The feeling on Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar has changed drastically in just seven days. The consensus of utter stupidity is now being challenged with a debate of an underlying story, a literary work of art. In what seemed like seconds this match changed from a third degree burn on The Undertaker’s career to something that only could of resulted from the resurrection of William Shakespeare himself. But the question remains, was this a story sent from Shakespeare or a script from an amateur playwright that would leave the greatest writer of all time turning in his grave?
Defining the word “Plot” is quite simple, a series of events that occur throughout a story. The plot ranges from the beginning of the story to the culmination of the events that provides a satisfying ending. It is important to note that satisfying does not necessarily mean a happy ending. The plot of a Shakespearean Tragedy is divided into specific points.
1. Exposition (introduction) – the beginning of the story that gives background information on characters and previous action
2. Trigger Incident (initial exciting force) – a scene or event that starts the action and triggers later conflict
3. Rising Action- the beginning of the action that will lead to a high point in the story
4. Climax- the turning point of the story; the part of the story in which the protagonist reaches an emotional high point or a peak in power
5. Falling action- the action that occurs after the climax, before everything is wrapped up in the story
6. The Catastrophe – when the events of the falling action bring the protagonist to his fate
These six plot points are the basic events that will happen throughout a Tragedy. Each of these points play a role in setting up the catastrophic ending and to keep the reader compelled and feeling the need to know what the resolution will be. The story of Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar would have been pieced together with this format in mind. So the question remains, Did Undertaker and Brock Lesnar accomplish that? Simply put, no.
The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar was missing major plot points that would bring together a true literary work of art and as a result lost the great effects that come with those events. Lesnar and Taker didn’t piece together a series of events to construct a real life version of a Shakespearean Tragedy but rather presented nothing more than a final act. Where were events two through five? The exposition is pretty much done for us as unlike in a novel or a play we have the opportunity to have watched previous events giving us prior knowledge of the protagonist and antagonist. It is clear the Catastrophe is the end result to the match so that just leaves the events that connect the two. These events would involve mostly the build up but also integrate the structure of the match. The format of how the events should have been played out is as follows…
1. Exposition – Accomplished by us simply knowing the character traits of Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. Once again the advantage of being in real life instead of reading a novel which has to introduce us to the characters.
2. Trigger Incident – The Undertaker challenges Brock Lesnar to a match at Wrestlemania
3. Rising Action – The build up. Unlike what happened the build up to the match should give us reason to believe that Brock Lesnar could actually end The Streak. Fans prepare for what they believe will be a classic match.
4. Climax – The start of the match. The crowd is up and are anticipating the great match unaware of the events that are about to occur.
5. Falling action – Brock Lesnar takes control of the match beating on The Undertaker. Undertaker appears to be a broken man but the crowd refuses to accept it. They beg for their hero to battle back.
6. The Catastrophe – Brock Lesnar stands over his fallen opponent. Undertaker rises one last time and is elevated to the shoulders of an unintimidated Brock Lesnar. Lesnar turns to the center of the ring facing the camera before delivering a final F5. The referee counts to three as a stunned crowd looks on. Not one Tombstone Piledriver, Chokeslam or even Old School was delivered.
The differences between the preceding scenario and what actually occurred may not be major but they add important layers to the story. One key point to the discussion about this match is the idea of fans not accepting the story that was being presented. In reality that is what should’ve happened… but it isn’t what happened. Not accepting the story would imply that fans saw it and refused to believe it to be the case. What actually took place was fans, some live in attendance at the Superdome and many watching at home, mentally checking out.
While the idea was to, in the end, shock the crowd who came into the match so sure that Undertaker’s streak would extend to 22-0, did special precautions need to be made to ensure that that would happen? They wanted to shock a crowd that believed never in a million years that The Undertaker’s Streak would end but once again, did they need to manufacture that reaction? It was established on Pro Wrestling Talk Radio’s review of Wrestlemania XXX that no matter what the circumstances, no matter how believable The Streak ending would be a shocking moment. So exactly why shouldn’t they have planted a seed of doubt that The Streak could end? Take the play The Tragedy Of Julius Caesar for example. The plan to assassinate Julius Caesar is revealed early in the play. But why would Shakespeare risk spoiling the results of his story? Other than the fact it was a real historical event and everyone knew it was going to happen but work with me for a second, it’s because the beauty of writing a Tragedy is that everyone looks for the happy ending. Apply that to Brock vs Taker, regardless of whether or not people believed that it could happen, everyone would be stunned to see it happen.
The next issue is simply the match itself. The match wasn’t supposed to be a five star classic, but did that need to result in a disinterested crowd? The story in the match didn’t call for an excited crowd going nuts over false finishes and amazing action. However that’s the point, don’t do false finishes and amazing action. If the idea is not to stun the crowd with kick outs then only do one F5, don’t do a Tombstone or a Last Ride. Substitute amazing back and forth action for physical moves by Brock that leave a crowd cringing as they watch the destruction of their hero. The match didn’t have to be Shawn vs Undertaker but because it did not fully commit to its story resulted in a disinterested audience not an audience buying into the story.
In conclusion Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker is an example of a Real Life Literary Tragedy but not a work of art. Aspects of the match including disinterest from the audience and a structure to the match that did not fully commit to the story they were looking to tell. While some may be able to go back and force themselves through the match to finally pull the story from the match, many can’t and that speaks to the missed opportunities within the match. The lack of investment fans had in the match reveals the bigger story of the match: the three count. The match fans saw was not a Tragedy of epic proportions but the final act of Romeo and Juliet.