Who should Undertaker’s WrestleMania 29 opponent be? (POLL included)
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Some people are calling for the Undertaker to put an end to his career following his amazing Hell in a Cell match with Triple H at WrestleMania 28. It makes sense. It was an amazing match, not only already frontrunner for 2012 Match of the Year, but one of the best matches in WrestleMania history. The psychology utilized and the story told truly depicted the “End of an Era,” exactly as the match was billed to be.
The Undertaker won’t be able to have a better wrestling match to go out on. But, I think it’s appropriate that the Undertaker ends his career with a match that we all know, ahead of time, is the end of his career. However that would be conveyed, I’m not sure, but it’s important that Undertaker receives a curtain call that is his and nobody else’s. If anyone in the WWE deserves it, it’s the Undertaker, who has been as dedicated to the company as anyone in its history.
That leaves one question — who should he face at Wrestlemania 29 next April for his final match? Here, I’ll raise some possible opponents and why each would make sense. I’ll start with what I think is the least likely opponent and work my way to the most likely opponent. (Don’t forget to voice your opinion in the poll at the end of this post.)
The only reason Punk comes to mind as a possible challenger is because of the intrigue the matchup would provide. Punk and Undertaker feuded once before in 2009, but Punk was a heel and had not yet reached the level of stardom he currently holds within the WWE Universe. Punk’s candidacy is hurt, though, because it’s hard to imagine WWE giving any consideration to Punk ending the streak. Taker’s final match should come against someone who could believably end the streak, and Punk doesn’t fit that bill.
Also, the only logic I can think of to support Punk challenging Undertaker is his “Best in the World” claim. Wouldn’t ending The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak cement Punk’s status as the very best?
Some sites reported that Money in the Bank was scrapped from WrestleMania 28 because Wade Barrett was planned to win it. When Barrett went down with injury, obviously that became a problem.
But with Barrett seemingly destined for a push to the main event upon his return, what better way to help establish him as a top star than a feud with the Undertaker, culminating at WrestleMania 29?
Such a match could even be fit as a WWE or World Heavyweight Championship match, with Barrett entering the bout as the Champion. Perhaps Barrett’s reign is so dominant that one of the general managers names The Undertaker as his opponent — or something like that.
Barrett, like Punk, probably lacks believability as being the end to Undertaker’s streak.
The Miz’s 3-0 record at WrestleMania is a little less formidable than the Undertaker’s 20-0 mark, yes. But hey, even the Phenom was 3-0 at one point. Plus, the Miz had a bigger WrestleMania win at this stage in his career (over John Cena in the WWE Championship match last year) than Undertaker did (I guess over Jake Roberts?)
Nonetheless, you can easily envision Miz delivering promos that touted this matchup as a battle of streaks. 20-0 vs. 3-0, what’s the difference, really, anyways?
Still, as much as I love the Miz, I’m not sure he is worthy of being the last man to wrestle the Undertaker at WrestleMania. He also doesn’t make for a very legitimate possible streak-ender.
Jericho could use the same reasoning as the one I just mentioned for Punk. Jericho could also stake his claim as a worthy challenger to the streak because of his history of, well, making history. After all, Y2J was the first-ever Undisputed Champion.
But most importantly, the freshness of a Jericho vs. Undertaker matchup is the best reason to believe in this one. As far as I can remember, Jericho and Undertaker have never been involved in a feud. Both men have co-existed in the company for the better part of 12-plus years. The fact that they’ve never shared a rivalry is amazing. Hell, I can’t even specifically remember any one time the two men wrestled each other one-on-one. I know they’ve wrestled before, but it’s never happened in a particularly memorable fashion. So the freshness of this battle would be especially welcome after a phase in which Undertaker recycled old WrestleMania opponents (vs. Shawn Michaels two years in a row, then Triple H the last two years).
I imagine such a feud playing out with Jericho attempting to “expose” the Dead Man as a fraud. Jericho would somehow every week try to display that Undertaker’s powers are no more than a farce, an illusion. Jericho would get the better of the Undertaker in the build-up to the show, perhaps even assaulting him with the urn itself. Of course, Jericho would eventually receive his comeuppance and not be able to overcome the Undertaker’s phenomenal powers once the feud reached WrestleMania. I picture a seemingly battered and destroyed Undertaker being locked in the Walls of Jericho for minutes on end, and passing out or “rising from the dead” once the official raised his hand a third time.
Regardless of how it would be acted out, I’m sure Jericho could put together a match with Undertaker on par with the recent Undertaker-Shawn Michaels showdowns.
If a wrestler’s legitimate candidacy to end the streak is your top priority, Lesnar might be the best choice. Lesnar will likely be fresh off a year of dominance in the WWE — I can’t envision a scenario in which he’ll lose too much over the upcoming calendar year, especially since most of his matches will likely take place on pay-per-view. The only snag here is if Lesnar doesn’t agree to extend his contract, it would virtually end any speculation of him ending the streak. It’d be pretty weird if Lesnar beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania, then never showed up on WWE television again.
Few wrestlers remain on the roster in which the Undertaker might still have a bone to pick with. Lesnar is one of them. Not many men can claim to have gotten the better of the Undertaker over a prolonged rivalry, but Lesnar did when they feuded back in 2002 shortly after Lesnar became WWE Champion for the first time. That was when the Undertaker was rocking his biker gimmick, though, giving this edition of the rivalry a fresh appeal.
Lesnar and the Undertaker also put on some very entertaining, downright gruesome brawls, especially their Hell in a Cell match at No Mercy 2002. The Undertaker’s contest with Triple H at this year’s WrestleMania 28 was physical. Brock may be the only opponent with which Undertaker could have an even more physical match at WrestleMania 29.
This is the opponent the various dirt sheet sites are already reporting is in line to face Taker next April. I’ve been calling for this match for about three or four years now. It’s something that has to happen. It needs to happen.
The Undertaker has been the most dominant force in the WWE for over two decades. Conversely, John Cena may be the most “reacted to” (yeah, I’m coining that term) superstar in the history of pro wrestling, however ambivalent the reactions have been.
The premise can be simple. Still down in despair from his heartbreaking defeat against the Rock at WrestleMania 28, Cena would say there is only one way to fully redeem himself for last year: do what no man has ever done — defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania. (I suppose this runs the risk of damaging Cena’s credibility if you do have Undertaker beat him, though you can avoid that situation by having Cena come closer than anyone before to ending the streak).
Cena is the most believable candidate out of any to put an end to the Undertaker’s streak, simply because he is the biggest star in the WWE today and has been for almost a decade. Regardless of what his detractors say, he has consistently churned out quality performances when put on big stages, and against Undertaker in a WrestleMania environment, the result would be no different.
If the man to face Undertaker at WrestleMania 29 is in fact John Cena, then that brings us a whole new question that begs answering: Would or should he end The Undertaker’s streak?