By all accounts, The Undertaker’s 30th anniversary happening at Survivor Series 2020 is his true, definitive farewell. His Last Ride documentary earlier this year was one of many indications his career is over and he’s finally officially retired.
However…this is professional wrestling. Virtually everyone who has retired has reneged on that at some point. Shawn Michaels refused to wrestle another match, then did. Ric Flair retired at WrestleMania 24 and fought for TNA multiple times. Terry Funk’s been retiring for like 30 years.
The Undertaker isn’t even immune to this. He’s “retired” several times just to come back the next WrestleMania or so. I don’t 100% believe this is it for him, and as such, I can’t help but to look at the roster and see people I’d still like for him to feud with.
So let’s talk. Theoretically, if Undertaker were to wrestle longer (rather than just one more match), here are 10 opponents (in no particular order) I would really like to see him go up against, along with some honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the list.
Big guys have always been Undertaker’s bread and butter. In a different era, we’d have seen him have long programs with Braun Strowman, Dabba-Kato and Jordan Omogbehin, no matter what their chemistry would be like. Taker was a monster, but he was also the go-to monster-killer. For that matter, Lars Sullivan would be an obvious pick, but I don’t personally enjoy Lars all that much to add him onto this list.
Sheamus is on a similar wavelength. I really think The Celtic Warrior should have been one of The Deadman’s opponents for WrestleMania back in the day when he was a more active member of the roster and Sheamus was still on the rise. For my money, I’d rather sacrifice one of the Triple H matches, if not both, and replace those two spots with Sheamus and Wade Barrett.
Aleister Black, Dexter Lumis and Finn Balor are people I think everyone is expecting to be on this list, but I had to bump them off in favor of others. Frankly, with Balor, the whole demon thing is overrated in my mind. Outside of looking different, he doesn’t perform differently and his entrance isn’t even all that much changed. If he were to put in the work to make his match with Taker come off special, I’d be down for it, though.
Lumis and Black are mysterious, darker characters, too, so they’d make sense in that same regard. I don’t know if the chemistry would be there, but I’d at least like to see what they could do alongside The Phenom. The same goes for Damian Priest, but I don’t have much to talk about there other than how I’d like to see what he would do against Undertaker from 2007, for instance.
Roman Reigns is always a worthwhile option. The Tribal Chief is doing some of his best character work ever at the moment, and if he hadn’t already beaten Undertaker at WrestleMania, now could have been a good time to do that. Rekindling that feud doesn’t have to take priority over all the other things on this list, though, so that’s why I wouldn’t put him anywhere higher than the honorable mentions category.
That’s also my justification for not putting Randy Orton on the top 10. I love the idea of The Legend Killer doing something against Undertaker to push his newfound dominance, but I don’t like the idea of Taker losing on his way out. The same is also why you wouldn’t find Bray Wyatt here, as The Fiend would have to win that fight and I can’t sign off on that idea, as I’ve never been the biggest Wyatt fan in the world and Undertaker’s my #2 of all time. Priorities.
T-Bar (more so, Dominik Dijakovic)
T-Bar is dumb. We all know that. The RETRIBUTION gimmick is terrible and he’s already tapped out, so he’s lost all his credibility without having to rehab him entirely.
But Dominik Dijakovic is awesome. He’s a great performer in the ring, has a lot of promise for his future and is one of the taller guys on the roster.
I feel like working opposite Taker would teach him a lot about working like an agile big man in ways that he won’t be able to learn otherwise. It could be when a few things finally click and allow him to take that next step into being a main event talent, rather than someone who just has all the potential of being a top guy.
Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa
These two may seem like oddball picks, but hear me out. Who better represents the feel of NXT and the potential of that brand than Gargano and Ciampa? Adam Cole and Velveteen Dream have their upsides, but #DIY always strike me as the standouts.
These two are students of the game and guys who could teach master classes on working as it is. But imagine how much better they would be if they could have had a chance to work a program with Undertaker.
Ideally, Ciampa would be the heel in his feud, whereas Gargano would be the babyface against Undertaker. I’ve never been as big a fan of heel Gargano or babyface Ciampa and I think being the underdog against someone as big as Taker would work better for Gargano, while I can see Ciampa being coldhearted and attacking The Deadman.
This is my biggest leap of faith. We haven’t seen much from Karrion Kross. He wrestled a handful of squash matches, won the NXT title and got injured in that match. That’s tough to gauge his pros and cons.
But the idea behind this is intriguing enough for me to look past that and say he’d be one of my top picks. He seems to be a prospect WWE has a lot of investment in and if Triple H sees something in him, it’s probably for good cause. If so, and since Kross is a bigger guy who isn’t too bulky not to be able to move around, he could be one of those guys to benefit from beating Undertaker.
With Keith Lee, you can pretty much copy and paste the same stuff I’ve already mentioned about how big guys have worked well with Undertaker and how he’s a younger guy who has all the promise in the world and could learn from wrestling The Phenom.
Lee is one of the people I have the most reverence for on the current roster. If WWE doesn’t screw things up, he could be a legitimate top guy who is very marketable and beloved for years to come.