The Last Ride: The Final Months of the Legendary Career of The Undertaker
Just a month before I turned six years old, I sat in front of the TV after Thanksgiving dinner and watched the 1990 Survivor Series.
In the second match of the night, the Million Dollar team of Ted DiBiase, Greg Valentine, and The Honky Tonk Man were in the ring as DiBiase, the team captain, introduced the team's mystery partner.
More than 20 years later, on April 3, 2011, it appears I will watch as the man I saw debut that night in 1990, The Undertaker, hangs up his wrestling boots for good.
Recent Internet reports have WrestleMania XXVII slated as the final match in the historic career of The Undertaker. The Undertaker has stated multiple times that he wanted Paul Bearer to return to the WWE for The Deadman's final run, and Friday night's return may be the clearest sign yet of the end of the road for one of the most prolific stars in pro wrestling history.
Those same Internet reports currently have two men—Sheamus and Kane—ahead of the pack as potential opponents for The Undertaker's 19th appearance at WrestleMania.
The Undertaker and Kane have battled twice at WrestleMania, with The Deadman coming out on top both times. While the story would tie in nicely with the inclusion of Paul Bearer, we've seen it before.
First, The Undertaker didn't want to fight his brother because he refused to fight his own flesh and blood. The second time around, The Deadman gimmick returned to punish Kane for his interference in a Buried Alive Match at Survivor Series 2003.
Kane has seen the upper hand as of late, but does anyone really believe The Undertaker won't come out on top once again this time around?
My biggest concern with a third installment of Undertaker-Kane at WrestleMania is the state of The Streak. The Undertaker initially tabbed his kayfabe brother as the man to end The Streak, but that plan was obviously changed.
Could the script be flipped in 2011, with Kane becoming the man to bury The Undertaker for good?
A match with Sheamus would provide a strong build and a fresh storyline.
The seemingly apparent clashing point would be Sheamus' claim to have put Triple H out of action for months, with The Celtic Warrior setting his sights on ending The Undertaker's vaunted WrestleMania streak.
It could be a strong run through the first part of 2011, with the feud between Sheamus and The Undertaker beginning at Royal Rumble.
As a fan, my biggest fear lies in recent history.
Two of the biggest names in WWE history, Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair, have seen their curtain call come following a loss on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
Shawn Michaels was Mr. WrestleMania. Ric Flair was The Nature Boy. For that, they will always be remembered.
Nobody wants to remember 18-1. 19-0 has a lot better ring to it. I can only hope Vince McMahon and WWE creative agree.
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