Throwback Thursday: ‘The Phenom’ vs. ‘The Beast’, As Seen on WWE Network

October 22, 2015 by Brock Allen

WWE Network Throwback Thursday - Logo

Throwback Thursday: “The Phenom” vs. “The Beast”

The end is nigh. This Sunday at Hell in a Cell 2015 (8pm on the WWE Network) The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar will write the final chapter in one of the most violent, memorable, and enduring wars in WWE history. In preparation for the showdown Throwback Thursday on WDN looks at the long, storied history of The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar, as seen on the WWE Network.

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015 Poster -The Undertaker & Brock Lesnar

The Brock Lesnar/Undertaker war began on the Aug. 26, 2002 edition of Monday Night RAW when Lesnar cost “The Dead Man” a shot at Brock Lesnar’s Undisputed title in a “Number One Contender’s Match” against Triple H. Since then, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar have put on some of the most physical and brutal matches of the post-“Attitude” era. Of the 9 televised matches the two men have had in WWE only 7 are presently available on the Network. The two missing matches, as of this writing, are:

— Undertaker & John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar & Kurt Angle (Oct. 2, 2003, SD!)

— Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar & Big Show (Oct. 23, 2003, SD!)

With Brock Lesnar’s first WWE run slowly making its way to the WWE Network archives these missing matches will no doubt soon be available for viewing. That being said, this week’s TBT on WDN will focus only on the 7 Undertaker/Lesnar matches currently available on the Network.

WWE Championship (WATCH)
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar(c) w/Paul Heyman
Unforgiven 2002 • September 22, 2002

After costing Undertaker the WWE title shot Lesnar took the then-Undisputed title to SD!. The Undertaker followed, making his surprise debut on the Aug. 29th SD! defeating Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit to earn this title shot. Having destroyed WWE legends Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan, and having beaten The Rock to become the youngest WWE Champion in company history at SummerSlam, Lesnar and Heyman turned their attention to the legend of the Undertaker, and his then-pregnant wife Sara. Undertaker pushed Lesnar farther than any man had before in a brawl that marked the end of the beginning. Next for both men would be a trip to hell.

WWE Championship – “Hell in a Cell” (WATCH)
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar(c) w/Paul Heyman
No Mercy 2002 • October 20, 2002

WWE - Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker Hell in a Cell Match 2002

After digging up a woman from Undertaker’s past and “breaking” “The Dead Man’s” right hand, Lesnar and Heyman foolishly thought they had “The Phenom” reeling. They were sorely mistaken. While the theme of the first 8 Cell matches involved finding creative ways to escape the cell and things to do on top of it, The Undertaker and Lesnar raised the bar not by fighting to get out of the cell but by brutalizing each other in it. One of the bloodiest, most intense Cell matches ever, the greatness of the Lesnar/Undertaker “Hell in a Cell” classic lies in its athleticism, physicality and psychology, not stunt work or pratfalls. There are few matches in WWE history that compare to the brutality and intensity of this match.

“2003 Royal Rumble Match” (WATCH)
Royal Rumble 2003 • January 19, 2003

Brock Lesnar held the WWE title until Survivor Series 2002 when Paul Heyman turned on Lesnar, allowing Big Show to win the title. Undertaker, meanwhile, hadn’t been seen since the end of October when his wife Sara gave birth. For “The Beast” to get the WWE title back Lesnar would need to win the Rumble. Having defeated Big Show to qualify earlier in the evening Lesnar entered at #29 while The Undertaker, making his return, entered at #30. While The Undertaker eliminated Kane, Brock Lesnar snuck up from behind and dumped “The Dead Man” over the top rope for the win. After the match Undertaker shook Lesnar’s hand, challenging Lesnar to a future title shot should Lesnar win the WWE title at WrestleMania XIX.

No Disqualification Triple Threat Number One Contender’s Match for the WWE Championship” (WATCH – 1:10:00)
Guest Commentator: WWE Champion Kurt Angle
Brock Lesnar vs. The Big Show vs. The Undertaker
SmackDown! • August 28, 2003

WWE - Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker vs. Big Show Triple Threat Match

After losing the WWE title to Kurt Angle at Vengeance 2003 in a “Triple Threat Match” involving Big Show, Brock Lesnar was a man possessed. On the Aug. 21st SD! Lesnar destroyed Zach Gowen, leaving the young man in a pool of blood. After losing the WWE title rematch to Kurt Angle at SummerSlam 2003 Lesnar’s only hope for another rematch was to win this “Triple Threat Match”. This marked the first time Lesnar and Undertaker had squared off since January’s Royal Rumble. Though the match includes Big Show, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar spend little time reigniting their epic war. With a “last ride” on Lesnar, The Undertaker defeated Brock Lesnar for the first time on TV and secured a WWE title shot against Kurt Angle the very next week.

WWE Championship – “Biker Chain Match” (WATCH)
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar(c)
No Mercy 2003 • October 19, 2003

Lesnar won the WWE title for a third time on the Sept. 18th edition of SD! from Kurt Angle in a classic “Iron Man Match”. The first challenger to Lesnar’s newly-won title was The Undertaker, whom Lesnar screwed out of the WWE title on the Sept. 4th SD!. After weeks of brawling, tables, chairs, and chains the first-ever “Biker Chain Match” was made for No Mercy ’03. Though the match is a far cry from the brawls and blood-lettings of 2002 it is a hard-hitting contest dripping with psychology and drama. Used as a vehicle to further the Undertaker/Mr. McMahon angle, and the coming end of “The American Bad Ass”, the “Biker Chain Match” would be one of the final matches between the two for over a decade.

“The Beast vs. The Streak” (WATCH)
Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman vs. The Undertaker
WrestleMania XXX • April 6, 2014

WWE - Brock Lesnar Breaks The Undertaker's Streak at WrestleMania 30

Eat. Sleep. Conquer. The Streak. After 8 years Brock Lesnar returned to WWE on a mission, taking out John Cena, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and CM Punk before “The Beast” set its sights on “The Streak”. WWE deviated from the usual format for this match in that Lesnar made the match and went over last on TV yet won on PPV. Only a scant few knew the finish as of match time in what has become the most shocking moment in WrestleMania history. In its aftermath a sold-out Mercedes-Benz Superdome and shocked world-wide audience watching on the WWE Network watched The Undertaker ramble home, legacy set, future uncertain.

“The Phenom vs. The Beast” (WATCH)
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman
SummerSlam 2015 • August 23, 2015

WWE - Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker at SummerSlam 2015

After conquering “The Streak”, the “1” in “21 – 1” set out on an historic run culminating in a 4th WWE title, the first in 12 years. Robbed of the title at WrestleMania 31 Lesnar was poised to reclaim the title from Seth Rollins at Battleground 2015 when “The Phenom” returned for revenge. Again WWE deviated from the format. In this case it was The Undertaker who made the match and went over last on TV yet won on PPV. With a finish as controversial as their WrestleMania match it was Brock Lesnar who was left reeling, looking for final retribution. This marked Undertaker’s one and only victory over Lesnar on PPV and only the third victory overall (Undertaker pinned Lesnar on the Aug. 28 & Oct. 23, 2003 editions of SD!). With the conclusion of this match the stage was set for one final showdown to end the war once and for all.


Final Thoughts:

No one knew in the fall of 2002 that the rivalry between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker would span 13 years, 9 matches, buckets of blood, sweat, and tears, and would spell the end of “The Streak”. Sunday night, inside “Hell in a Cell”, one of the longest, most bitter feuds in WWE history will end. Win, lose, or draw both men will be forever linked by the matches and moments that have made this one of the greatest rivalries of all-time. After all these men have been through, what will the final act be? How will it all end? Who will prevail?

WWE - Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker Rivalry

That’s it for this week’s TBT – thank you for reading! Are you a current WWE Network subscriber? If so check out these matches, see them for yourself, and let us know what you think below. And don’t forget to tune into Hell in a Cell 2015 this Sunday, 8pm, on the WWE Network.

Until next week, see ya at ringside!

WWE Network - Hell in a Cell 2015

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6 Comments left on this article...

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  1. Anan says:

    “Undertaker, meanwhile, hadn’t been seen since the end of October when his wife Sara gave birth.”

    I believe that was the reason in reality. In keeping up with the storylines however, Taker was taken out of action by the Big Show who attacked from behind a less than 100% Taker and then tossed him from over his head onto the stage. Taker was taken out by an ambulance. Stephanie, Rey Mysterio, Edge were there to help and oversee Taker being taken away.

    “After conquering “The Streak”, the “1” in “21 – 1” set out on an historic run culminating in a 4th WWE title, the first in 12 years.”

    Is that accurate? The article mentions Lesnar’s Summerslam win over Cena. That was a WWE Title match, was it not? And he held it till WM31. So how did he set out on his first WWE Title in 12 years? Confused here.

    As for their HIAC match Sunday, I expect a clean finish because most HIAC matches have had clean finishes as the point of the match and why it was originally created was to keep the opponents in, everyone else out. While the likes of Taker, HBK, the 6 men at Armageddon 2000 have all got out, the only Cell matches that I can recall that has had interference was Ambrose vs Rollins as Wyatt returned and attacked Ambrose. He used a signature Undertaker trick so I’m thinking Wyatt was under the ring the whole time. The other match that comes to mind that had interference was Taker vs Batista where Edge cost Taker the match. But wasn’t Edge already inside the Cell the whole time disguised as a cameraman?

    I hope Taker gets a clean win. He’s put Lesnar over cleanly on PPV 3 times and only has a controversial win over him at Summerslam where he should have gotten a clean win to put this feud to rest.

    • Brock Allen says:

      The John Cena match mentioned in the WM 30 section was in reference to the Extreme Rules match. The matches mentioned there preceded the WM 30 match. Secondly, Kane interfered in the very first HIAC match and nearly every Cell match, nearly that is, prior to Lesnar/Taker revolved around getting out of the cell. As far as the Taker injury angle, I chose to skip the injury seeing as it had nothing to do with Lesnar. I appreciate the comment. Thanks for reading.

  2. Brad Attitude says:

    The feud should’ve been left and buried at WrestleMania XXX & not being rehashed since their matches now will never top the ones they had over ten yrs ago.

  3. Brock Allen says:

    The Oct. 2, 2003 SD! match has now been uploaded.

    It can be found at this link: Match begins at the 1:14:13 mark.

  4. Eric says:

    Thanks for this. I had forgotten about the Triple Threat #1 contenders match. I am going to add that sucker to my watch list. I really appreciate the time stamp mark.

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