As we all know this may indeed be the Undertaker's last year with the WWE. His age has just been catching up with him and he will be sorely missed by a lot of people, myself included.
However, in order for him to retire, he first needs to return. For those whom have kept up with Joe's 411(much like myself), believe that Survivor Series is a possibility. However we also see some hints have been dropped that the Undertaker may return as the Badass. That got me thinking...Which should he return under?
At this point both are a possibility and it really looks like they are leaning more towards having him return as the Badass, which would fit into their current "do whatever we can to surprise them" idea. Let's take a look at the issues of having him come in as the Badass or the Deadman.
1) Air of the Gimmicks
This is always something to consider. Every gimmick has a certain air around it. A gimmick is portrayed through ever move the Wrestler makes. That being said, Both the Deadman and The American Badass gimmick have different airs around them.
The Deadman gimmick is one that commands respect. His demeanor, his walk, and his appearance are all vital parts of the character however the entrance is likely the most fundamental part.
From the very moment the music hits you are intimidated. You expect the Undertaker to come in, beat the hell out of somebody, and leave just as mysteriously as he came in.
The Badass gimmick is a different story. While it still commands respect it does so mostly through appearance. He looks like he is going to beat the hell out of someone but you don't necessary expect him too. He might fight someone, he might not. It’s a basic Biker stereotype.
2) Mic time
If you expect the Undertaker to make it all the way to Wrestlemania before he retires, you cannot have him wrestling every day. Best way to make up for that? Promos and interviews.
Let's face it the Deadman, while quite possibly the greatest wrestling gimmick ever thought of, just loses most of the mystique surrounding the character if he talks too much. The Deadman is always more known for what he does in the ring.
If the deadman gimmick is used, you can easily composite for the lack of promos by having him attack opposing superstars in the ring and backstage or just some of the theatrics surrounding the character such as the arena going dark, the lightning bolts and even the occasional fire.
The American Badass gimmick is the one that it would be easier to have the Undertaker talk often. The time spent on the mic would easily supplement for the lack of wrestling matches and furthermore the Undertaker could still make himself look good by adding in the random Backstage and in-ring attacks.
While he does lose most of the theatrics, concerning mic time the Badass gimmick does look better specifically with interviews in mind.
3) Naming Issue
Many people might wonder what I mean by the naming issue. Well, the name of the American Badass doesn't really fit into the whole spectrum of the WWE's PG craze.
The show isn't exactly PG if everyone goes around saying Badass every 10 minutes
(for those that remember the name change he went under while in the Badass gimmick, don't worry that will be addressed in section four).
Some people may at this point be saying why not just call him The Undertaker? Well that is the obvious thing to do, but another problem exists. Kids are largely the WWE's target audiences mostly ranging from 7-13 year olds.
When the badass gimmick showed up most of these kids were likely not watching wrestling so they wouldn't recognize it. It is also a fair shot to say that these kids have not taken the time to look up wrestlers online. Therefore these kids strictly recognize the Undertaker as the Deadman.
Just calling him the Undertaker while he is portraying the American Badass would have many kids saying "that isn't the Undertaker" and they would expect some ridiculous angle to occur.
The simplest alternative is just have come in under the deadman gimmick. It eliminates recognition problems amongst kids and it is also his most known gimmick.
Personally I feel The Undertaker came into the WWE as the Deadman and he should go out as such. Plus I just feel the Deadman gimmick is much cooler.
4) Heel or Face?
While it is obvious that in his last year the WWE should have the Undertaker go out as a face, it’s not necessarily set in stone. It is a possibly for him to go out as a heel, much as he was when he first entered the WWE (please remember that this is the WWE we are talking about and their ideas have had the lion's share of stupidity recently).
If the WWE is going to keep him a face, the most intelligent thing to do would be to have him come in as the Deadman. It largely makes sense. Kids know the gimmick and they mostly cheer for it. There are very few stars you could pit Taker against while in this gimmick that would make anyone boo him.
Then we have the issue of the Badass. I addressed in section three that the name doesn't fit into the WWE's line of thinking. Well under the gimmick he had a different name. That name was Big Evil. Some may ask why not use that?
Well when he was referred to as Big Evil, he was a heel, plus the name itself sounds like a heel name. If you were about 6 years old and tuning in to watch wrestling, I would find it difficult to believe you would be cheering for a guy called Big Evil, especially if he was going up against a super face like Jeff Hardy or the “superman of the WWE” John Cena.
My Final Thoughts
The way I see it would be much easier for the Undertaker to come in under the deadman gimmick. It eliminates much of the naming issues and the issues of kids perceiving him as a heel. Truthfully, calling him the Undertaker under the Badass gimmick may not present too much of a problem, I may just be reading too much into it.
The Badass gimmick seems to be more of a talking gimmick. It would also be the one that it would be easier to turn him Heel. Unless the WWE wants to have him be a "bad guy" for his last year in the company, I think they may want to refrain from using the badass gimmick.
However a heel Undertaker could be used to boost one of the newer faces on Smackdown.
As I stated previously, I feel that the Undertaker came in as the Deadman and he should leave as such, but what is your opinion? Which of the gimmicks do you feel would be better?