With only weeks away from WWE’s biggest show of the year, WrestleMania, this is the time where matches are confirmed and storylines begin to take shape. However following one of the most shocking moments in WWE history with Brock Lesnar defeating the Undertaker, the question was would Taker return to the show of shows.
At WWE FastLane, the familiar druids arrived and the synonymous gongs rang through the arena as a single casket opened to reveal young Bray Wyatt. This stunt and his recent promos were revealed to be a challenge to the Undertaker as Bray wanted to take the soul of the deadman, claiming he was the new face of fear. Whilst nothing is officially confirmed, this match will be taking place.
However, whilst this will no doubt be a great match, especially with the dark similarities between the two characters, it is a dangerous match too. With either outcome, resulting in a career damaging event for the loser.
With the streak placed in the history books, for the Undertaker to return and face a second straight defeat after maintaining an undefeated record at 21 WrestleMania events would not only destroy the sanctity, the prestige and most importantly the accomplishment of the streak, it would horribly damage the reputation and tarnish the incredible career of the Undertaker.
It is hard to draw similarities with other sports figures, due to the obvious differences of professional wrestling. However, it’s a similar situation to the return of Michael Schumacher to the world of Formula 1 back in 2010. Schumacher was a dominant force in F1 during the 90s, and is statistically the greatest driver to grace the sport with seven world championships. When he returned with the Mercedes team, he was a shadow of his former self, being overtaken by the young rookies and marred by poor performances and a solitary podium. His second spell tainted his reputation and diminished the memory of him as the unstoppable Red Baron at the helm of the Ferrari.
The streak was a spectacle and grew in prestige, power and mystic with every passing year and every victory. And with every WrestleMania, Undertaker became closer to a god-like figure – undefeatable and unmatchable. There is a strong argument to say no man should or could ever defeat the streak, with some arguing that a part-time wrestler like Brock Lesnar was certainly not the right man.
On the other hand, it is not as simple as letting the Undertaker win as one last hurrah before ascending to the wrestling heavens. Wyatt losing at WrestleMania further stunts his progress and will ultimately weaken Bray moving forward. One Twitter user summed the situation up perfectly; if Undertaker loses his legacy takes the hit and if Bray Wyatt loses, he is pretty much dead as a character.
Therefore is it vital that WWE tread carefully with this one as to not damage either man in this situation whilst propelling Bray Wyatt forward as the next dark figurehead – which seems to be the current trajectory.
There is a fair argument to say that this match would have worked better last year. Instead of Brock Lesnar, Bray Wyatt defeats Undertaker and effectively buries the Undertaker – passing the torch and taking over the mantle as the ‘face of fear’. It would have been a far more logical decision and would have given Wyatt the boost that Lesnar in all honesty didn’t need. Lesnar would still have an impressive, standout career without claiming the streak too. Winning both the UFC and WWE World Titles is no small task and just being one of the biggest, baddest and toughest guys to lace up a pair of boots.
If the streak has to end, which many argue it didn’t, there were many other, better ways of doing so but all would have come to the same conclusion. Its the realisation that Undertaker is not a phenom and is actually human.
Nonetheless, the perfect scenario is where Undertaker can win and somehow afterwards Bray Wyatt exacts revenge and buries the Undertaker. This way Taker can depart victorious but Wyatt can be the man to put Undertaker away for good, the ultimate victory in becoming the new disciple of darkness.
With something so monumental as the streak, it seems the perfect time for Undertaker to end is when the streak ends. Whether Undertaker is not ready to retire, it seems to return a year later after breaking the most impressive record in sports devalues his own success. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a massive Undertaker fan. I love his brawler style and there is no doubt he has been apart of some of the biggest and most pivotal moments in the companies history. No one could have given so much to that character to make it so much more than that.
But with something so important not only to the fans but to WWE and WrestleMania itself and to Undertaker, the streak should have either been defended until Taker could take no more, or Lesnar breaks the streak and Undertaker receives the adulation, the accolades and the awards he so richly deserves.
Please WWE, don’t cock this up.