When WWE invades the MetLife Stadium to put on WrestleMania 29, it could still be a spectacular show without The Undertaker, but it would certainly suffer without him.
The Undertaker defending his undefeated WrestleMania streak has become one of the event's biggest attractions. Some of the finest storytelling in the ring has been told by Undertaker against Triple H, Edge, Shawn Michaels and others.
Fans may not get to see Taker go for 21-0 and that will change the complexion of WrestleMania 29 in a big way.
What If The Dead Man Doesn't Rise This Time?
Rumors have been circulating about whether The Dead Man will be healthy enough to compete come April. PWInsider reported on Thursday that "Undertaker's physical well being was being called into question and it was no longer fully confirmed he would be working the show."
On top of that, Undertaker's old manager added some doubt as well.
In a recent interview with PWTorch, Paul Bearer said about Undertaker, "He's given his body to this company, and he hurts. My gosh, he hurts. You've seen all the things he's done. He needed this time off."
What if Undertaker is too hurt to fend off the next potential streak-breaker?
WWE won't have to cancel WrestleMania 29 by any means, but the show's ceiling can't be as high without him. Taking Undertaker's match out of each of the last five WrestleManias would be like taking Johnny Depp out of all of Tim Burton's movies.
Undertaker has been more synonymous with WrestleMania in recent years than any other superstar.
The Other Guys
WrestleMania 29 won't be crippled without Taker, though. WWE is just too big of a machine.
WWE does have a number of other stars to lean on. The event is more a collection of stars, a showcase of everything WWE, rather than being about a singular match.
With John Cena winning the Royal Rumble and The Rock defeating CM Punk for the WWE title that same night, it looks like the inevitable and the predictable is approaching. The "Once in a Lifetime" match may indeed become twice in a lifetime.
Though that matchup lacks the pop of their initial faceoff, Rock vs. Cena II still pits two megastars together, this time with the added dramatic element of the championship being at stake.
So perhaps WrestleMania repeats its main event from last year. Sometimes the sequel is better than the original.
What might the rest of the card look like?
Brock Lesnar returned again, smashing Vince McMahon with the F-5. He's certainly a big name to throw in the mix.
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar is a possibility albeit an uninteresting one. WrestleMania 29 featuring both Cena avenging last year's loss to The Rock and Triple H doing the same against Lesnar feels too predictable.
Switching Lesnar's opponent to Punk would be a welcome sight.
Punk vs. Lesnar offers something fresh. Their size difference adds intrigue as do their opposing styles.
The World Heavyweight title match could feature a heel Randy Orton vs. Sheamus. It's not a match we haven't seen nor does it have the drawing power of a top-level main event, but it would assure WWE a fantastic third main event.
The rest of the roster offers some exciting possibilities.
Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Wade Barrett, Alberto Del Rio and Daniel Bryan can be shuffled in a way to construct compelling feuds and entertainment in the ring.
As always, there are some valuable pieces for WWE to maneuver.
There are several WrestleMania-worthy matches to be had, just not anything on the scale of Undertaker's iconic status and the intrigue of his streak.
The Undertaker has been one of the major highlights of recent WrestleManias. His story has taken center stage each year.
It's a story that can't go on forever.
Undertaker's absence would be deflating, but it's a situation WWE fans have to get used to eventually. There are only so many times Undertaker will walk through that blue fog, only so many times he will cross his opponents' arms over their chest.
One day he'll retire in earnest and WrestleMania will have to go on without him.
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