The Undertaker, one of the WWE’s last links between the Attitude Era and the belief in true Kayfabe, may be on his last journey to the ring at WrestleMania 31. Dave Meltzer reports that the man who is the most tenured star in the company may not be able to perform at a high level in the biggest event of the year, or may not be able to perform at all, given the condition he is in.
It is hard swallow for someone like myself who grew up watching a man walk the top rope, rise from the “Dead” after lying on the make listless, and showing no signs of pain or injury while destroying the company’s roster. But it is a sign of the times and while at 43 I understand everyone retires at some point. My hope, however is that the character that Mark Calloway has created to be one of the best gimmicks of all time never sees another squared circle. It is my hope Calloway, who may respect the business more than any other wrestler on the WWE roster (with may the exception of Kane) knows that by getting in the ring, he is hurting not only himself, but the legacy he has created as one of the best big men in the business – period.
As Herbert wrote, “The feeling is that The Undertaker is still on course for a match with Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 31. Wyatt continues to reference the Deadman in promos and The Undertaker is expected to be back after Fast Lane.
“The issues of age and trouble with movement are the reasons WWE booked Taker with Wyatt. The office has faith in Wyatt’s in-ring ability and the belief is that the 27 year old can carry the 49 year old to a good match.”
There will be some changes to ‘Taker’s appearance and there will certainly be a noticeable difference in what he does in the ring. In 2013, he looked like his old self (to some degree) in his match with CM Punk. In 2014, he looked like Willie Mayes in his last days as a New York Met or Joe Namath on his gimpy legs in Los Angeles as a Rams quarterback. If you want a wrestling comparison, he was Ric Flair wrestling Sting two years ago in TNA.
“Undertaker will dye his hair and be wearing make up to cover his aged appearance. Wyatt will do the majority of the work in an effort to cover for The Undertaker’s lack of mobility. His knee problems are well documented and the shocking physical state is down to Taker’s three decades of injuries and surgeries. He’s always been susceptible to injury and speculation on retirement started as far back as 1997.”
The idea of having someone “carry” him is crazy in itself and may have been one of the reasons the company could not have paired him with a 55-year old Sting, who is not the performer he used to be and would need someone like Triple H to carry him through a match at ‘Mania.