Examining Ways WWE Can Replace Undertaker's Contributions to WrestleMania

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterApril 14, 2014

Credit: WWE.com

Whether Undertaker is done or not, WWE and WrestleMania are now forever changed now that Brock Lesnar proved him to be mortal.

The Deadman gave WrestleMania an additional marquee match each year, one that was bigger than any title bout. For WWE to combat the loss of his star power and the dramatic pull of his defense of the streak, it will have to turn to guest stars, beginning a new narrative and leaning on Lesnar.

It is not official, but Undertaker's loss on April 6, how sluggish he looked and the fact that he ended the night in the hospital point to that being his final match at the marquee event. It's a change that had to come at some point—WrestleMania no longer featuring one of its greatest performers.

There is no replacing Undertaker.

Just as the NBA without Michael Jordan and The Masters without Tiger Woods are not the same, Undertaker leaving WrestleMania behind leaves the event with a gap that can't be truly filled. Still, WWE must find ways to offer attractions to satisfy in similar ways to what The Phenom did.

Seeking out other elite names is one of those ways.


Bring in Big Stars

A huge part of the appeal of Undertaker's annual WrestleMania appearance was that it was so special. Over the last few years, he only competed in a handful of matches outside that event.

WrestleMania was the place to welcome back a legend.

He would emerge from hibernation, stepping through the fog to announce his newest opponent. With Undertaker not likely to continue that tradition, WWE has to seek out more star power to boost WrestleMania.

The Rock can help provide that. Since returning to WWE in 2011, he has mostly been a WrestleMania attraction. He hosted WrestleMania XXVII before main eventing the next two.

Bringing him back for next year's event and beyond certainly increases excitement about it.

WWE can also turn to CM Punk, who left the company in January. If he doesn't return before WWE invades Levi's Stadium on March 29, seeing him in action at The Showcase of the Immortals will feel like far more significant than it would have had he never quit.

Fans have longed for Steve Austin to make a one-time comeback and for Shawn Michaels to temporarily end his retirement. If officials could make either of those things happen, it would help ease the transition to Undertaker-less WrestleManias. Other options include bringing back Goldberg or giving Sting a farewell match on a grand stage.

No single guest appearance can make up for having an all-time great continue a historic streak, but compiling an impressive collection of names certainly helps fill the hole Undertaker will leave behind.


New Streak Begins

Having another Superstar match Undertaker's streak devalues the power of that accomplishment. WWE doesn't have to go that far, though. Having a wrestler compile five or six wins in a row would create added interest.

As part of The Shield, Roman Reigns now has two WrestleMania victories on his resume with no losses.

Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, all undefeated at WrestleMania so far.
Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, all undefeated at WrestleMania so far.Credit: WWE.com

If he wins singles matches in the next three years, WWE can then play up his burgeoning streak. The narrative then becomes the powerhouse chasing history. His WrestleMania bouts suddenly become bigger deals.

Reigns vs. Randy Orton, John Cena or Triple H are not just a means to seek victory but to approach immortality.

WWE didn't start highlighting Undertaker's undefeated status for several of his first WrestleMania wins.

Perhaps the company just didn't realize that it had booked him to go unbeaten at first, but it can make that a focus much earlier on if Reigns, Alexander Rusev or other future stars begin their careers with consecutive wins at the event.

Questions about whether these Superstars are the next Undertaker or how far they can stretch their own mini-streaks would create buzz.

Their matches would be more dramatic and more meaningful. Even if they come up significantly short, WWE can ride that momentum in spurts.

Each man who comes up short at 6-0 or better only adds to the power of Undertaker's legacy. In the meanwhile, the ride will elevate these rising stars, and WrestleMania will benefit from more compelling matches.


King of WrestleMania

Defeating The Undertaker at WrestleMania—after Hall of Famers, giants and warriors could not—propelled Lesnar like nothing else could. WWE has to use the momentum he gained with that shocking victory to better future WrestleManias.

It doesn't matter that Lesnar is now just 2-2 at The Show of Shows, WWE is brilliant at revisionist history.

The company can simply focus on his win at WrestleMania 30. Paul Heyman can dub him "The King of WrestleMania" and challenge anyone to take that unofficial crown from him.

Of course, defeating Lesnar wouldn't have the same impact as knocking off Undertaker, but it will now be a far more important accomplishment. 

Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman
Brock Lesnar with Paul HeymanCredit: WWE.com

As F4WOnline reports, via Josh Isenberg of Wrestle Zone, WWE is considering either The Rock or Cesaro as Lesnar's next WrestleMania opponent. Done right, either bout could be made to feel bigger if the company plays up the Undertaker connection.

The way that it became an honor to challenge Undertaker at WrestleMania, WWE can make a similarly big deal about who gets a crack at Lesnar.

This can only last until he loses again, but for at least a few years, WrestleMania will have an added marquee match to go along with its title bouts. 

Combining that with Reigns slowly collecting wins and a bevy of big names each year isn't a cure for an Undertaker deficiency, but it will alleviate its symptoms.