The Undertaker's Reluctance to Retire Is a Blessing and a Curse for WWE Fans

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistJune 7, 2018

The Undertaker making his entrance.
The Undertaker making his entrance.Credit: WWE.com

The Undertaker will return to the ring for the first time since The Greatest Royal Rumble at a house show in Madison Square Garden, according to WWE.com.

This is somewhat surprising given how physically limited The Deadman was in his bout against John Cena at WrestleMania 34. It was a glorified squash match featuring only a handful of moves before the pin.

While it was meant to make Taker look dangerous, it actually highlighted how much of a physical price his body has paid after a few decades in the business.

It appears Mark Calaway is hesitant to hang up his boots for good, and while this might seem like good news on the surface, it could end up being his downfall.

Undertaker has been plagued by talks of retirement for years, but it became an annual topic of discussion for fans after his loss to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30.

He rebounded the next two years with wins over Bray Wyatt and Shane McMahon before suffering his second 'Mania loss to Roman Reigns in 2017. 

That is when the retirement talk began among the WWE Universe again, especially because he ceremoniously left his jacket and hat in the ring. Losing two matches at the event he dominated for over 20 years took some of the magic out of this year's WrestleMania buildup.

Of course, Taker not appearing until the night of WrestleMania didn't help what was already a weak premise for a feud between him and Cena to begin with. 

The two questions every wrestler has to ask themselves are "How long can I keep going before I hurt my own legacy in this business" and "How long can I go before my body gives out?"

The Undertaker is one of the greatest legends in the history of the business and deserves his own wing in the Hall of Fame, but even he is not impervious to the passage of time.

He is the only person who can decide when it's the right time to walk away from the business, but each match becomes more dangerous the longer he waits.

WWE would love it if The Deadman could wrestle forever, but everyone's career has an expiration date. Some Superstars last longer than others, but everyone has to call it quits eventually. It's just a matter of whether they get to make the choice or a doctor makes it for them.

The older someone gets, the harder it is for their body to recover. Every bump takes a greater toll on the body and every injury takes longer to heal. 

Fans look forward to Undertaker's yearly matches, but nobody wants to see him take unnecessary risks or hurt his legacy by not performing the way he used to. All you have to do is look at Ric Flair to see how hanging on too long can be the wrong decision.

The Nature Boy is arguably one of the best pro wrestlers of all time. He had the look, the mic skills and the technical ability to play the heel or the babyface in a feud with any Superstar on the planet.

That being said, can anyone say any of his matches in TNA during his 2010-2012 run were up to his usual high standard of excellence?

Flair didn't necessarily ruin his reputation by continuing to wrestle, but his final bouts were far from the stellar ending to a career he and Shawn Michaels crafted at WrestleMania 24.  

A big annual paycheck would entice a lot of people to keep going when their body is telling them to stop, but it's up to the individual to decide when enough is enough. Unless Vince McMahon makes the call to stop booking him, Taker is the only one who controls his destiny.

Calaway has a wife and four children from three marriages to worry about, so it's understandable why he would want to earn as much money as possible for the future, but wrestling isn't his only option.

He could continue being part of the business as a trainer at the Performance Center or a backstage producer, or he could give Hollywood a try like The Rock and Dave Bautista.

His look alone would make him a valuable asset to any film or television show, and his popularity would bring a lot of eyes to any project he worked on.

Fans of The Deadman would rather see him ride off into the sunset like the titular cowboy at the end of Shane. We don't want to have to slap him in the face until he leaves for his own good like John Lithgow in Harry and the Hendersons. 

What do you think? Is The Undertaker hanging on too long or does he still have a few matches left in him?