When Undertaker made the decision to return to WWE to set up (at least) one more match, this one at WrestleMania 29 against CM Punk on Sun., April 7, 2013, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the promotion apparently had to "scramble" to come up with a creative direction. On the surface it shouldn't have been too difficult to come up with something for one of the biggest legends of all time and one of the best workers -- and maybe thee best promo -- in the business today.
The direction they started with was Punk being mad at fans for taking away his historic WWE championship reign, so he would take away the one thing they still hold dear in professional wrestling: The Streak.
Nothing special, but not bad, right?
Everything changed the very next evening when news broke that Paul Bearer, the longtime manager and storyline father of Undertaker, had died. We wondered if WWE would incorporate this into the storyline that was already created but if the past two weeks are any indication, initial ideas have been scrapped altogether and Bearer's death is being used as the chief catalyst to get to the match.
First, Punk made a few disparaging remarks that perfectly toed the line and stayed relatively classy. Then, in the main event segment of last week's episode of Monday Night Raw show, he stole the urn and used it to attack Kane, Undertaker's storyline brother.
Now, though, they went and took it to a new level on last night's (March 18, 2013) episode of Raw in Pittsburgh with the following segment. So, we present to you "How WWE exploited Paul Bearer's death this week."
Yes, that is Punk acting like Bearer's ashes are in that urn and using it to mock his voice while talking to Undertaker. He's also playing around with it in disrespect before finally dropping it.
According to Dave Meltzer on the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, a few folks internally at WWE weren't happy with this segment and Punk himself hasn't been pleased with the creative direction they've had for him:
"I could say more, or I can't say more, but there were a lot of people... I'll just say this: There are a lot of people internally who are not happy with it. This is the one segment that was actually pointed out to me that there were a lot of people not happy with it. Not because of the explotation of Paul Bearer thing, nobody was mad about it that way like with Eddie Guerrero, it was just several people just thought this segment was bad for the company and bad in general."
The only good thing to come of this is that it makes sense within the story that Punk would be a vicious enough heel that he would use such a thing to get inside Undertaker's head to give him an advantage headed into WrestleMania. Indeed, he made sure to say that even a countout or disqualification counts as a loss.
Still, this came off rather cold and inappropriate and definitely pushed the line as far as possible. How did you Cagesiders feel about it?