ViRTUE's RAGE: Farewell Undertaker??? Submitted by Virtue on 12/02/2020 at 08:49 PM
December 2, 2020
Minutes after publishing this article, Sting made his debut in AEW. Let that sink in for a minute as you read this...
It has been a minute or maybe more like a month, but I am finally back with an all new ViRTUE’s RAGE! Farewell Undertaker? In pro wrestling it is often hard to believe when a wrestler is done for good. There is always one last match or one last appearance, then another last match and another last appearance, and so on. We have witnessed it with Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Roddy Piper, Trish Stratus, Edge, and even the Undertaker himself when he left his ring entrance attire in the middle of the ring after his match against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33. A few years later, the Undertaker appeared at Survivor Series 2020, thirty years after his WWE debut at Survivor Series 1990. The last match he was in was a cinematic match when he defeated AJ Styles in the Boneyard Match at this year’s Mania. We can also count those matches he did in Saudi Arabia because they did indeed happen.
While all signs in 2020 point to the final farewell of the Undertaker such as the Last Ride documentary on the WWE Network, the Boneyard Match at Mania, and his “final” farewell at Survivor Series, it is inevitable that he has at least one more appearance left, at the very least. That appearance will be his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. Out of the handful of wrestlers I previously listed, Michaels, Bret Hart, Piper, Stratus, and Edge have all officially wrestled matches on WWE TV after their Hall of Fame inductions. We have also seen Flair appearances on several occasions, perhaps the most appearances out of all of them. Even Kurt Angle worked matches on WWE TV after his HOF induction. It just happens because a payday is a payday and you can never say never in pro wrestling, especially based on its track record over the years. It is just the nature of the wrestling business. Nobody pulls off the lingering nostalgia act show quite as well as WWE and Vince McMahon can do it. Will the Undertaker now fall in line and become the next wrestler to find the spotlight again, even after his eventual HOF induction? I say yes because he still has a pulse.
Look back at the Undertaker’s past year. It has been full of shoot interviews, a cinematic match, and a hokey farewell promo in the middle of the ring, all with no fans in attendance. There was not even a final organic crowd pop. Perhaps when he is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, the pandemic will be over and there will be a live crowd to pop for him, but based on what we witnessed at the end of Survivor Series this year, it most likely will not be the deadman who appears, but rather Mark Callaway as his “American Bad Ass” self. But you know what? The wrestling business is hurting right now because of this shitty pandemic and many fans have become disengaged with the product because of it. Once the world finally gets back to how it was and live sporting events and concerts with full crowds are able to happen again, WWE and Vince McMahon are going to want to make that time feel special and are going to try and pull out all the stops. Hmm? What do you think that could possibly mean for the Undertaker? I know Aaron Rift would agree with me that the likelihood of something big involving the Undertaker will somehow happen. Again, he has a pulse and has perhaps been Vince McMahon’s most loyal asset for the past 30 years.
Even if Undertaker showed up at the next WrestleMania that has a massive live crowd again just to Tombstone piledrive someone, like Kane used to do to Pete Rose, I will still count it as a “return” and yet another “farewell”. Knowing HBK and Edge have both technically wrestled again when we thought neither of them would, well, that alone increases the Undertaker’s odds of also one day doing the same thing, even if in a modified manner like another cinematic match, or a squash match like when he defeated John Cena at WrestleMania 34. I will be rather surprised if we only see the Undertaker for his HOF induction and never again. What do you think the Las Vegas odds would be if that were to happen? I still firmly believe he is one of Vince McMahon’s top options on speed dial and always will be until the day either one of them finally really does rest in peace. The Undertaker even pulled out of a meet and greet event called Starrcast, regardless if it was more WWE’s doing than his own, which still shows loyalty to Vince McMahon. Here is something to ponder: the only WrestleManias the Undertaker has not had a match in since the turn of the century were WrestleMania 16 and 35. Prior to that, he only missed WrestleMania 10 from the period of his Mania debut at WM7 through WM15. 27/30 Manias where he went over in 25 of the matches (thanks a lot Lesnar and Reigns). Absolutely nuts!
Would it be so wrong if the Undertaker came out as the “American Badass” at the next WrestleMania that has a full live crowd again? If you talk about the crowd going bonkers in a feel-good moment, especially when the world just weathered and hurdled a deadly pandemic, then that is the money that should be printed. Since the “Deadman” gimmick was put to rest at Survivor Series, at least some integrity would still be kept if the Undertaker decided to do his thing one more time but as his biker gimmick. Sure, this latest farewell could very well be smoke and mirrors to yet another surprise return by the Undertaker, or we could have already witnessed the last of him, well, at least until his WWE Hall of Fame induction that is. Still, never say never in the wrestling business, especially if the wrestler is still breathing…