Since he walked onto our television sets at Survivor Series 1990 there has never been a wrestler quite like The Undertaker that who could take our imaginations to heights seen since our childhoods. No matter how old you are, every time The Undertaker appeared on the television screen you believed him.
You believed that the “aura” of The Undertaker was in fact real, that the goose bumps the people in the arena were feeling were the same ones you felt as he made his slow methodic walk to the ring. He is and forever will be an “old school” character in modern day wrestling, a wrestler where despite having a gimmick, you believe him, a connection often lost in today’s wrestling standards.
Go back before Wrestlemania 27 and try to reminisce about the brief feud The Undertaker had with his “brother” Kane (once again). During that feud The Undertaker lost matches against his brother Kane and we were told through storylines that he had “lost” his powers. These powers, while we all know aren’t real, yet still believed that there was something he possessed that made him who he was in the squared circle.
The Undertaker during his feud with Kane was made to look weak and powerless, something we had never seen in the history of The Undertaker & something that was protected since his debut in November 1990. “The Deadman” would disappear but would reappear months later to build towards his match with Triple H at Wrestlemania 27. The build towards the match protected The Undertaker, showing that the powers he may have lost months earlier he still possessed. But it wasn’t until the match itself where the questionable booking of The Undertaker came to light once again.
There have been very limited times in the career of The Undertaker where he was made to look weak in front of another opponent. During his match with Triple H at Wrestlemania 27 it felt like (for the 3rd year in a row) that he could actually end “the streak.” That this was going to be it for the great career of The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. The streak itself did not end and continued, for another year, but the bigger story was the exit of The Undertaker after the amazing match from Wrestlemania 27.
The only other time I could remember the exit of The Undertaker after a match being as important as the match has to be from the 1994 Royal Rumble when he lost the casket match to then WWF Champion the late Yokozuna. That moment in time made Yokozuna look like an unbeatable monster as he was the one, along with a slew of other heels, to finally tame “The Deadman,” something we had never seen on WWF television. While the exit of The Undertaker did nothing for the career of Triple H, it certainly led to a great continuation to present time storylines heading into Wrestlemania 28.
The Undertaker’s exit was important because he was made to look human, he won the match but he was carried out on a golf cart after the match. Never before did The Undertaker not walk out on his own power after a match, no matter how grueling it was. What drew us to The Undertaker the most was him being inhuman and now he had been booked once again as being human.
I do not know if the WWE has done this type of booking for The Undertaker purposely since he is getting older or due to the fact that his career is starting to slow down towards retirement. None the less it has been questionable at best because he was the last “protected” wrestler/character of our time, something we will probably never see again. It has made for intriguing matches and storylines during this time but it has also softened the toughest character quite possibly in all of wrestling.
I’m 25 years old and have watched The Undertaker since his debut in 1990. For years I can remember watching The Undertaker on television or even in the arena when I had the opportunity to go to shows and be amazed at how he captivated a crowd. We all know wrestling is a form of “entertainment” and as sad as it was to find out, The Undertaker is not in fact “dead” & he is a regular human being like you and I. But he was able to take us to places our imagination hadn’t seen in years, even decades and that’s what made him special to wrestling fans.
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