It’s only a matter of weeks until we return to the “Grandest Stage of Them All”, and with WrestleMania 33 on the horizon it’s safe to stay that the WWE Universe is abuzz. But amidst all the excitement and anticipation, there is one match that has divided opinions — Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker.
In a match that is being marketed as the original big dog vs. the current big dog, WWE’s resident Phenom has returned to reclaim his yard. But Reigns has taken exception to this, claiming that he will be the one who retires the Undertaker. The claim was clearly an attempt to make us question whether WrestleMania 33 will be the Undertaker’s last — a question we ask ourselves annually. However, even if this is his final match, it’s imperative that the Undertaker is crowned victorious. And here’s why:
Roman Would Never Recover From The Backlash
Undoubtedly, Roman Reigns is one of the most polarizing superstars in WWE history. No matter what the company does, they just can’t seem to get him over with the fans. And as many of us have already noticed, putting him in the ring with the Undertaker will only make things worse. In terms of popularity, respect and fan adoration; Roman doesn’t stand a chance — The Deadman is the most respected and beloved professional wrestler of all time. So you can imagine how one-sided this match already is in regards to fan support. If Roman were to do the unthinkable and defeat the Undertaker on the “Grandest Stage”, he would never be able to recover.
‘Taker is WWE royalty so it would be only natural to expect boos from the audience if Reigns defeated him. But this reaction would be so much more than just that. Granted, Lesnar was booed when he broke the Streak back at WrestleMania XXX, but he managed to turn this around — using it to propel him to his current status as an unstoppable monster. But Roman wouldn’t be able to do this — his character is already damaged due to the repetitive, predictable pushes he receives, and a win over the Undertaker would turn a whole new legion of fans against him. Moreover, it would minimalize Lesnar’s win and make defeating the Undertaker at WrestleMania seem like a doable thing.
If WWE truly want to invest their future in Roman Reigns, then they need to avoid this kind of backlash at all costs. A Reigns victory wouldn’t just risk fans boycotting the remainder of the event, it would also risk the future of Reigns’ career.
We Could Finally See That Heel Turn
While there are those who believe that an Undertaker win would do nothing for the future of the company, I strongly disagree. WWE have a real opportunity here to develop Reigns’ character, and they could use the frustration of losing to the Deadman to propel him to new heights.
One of the primary reasons for the constant boos is Reigns’ stale character. He has held onto his Shield gimmick since the faction split back in 2014 and comes across as quite wooden on the microphone. While they did move on from that cringe-worthy storytelling phase by turning him into a perpetually angry brute, it still isn’t enough to turn the tide. And bringing out the thug now certainly won’t help his situation, especially when he’s against such a beloved superstar. The last time he was this overconfident was in his WWE Championship rivalry with Seth Rollins, and he ended up coming across as an arrogant bully. Thus, no matter how confident he is, fans still aren’t buying into him as a face. And I think one of the main reasons for this is down to this superheroic picture they have painted. He ends up defeating every single athlete he steps into the ring with, each one a stepping stone on his rise to the top. When he is overpowered by six men, he still manages to fight back and take them all out — odds even the Undertaker struggled with. There is quite literally nothing that can stop him. Vulnerability is relatable and Reigns has none of it. Since 2014, he has been portrayed as the perfect athlete with no weakness — and that’s just not interesting.
However, if he were to lose to the Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, then he would not only show fans that he has a weakness, he could use this as a chance to finally change things up — and give the fans something they want to see from him. The loss to the Undertaker could push the Big Dog over the edge, and finally turn the character heel. We all know heels aren’t perfect — they’re aggressive, cowardly and take great pleasure in sneak attacks — and that would instantly make Reigns a much deeper character. Like I said, his brutish, arrogant attitude isn’t working for him as a face, but as a heel it could be glorious. RAW’s Superman needs a weakness — and this time, it’s the Undertaker.
The Undertaker Should Go Out On Top
Every year, we find ourselves asking the same question — Will this be the Undertaker’s last match? And the simple answer to that is that we don’t know. We have no idea when the Deadman will decide to hang his boots up or who he’ll deem worthy enough to go out against. But whenever that day comes, there should be one certainty — he should go out on top.
I know that in today’s day and age, many of us think that WWE should be focusing more on building their future than resurrecting their past. And that is partly true, they rely too heavily on part-timers and therefore, their main roster is thin when it comes to headliners. But there comes a time when you have to forget about all that — and this is one of those times.
The Undertaker has given us over 26 years of blood sweat and tears. He revolutionized WWE; standing by the company in the Monday Night Wars, innovating countless different match types and single-handedly turning his gimmick into the greatest character in WWE history. He has been a part of every single era since the Golden Era and rarely took time off between 1990 and 2010. The man has given both us and WWE everything we could have ever wanted from a performer, and he still isn’t done.
However, when the time does come, it’s WWE’s chance to pay him back. And when a character as big as the Undertaker chooses to retire, the spotlight should be on him, and only him — not somebody who defeats him. Thus, this isn’t about the future. This is about legacy. This is about rewarding someone who has carried the company to unimaginable heights, remaining loyal throughout. The Undertaker’s eventual retirement isn’t about embracing the future, it’s about respecting the past. And when he does finally retire, we all owe it to him and his legacy to watch him disappear to the Dark Side as he stands tall over his final victim. Especially if that victim is Roman Reigns.