Chair Shots: Is WWE WrestleMania 28 the End of the Undertaker Era?
By Wayne Carter
Mar 15, 2012 | 3:00 AM
The Undertaker's third WrestleMania match with Triple H - currently being touted as the "End of an Era" match - could potentially be the Dead Man's last.
A recent report surfaced that Triple H upped his contract with the company as a wrestler for four more years, meaning win or lose at WrestleMania, he isn't hanging up his trunks for good. And that's smart. Triple H has proven he's still a draw, and even if he never wrestles full-time again, a few matches a year are fine by me. Knowing that, and knowing that a victory for Undertaker would give him a nice round 20-0 WrestleMania record, the "End of an Era" tagline has me thinking this is it for 'Taker.
While I appreciate symmetry as much as the next guy (probably moreso), I can't help but think there are a few potential opponents that the Undertaker hasn't faced on a major stage, and who would certainly be worthy of challenging the Streak.
Undertaker is currently 48-years old. If it were anyone else, I'd think it'd be time to hang it up. But could the Undertaker extend his career by five more years, wrestling until he was 53, if he only had to do one match per year? I think he could.
Does he want to? That all depends.
Regardless, if Undertaker does decide to stick around a few more years, here are five WrestleMania worthy opponents for him in the business right now.
5. Chris Jericho. When rumors began swirlling that Jericho was returning to the WWE last fall, it was obvious he was only returning to face one of two people at WrestleMania: CM Punk or the Undertaker. We now know that his opponent will be CM Punk. If the Undertaker retires, we will have never seen him and Jericho have an extended program on the big stage. The closest we got was from November 2009 to February 2010. The two wrestled on Smackdown during the build to Survivor Series, where the Undertaker was defending the World Championship in a Triple Threat against then-Tag Team Champions Jericho and the Big Show. The two crossed paths a few times in tag team matches after that, and Jericho actually defeated the Undertaker for the championship at Elimination Chamber 2010, with a major assist from Shawn Michaels.
Here's that Smackdown match I mentioned.
4. CM Punk. These two had a brief feud in fall 2009 -- right before Taker shifted his attention to Jericho and Big Show -- that saw CM Punk defeat the Undertaker in the most recent incarnation of the Montreal Screwjob at WWE's only "Breaking Point" event. A few weeks later, Taker made short work out of Punk in the opening match of WWE's first "Hell in a Cell" PPV. Rumors circulated at the time that WWE booked the match first and so decisively because Punk had gotten mouthy with 'Taker after Undertaker suggested backstage that Punk "dress more like a champion." Now that CM Punk is one of the WWE's torch bearers, it seems like this storyline would practically write itself, wouldn't it? Punk, the young hotshot, disrespecting the old veteran?
Here's that Hell in a Cell match:
3. Brock Lesnar. Since the two had a run-in at a UFC event a few years back, fans have been drooling over this potential WrestleMania match. Lesnar would certainly be a credible threat to the Undertaker's Streak. The match could also be booked more like an MMA match, since Undertaker incorporates elements of MMA into his wrestling style and Lesnar is a former UFC Champion. These two did have a feud during the end of Undertaker's "Bikertaker/Big Evil" run, which also culminated in a Hell in a Cell match that Lesnar won clean. Who wouldn't want to see this match again?
2. John Cena. If you believe the rumors, John Cena was going to be the Undertaker's 20th victim at WrestleMania this year -- until the Rock decided to return. In fact, it almost seemed as if WWE was setting the stage for a Cena-Undertaker feud during the lead-up to Survivor Series 2009. Cena and Taker, the WWE and World Champions at the time, were facing DX and Jeri-Show, respectively in Triple Threat matches at the event. In the go-home show at MSG, Cena and Taker won a Triple Threat Tag Team match against those two teams, then Taker inexplicably dropped Cena with a Tombstone piledriver. No explanation was ever really given for that, and nothing came of it. Cena and Taker -- as a white rapper and a biker, respectively -- had a brief feud in 2003.
Before we get to No. 1, I have to explain a couple names I considered, but left off the list: Kane and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Obviously, we've seen Kane vs. the Undertaker countless times, including twice at a WrestleMania. I always thought it would be logical for Undertaker's final match to be against his storyline brother, Kane. In fact, the last time these two fought, Kane won the series 3-0 in late 2010. When Kane was "resurrected" earlier this year, I thought it was to have one last run against Undertaker at WrestleMania. At this point, I don't think Kane has the star power fans have come to expect challenging the Streak.
While Austin would definitely have the star power, if Stone Cold were to return to the ring one more time, I think he'd want to do so against a young heel rather than a veteran like the Undertaker. Because of Undertaker's age and Austin's health, any match they had would probably disappoint. Also, I think if Austin returned to the ring - especially if it wasn't a babyface vs. babyface match like Cena and the Rock are doing this year - he would be booked to go over. Obviously, that wouldn't happen with the Undertaker.
1. Sting. Possibly the ultimate dream match. The Man They Call Sting has NEVER wrestled a match in WWE, although he admitted in a recent interview he's been very close to signing with Vince McMahon over the years, including last year to face the Undertaker at WrestleMania. Would Sting come to the WWE to lose to Undertaker? If the money was right, I'm sure he would. The Undertaker is so respected in the business that even Sting would likely be willing to put him over. It would have been perfect last year in Atlanta, the home of WCW, where Sting made his name. However, this is a match fans would watch anytime anywhere, but especially at WrestleMania.