WrestleMania season is here, and per usual, Undertaker return rumors are all the rage. This time around, his opponent could be none other than John Cena, as has been speculated by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestlingInc).
While The Undertaker vs. John Cena has sounded like the perfect WrestleMania match for quite some time, a showdown between the two living legends in 2018 is simply too little, too late.
This is the third time in four WrestleManias that Undertaker seems primed to return to the ring despite heavily teasing retirement the year prior. Undertaker was shockingly defeated by Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30 in what many believed to be his final match due to the Streak coming to an end.
After redeeming himself one year later against Bray Wyatt, Undertaker ceremoniously left his gloves in the ring at WrestleMania 32 following a win over Shane McMahon. Undertaker did the same at WrestleMania 33 but more definitively as he left his gloves, hat and trenchcoat in the ring. Even as WWE tried its best to pretend he was gone for good, the announce team still hedged its bets by saying it was "perhaps" his final WrestleMania.
Both Cena and Undertaker are at the back end of their primes, though it's far more obvious with Taker, who struggled through his last match against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33. Their changing-of-the-guard match was described by Wade Keller of PWTorch as "a mix of high drama and discomfort."
The Undertaker has had countless surgeries, and the wear-and-tear of an illustrious pro wrestling career that has spanned 33 years has compromised a once-elite worker.
The Undertaker may not have gone off on a perfect note last year, but the symbolism all but assured fans that this was the end. If he comes back yet again, even if there is a hard-and-fast retirement stipulation in place, it'll be difficult to take another Undertaker retirement seriously.
Just because Undertaker is at the point of his career where he's portraying the old gunslinger in winter doesn't mean he has to be Brett Favre in the offseason.
The combined age of Undertaker and John Cena, 92 years, would represent one of the highest figures for a one-on-one match in WrestleMania history.
From physical limitations to the watering down of his own legacy, Undertaker's mystique is best preserved away from the ring. When it comes to having a classic match against John Cena, that ship sailed years ago.