Somewhere along the line, it became cool to say that Undertaker should retire. I don’t understand how fans can say stuff like that. The most I’ve ever done is jokingly suggest that Martin Brodeur should hang ’em up, and that’s only because The New Jersey Devils can chug me. I didn’t actually give a shit. Moreover, I’m not a fan of the guy. How can you consider yourself a supporter of someone, and then play armchair career ender? It doesn’t compute with me.
Before we continue, here’s a quote from the man himself about why he won’t retire:
“Honestly, I love it, that’s why.
I’ve got 26 years in the business and all these injuries, but WrestleMania has become so huge, it’s just hard to walk away from it. I want the audience leaving the stadium going ‘Wow!’ It’s a responsibility I have being a top dog in this business. The crowd will let me know when it’s time to leave. They haven’t yet…
And if I didn’t perform at WrestleMania, in some strange weird way, I’d feel like I was letting Vince McMahon down. I’ve been in the WWE for so long, and he’s done so much for me.
[Away from the ring] I spend a lot of time with my family, my children. I also work on my horrible golf game. I love golf, but I’m awful. For some reason, I go out there and make myself miserable because I’m so bad at it.
But most of my time is spent healing up … so I can be the Undertaker again.”
How does that not warm your heart? The dude spends all year getting ready to entertain us. Some people act like he suddenly started working matches on par with Hulk Hogan in TNA. That’s crazy. In the last couple years, he’s wrestled Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30, Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 31, and then Lesnar again at SummerSlam 2015. The match with Brock at 30 wasn’t very great, but he literally caught a concussion, minutes in.
Not because he’s an older man. No, that happened BECAUSE HE WAS IN THE RING WITH BROCK LESNAR! There’s a pretty high chance of concussion when you’re over 7 feet tall, and getting tossed around by a guy with a nickname like The Beast Incarnate. For years and years now, Lesnar’s whole deal is that he hurts people. If he’s not hurting someone when you see him, chances are he’s going to hurt someone very soon. That’s what he did to Taker.
I suppose the mystique was shattered for a lot of fans when that happened. It shouldn’t have been. The biggest problem, if you ask me, is that the ones calling for Taker to retire, are the same people who excitedly go on and on about which Independent stars are coming over to WWE, and yada, yada. They know there’s a whole other life behind the curtain. So…did they think Taker was actually a dead man with magical powers?
I sincerely hope not. Mark Calaway (Taker’s name, IRL) is a man who gives us every ounce of himself when he steps into the ring. That’s enough for me.
I’ve seen and heard a lot of complaints about the SummerSlam bout with Brock. Putting aside the wonky finish, if that was the match they had at WrestleMania 30, then I wouldn’t be here right now, writing this article. The image wouldn’t have been crushed. I’ve worked for multiple websites, by the way. This is not the first time I’ve felt the urge to write something in defense of The Phenom. It’s befuddling, frankly.
Before WM 30, Undertaker was involved in banger after banger:
WrestleMania 25 vs. HBK? It’s a banger.
WrestleMania 26 vs. HBK? It’s definitely a banger.
WrestleMania 27 vs. Triple H? Banger.
WrestleMania 28 – Hell in a Cell – feat. HBK as the special guest referee? Banger city.
WrestleMania 29 vs. CM Punk? He was wrestling a guy who, admittedly, didn’t want to be there. Yet, it’s still a banger.
That is five years in a row where Undertaker carried WrestleMania. His was the best match on the card. Sure, he had some decent competition at 28 from Punk vs. Jericho for the WWE Championship, but that’s it. Every other year, his bout was the shiny gem, among a pile of mostly crap. Though, 27 also had Punk vs. Orton, which I consider to be underrated as hell. Otherwise, it was all Taker. Especially 25 and 26.
Without him and HBK on the card, those shows would’ve sucked hard.
Man, I’ll be honest – I lost sight of what I was getting at. I got swept up in thinking about how damn wrong everyone is. I guarantee that Taker still has brilliance in him. The Brothers of Destruction vs. Wyatt Family angle needs to go away, but look at his match with Lesnar at Hell in a Cell 2015. I thoroughly enjoyed that bout. I’m glad it was the last time they’ll ever mix it up, don’t get me wrong, but it was solid.
The best part about Brock and Undertaker moving on from each other is that The Dead Man has an opening for his opponent at WrestleMania 32. After the year he’s had, I’m hoping that John Cena gets that slot. What about you? Who do you think Taker should face?
Feel free to hit the comment section, and speculate away (but I don’t want to hear anything about how he should retire – take that noise somewhere else).
FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Courtesy of WWE.com.