No character has been protected by WWE more than Undertaker. It's fitting the undead wrestler is not the last of a dying breed, but rather the last of a dead breed.
Pro wrestling characters are no longer preserved the way they once were. Even on-camera cult leader Bray Wyatt has a Twitter account.
To this day, an out-of-character interview with the phenom is news in and of itself. Cameras are one of the only reasons he's is able to be seen out of character. In an era where kayfabe is dead, the Undertaker character continues to endure eternally.
Another unofficial tradition that has endured within WWE is Undertaker's annual absence from the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. In the on-and-off two-decade history of the WWE Hall of Fame, Undertaker has never been shown on camera during the ceremony.
But in a year where Paul Bearer, who is most clearly associated with his run as the longtime manager of Undertaker, will be posthumously inducted, the time has come for WWE and its phenom to make an exception.
There's always Kane, who Paul Bearer managed during his WWE run. Given the rare aura that went along with all Paul Bearer, however, Undertaker's absence would be palpable, and possibly unsettling.
A brief ceremony where an in-character Undertaker accepts the induction on Bearer's behalf would be the only goodbye that would fit Bearer's legacy. Kane doing the honors, amidst his transformation to the less feral Corporate Kane, could get awkward—or, dare I say, hijacked.
It's one thing if Bill Moody is inducted as Bill Moody, or even Percy Pringle.
Who should induct Paul Bearer in the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame?
But this is Paul Bearer, the pale mortician whose name is a play on words inspired by his real-life certification in mortuary science.
Few manager-wrestler tandems were together for as long as Taker and Paul. Bearer's life's work in the WWE revolved around death. In fact, his untimely passing puts added pressure on Undertaker to break his career-long tradition.
Undertaker confronting an actual death, let alone during the ultimate honor of closest confidant, would create a moment that would do more for his character than hiding from the Hall of Fame ever did.
The poignant scene would make Paul Bearer immortal.