Examining Undertaker's Future After WWE WrestleMania 33 Loss vs. Roman Reigns

Aaron Bower@@aaronbowerFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2017

Credit: WWE.com

The scenes immediately following The Undertaker's defeat to Roman Reigns at WWE WrestleMania 33 spoke volumes about what is next for The Deadman.

Speculation was already wild that WrestleMania 33 would prove to be his final foray in a WWE ring, and when he laid his iconic jacket, gloves and hat in the middle of the ring after Reigns pinned him cleanly, it spoke volumes in regard to Taker's in-ring future.

But is it all over? Is Taker following in the footsteps of guys like Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels, going out on his back at the biggest pay-per-view of the year?

With Taker you can never be quite sure, but there were some worrying signs on Sunday night that the pace and the harshness of professional wrestling has become too much for the 52-year-old.

At times, he was struggling to lift Roman Reigns over his shoulders, something which, even three or four years ago, would have been no problem whatsoever for The Deadman.

There was a difficult moment midway through proceedings when Taker found it hard to execute the Last Ride, and it was a struggle to watch.

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That said, recent history has shown us that when we think The Undertaker's career is dead and buried and there's nowhere left to turn, he has surprised WWE fans with a dramatic re-appearance.

Could he still have realistic rivalries with guys on the main roster? Of course. If he could still go in the years ahead, Finn Balor vs. The Undertaker is a storyline writer's dream.

Braun Strowman would also be a suitable foe given how he looks to be slowly building momentum since breaking away from The Wyatt Family.

But there are a number of big hints that suggest this is the end of the line. There were a number of matches that could have closed WrestleMania this year, including both major championship contests.

However, they weren't picked. Taker vs. Reigns was. That could have been WWE deciding they wanted him to go out wrestling in the main event of the show rather than floating off into the night in the midcard.

Also, this was perhaps the most Taker has struggled throughout a match. It's becoming increasingly difficult for him. That much was plain to see.

The streak ended three years ago now, and he's got another defeat to Reigns here, so there's little value in Taker showing up for a few weeks every year. If he's going to be wrestling more often, fine, but that clearly isn't going to be the case.

And when you see him take off his hat and gloves, put them in the middle of the ring and walk away to close the show, that's probably the biggest hint of all.

The Undertaker may well be gone forever, at least in an in-ring sense. But it's been one hell of a ride.

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