Breaking down the future of the Undertaker
by, 08-11-2011 at 07:03 PM (8169 Views)
Hello readers of this site. I'm the WrestlingNerd and I'll be making my first blog about the future of the WWE legend known as the Undertaker. Now, it's no secret that the Undertaker is nearing the end of his career and is in pretty poor physical condition. I'd say he has one good match left in him, but after that, it's fair to say that the gas has finally ran out of his tank. I don't see the Undertaker returning to WWE television until about a month before Wrestlemania 28, which is where I strongly believe his final match will be. There's already a bunch of speculation about who his Wrestlemania and perhaps the final opponent of his career will be. I have my own list of who I'd like to see face the Undertaker in his final match which is pretty realistic. But first, let's break down the traits that the final opponent of the Undertaker should have.
Experience and Popularity
This pretty much rules out everyone who is below main event status in the WWE, and it even rules out some of the main eventers. Some guys have one of these things, but not the other. People like William Regal and Mark Henry have the experience, but their popularity is lacking. Other guys like the Miz, Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio have the popularity, but lack the experience in the ring that is needed to face the Undertaker in his last Wrestlemania match and possibly the last match of his entire career. Who wants to go out of a fantastic, storied career with a win over somebody like Sheamus? My point exactly. I mentioned Mark Henry before and yes, I have heard the rumors that the WWE is looking to possibly go in that direction and have Henry face the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 28. It seems like they're trying to build his popularity as much as possible, making him look very dominant in the ring and perhaps threatening to a weakened version of the Undertaker. Mark Henry is certainly a possibility, but I don't agree with this option. I'll explain why a bit later.
Ability To Carry A Match
You need to be able to carry the Undertaker through a match if you're going to face him these days. He's not in good enough shape to keep up with the WWE superstars of today anymore. This is why experience in the ring is needed, since the vast majority of inexperienced workers cannot carry a match with the Undertaker. Examples of guys who can carry a match very well would be veterans like Triple H or Shawn Michaels, which is one of the reasons why they were chosen to face the Undertaker these past few years as his physical condition has been continually depleting. He has to rely on his opponent to carry the match.
This ties in partially with the ability to carry a match. The Undertaker probably wants an opponent he can trust to carry him through the match, even if he knows other people can do it. This would suggest that he may face someone who he has gone up against in the ring before. Someone who he can operate with and someone he trusts to make them both look good in the ring.
This is very important to the annual event where the Undertaker defends his undefeated streak. Obviously, the crowd isn't going to believe that someone like Drew McIntyre, Evan Bourne or Heath Slater is going to defeat the Undertaker. I'm not saying that WWE would ever dare to put these guys against Taker at WM28, but in order to face him, there should be some type of belief that Taker's opponent can actually beat him. Most people who aren't marks know that Undertaker will almost certainly never lose at Wrestlemania, but his opponent should at least slightly awaken our inner mark to make us believe this opponent may have a fraction of a chance.
This is also key to a great goodbye match for the Undertaker. There should be a lot of sentimental value to this match, which means that the best case scenario would be Undertaker going up against a fellow legend to make the match feel ultra special. This is why I disagree with Mark Henry as an option to face Undertaker. I don't view him as a legend and I don't think Undertaker defeating him would come as a surprise or make the match look very special at all. Would it be cool to see Taker beat Henry after months and months of complete and utter domination? Creating a sort of "Grizzled veteran gives it all he has to defeat dominant phenomenon" type of story? If they continue to push Henry in that direction, then maybe it has a slight chance at making the match feel special. But then again, someone dominating the Smackdown roster isn't much of an accomplishment. The fact that Mark Henry of all people is one of the top heels proves that point.. So I think there are better options available.
Those are the traits that I believe Undertaker's possible last opponent should have. Now, taking all of those into consideration, here's my list of opponent's I'd like to see face the Undertaker.
1. Mick Foley: Experience and popularity? Check. Ability to carry a match? Check. Trust factor? Check. Sentimental factor? Check. The only thing Foley might be lacking in is the "Belief" factor. But not by much. Foley's a veteran and a fellow legend who knows the Undertaker and operates well with him in the ring. They had one of the best feuds in WWE/F history and I think one last match between them at Wrestlemania 28 would be great. It would feel extremely special, and it would probably be the end of Foley's in-ring career as well. Maybe a handshake or a hug in the ring at the end of the match afterward. Perhaps have it take place inside HIAC? Nostalgia, anyone?
2. Sting: Sting has every trait needed except for the trust factor. They've never faced each other before and in reality that could be the most important factor to possess. There were rumors about this match happening for Wrestlemania 27 and it was even reported that WWE had signed Sting to a contract, which turned out to be false. The rumors continue to run into the present day and I believe a match between these two still remains possible. I remember reading an interview with Sting and he was asked about the match. He said he'd like to do it, but in order for something like that to happen, other things need to be agreed upon.
3. Mark Henry: As I've said before, I don't really like the idea of Henry getting the nod to face Taker. Definitely not as much as I like the idea of Undertaker facing either Mick Foley or Sting. But the truth is that even Henry has most of these traits that I believe you need to have in order to be the Undertaker's last opponent. But there is one big hole. The sentimental factor. Henry does not have this and he will never have it. No matter how hard they push him in these next 6-7 months we still have before Wrestlemania. The match won't feel special enough if Mark Henry is the guy who faces Undertaker. I'm not sure if Sting is available to do the match, but I know for a fact that Foley is. He has been talking about returning to WWE for a while now and I'm sure he would love to do it, so he's obviously the better choice in my view. However, I do see a way that Henry vs. Undertaker could work. If they continue to push Mark Henry as this unbelievably dominant force, they should move him to Raw for it. It would get more attention and anyone can replace his spot on Smackdown. Henry moves to Raw, dominates the midcard, maybe even have him challenge for the WWE Championship once or twice. Then finally, once it seems like Henry has run his way through everyone, Undertaker returns and try and stop him. On an episode of Raw or something, have Henry cause Taker to pass out to a Bear Hug, as the announcers emphasize the fact that Henry is trying to literally squeeze the life out of Taker. Over the course of the next few weeks, have Henry repeatedly take out Taker and do anything to try and weaken him before Wrestlemania. An "I Quit" match between the two is announced for Wrestlemania, as Taker begins to look very vulnerable, just as Wrestlemania rolls around. At WM28, Henry looks to be squashing Taker, who is made to look as if he has absolutely nothing left and that he'll have to be carted out of the arena with the match being stopped. The referee asks Taker if he wants to continue, and he refuses to quit, but Henry won't let up. Undertaker can't get to his feet. Henry lifts Taker up, presumably for the World's Strongest Slam. Then, suddenly, Taker slides his way out of it and mounts some offense, leading to a tombstone where he goes for the pin and Henry kicks out. Henry seems to be angered as Taker continues his remarkable comeback, but then Henry jumps back on offense. Taker tries to counter a few times but Henry keeps control of the match. Then Henry brings Taker back into the Bear Hug which he made Taker pass out to weeks earlier. Taker looks to be fading. The referee raises his arm twice to check on him, but on the third try, Taker quickly drags Henry down to the mat and locks him into the Hell's Gate. Henry quits. Match over. But why choose Henry to face Taker when you have to put so much work into making him relevant enough for the match when you have guys like Foley who are ready to do the job NOW?
Those are the top three candidates for me, but the only other possible options I see are Triple H for the second year in a row, Kane, or Chris Jericho. All veterans who would be good in the ring with Taker, but still, I believe Mick Foley or Sting to be the best options, followed by Henry. But Henry has a lot of conditions in order for him to work out in my humble opinion. That's all I have to say about this topic. Look forward to future blogs from the WrestlingNerd. For now, I'm out. Thanks for reading!