Posted by Jaryd Cornwell
I should start off by saying that of course I respect the heck out of The Undertaker. Both as the inimitable phenom, the greatest gimmick of all time, but perhaps even more so, as the man, Mark Calaway, the unquestioned locker room general. Not a position he asked for, rather a position he earned through many years of hard work and sacrifice that meant, as an old piece of ‘Taker merchandise said, he was “respected by all”.
However, one of the few guarantees in life is that age will catch up with everyone eventually. The unfortunate fact is that without ‘Taker’s careful planning (and Vince McMahon’s blessing) of working less and less as time has gone on, he would have been forced into retirement several years ago. A Hall of Fame career, especially one as legendary as the Dead Man’s, doesn’t happen without taking its toll on the body. The ravages of time have caused him, sadly, to become a shell of his former self in the ring.
Yes, of course he can still put on a five-star match when it comes down to it, but the amount of those left in him are dwindling. The more he puts his body through these, the more of himself he leaves in the ring. This is why I really think he should have retired last year after going 20-0. It’s a nice round number and there’s no way he’ll make it to 30-0, probably not even 25.
There is nothing left to gain for him by going over at the big show again; this is why I was surprised when I heard early in his negotiations with Hunter and Vince to work Wrestlemania , he said he wouldn’t come back to go under. I would have at least expected him to be open to the possibility in the interests of what was good for business.
Then on the other side you have CM Punk, who is really the only man on the roster that would benefit from the coup of ending the immortal streak when you look at things. The only other viable possibility, John Cena, is WWE’s Superman, the Hulk Hogan of the 21st century. Putting him over would only cause his already brimmed cup to overflow. Giving the win to an unproven star on the verge of the main event, like Dolph Ziggler, would only serve to put enormous pressure on his shoulders and would force WWE to push him to the moon immediately without really being sure how it would pan out.
So back we go to Punk. He has come so far in his WWE career. From Indy favourite when he started in WWECW, he moved on to become World Heavyweight Champion, but strangely, once that trigger had been pulled, creative seemed to lose all faith in him. Nonetheless, he came back and through a mixture of talent, politicking and “that” promo, he has elevated himself to being just behind Cena in the pecking order.
The win against ‘Taker might just be what it takes to put him right up at the top of the pile and begin to cement his legacy, much like building the streak helped do for The Dead Man himself. Anybody who opposes the streak being ended because they believe it will ruin the great man’s legacy, is unwittingly levying a pretty big insult at a man who has done it all in the wrestling business. In fact, there is one more thing he can do and that is to put CM Punk over, thus ensuring his final act as a performer is to help provide for the future of the industry he loves.
I expect to take a lot of flak for this, but know that I’m not just being a Punk mark. Now that he the legend is returning, though, I truly believe this is the direction to go.
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