The Bucket List: Undertaker
His time is coming to an end. What is left for him to do?
Ladies and Gentleman, I give to you, The Undertaker's 'Bucket List'.
Of course, the Undertaker isn't about to die. How could the Deadman die, anyway? No, this is a 'Bucket List' dedicated to what The Phenom should do before he exits his yard. So long the guardian of WWE, he is the eternal presence that is perhaps more associated with WWE than any of its personnel.
In reality though, he is a man. A man with limited time. And Mark Calaway will surely retire soon, not only for the sake of his health but for the sake of his legacy; a legacy that includes some of the greatest matches and moments in WWE history.
Here are 5 things the Undertaker should do before he retires.
Deal with the 'Conspiracy'
A 'conspiracy' is afflicting the WWE. Talented performers like Wade Barrett feel neglected by WWE executives, others like R-Truth and The Miz are so infuriated by the mismanagement of talent they have tried with little success to forcibly implement change into the company. Miz and R-Truth were subsequently rewarded with a dismissal from WWE by the man many people feel is the epicentre of this situation, Chief Operating Officer Triple H.
People are interested in these developments.
But not as interested as they were. While still a good, solid storyline, it's not the trailblazing moment of revolution many were hoping for. CM Punk has not managed to stage his revolution, with the status quo kept in place. Errors in judgment, like the early reintroduction of CM Punk, the implementation of Kevin Nash, and the inability to define whether Triple H is a face or heel, have damaged it's credibility.
Injecting the Undertaker into the situation would give it fresh impetus. Whoever is involved in the perpetration of this 'conspiracy', the one thing everyone is sure of is that the scenario will continue for a long time. Eventually, someone is going to have to calm the storm threatening to engulf the company.
The Undertaker is the man to do just that. When he returns, his presence will be vital in settling everything. Vince McMahon, John Laurinaitis, Stephanie McMahon, even Triple H: none of them can unite the locker room under a banner of respect and fear like the company's ultimate veteran can. His yard is in danger, and he will not allow it. Whatever transpires, the Undertaker will be a decisive presence in the face of any controversies; the leader to whom personnel know they can flock; the protector of all that is scared in WWE. A dark, satanic figure he may be, but The Undertaker is the ultimate source of leadership in the company and he will not allow things to remain in such perilous disrepute.
Encounter Kane and Paul Bearer
Both Kane and Paul Bearer have been a massive part of the Undertaker's WWE tenure, and when his career comes full circle both men should be a part of it. Before Undertaker shuffles off of his immortal coil and returns to life as Mark Calaway, all three men must stand in the ring together and resolve their history. All it would require is a handshake between the Brothers of Destruction, and Paul Bearer renouncing the Urn, symbolically releasing him from his satanic duties and privilege.
Assuming Kane remains in WWE after Undertaker leaves, it also serves the purpose of pairing him with Paul Bearer for what could be the last major push of his career, which he will likely get on account of the Deadman's retirement (much the same way Christian was pushed after Edge left).
The Streak does indeed live. But for how long?
Apparently, it is Mark Calaway himself who believes The Streak must come to an end, worrying that it is a legacy that has begun to outweigh the business itself. I, like many others, think a man of the Undertaker's enduring class and dedication is wholly worthy of an unbeaten Wrestlemania run, but am also aware that rewarding someone with the opportunity of ending the Streak would be the ultimate act of putting over some fresh young talent.
The possibilities are endless; anyone proposed as the person to end the Streak would have their detractors, such is the mystique and reverence the wrestling community holds this legacy in. Others, though, would endorse the idea of a young, upcoming wrestler being given the privilege.
CM Punk, on the cusp of becoming the face of the company, needs only something like this to reach the fabled land of the ultimate WWE icons reserved for the likes of Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, John Cena and, yes, the Undertaker himself.
Triple H certainly doesn't need the Streak added to his fanntastic legacy, but there are cynical IWC members who wouldn't put it beyond Paul Levesque to finally defeat Taker on 'The Grandest Stage of them All'.
Others, like Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Sheamus or Alberto Del Rio could certainly use the elevation it would give their careers. Stars in the making, these men would become genuine stars if they were to beat the Deadman at 'Mania.
It wouldn't only put someone over though; no, it would also pass them the torch. Not as the biggest star, though that too could come; Undertaker was never really the No. 1 guy in the business; he was that rare performer who always hovered between No. 2 - 4. And he was absolutely fine with that, because he was the veteran; the man who dealt with things backstage, the man who typified WWE more than any other. Whoever defeats him could be given that responsibility.
Whatever the case, Undertaker is a man who understands the business, and his supposed willingness to put someone over on his way out is logical and commendable.
Become the American Badass
This one is very debatable.
Imagine this: the Undertaker, having been defeated at Wrestlemania, realises his existence in WWE has come to an end. He is no longer what he was: the most feared wrestler in the company. On the decline, he does what all self-respecting veterans do, and acknowledges it is the end. This all happens at 'Mania, after he has lost, of course.
The next day on Monday Night Raw, he doesn't enter accompanied by druids with their flaming torches, and the ominous sound of funeral music, but instead he enters on his motorbike, to the anthem of Limp Bizkit, the American Bad Ass once more.
As an extension of Mark Calaway's real life personality, it would make more sense for the Undertaker to exit under the guise of the Big Evil persona, having renounced his soulless ways and become human upon his exit from WWE.
It would also enable him to give a retirement speech without breaking the character of the Deadman, in case he ever returns for one-off appearances under that guise. After his speech, and perhaps some guest appearances to coincide with his legendary exit (the aforementioned Kane & Paul Bearer, Shawn Michaels, Vince McMahon, etc.) he leaves his yeard and rides off into the night.
Thanks for Reading!
He has seen the best, fought the best, and beaten the best.
I hope you all enjoyed my opinion about how the Undertaker should go about his retirement; his bucket list was difficult, considering he is a superstar that has done it all in this business more than once. Still, these were the things that struck me as both appropriate and essential to him having a good retirement.
'The Bucket List' articles are going to be a series about the veterans of WWE (and perhaps other companies) and how they should go about their forthcoming retirements. I have a number of different wrestlers in mind, but am open to suggestions.
This was, in it's most basic form, a tribute to Undertaker, one of the greatest legends in this business, so please enjoy this tribute video dedicated to the Phenom.
Until next time, I'll be seeing you all.