The Undertaker has been a major player in sports entertainment for a quarter of a century.
Known widely for his 21-0 unbeaten streak at WrestleMania events, that all came crashing to a halt in 2014 as Brock Lesnar defeated him at WrestleMania 30 and would go on to become the reigning WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Now it’s pretty much a done deal that the Deadman will face Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 31. But is that the right move or is WWE making another huge booking mistake?
A recent feature on Cageside Seats took the kayfabe approach and envisioned an out-of-his-league Wyatt against an unbeatable legend.
Written by Hollywood Wallace, the piece is a nice bit of writing and does a fine job of telling a story that would be interesting if not for a few inescapable realities. First, here’s a bit from the piece itself.
“Though Paul Heyman would disagree, pride is what slayed The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 31. Pride in the capabilities of an all too material body. He didn’t shoot any lighting bolts, walk through any fire, or completely possess the soul of Brock Lesnar. Admirable though this may be, The Undertaker was beaten within an inch of his very existence. I would say life, but we all know that nomenclature doesn’t apply here.
“Now the legendary streak is over, and while Undertaker surely mourns its passing, it also frees The Phenom from the trappings of mortal competition. He can, nay must, unleash his full power.
“Bray Wyatt is a fine young wrestler, but he is a wrestler and nothing more. Any ethereal presence that he holds is nothing more than parlor tricks and a charlatan’s words. Bray Wyatt thinks he is facing the same Undertaker that was bested last year. He must instead prepare for so much more. As far as The Undertaker is concerned, anything is possible.”
Wallace’s enthusiasm in “booking” the storyline between the Undertaker and Bray Wyatt is fun and imaginative, but it fails when transferred to the Reality Era.
That’s because it isn’t enough to play a character or follow a storyline. The principals at the center must be able to “go,” or put on an interesting match.
Wyatt can do that, but he’s a stiff worker and youthful enough to send ‘Taker on another trip to the emergency room.
There’s no doubt that the Undertaker has secured his place in the WWE Hall of Fame. Nor can it be said that he wasn’t a great character and an entertaining showman in his time.
But the Undertaker fans saw at WrestleMania 30 was an irretrievable shell of a man. Lesnar had to carry the Undertaker in the same way he’ll likely have to carry Roman Reigns at this year’s main event.
And as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin recently pointed out, Lesnar is a fine athlete and talented wrestler, but he isn’t a ring general.
Bray isn’t enough of one to coax a good performance out of a winded, too-many-miles-on-the-odometer Undertaker. The Phenom’s match last year was dreadfully boring, and I’m not ready to sit through something similar just so I can see the Undertaker at another WrestleMania.
I hope this match doesn’t happen because it seems destined for failure. But what do you guys, think? Is it too late for the Undertaker to be interesting? Sound off in our comments section.