Today marks 29 years since The Undertaker made his WWE debut.
Few would have envisioned that night at Survivor Series 1990 that the gimmick would become one of the company’s greatest creations and lead to a Hall of Fame worthy career.
Whilst few would question Undertaker’s status as an all-time great. However, based on what generation you are from, how you view his legacy may have changed in recent years.
At this point, I’d like to suggest that I am an Undertaker fan through-and-through, and would only place Stone Cold Steve Austin above him on my top list of wrestlers.
This is mostly due to my memories of The Deadman. When I think of The Undertaker, I think of his battles with his brother Kane in the late 90s. I look back on his classics tussles with Shawn Michaels and Triple H as he fought to keep his legendary WrestleMania streak intact.
On hindsight 20 years on, I even remember his days leading The Ministry of Darkness fondly, despite WWE dropping the ball with the stable.
I think of these moments as I grew up watching The Attitude Era and becoming invested in the Phenom character. Those relatively new to wrestling may not see him as such.
These fans will look at his run since 2014, following his defeat to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30 and the ending of The Streak. Personally I believe Taker should have retired at this point.
The preceding few years before this saw him wrestle just a handful of times, coming back around Mania time to defend The Streak. With this gone, he had nothing left to fight for, so folks could easily have seen this as a passing of the torch moment, especially with his body destroyed.
Being the company man he is though, he would come back time and time again. As a result, my worry is some may only look back at the substandard matches and feuds he has had in this time.
As a fan, I don’t want people’s memories of The Undertaker to be him struggling against Roman Reigns, a slow match with Shane McMahon and a 20 year-too-late encounter with Goldberg.
Sadly, I believe this could be the first thing many will think when his name is mentioned. Whilst it pains me to say it, but I think it is this reason, and this reason alone, that I will say his failure to hang up his boots in 2014, or even in 2017 after losing at WrestleMania to Reigns, that may have taken a slight shine off his overall legacy.
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