Pinfall - A WWE Column #003
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As Wrestlemania grows ever closer, Richard Cosgrove addresses the annual question of who will face Undertaker...
The one big problem that faces WWE every year when it comes to Wrestlemania, and one that must surely weigh to some degree on the minds of just about every other superstar on the card, is whether any of the other matches will come close to matching both the quality and the audience reaction to the Undertaker's annual demolition of his Mania opponent.
This is particularly true given his impressive run of the last few years, what with his two tussles with Shawn Michaels, the second of which ranks of one of my favourite Wrestlemania matches of all time, his duo of battles with The Game and last year's impressive clash with CM Punk.
Odds are that he'll be facing Brock Lesnar this year, which will come as no great surprise for two reasons. Firstly that it was telegraphed back in October 2010 when Taker had a brief exchange with Lesnar at UFC 121 after his first round defeat by Cain Velasquez, and secondly that John Cena aside, there's not really anybody else currently over enough who could credibly go up against him.
What about Daniel Bryan, you say? The dilemma here is that with Bryan such a popular face at the moment, not only would the fans be torn as to who to cheer for, but the likelihood is that WWE wouldn't want to put their two top draws in the same match, preferring to get the mileage out of two guaranteed crowd pleasing bouts instead of one.
Personally speaking, my dream Taker match for Wrestlemania XXX would have been the one night only return to the ring of Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin would blow the roof off if he were to even appear at Mania, but Stone Cold has pretty much ruled out a return to the ring, having previously stated that it might be an option for the right match and the right money. If Wrestlemania XXX can't make that happen, though, then I think we truly have seen the last of Steve Austin performing in the squared circle.
There's also the elephant in the ring that is Undertaker's health and ability to continue to deliver thrilling and entertaining matches. He pulled it off last year, surprising us with a few lighting fast manoeuvres in his match with Punk, but Taker is pushing 50 and I can't see him having more than a handful of matches left in him. Though it pains me to say this, I really think he should take the opportunity of wrestling in the City of the Dead this year to call time on his stunning career before old age and battle damage conspire to potentially taint his legacy (I'd hate to see Taker go the way of Hulk Hogan).
The only downside to this is that I'm torn as to whether he should go out undefeated with a 22-0 streak, or use his final match as an opportunity to turn another superstars into an instant legend. If the latter, then Lesnar isn't the man I want to see this happen to (and neither is Cena). The one person who I truly believe could convincingly make us believe he could end the streak is Roman Reigns. As I wrote last time, Reigns is going to be huge in WWE, and with his size, skills and current popularity I really do think he and Taker could put on one hell of a match that would finally allow the Phenom to rest in peace.
With Undertaker slated to return to WWE action this Monday in Green Bay, Wisconsin I'm sure we'll be finding out soon enough who will be stepping into the ring with the Dead Man.
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