The Undertaker, in his current form, has existed since 14th March 2004. It was on this day at WrestleMania XX he returned from being Buried Alive at Survivor Series 2003 to settle a feud with Kane.
No matter what name this persona of The Undertaker goes by, whether it is The Deadman or The Phenom, it is the longest time WWE's oldest performing star has gone by without reinventing himself.
Admittedly it would seem odd at this point since the current incarnation of The Deadman shares traits with all of his former identities. The seemingly unstoppable resilience of The Western Mortician.
The undead aspect of his original Deadman form.
The supernatural abilities of The Lord of Darkness. There are also traces from his American Badass/Big Evil phases such as his wrestling attire and moveset. Overall it would appear this would be the best gimmick to retire on.
But a character such as The Undertaker has been successful because of his ability to change whenever he begins to grow stale.
If you think about it The Undertaker is the only "gimmick" from the cartoony early-90s era of WWE that is still active and used regularly.
Undertaker needs to change his gimmick because in the end they grow tired. Personally I am surprised he has remained in this current form for over six years. Usually an Undertaker gimmick will last two-four years.
There are usually two distinct signs when The Undertaker is about to change his style. One sign is that he will usually be utilised less and made to look weaker in the months leading up to the death of a gimmick.
Considering his age its hard to use this as an argument for change these days. After all he is not the man who at the time of winning his first WWE Championship became the youngest man to win the belt.
Plus the lack of use before the end of a gimmick was usually because of an injury of some sort.
I think we can all agree he is being made to look weaker in recent months. Rarely have I known The Undertaker to lose two big PPV matches in a row. Even in his "weakened state" it still comes as a surprise. Over the years Undertaker in his current form has gradually been selling moves more realistically.
Six years ago he was back to an almost invincible state where a heel would have to do ten matches worth of cheating to overcome him. Now it takes a considerable less amount of effort to topple The Deadman.
The other sign of a gimmick change is a match that can give reason for a wrestler to be absent for a small period of time.The Western Mortician was defeated by Yokozuna in a Casket Match that saw the urn become damaged.
The resurrected form of the Undertaker would be Buried Alive by Mankind and a large group of heels. The Lord of Darkness admittedly had no such match because of his injuries. The American Badass was once again Buried Alive, but this time by Kane and Mr. McMahon.
If rumours for The Undertaker vs. Kane match at Bragging Rights are correct then we shall be getting yet another Buried Alive match. Undertaker does not have such a great record in this match by any account. The signs all point to another change in Undertaker's character.
He could easily take a month or two off and return with a new appearance.
But is it too late for such an action?
Rumours have spread that this will be his final run in the company. It would be pointless to do something so drastic with his character at this late stage.
He has also recently already taken a large amount of time off to recuperate from injuries. Would WWE really afford him more time off?
No matter what happens to The Deadman at Bragging Rights I'm sure it will be suitable for a man of legendary proportions.
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