The Undertaker seemingly wrote the final chapter of his WWE career last Sunday in the main event of WrestleMania 33. After weeks of speculation about whether the Undertaker and Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar and Goldberg or Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt would headline the big show, the Deadman and Reigns got the honors once a final decision was made about the Undertaker’s future.
In the days since WrestleMania ended, there have been those who refuse to believe that the Undertaker hammered in the final nail in the coffin that was his wrestling career. The man that played the Brother Love character claimed that the Phenom would be back for one last match at Survivor Series, the pay-per-view where the Undertaker was born. But it will be tough to come back after what happened at the conclusion of this year’s WrestleMania.
Roman Reigns was the beneficiary of the Undertaker’s last request. The Deadman made it clear that he wanted to go out on his back to a younger star who would use the win as a launching point to become a genuine superstar in the industry. Reigns became just the second person ever to defeat the Undertaker on the grand stage of WrestleMania, a plot line that will be used in the build towards the WrestleMania 34 main event with Roman and Brock Lesnar, if WWE officials stick with their current plans.
Reigns was on the short list for potential WrestleMania 33 opponents for the Undertaker, dating back to November. The Undertaker agreed to a WWE return after telling many people he was retiring following his Hell in a Cell match with Shane McMahon last year and he did so on the historic 900th episode of SmackDown. He and Vince McMahon began brainstorming potential storylines at that point for a career that would reach its culmination in Orlando this April.
Initially, the plan was to have the Undertaker face John Cena in a match that had been discussed for at least four years but never materialized. However, Undertaker insisted on facing someone younger, Vince agreed and pined for a star who had a much longer future and Cena actually started pitching Vince on the idea of teaming with Nikki Bella. Cena was scrapped in December, but the original plan was to keep the Undertaker on SmackDown during the builds to the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania.
That’s because the second name that Vince brought up was AJ Styles. When Undertaker first came back, a tentative plan was put in place that would have seen the Deadman face Styles for the WWE Championship at the Rumble. However, ‘Taker was unable, physically, to wrestle a full singles match yet, coming off recent hip surgery. His limitations led him into being inserted into the Royal Rumble match itself where he competed for just over five minutes.
While Vince McMahon has grown to love the performances of AJ Styles, Undertaker still wanted someone younger who would be around a lot longer. Styles will be turning 40 this June, while Roman Reigns will be just 32 this coming May. Styles was scrapped, and the Undertaker was shifted to RAW. Also, keep in mind that Shane McMahon originally was slated to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, but when Goldberg agreed to stay, Shane and Vince pinpointed Styles as his opponent instead.
When the Undertaker moved to Monday nights, the plan was still for Reigns to be carrying the Universal Championship he was going to win at the Royal Rumble into WrestleMania in a match with Braun Strowman. Lesnar and Goldberg’s plans had a domino effect there as well as they would instead feud over the title. Strowman got put on the back-burner, while Reigns was chosen as the Undertaker’s WrestleMania rival.
If last week was any indication, Roman Reigns will become the most hated superstar in the company. It wasn’t the outcome the company had been planning for over the last three years, but he still remains in a significant role, receiving the loudest reaction. If that dies down, then everything with the Undertaker will have gone to waste.
[Featured Image by WWE]