The Undertaker is 51-years-old, and he’s got to retire at some point. With that age, a rumored hip surgery, and several allusions to his retirement, looks like there’s a lot riding on his WrestleMania 33 match with Roman Reigns.
All WWE fans grew up with The Undertaker. The Undertaker first signed with WWE (then still the World Wrestling Federation, WWF) in 1990 and to date remains the company’s longest tenured in-ring performer. It is futile to even try and encapsulate what the Undertaker means to the WWE and wrestling community, but like all things, his career must also come, at some point, to an end.
Aged 51, The Undertaker has already spent 27 years in the WWE ring. He’s scored many victories, underlined many main events, and has set various records and legends. His retirement, although a subject of much denial in his fan circles, has been spoken about in hushed tones in previous years. In fact, a lot of people believed The Undertaker would hang his WWE belt last year in his home state of Texas in front of 100,000 people. That’s after The Undertaker left his gloves in the ring, a general gesture that symbolizes retirement in MMA.
But he didn’t. And that brings us back to this year’s WrestleMania. WWE confirmed last week that The Undertaker and Roman Reigns are going at each other’s throats at WrestleMania 33 this April 2, and this has got the retirement rumors rolling again.
There are various hints that allude to the WrestleMania 33 match against Reigns as The Undertaker’s retirement match and off-the-bat, one of the earlier signs was the much-whispered-about hip problems that The Undertaker needs to take care of.
MMA and Wrestling Insider writer Dave Meltzer has repeatedly talked about The Undertaker’s hip surgery (hello, Mick Foley) and there’s no way a 51-year-old man like him could survive a full hip surgery and go back to the ring.
We all saw The Undertaker at the Royal Rumble in January, and Meltzer tells Wrestling Observer Radio via Comicbook as follows.
“So Undertaker, he was hurting real bad last night. I mean you could look at him and you could see that he wasn’t in shape, and you know… it’s the hip. You know… I mean there’s nothing else to really say about it. He’s got two months before WrestleMania. He had surgery. He came back too quick from surgery, I think that’s pretty clear. But you know it was the time and they had a story… and the way that the match was structured he really didn’t have to do a whole hell of a lot. But even that when he was backstage he was hurting a lot.”
And to fan the flames ever further, another argument comes from a blurb Sportskeeda spots in WWE Kids Magazine, which read as follows.
“Undertaker — Could it be his last ‘Manila? We expect an entrance that’s Phenom-enal!”
Granted that WWE Kids Magazine is a kids magazine, but just to underline, it is a 100 percent WWE-owned publication, and a retirement is not usually a PR stunt WWE pulls off to build up to The Undertaker’s matches. In fact, people just flock to Undertaker matches no matter how much less WWE tries.
But when you see an Undertaker retirement allusion on a WWE magazine, alongside a televised comment that Reigns will retire one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, then there must be something there other than Roman Reigns’ head.
iSports Times writes that Reigns told Shawn Michaels on Monday night’s Raw as follows.
“With all due respect, The Undertaker retired you (Shawn Michaels). And I’m the guy that’s going to retire The Undertaker.”
It seems even WWE is joining the Undertaker retirement bandwagon as Wrestling News reports having spotted a poll on the WWE website asking fans if they do think Reigns could retire The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33.
The poll choices are as follows.
- Yes. The Big Dog will end The Phenom’s in-ring career.
- No. Reigns may win the match, but it won’t be the end of The Deadman’s career.
- No. Not only will Reigns not end The Undertaker’s career, he won’t win the match.
Although of course, the third choice is winning the poll at more than 50 percent at the time of writing, a significant amount of WWE fans believes Reigns can walk his talk, and it’s time The Undertaker dons his hat.
The Undertaker has been through 24 WrestleMania matches so far, and he’s only lost one, against Brock Lesnar in 2014. WrestleMania 33 is The Undertaker’s 25th WWE WrestleMania appearance, and it’s only a fitting send off if ever he does intend to retire after this one last anniversary match.
[Featured Image by Gaye Gerard/Getty Images]