Texas.

The Undertaker On His Match With CM Punk

The Undertaker spoke exclusively to Sportsmail’s Alex McCarthy about his match with CM Punk at WrestleMania 29. It has been considered the Deadman’s last great match, and Mark Callaway had nothing but good words to say about CM Punk.

‘He [CM Punk] was great to work with. I’m very proud of that match and we sat down and thought about ideas and everything.’

He also shut down any rumours of heat between the two. There were reports that during Punk’s first world title run in 2008, he butted heads with Undertaker about how he dressed, but that seems to have been brushed aside and there was no heat between the two.

‘I had no beef with Punk, he was always business with me, hopefully I was with him,’ he said. ‘I’ve been told that I have some beef against him, social media… they tell me because I don’t read comments or follow it, but I have a lot of people that tell me. 

Supposedly I squashed his push and all of this but anybody who knows me – even if I didn’t like somebody, and I don’t dislike punk, that’s another rumour that I have disdain for him, I don’t, he was good with me and that’s all that matters – business is business, whatever’s best for business.

‘That’s one thing I did learn from Vince (McMahon, WWE major shareholder), whatever is best for business is what you do, so I can’t worry about what people who have no clue about our business think.

‘Everybody thinks they’re an expert but they really have no clue. It’s ridiculous online. Business has always been business and he was always business with me.’

Do you think Undertaker vs CM Punk is the best Wrestlemania match of all time? Let us know in the comments or click below to read more

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