We're back with another edition of "How did WWE exploit Paul Bearer's death this week" and with last night's (April 1, 2013) episode of Monday Night Raw representing the go home show to WrestleMania 29 this Sunday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the promotion pulled out all the stops to build as much heat for the Undertaker vs. CM Punk match as humanly possible.
Or, depending on your stance on the matter, offend everyone in sight.
That's because Punk and his manager Paul Heyman took it to the extreme last night with a reenactment of "The Deadman's" WrestleMania 20 return. They used the druids to line the entrance ramp, played audio of Bearer saying "oh yes" as they did in 2004, and then Heyman showed up at the top of the stage dressed like Heyman, deep make up and everything.
This led to Undertaker charging him but it turned out Punk was dressed as one of the druids and he attacked 'Taker once he had his back turned. Then, it got really offensive -- again, depending on your stance -- when Punk used the urn to attack Undertaker before pouring out the contents, presumed to be Bearer's ashes (kayfabe, of course), all over his body.
Punk then poured out some more on his head while rubbing the ashes on his chest and face.
Here's the video:
Looking at this strictly as a storyline tool, it's done extremely well. Undertaker loses his father, Bearer, the man who held up the urn that gives him his supernatural powers, and Punk, who has a match against him at the biggest event ever, one where 'Taker has been unbeatable, decides to use that death against him. He does so in order to get inside "The Deadman's" head and get him so upset that he's not of right mind by the time they step in the ring together.
Even a disqualification loss is a loss.
Looking at this on the flip side of the coin, the one with more of a bent towards reality, there's no questioning it's offensive. After all, Bearer the man, who lived and breathed and had a real family who are still mourning his loss, is actually dead, not just his character on television. WWE is using the reality of that in an effort to get a reaction for a storyline leading to a pre-determined match.
And that just rubs some the wrong way.
By all accounts, his family has signed off on the use of Bearer's name in this way. Undertaker, based solely on his continued participation in the program, is also apparently on board with everything the company has done. And it's not as if Bearer's actual ashes are being used.
It looked more like sand, actually.
Plus, the idea is that the payoff will be Undertaker making Punk answer for all his transgressions at WrestleMania -- make sure you pay $70 to see it!
It's a tricky situation so I ask you, Cagesiders: Were you okay with this angle or did you have a problem with it?