Ok. First and
foremost, none of us know the health of The Undertaker, and that is probably
the single biggest factor in whether or not he has wrestled his last
match. If he has, the entire discussion
is moot. However, I would rather be
optimistic and hope he is doing well and has a least one or two matches left in
the tank. I am sure he would agree with
most of us that his last match wasn’t his greatest, but I think that could be
blamed more on his injuries early on than anything else. From what I have heard, the match probably
would have been stopped if anyone knew he was hurt as bad as he was, so the
fact that he continued and finished the match at all is testament to the
passion and dedication of Mark Calaway.
So. With that in
mind, and without further ado, here are…..
THE TOP TEN NEXT OPPONENTS FOR THE UNDERTAKER.
10. John Cena: Cue
the Cena Haters! John is a polarizing man in that some people love him and some
hate him. My personal opinion is I have
all respect in the world for the guy and how hard he works. I think he has been overexposed in recent
years largely due to no one else being over enough to fill the spot, but he has
certainly earned his stripes. Some will
think I am nuts to put him at #10, but here is why.
Everyone has always assumed that, as the face of the
company, Cena would eventually get to face Taker at WrestleMania. However, aside from the fact that he earned
it, I don’t really see it doing much for either man. Clearly…
The next opponent has to put Taker over.
There is no way Taker loses at Mania twice in a row after going 21-0. So…
What does it accomplish?
9. Brock Lesnar: Ok.. Lesnar broke The Streak. Taker wants revenge. Geez, the story almost writes itself. Taker goes over, and reclaims his
legacy. He takes off his boots, and
leaves them in the ring. End of
story. The crowd goes home happy. But, here’s the problem.
Lesnar just broke The Streak. At this point, he is the biggest, baddest,
SOB in town. He has done what Flair,
HBK, HHH, Kane, and many other failed to do.
Now, Taker beats him in the rematch, and his win was just a fluke. Why would they break The Streak and then
turn it into a fluke. That makes no
8. Daniel Bryan: Taker reportedly wanted Bryan this year, and
this one also writes itself. If the
strap stays on Bryan until WM 31, the YES! Movement will be in full swing. Bryan will be WHITE FIRE hot. He goes and takes on Taker for the title in
the main event. Taker wins and then
retires the next night as Champion. It
is a fitting end to an amazing career.
Well… Assuming Bryan
is still on fire at the time, what do you do with him next. After you spend the entire time from the
Royal Rumble to WrestleMania building to the climax of Taker retiring, where
does Bryan go next… Into some tournament
to try to win the title back that probably goes to someone else?
7. Roman Reigns: Most
of us have figured out by now that that Reigns is going to be a big deal in the
future of WWE. What better way to
coronate him into the upper echelon than give him a match against Taker at
WrestleMania. The good thing is, Reigns
doesn’t have to win. All he has to do is
have a strong and competitive match.
This would allow them to cement Reigns and also let Taker go out on
top. The downside is that WM 31 would
likely be one of, if not THE, last match Taker has. There are a lot of men in line ahead of
Reigns for that spot.
6. Stone Cold Steve
Austin: During the Attitude Era, no one
could draw money like Stone Cold. Austin
has hinted several times he was interested in possibly doing one more match,
but he has been clear he would only do it if it was something special. What could be more special than Taker’s
retirement match? The only downside here
is it will be a one and done. WWE may
want to use the match in a way that allows them monetize it beyond WM.
5. Sting: Assuming
that Sting signs on for a match with WWE, this is a natural. It almost books itself. Both men have immense respect for each
other. They have never matched up
before. People have wanted to see it for
20 years. They are both working their
last match, and they want to see who the better man is. Sting may be the only man who could draw
more money against Taker than Austin. However, the same thing applies. How do you monetize it past WM? And does it matter?
4. CM Punk: Some say he is retired, so it is a moot point. Some say he is fed up. Some say he is beaten up and just needs time
to rest and recover. Either way, there
are only two ways to get Punk back. One
is with a boatload of money (assuming he even cares at this point) and the
other is with a premium spot on a big stage.
What could be bigger? He held the
strap for almost a year and a half, so I doubt a title run would be the big
carrot. Taker’s last match could
certainly be it.
3. Hulk Hogan: Hogan is probably the biggest name to have
never faced Taker at WrestleMania. Of
course the match would draw huge money.
They could certainly use it going forward depending on Hogan’s future
role with the company. The biggest issue
there is Hogan’s health. Rumor is that
he couldn’t pass a WWE physical. People
have even said he probably couldn’t do his leg drop without risking hurting
himself. So, Hogan would need an
incredible amount of rehab and training just to get into shape to perform in
the ring and look decent doing it… And
that’s assuming he is even physically capable of getting there. Hogan would be a huge draw with Taker, but
the likelihood is that ship has sailed.
Michaels: HBK has said several times he
has no interest in one more match.
However, could he be coaxed back for one more match with Taker? I don’t know.
I do know the two he had are widely regarded as two of the best matches
EVER in the history of pro wrestling, so I could definitely see him coming back
for one more to do it again. The other
upside is that Michaels and Taker live less than a hundred miles apart. They could certainly have all the time they
want to work through the match, plan all their high spots, etc. There is a lot to be said there.
1. Triple Threat: One of the serious issues with a lot of these
guys (frankly, including Taker) is that a lot of years in the ring have them
pretty beat up. A triple threat gives
those guys a chance to work together and also have some downtime during the
match. Imagine, for instance, Taker
versus Sting versus Stone Cold.. or
HBK. Or imagine putting Reigns in there
with Taker and one or two other legends.
Just working that match is a heck of a rub. He doesn’t have to win. Once you introduce the Triple Threat or Fatal
Four Way concept into the mix, then the possibilities are endless. That also gives you the ability to put the
likes of Stone Cold, Sting, or HBK in the ring with Taker for this last match
and still monetize it into the future.
It could be the best of both worlds.
What do you think? Of course, you thoughts and comments are welcome.