Undertaker did not rewrite his swansong at WrestleMania 34. There was no air of finality to his quick victory over John Cena on Sunday.
He did not leave his signature hat and jacket behind in the ring, placing his sword on the ground after his last battle.
Instead, WWE fans saw Undertaker hint at his place at WrestleMania for years to come. The Deadman will remain one of the immortals showcased each year at the massive pay-per-view.
Leading up to Sunday's megashow, Cena did everything he could to coax Undertaker out of whatever dark place he was hibernating. He insulted the icon, questioned his manhood and pleaded with him to fight at WrestleMania.
Undertaker offered no answer.
Cena resigned himself to simply being a spectator at the event. He hammed it up from a front-row seat until a referee told him something that got him to dart out his chair and sprint up the entrance ramp.
When Cena re-emerged in ring gear, fists cocked and game face on, he still didn't get his wish. Elias stepped out to face him rather than The Deadman. But after a frustrated Cena whooped on the guitar-strumming grappler, Undertaker's signature gong finally sounded.
The hat and jacket Undertaker had left as symbols of an assumed exit after losing to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33 appeared and disappeared in a puff of smoke and a flash of purple lightning.
"Undertaker is back!" announcer Michael Cole screamed as the old gunslinger stepped between the ropes once more.
The match was more haiku than novel. Undertaker hit his signature moves and left Cena unable to kick out after a Tombstone Piledriver. The bout didn't make it to the three-minute mark, per the Internet Wrestling Database.
With that, Undertaker scored the victory in New Orleans, the city where his famous undefeated streak at WrestleMania died.
Beyond that, we may have seen a reinvention of The Phenom's role at WWE"s biggest annual event. For years, Undertaker's fights against would-be streak-breakers were consistently highlights of the show. He thrilled against Shawn Michaels, Triple H, CM Punk and Batista, serving as WrestleMania's anchor.
Undertaker, though, is 53. He's had hip surgery and has collided with the canvas countless times during a career that began in 1984.
He cannot be that composer of classics anymore.
If he's only going to stride through his trademark fog once per year and wrestle for two-plus minutes, though, who knows how long he could continue to pull this off. He could be a special attraction, a means to garner a pop and hit the crowd with a dose of nostalgia.
Miami Herald columnist Scott Fishman joked about when Undertaker might finally hang up his boots:
The 73-year-old Terry Funk wrestled for Big Time Wrestling last November. Jerry Lawler also competed in that match, and Thursday, he took on Joey Ryan at WrestleCon. The King is 68.
With all the bells and whistles and smoke and mirrors that pro wrestling has to offer, just about anything is possible.
A young boy pulled from the crowd just won the Raw Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania. David Arquette won the WCW world title. Undertaker still digging graves and taking souls at 60 may not be that far-fetched after all.
The audience lights up every time Undertaker re-emerges. He is an irreplaceable, larger-than-life figure. He's beloved.
It's hard to blame WWE for being so hesitant about moving on from The Deadman.
Perhaps another run-in with Cena is on the way. Or else we could see a number of upstart heels look to make their names on Undertaker's back, only to get punched in the mouth come WrestleMania. There are more stories to tell if his body is willing.
Undertaker and WrestleMania are intertwined. One doesn't feel whole without the other.
If WrestleMania 34 is a sign of things to come, the man and the marquee event won't have to part ways for a while.