The Undertaker is an absolute legend in the industry of professional wrestling.
He is known as a leader in the locker room and one of the most respected men to ever grace a wrestling ring. Just standing across the ring from him in a match is more than enough to elevate the stock of an opponent in the eyes of many fans.
As Triple H said a few weeks back now, The Undertaker is one of the few left of a dying generation of wrestlers, a steadfast character in an industry where evolving means surviving. He has survived with only one truly drastic change in his character since he joined the WWF, which would be his "American Badass" Character. Such is the legend of the Undertaker.
Adding to the mystique and intrigue of the Undertaker is the ever-famous WrestleMania streak of 19 wins with no losses as it stands right now. Never before and presumably never again will such a streak be accomplished. The sheer longevity of the streak is just one of the astounding components of the aura that surrounds it.
Seventeen men have tried to end the streak, and none have succeeded. Only three men have had more than one crack at ending it, with Triple H being the only one to get a third shot at it, which will occur at this year's WrestleMania (in case you haven't heard).
While this WrestleMania may indeed be the last match of the Undertaker, that is not really the focus of this article. What I plan to discuss could take place at any WrestleMania should Undertaker continue to wrestle past this April 1st.
When it finally is time for the Undertaker to have his last match, which for purposes of this article, we will assume to be at a WrestleMania event, should he end the streak at the same time?
Should Undertaker end the streak when he retires?
While he is still wrestling in another promotion, Ric Flair retired on his back. Shawn used the streak as his swan song and left after being counted down for three as well. Terry Funk has even said that the best way to go out is "on your back," and he did it himself in his retirement match that was shown on Beyond The Mat.
All three of these men are just as legendary as the Undertaker in their own right, and all three had "retirement matches" that ended with them on the losing end of the match.
Should the Undertaker go out the same way?
Although I really am torn about this whole situation, I say yes—but maybe not for the reasons many would think.
Before you skip to the end of this article to crucify me, at least hear me out.
The Undertaker has given us many extremely special memories as wrestling fans. He has been wrestling for nearly 30 years and has been with the WWE for over 21 of those years. Just typing that makes me feel old.
While I would, as a fan of the streak, love to see Taker retire with it intact, as a fan of the man behind the gimmick, I would love to see him go out in a furious battle but ultimately come up short. How else could it really sink in to everybody that this is actually the end of The Undertaker?
If he retires with the streak intact, many people will remember him only for that accomplishment. I would rather remember him for his whole body of work, not just a once-a-year match.
To me, it seems that many people value the streak over the man himself. Someone even wrote an article here on B/R about someone taking up the mantle of the Undertaker character once Mark Calaway does retire.
While the writer may not have specifically mentioned the continuation of the streak (I honestly can't remember) it would certainly be necessary to continue the streak if such a thing were to happen. I'm not detracting the writer's opinion, as it most definitely is an intriguing one, but I personally think that Mark Calaway should be the only Undertaker.
Do you hate me for even bringing this idea up?
I chalk all of this up to emotional attachment. I certainly don't want to see the Undertaker leave. Over the past few years, we have lost many wrestlers that were very dear to many of our hearts. Eddie and Chris passed away. Shawn, Edge, Austin, Rocky and many others have retired leaving a void that many feel nobody has yet filled or ever will.
But that emotional attachment is exactly the reason that when the Undertaker does retire, he should go out the way that many others have gone. Sure, it will be a tough pill to swallow if it happens that way, but it will be a moment that none of us will ever forget.
Let's not forget, too, that if the Undertaker does indeed end the streak and his career at a WrestleMania, Mark Calaway will be the one to ultimately make that decision. Vince McMahon will not make that decision, Paul Levesque will not make that decision—only Mark Calaway.
He has the utmost respect and love for professional wrestling and no doubt feels that if Flair and Michaels can go out on their backs, he can too. No one will force him to lose to retire. In fact, quite the opposite, many will try to talk him out of it if he does make this decision.
If it does end the way that I have suggested here, I would hate to be in the shoes of the person to end it. They, for years, will be among the most hated members of the wrestling business. Eventually, though, all will be forgiven and instead of remembering that the Undertaker's streak was ended by *insert name here,* we will remember the legendary career that the Undertaker had instead.
What do you all think? Am I off the deep end? Do I at least make a good point? Do you hate my guts now? Leave your comments below and thank you all for reading.