Back in April, WWE aired a special (or actually a lot of specials) to honor Triple H’s twenty fifth anniversary in the company. That really is an incredible accomplishment and Triple H should have been praised for it. Now granted some people might think that it went a little too far (read as anyone not named Triple H or McMahon) but the point was clear: Triple H was a legend who had accomplished something special.
Well now we are about six months away from something that really blows that out of the water: the Undertaker’s thirtieth anniversary in WWE. Think about that for a second. There is a good chance that a lot of the people reading this either aren’t thirty years old or can’t remember something that happened thirty years ago. Over that entire time period, Undertaker has been around WWE and having at least one match a year (or sometimes more). We are now in his fourth DECADE with the company and now many people can make that claim.
What’s even more interesting though is how the curtain is finally being pulled back on Undertaker a little bit. For almost his entire career, Undertaker has been the most ardent keeper of kayfabe in wrestling. It was almost unthinkable to see Undertaker not be in character at all times and now that he is letting some people in, it is almost hard to accept what we are seeing and hearing.
What’s even harder to imagine is a WWE without Undertaker, but we are coming up on that point. Undertaker has been slowing down for the better part of ten years now (dating back to when he was only forty five years old) and at some point, the gong isn’t going to ring anymore. That’s an amazing thought but also sad at the same time. I know it might not seem like that big of a deal considering how infrequently Undertaker gets in the ring anymore, but it is something you always thought might be a possibility.
It was a long time ago:
The biggest thing that is going to be missing is the attraction of the Undertaker. What a lot of people might not catch is why Undertaker was created. Undertaker debuted in late 1990, about seven months after Andre the Giant wrestled his last match for the WWF (Let that one sink in for a second. Andre the Giant was a lifetime ago and he was in the company at the same time as Undertaker. That’s almost hard to fathom.). Vince McMahon wasn’t creating the next Hulk Hogan when he created the Undertaker. He was making the next Andre the Giant.
That’s what is going to be missing more than anything else. As soon as you see hear that gong and see the moon come up on the Titantron, you know what’s coming. There was a great example of this last year on the Monday Night Raw after WrestleMania 36. Elias was in the ring and was talking about how tired he was of the people interrupting his performances. Then he said that the next person to interrupt him was a dead man.
You can probably hear the gong in your head at this point, but what mattered was the look on Elias’ face. It was the look of someone who knew what he had done, knew what was about to happen, and knew that there was no way around what was about to happen. Elias couldn’t move and stood there for the whole entrance, earning himself a chokeslam and Tombstone.
While it was clear that someone was going to interrupt Elias (as someone always does), it was special because it was the Undertaker. It was the legend himself and there was no way that Elias was going to be able to do anything. It’s not something that anyone else can do because no one has that kind of aura or presence to them. Undertaker has been doing this for a long time now and it felt like he was the sheriff all over again.
That’s not something you can just create overnight and I really don’t think WWE is going to be able to do it again. The closest thing that WWE has at the moment is the Fiend, and he’s going to be in the ring for a long time to come. Undertaker isn’t the kind of thing that you can just make again at the snap of your fingers. If it was that easy, everyone would have created a bunch of Undertakers because he’s that valuable to the WWE. It might be a long time to go before there is anyone even close to Undertaker again, and that’s because he really was one of a kind.
Then he changed a bit:
Then there’s the fact that Undertaker did some amazing things in the ring. While he is best known for his big brawls against monsters, he had a heck of a series of classic matches against people of all sizes. No he hasn’t quite been as good in the ring in recent years, but it wasn’t that long ago (at least by the standards of his career) that he was having great matches with people like Triple H, CM Punk, AJ Styles and more. Undertaker knows how to work the big man style as well as anyone and he turned it into an art form.
However, that might not be the case as much anymore as, like anyone else, Undertaker is starting to lose his skills as the years add up. That is going to be the case with anyone and as you may have heard before, the only one who is undefeated is Father Time. It makes having one last match more and more difficult, even though that is how Undertaker wants to end his career.
In a recent interview, Undertaker talked about wanting to go out on top with one more match to show that he still has it. As he said, Undertaker isn’t the kind of character who is going to get on the microphone and give a retirement speech in the middle of the ring. He really is the kind of person who needs to just have the one last performance, defeat someone in the final battle, and then walk/ride (depending on which Undertaker we’re getting) off into the sunset. It’s the fitting way to go, but I’m not sure who would be appropriate for the role.
So who is going to be the final opponent? You really could pick from a lot of….yeah it’s probably going to be King Corbin. He’s got the backstory of retiring Kurt Angle, he’s someone WWE sees a lot in (hence him being the first SmackDown star to come over to Monday Night Raw, because MORE CORBIN is the solution to the ratings woes), they’ve never had a singles match before and for some reason, they think he’s a main eventer.
But at some point, this has to happen for real:
I can imagine them having a decent power match, but what it should be is Undertaker selling for about a minute and a half, coming back and just annihilating Corbin for good. Granted Corbin is like a bad infection that will never go away so he’d be back a week after Undertaker left, but he’s kind of a good choice for the final Undertaker opponent. Let him go out to the cheers of the fans who want to see Corbin get massacred (I think there might be a few of them), as he deserves.
There will never be another Undertaker, mainly because there can’t be. He was the perfect choice with the perfect character and happened to be incredibly talented. I know it seems hard to believe, but one day he is going to hang up the hat for good and that time is probably coming sooner than expected. We are long past the point where Undertaker has earned the right to rest in peace, but at least let him have the right nightcap to his career.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!