18-1:Should The Streak Just R.I.P?

Photo by Rich Freeda/WWE.

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We are officially on our way to Wrestle Mania which means streak time. The Undertaker’s undefeafed streak is one of the biggest things in wrestling and certainly the WWE. But in the world of wrestling does something that has been manufactured the way it has really matter anymore?

The biggest question and the one most fans will debate is should he ever lose? I myself am torn on this. On the one hand it’s a great legacy two decades in the making. Some great men (and some not so great) have stepped up to take on the challenge but so far all have failed. So who could or should beat ‘Taker if anyone? I don’t know .

Something I have been lead to believe is when you finally hang up your boots and walk away from wrestling YOU LOSE. That’s the unwritten rule. No matter who you are or what you have done that is what you do. Flair, HBK, Austin, Bret (technically) all did and realistically Taker did at last years Mania too. Unfortunately WWE have painted themselves into a corner somewhat with the whole thing. From all the stories I have heard Undertaker is one if not THE men backstage and has been for a long time. He is who you introduce yourself to when you start there. You can go to him for advice of to sort out grievances. He even used to be the judge in a backstage wrestlers court. It’s said CM Punk lost the title to him at Hell In A Cell in 2009 for mouthing off at him. This makes me think if there would be one person who could get away with going out undefeated it would be ‘taker. But at the same time If there is someone who should want to uphold the traditions of wrestling it would be him too.

The best tool WWE have in the whole situation is the supernatural element. Even after twenty years most of which Undertaker has been some sort of ‘phenom’ (we can sweep American Badass under the rug) people still buy into the whole thing willingly. When he first came in wrestling was still cartoonish and full of larger than life superheroes. Even by those standards his character was out there but it worked. During the ‘Attitude’ era when things were more mature and down to earth it worked. In the 00’s it works. Undertaker has come out on chariot, with a bird, through smoke, a guard of honour formed by druids, out of no where through darkness, from under the ring, set things on fire with ‘magic’. He has even come out with Paul Bearer….who controlled him with a mystic urn. No one else has ever gotten away with such an outrageous gimmick for so long.

But it looks like the end is fast approaching. Whats the difference between Undertaker and Mick Foley say? Simple. While Mick Foley ‘retired’ several years ago the Undertaker is ‘the dead man’. At this point there isn’t really any difference. Whilst many legends go away from our screens for months or years at a time because they are meant to be living normal lives or injured, Undertaker takes quite a lot of time out genuinely injured. No matter how you look at it the result is the same. But how much longer can WWE seriously present a beaten up old man as a great force of darkness?

The last couple of years 2010 especially, makes it clear the Undertaker needs to go away for good. WWE television and PPV has gotten into a bad cycle we are in the middle of right now. January through to Wrestle Mania there is genuine excitement and interest and sometimes the shows even live up to that. The rest of the year now feels like treading water from one mediocre rushed PPV to the next. Part of the reason for that is the Undertaker. As a fan of soccer (Im English) there is an old saying ‘No player is bigger than the team’ This isn’t always the case with WWE but now it is. Wrestle Mania seems to be one of only two shows they really care about. It’s gotten to the point that even on that show the WWE title isn’t even the most important thing.

It seems to rank:

1.Streak

2.Cena’s match (usually title)

3-5 (You choose the order) Money In the Bank, WWE/World title, grudge match with or without a celebrity.

That’s not right. The Title should come above everything else with the occasional (HBK) exception. And at the moment the rest of the team can’t pick up the slack. In my opinion they havn’t and won’t be given the chance untill Undertakers goes. Maybe it will hurt PPV buys in the short term but a new streak/thing Mania tradition needs to made and stars built. How about Cena’s 5 knuckle shuffle-off challenge? Or Wade Barretts wasteland slam jam? Or The Daniel Bryan name change game perhaps?

So we return to where we started. Many feel after HBK failed to win after two attempts that no one could or should beat Undertaker. They have a point. There is no one left to pose a real challenge. They were old enemies both in terms of story, age and physical condition. Could a legend like Stone Cold or the much talked about Sting? Or even Brock Lesnar? Yes but what purpose would that serve in the big scheme of things. HHH? Semi-retired at this point so no. What about a younger guy to pass the torch to? Cena? He is too big. He doesn’t need it and would be seen as a waste by many fans. The gulf between a guy of Cena’s level and the rest of the roster is huge and shows few signs of changing at the moment (another talk for another time) that said Undertaker beat Hulk Hogan for the WWF title a year into his career at that point becoming the youngest ever champion. You never know.

One final thought and something I have not heard anyone mention when talking about the streak and retirement for a good reason but it’s not outside the realm of possibility….A DRAW.

As usual thanks for reading and keep wrestling alive.

[Like this article? Consider buying TBH.com’s “THE STREAK IS OVER: 18-1 T-SHIRT“.]


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