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WNS Column: How Should WWE Use The Undertaker For WrestleMania?

WNS Column: How Should WWE Use The Undertaker For WrestleMania?

2014 is nearly over and 2015, more specifically the 2015 Royal Rumble, is on the horizon. As we all know, the Royal Rumble is considered to be the official start of "The Road to WrestleMania". As we quickly approach WrestleMania Season, one legendary Superstar continues to be a topic of discussion. Will "The Phenom" known as The Undertaker return to the ring for WrestleMania 31, and if he does, who will his opponent be?
Rumors have been circulating that if The Undertaker agrees to perform in the ring for WM 31, WWE officials would like for him to square off against "The Eater of Worlds" Bray Wyatt. Many would argue that if Roman Reigns is the heir apparent to John Cena, then Bray Wyatt is certainly the heir apparent to The Undertaker. Bray Wyatt seems to have all the tools needed to become a top Superstar who can help carry WWE into the future for the next 10, 15, maybe even 20 years. As The Undertaker approaches the end of his amazing career, it seems quite fitting that he would cross paths with a young Superstar who is perhaps cut from a similar mold as the legendary "Dead Man".
Bray Wyatt unquestionably has a burning desire to not only succeed in WWE, but to help change the face of sports-entertainment. WWE has been trying almost desperately to find new talent who can intrigue their audience and put on a superb product that the WWE fans won't want to miss. Bray Wyatt has proven to be a very interesting character that the fans want to see on a weekly basis. Fans want to learn more about Bray Wyatt's backstory and find out just what he's capable of. His microphone skills are excellent and he's also very agile in the ring for a big man.
There have been a lot of talented Superstars that have come and gone in WWE over the past decade or so, but few have captured the imagination of the WWE Universe like Bray Wyatt.
If The Undertaker does end up facing Bray Wyatt, or even another Superstar at WrestleMania 31, who should go over in that match? What would make sense? What could be the most satisfying outcome for the WWE fans?
Last year at WrestleMania 30, the entire sports-entertainment/professional wrestling community was absolutely stunned when the decision was made to have Brock Lesnar defeat The Undertaker and end his legendary WrestleMania Streak. The Undertaker is now 21-1 at WrestleMania. Regardless of what people think of this decision, the fact of the matter is that the match happened nearly a year ago now and the outcome will never change. Brock Lesnar defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30 and became to first man to ever defeat "The Phenom" at the Showcase of the Immortals.
If The Undertaker does return to the ring at WrestleMania 31, how would the fans react if he lost for a second year in a row?
If you think about it, another loss could actually make more sense than having him come back and win. Let's say that The Undertaker does come back and face Bray Wyatt as is rumored. WWE's booking of Bray Wyatt has been less than spectacular since he debuted along with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in the summer of 2013. Sometimes Bray will get red hot and then they seem to kill his momentum with a loss at the most... awkward times. Bray hasn't been booked to look like a truly unstoppable, bad-ass Superstar. Bray almost seems to just win some here and lose some there.
A victory over The Undertaker at WrestleMania could be a career-making moment for Bray Wyatt, even though he would be the second person to do it and not the first. But The Undertaker is still The Undertaker and WrestleMania is still WrestleMania. One could imagine that if Bray Wyatt hits The Undertaker with his Sister Abigail finishing maneuver and covers him for a three-count, the reaction from the fans could be very similar to the reaction that Brock Lesnar got at WrestleMania 30 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The fans at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California might be stunned to see The Undertaker suffer his second WrestleMania defeat.
This could set the stage for both Bray Wyatt's career and the end of The Undertaker's career. Bray Wyatt, much like Brock Lesnar, could ride a wave of momentum after defeating The Undertaker at WrestleMania. On the other hand, this would once again put The Undertaker's future in question.
WrestleMania 32 in 2016 is heavily rumored to be bound for the Great State of Texas, which is The Undertaker's homestate. If The Undertaker loses two WrestleMania matches in a row, it would be very easy to make a stipulation for his match heading into WrestleMania 32 in 2016. If The Undertaker loses at WrestleMania 32, he must retire.
This is a stipulation that could be named by either a villainous authority figure, The Undertaker's opponent at WM 32, or possibly even The Undertaker himself. If The Undertaker loses a third WrestleMania match, he must retire.
Undertaker would then of course go on to lose that match at WrestleMania 32. This would bring his WrestleMania record to 21-3, which is still an incredible accomplishment that will certainly never be duplicated.
Although some fans may not want to see The Undertaker lose again at WrestleMania, it would all make sense if you really think about it. It would be a classic story of the legendary fighter who has a phenomenal career but ultimately falls victim to Father Time. A lot of great fighters have suffered losses at the tail end of their career, and perhaps The Undertaker will be no exception.
WWE Chairman Mr. Vince McMahon recently appeared as a guest on "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's podcast and openly explained that the man behind The Undertaker character, Mark Calaway, wants to give back to the business in the best way that he can. What could be a better way to help build a select few Superstars than to have The Undertaker lose to them at WrestleMania? Let's say that The Undertaker does end up losing at WM 31 and WM 32 before finally retiring, that would mean that only three men could ever lay claim to defeating him at WrestleMania. It would be a select few. An elite group. He could help cement three legacies before he finally hangs up his boots once and for all.
It would be a somewhat sad, yet somewhat appropriate ending for a storied career such as The Undertaker's. And it would also be believable that he would lose to Superstars that are younger and just plain physically superior to him. The classic story of the old lion losing to a younger lion.
And lastly, for the fans who were upset that Vince McMahon and WWE made the decision to have Brock Lesnar end the Streak, perhaps those fans could take some form of satisfaction in knowing that Brock Lesnar may have ended the Streak, but he was not the one who ultimately ended The Undertaker's career. The Undertaker might have a few more battles left in him, and it could be another Superstar or legend who finally ends Undertaker's career. It could be a young Superstar like Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, Roman Reigns, or Seth Rollins. It could be a legend like Sting, John Cena, Randy Orton, or Chris Jericho. Maybe The Undertaker's (storyline) younger half-brother Kane could be the one who finally puts his older brother out of his misery.
This all depends on The Undertaker's physical health. It very well could be that The Undertaker has already wrestled his last match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30. But if The Undertaker can find the strength to compete in one or maybe two more matches at WrestleMania, at this point there wouldn't be any shame in having him lose if he loses to the right opponent(s).
WWE shouldn't have him lose to somebody who may or may not be there five years from now. If they have him lose to any young, up-and-coming stars, they need to make sure that they choose somebody who they can depend on to help carry the company into the future. And especially if they're going to have somebody end his career, it needs to be either a bona fide legend or a young Superstar who they're absolutely certain will benefit from it and help lead the company into the future.

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