Amid a confusing and controversial finish to the main event between Brock Lesnar and Undertaker was a similarly baffling descent into heel territory for the latter.
Undertaker not only tapped out—a rarity for the Deadman character—but he once again employed the low blow to score a cheap win.
Desperation or not, Undertaker is firmly entrenched as a heel. Using dirty tactics to avenge a clean loss from two WrestleManias ago made it all but official. But at the end of a legendary career, WWE's efforts to establish Undertaker as a villain only made things more confusing.
Despite Lesnar endearing himself to fans as a babyface in 2015, ending Undertaker's WrestleMania streak will always be seen as an unpopular decision among many fans. The streak was one of the only meaningful win-loss records in pro wrestling history, and Lesnar took that away.
As I mentioned on the PodNasty Wrestling Podcast, given the importance of the streak, many fans will be able to sympathize with Undertaker's recent actions to avenge his most memorable loss. In addition to those who will cheer Undertaker out of respect, many will also support Undertaker's questionable choices as a measure of revenge for a moment that many still haven't lived down.
"It's hard to watch the whole thing. Very disturbing," WWE World Heavyweight champion Seth Rollins said during the recent Phenom vs. Beast special on the WWE Network.
Rollins' sentiments echo that of many fans who have not come to terms with the streak ending. To many, there is no punishment too severe for Lesnar. It quickly becomes fair to ponder, after an uncharacteristically cheap win for Undertaker at WWE SummerSlam, did Undertaker really turn heel?
Fans will never universally boo Undertaker. If that were ever to happen, it would take several consecutive weeks, even months, for WWE to reinforce Undertaker as a villain. Undertaker's semi-retirement schedule, combined with his loyal fanbase, will prevent this type of reaction.
Therefore, the more WWE forces Undertaker as a heel, the more confusing his character—and this feud—becomes.
All signs point to Lesnar seeking vengeance for his recent loss at WrestleMania 32. But few fans want to see Undertaker lose at WrestleMania in what may be his final match.
If WWE continues to portray Undertaker as a desperate, cheating heel, it will make for an awkward end to a decorated career.