Over the next couple of days, weeks and months there are going to be many things written about The Undertaker, and his career, and it will be rightly deserved. One of the things that will be debated heavily from Wrestlemania 33 on wards will be his last match, and if his send-off was the best way to send The Undertaker out of his in-ring career.
Here is why the send-off he was given at Wrestlemania 33 was the perfect way for the dead-man to end his career.
As much as all of us fans would love to have seen The Undertaker end with a victory, The Undertaker, being from the old school of wrestling, was never going to go out that way. Just like Shawn Michaels, Rick Flair and Mick Foley before him, The Undertaker was going to end his career the way a good wrestle should, on his back, giving another wrestler a push on his way. The way he lost, taking 3-4 superman punches, chair shots and 4 spears (including one through the announcers table), meant he didn’t go quietly, and left us wondering if maybe he did have one more match in him.
Survivors Series may have been the only other PPV that could have held The Undertaker’s last match, but really there was only one place The Undertaker could have his last match. His Last 10 years or so he was Wrestlemania (which is one of the reason he wanted The Streak to end), so the grandest stage of all, was the perfect setting in front a record crowd at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
Imagine the poor match that would have had to follow if The Undertaker v Roman Reigns was not the main event. Remember it took nearly half way through the Batista/ Orton/ Daniel Bryan before the crowd recovered at Wrestlemania 30 after The Undertaker lost the streak. The lasting image of the gloves, hat and jacket left in the ring was the only image people should have had leaving the stadium. I have even read, the crew left the gloves, hat and jacket in the ring for as long as they could when packing up, that’s how much respect this man has had on the industry.
ON HIS OWN TERMS
Both Shawn Michaels and Rick Flair had the stipulation of career ending if they lost. Which worked perfectly for both on their last matches. The scene of The Undertaker, hesitating leaving the ring, only to return to the cente to remove gloves, jacket and hat was symbolic in that he just lost his ‘yard’, and just like an old alpha lion, the only thing to do is leave the pride, and let the young buck take over. Without the stipulation (of retiring if he lost), he allowed every other match to have its moment and sense of importance, without everyone just waiting around for his match. Again this shows his professional for his industry.
The most contentious aspect of The Undertaker’s last match is the man that ended it, Roman Reigns. As polarising as John Cena, with the younger fans loving him, and the older fans hating on him, he was always going to be a controversial choice. But going through the roster, he was the only real option:
- Brock Lesnar – ended the streak, so didn’t need to end his career. And really we didn’t want to see another Lesnar v Undertaker match
- Triple H – has been done 3 times at Wrestlemania and as a part time performer gains nothing from retiring The Undertaker.
- John Cena – Similar to Triple H, only part timer now, and career does not need retiring Undertaker
- Shawn Michaels – a returning Michaels would only make his last match now seem less important.
- Goldberg – a wrestling legend, but not a WWE legend, so doesn’t deserve the honour
- Sting – 2 50+ year old wrestlers in the ring, doesn’t scream classic match, and The Undertaker needed someone to balance out his slow methodical approach, with speed and intensity.
- Braun Strowman – Still an unknown in terms of his growth and longevity. Had it been next year, then maybe.
- Finn Balor – recovering from injury, not a proven main event star..yet
- Samoan Joe / AJ Styles – Both still making their way in the WWE,
- Seth Rollins – Had own agenda with Triple H
Looking at the list, the only viable option was Reigns. He has the power, speed and ‘hunger’ that would make a victory over the Undertaker seem logically. Reigns is a Royal rumble winner, former WWE World Heavyweight champion, and one third of one of the most dominate factions of all time in The Shield. He has battled the likes of Triple H, and Brock Lesnar and held his own against them, and dominated Rumbles and Survivor series matches. After headlining the past 2 Wrestlemanias he is a name the casual fan knows, and therefore they would not be shocked that he is able to beat The Undertaker. What the WWE does with Reigns and this victory could well determine how his career is defined
As a wrestling fan for over 40 years, the retirement of the Undertaker has left a hole in my wrestling heart. I believe now was the right time, as he can spend quality time with his family, knowing that he will always be one of the all-time great professional wrestlers that have ever entered the squared ring.
Thank You Taker