There was no grand entrance, no sign of the famous music simply titled, "Rest in Peace." There are bigger fire plumes on Raw than there were in the Georgia Dome last night. The druids that have almost become a yearly tradition were nowhere to be found.
Last night was WrestleMania...right? Nah, it couldn't have been.
It couldn't have been. The entrance is just the beginning. The Undertaker was buried (not literally, but in the professional wrestling way) by Triple H, though it was The Deadman who came out on top in the end.
No way, it couldn't have been WrestleMania. That just doesn't add up.
And, for the first time in this writer's memory, The Undertaker was carted away from the ringside area. Not in a casket being carried by druids, or by an opponent, but by the WWE training staff.
Despite all outward appearances, last night was WrestleMania. The Deadman didn't descend upon the ring by way of his trademark mystical entrance down the ramp. There was no toe-to-toe battle which saw The Undertaker rise to the occasion every time, no black light blanketing the arena after another superstar fell victim to The Streak.
Last night was a charade, a mockery of what The Undertaker's WrestleMania streak, and his career as a whole, has been.
It is for that reason, above all others, that The Undertaker's legendary career must continue to Miami and WrestleMania XXVIII. Forget how clean and tidy a 20-0 Streak would be—Undertaker fans young and old need to see The Deadman go out in a way much better than what we saw last night.
Triple H flexed his backstage muscle for this year's WrestleMania. It was The Game who had the one-of-a-kind entrance. It was The Game who physically dominated the action. It was The Game who won the match without earning the victory.
The greatest WWE superstar of this generation, and possibly ever, does not deserve to have his final WrestleMania match be in the shadow of something like that.
When the careers of Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels came to an end, they were celebrated. Both men lost their final WrestleMania match, but both men were celebrated. The Undertaker should never fall on The Show of Shows, but why doesn't he deserve the same career celebration?
Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler inexplicably crushed The Streak throughout Sunday night's contest, essentially deeming it over multiple times throughout the match. My guess is that this was done to put over Triple H (like he needs it) but it made The Undertaker look...mortal.
And that was the problem throughout the entire match sequence: The Undertaker didn't look like The Undertaker, he just looked like any other regular superstar.
They may have done 'Taker a service by just calling him Mark Calaway. Outside of the attire and the move set, there was no indication this was The Undertaker we in the WWE Universe have come to expect on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
We need to see The Undertaker, in the same way we've seen him year after year at WrestleMania, take to the ring in Miami next April, to put the bow on his amazing career. Let one more superstar fall victim to The Streak, which will have reached 20-0 on April 1, 2012.
And then, The Last Outlaw and his Hall of Fame career can ride into the darkness.
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