Randy Orton was recently quoted as saying he thinks the match between Undertaker and Roman Reigns should end WrestleMania 33. Now it looks like that is a reality.
The Viper understands the magnitude of this match. The event might be WrestleMania 33, but the night should belong to the man who has spent more time on WWE’s roster than anyone else. With rumors swirling that this is the last time Undertaker will wrestle, it should be the last thing fans see in Orlando.
I have been reticent to write this blog as I am not in favor of the match between Undertaker and Roman Reigns. The thought of Reigns ending Undertaker’s career and moving forward as “the guy” who sent the company’s most respected man in the locker room into retirement makes my skin itch. If this is his final match, and all indications are it is, then it must have some meaning.
WWE is all too quick to make matches like this happen and moves on like turning a page of a bad novel.
It also occurred to me when the match ends and Undertaker walks back up the aisle, another part of history will be made. Undertaker is one of a dying breed of performers who cut their teeth in territories under the old NWA banner. Off the top of my head, I cannot name 15 wrestlers still in the business who moved around like nomads looking for a payday.
That alone tells you how long this man has been in the business, and how important he has been to Vince McMahon’s world. I don’t think there is a way to significantly convey how great the Undertaker character has been to this business. And I for one would rank him as one of the top 10 performers of all time. If anything, his character has to be in the top five of all time.
I wouldn’t say I’ve been losing sleep over this dilemma, but this match does irk me a bit. There is no finite side of the fence that Reigns sits on right now. Regardless of how fans react to him, he does the one thing that every professional wrestler is supposed to do – he invokes feeling amongst the fans, and most of all he makes WWE money.
It’s prophetic that Undertaker would be the guy who defines Reigns as a wrestler. Fans have clearly defined him as public enemy No. 1, and should he take that turn to the dark side, his education as a professional wrestler would be complete. How Reigns can still be regarded as a babyface after knocking off an icon is beyond me.
What WWE must do, if nothing else on Sunday, is have this match define Reigns. While Brock Lesnar was the one to end the streak, the big guy must use this as a platform in some odd way to further his career. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a title run is in the future. But it must have significance. If it doesn’t do this, WWE shows the biggest lack of respect for a man who is given so much this business and this company. It also means the McMahons really don’t care what the fans think and they’re going to still push their own agenda of making the three-time WWE world champion the face of this company for years to come.
Just like the majority of the fan base, I would love to see Reigns become one bad ass villain who reinvents himself. He can use his win over the Dead Man to remind everyone how great he is and finally get over with WWE’s Universe. Slaying a legend tends to give you street cried. Lesnar used his win in ending the streak to define himself as the baddest man on the planet. I doubt WWE will do the same thing with their flawed hero, but at least this would be one more steppingstone toward redefining Reign’s character.
And the loss by one of the greatest of all time would somehow seem like the right thing to do, despite the fact I think it’s being done for all the wrong reasons. Undertaker is almost at the end of his rope, but seeing him go out like this makes me sad, nonetheless. In an era where lines are blurred, fans loved The Undertaker no matter which side of the yard he stood on.