The lights go and the crowd rises to their feet
The Graveyard Symphony begins and flames start shooting up from the stage
The legendary Undertaker emerges on the stage and slowly saunters down the ramp. The hair on the back of your neck stands up, it’s the entrance you’ve been looking forward to all night long.
He walks up the ring steps, raises his hands and the lights turn on. He steps into the ring, removes his hat and coat.
Then you come crashing back to reality.
After watching this mythical figure make his way into the squared circle, when light effects and music are done all we see in ring is a 51-year-old Mark Calloway standing there.
Gone are the days of great matches of our generation with the likes of Edge, Shawn Michaels and others.
At this point we’re talking more about what surgeries are on the horizon for Taker.
Maybe it’s time for him to take his own advice and REST. IN. PEACE.
Hear me out, I love Undertaker just as much as everyone out there. I’m actually really pumped to see him when I head down to Orlando for Wrestlemania in April.
But let’s be honest with ourselves, Taker’s best days are way behind him and that’s no secret. His last great match was against CM Punk at Wrestlemania 29, and Punk should get a lot of credit for carrying the Deadman’s weight.
And for all those people saying, “What about the Shane McMahon match at Wrestlemania 32?” Don’t kid yourself. If it weren’t for Shane-O throwing himself off the Hell in a Cell, that match would’ve been a total dud. (And don’t even talk to me about the stipulation that was completely ignored when the dust settled)
But let’s look at the big picture here. . .
Starting in 2011, Undertaker became the ultimate part-timer for WWE. He’d show up around this time of year and we’d all get excited.
“Who’s he gonna face?”
“Is this the year for Sting?”
“Is this his last match?”
“Are they going to beat the streak?”
The loss to Brock Lesnar robbed us of that intrigue. The magic was gone. I’ll use one of my favorite analogies here: “You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.”
In an interview after the loss, Vince McMahon said Taker was hesitant, but went with it to “give back to the business.”
No streak. What was left for Taker to do?
One year later, the Undertaker had the chance to “give back to the business” and pass the torch to “The New Face of Fear,” Bray Wyatt, and ride off into the sunset.
And with a match with Sting out the window, the dream scenario is now just another, “what could’ve been.”
But here we are again. It’s Wrestlemania season and he’s back.
There’s talk of him being one of the favorites to win the Royal Rumble and contend for one of the main titles?
I don’t want to see the Undertaker win the Royal Rumble because I don’t want to see him fighting for the title. Does anyone want to see that happen?
Here’s three reasons why I don’t. . .
1) I don’t want to see him win the title
We don’t need another Undertaker title run, ESPECIALLY if it comes at the expense of two rising stars in Kevin Owens and AJ Styles – if they’re still holding the titles at Wrestlemania. Talk about a burial (pun intended) if Styles or Owens’ momentum gets stopped dead (another intended pun) by losing to a 51-year-old who has been essentially wrestling one match a year for the last five years.
2) I don’t want to see him lose another match at Wrestlemania
If he’s not going to win, he’s got to lose, right?
That’s seriously the very last thing I’d like to see happen.
The loss would not only hand Taker another loss, but it’d also change the immense impact the Lesnar win that made him “The 1 in 21-1.”
The only way I’d be OK (I guess) to see him lose at Wrestlemania is if it is going to elevate a superstar to new heights, just like we thought he was going to do with Bray Wyatt.
Don’t give me Roman Reigns. The E has already shoved him down our throats enough, he doesn’t need a victory over the Undertaker. Plus, I think he’d get booed MORE if he got a “W” over the Deadman at Mania.
3) Why the hell does he need to be in the title picture at this point?
I have said it for years that a character like the Undertaker doesn’t need to be a champion to be a draw.
That’s a skill.
You get the Undertaker fanfare, you get to see a living legend wrestle, you save the title for the up-and-coming stars or the “big moment.”
One match I’d like to see that hasn’t really been tossed out there to this point?
Undertaker vs. Samoa Joe.
It would be an absolute brawl between the two, and striking is one of the things the Undertaker still does well. Plus, Joe still has the type of motor that could help carry the match (because at this point in his career, the Undertaker can’t carry a match himself). Not to mention, a match with the Phenom would give Joe some serious rub upon his call to the main roster.
But the most intriguing thing about the Undertaker’s career winding down: Who will get the “Last Ride” in the legendary Taker’s career? One has to imagine his final match will take place at A Wrestlemania (is it this year?) because – as Mr. Nestlemania pointed out to me the other day – his final match will be a HUGE moneymaker. I personally think they are keeping the “John Cena card” in their back pocket for his final match. After all, he has yet to face Cena at the grandest stage.
It’s been a long, illustrious career for the Deadman, with many memorable moments that will live forever on the WWE Network (Only 9.99 a month, if you didn’t know). But with little left to do, and only a little left in the tank, it’s time for him to put the final nail in his coffin and take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame.
So, in other words, it’s time for him to REST. IN. PEACE.