The Undertaker really needs no introduction when it comes to WrestleMania. His Mania streak and the last few years following his lone loss have really made him a timeless figure amongst the WWE universe. All good things must come to an end though and I would like to prepare you for the most unpopular article that you’ll read today. This WrestleMania will not only be Undertaker’s last match but it will end with his second loss ever in the showcase of the immortals.
The fact that the Undertaker’s first WrestleMania match took place almost 26 years ago is unfathomable. His first time in a squared circle at Mania was WrestleMania VII in Los Angeles and it was in a match against Jimmy Snuka. Less than five minutes is all that the Undertaker would need as the roughly sixteen thousand in attendance that day would marvel at how this fairly new superstar could manhandle a great like Super Fly Jimmy Snuka. Roman Reigns was just five years old at the time. As Roman would grow, so would the names that would fall victim to the Undertaker. The list is as illustrious as it is long and despite his loss to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30 it will always stand as a monumental streak.
The seed for the Undertaker’s opponent this year was planted at this years Royal Rumble in the Alamo Dome when Reigns came out at number thirty and eliminated the Dead Man. The two exchanged a long look before the Undertaker would walk off. Fast forward to the night after Fastlane as Braun Strowman called out Reigns on Raw but ever so slowly backpedalled out of the ring when the Undertaker showed up. Then the not so fan favorite Reigns had come down to the ring to let the Undertaker know that this was his yard now. After a glance at the WrestleMania sign and an Undertaker chokeslam, things were made official as the two will do battle in Orlando in April. The mind games began this past Monday when the Undertakers infamous gong hit while Reigns was in the ring with Jinder Mahal. To add to the build up, Reigns was visited by HBK after the match and was given a stern warning from Mr.WrestleMania. In almost a heel like fashion, Reigns seemed unfazed by the Heartbreak Kid’s warning.
We have a few different variables in regards to the two competitors that helps support the prediction of a Reigns victory/Undertaker retirement. Based on nothing but a hunch, this writer feels as if the Undertaker wanted WrestleMania 32 to be his final match but the booking of his match left some dumbfounded. After spending years wrestling iconic names and a rising star in Bray Wyatt, Taker was paired with Shane McMahon. Not only was he paired with Shane but, it was scheduled to be contested inside Hell in a Cell. To add to the absurdity, a stipulation was given to the match that would allow a victorious Shane McMahon a controlling interest in the company and would also result in the Undertaker being finished at WrestleMania. The cherry on top of this horrible booking was that after the Undertaker had won. Vince McMahon basically rescinded his own added stipulation the next night on Raw. No matter how bad the Undertaker may have wanted to retire the impact of his career on the business is too legendary to end so anti climatically.
Another variable is McMahon’s behind the scenes thoughts and plans. The rumor mill has stated for quite some time now that Vince McMahon has wanted to do this match as he has wanted to pass the torch so to speak. Once thing that we know without the help of a rumor mill is that by hook or by crook Vince McMahon wants Roman Reigns to be the guy. Endless droves of boo birds and a wellness policy suspension couldn’t slow down McMahon’s determination. What bigger way for the chairman of the board to set Roman Reigns apart from others than to have him defeat and retire the Undertaker at Mania. We are talking about an achievement that not even John Cena has gotten to attempt. Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and countless other legends have fallen short.
Let’s also face facts here and acknowledge that the Undertaker is nearing the end as far as being an in-ring competitor. He is currently 51 years old and is in need of some surgery on his hip. Reports had been that following the Royal Rumble that the Undertaker was having significant discomfort with that ailing hip. The word on some of those reports has also speculated that Taker is waiting to be finished with his in-ring career before getting surgery. Considering his health, his age, and his opponent the writing seems to be on the wall here. Roman Reigns will be the first full-time in-ring competitor to defeat the Undertaker at WrestleMania. This writer will never understand why Brock Lesnar had to defeat the Undertaker at WrestleMania 30. The only loss of Takers WrestleMania career should have been made in an effort to propel a younger superstar rather than a part-time guy. Make no mistake though, Roman Reigns going over on the Undertaker will still be a big deal. Brock Lesnar will always be able to say that he beat the streak and that will still hold up. Reigns claim to fame will be that he put the Undertaker down for good.
What is all the more intriguing than the match itself is the potential fan reaction. The WWE universe has never been bashful about their distain for Roman Reigns. The moment it was evident that McMahon was going to make Reigns the golden boy the fans flipped. If this indeed is the passing of the proverbial torch, then it will always be looked back on for years to come. It will be interest to note if the universe decides to respect the history that is being made in front of their very eyes or be dragged kicking and screaming throughout the match. Regardless of the fan reaction, my prediction based on the variables mentioned is that Roman Reigns will defeat and retire the Undertaker at WrestleMania 33. Taking a loss in his last ever match won’t tarnish the Undertaker’s legacy just as it hasn’t Shawn Michaels. At the same time though, an Undertaker loss could be a huge bullet point in the career of Roman Reigns.