Depending who you ask, breaking The Undertakerís undefeated WrestleMania streak would either be the best or worst thing that could happen for WWE. On one hand, if Undertaker loses to CM Punk Sunday night, it cements Punkís legendary status and will help the wrestling promotion earn more money in the coming years by featuring the hated heel who put the 1 in Takerís 20-1. From a passing-of-the-torch perspective, itís the right thing to do for the business.
On the flip side, Undertaker means so much both on screen and behind the scenes in WWE, that as long as he wants to wrestle, his streak should remain alive as itís one of the true selling points at each yearís big show. Besides, Undertaker beating Punk also keeps open the opportunity for John Cena to challenge the streak at WrestleMania 30 (talk about a money maker).
But not so fast, as I had the chance to get CM Punkís perspective on his upcoming match, his recent use of the piledriver, and where he sees his career headed post WrestleMania.
Hereís what the controversial wrestler loaded with verbal pipe bombs had to say. Let the explosions begin.
ESPN Playbook: What would beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania do for your legacy?
CM Punk: I think it would do something tremendous for anybodyís legacy. Some people get excited just because theyíre wrestling The Undertaker at WrestleMania, but Iím not really in awe of anybody I wrestle; Iím here to beat him. Itís one of the only things I can possibly do to top my career moment I had in Las Vegas when I cut that infamous promo.
ESPN: Undertaker is known as the locker room leader in WWE. With him being gone for almost a year, who filled his role behind the scenes?
Punk: Iím not really sure anybody could fill Takerís shoes, and I donít think anybody is trying to, either. God help us all if Iím the leader, but when you look around the landscape, thereís really nobody else besides myself and John Cena. Thatís about it.
ESPN: The Rock took your title and broke one of the most historic championship streaks in years, then is too busy to attend every Raw leading into WrestleMania. Do you think itís bad for the company when the champion isnít even on the show?
Punk: I do, yeah, but itís not my company, so thatís where we are with that. [laughs]
ESPN: Do you hope for a third match against The Rock sometime in the future?
Punk: I donít think itís in the cards, but I wouldnít say no to it.
ESPN: Paul Heyman is acting as an advisor to both you and Brock Lesnar. Are we ever going to see you guys join forces in a tag team?
Punk: Iíd love to. Thatís actually something weíre discussing, yes.
ESPN: How about a match against Brock? Is that something we can expect in the future?
Punk: I think that would be horrible for him. He doesnít want to fight me.
CM Punk isn't once to hold back, whether on the mike or in interviews with journalists.
ESPN: Do you think fans appreciate enough all of the little things Paul Heyman does on screen that helps add to the atmosphere, like all of his facial expressions and the way he used to hold your belt high over his head?
Punk: I think the ones who are in on it do; and the ones who arenít, they hate his guts. And thatís his job, to get people to hate him.
ESPN: As a fan, what WrestleMania match are you most looking forward to watching?
Punk: Fandango versus Chris Jericho. You probably donít believe me, but itís true. I canít remember the last time somebody debuted at WrestleMania, and Fandango is actually one hell of a talent, so Iím excited to see where this goes. Besides, itís Chris Jericho. You canít go wrong with a Chris Jericho match.
ESPN: How about as a kid growing up, is there a WrestleMania moment that stands out as your favorite. Maybe something that happened that made you want to become a wrestler.
Punk: I only got to pay attention to what other people were saying about WrestleMania because I didnít start religiously watching them until about WrestleMania X. Bret (Hart) versus Owen (Hart) is one of the best WrestleMania matches ever, so if anything made me want to become a wrestler, that match was it.
ESPN: The Shield has debuted in huge fashion. What do you think of the potential of these three newcomers both as a team and individually?
Punk: I think thereís huge potential for all three of them. Roman Reigns came in as a relative unknown, but heís more than pulled his weight. I think you can definitely see any three of those guys becoming a future world champion.
ESPN: Looking at the WrestleMania 29 card, when the show is over, what do you think people are going to leave MetLife Stadium talking about the most?
Punk: My match. Iím out to prove people wrong again. I donít think itís a secret that I wanted to be in the main event at WrestleMania and I donít think itís a secret that people are like, ďBut youíre in one of the main events, youíre wrestling The Undertaker.Ē But Iím not one for consolation prizes. Iím out to steal the show, and Iím out to do the improbable. If Iím able to do that, that remains to be seen, but weíll find out.
ESPN: Your match against John Cena on Raw a few weeks ago was one of the best matches Iíve seen this past year. I like how he busted out the hurricanranna and you busted out the piledriver Ö it made the match feel special with these big moves. Can we expect something similar against The Undertaker?
Punk: Absolutely, especially with me. [laughs] You never know what Iím going to do.
ESPN: Isnít the piledriver a banned move? Did you get in trouble for doing it on Raw?
Punk: I sure did.
ESPN: How did the move get banned? Itís something that has been in wrestling for years.
Punk: It has a bad history of injuries and accidents, so itís better safe than sorry. Itís really sort of not worth it, but I wanted to show that I was really trying to win that damn match.
ESPN: Funny how doing a move that is banned ended up working in your favor and giving the match a more epic feeling.
Punk: Funny how that works out sometimes.
ESPN: You were on the cover of ďWWE 13,Ē and now 2K Sports is taking over development of the new game coming out this year. Is there anything youíd like to see in the upcoming game that they werenít able to capture in ďWWE 13Ē?
Punk: Oh God, it will be interesting to see what they bring to the table, video game-wise. THQ always did such a great job. I canít think of anything that they need to add. Itís always kind of creepy to look at myself in the game. Itís almost like looking at still photos.
ESPN: Iím not sure about Undertakerís health and if heíll stick around much after WrestleMania, so after your big match this weekend, who do you see yourself feuding with next?
Punk: I would honestly love to tag with Brock Lesnar. If it was up to me, I would do that and take on Kane and Daniel Bryan or Dolph (Ziggler) and Big E., whoever has the straps after WrestleMania.