I’ll admit it: I was on the “No Match” bandwagon. I didn’t think Undertaker & John Cena were actually going to have an unannounced match at WrestleMania 34. It sounded like something you’d spend at least a couple of weeks advertising. I figured Undertaker would show up in some form or fashion, and there might even be some physicality between he & Cena, but they’d hold off on the match itself until a later date.
They actually had the match. After Elias came out to have his WrestleMania Moment by being cannon fodder for Cena, Undertaker made the Undertaker entrance. He ran through all of his Undertaker moves. Cena had a very brief flurry of offense, much like how the Brooklyn Brawler would get a few shots in during his matches. One Tombstone Piledriver was enough to put Cena away, which is saying something since it took a bunch of them to end Shawn Michaels’ career. I didn’t time the whole thing out, but it felt like the entrance took longer than the match. The Superdome has a long ramp, you see, and Triple H & Stephanie McMahon had already used motorcycles so it wasn’t like Undertaker could go that route.
Not that the match time mattered.
Many people thought this was a wonderful bit of nostalgia. They got to see the Dead Man again, by cracky. They don’t like it when you ruin their fun by wondering what the point of John Cena building this thing up for weeks only to get squashed by a guy that wrestles maybe once a year. To them, the point is obvious. IT’S THE MOTHAFREAKIN UNDATAKA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
— Vxr (@DillonvxrYT) April 9, 2018
If you’ve been keeping up with my work on The Chairshot & its spiritual father ProWrestling.biz, you may have picked up on the fact that I’m an old school kind of guy. I occasionally yearn for the way wrestling was. The lions’ share of my WWE Network viewing involves Prime Time Wrestling. Recently I’ve been going through the All Star Wrestling they added, and am loving me some Lou Albano, Fred Blassie & other WWWF stars of yesteryear.
I love old wrestling. With that being said, I’ve never understood the fascination people have with old wrestlers stepping back into the ring. To me, it comes down to a couple of factors:
At a certain point, you stop being useful.
Admittedly, there isn’t a set age for this. Goldust is still going strong after thirty years. Nick Bockwinkel was amazing in his 50s. Jerry Lawler still does some interesting stuff, and of course Terry Funk was Terry Funk. Most people reach a point where the returns diminish to nothing. We saw Undertaker reach that point against Roman Reigns. He was fine enough doing his own moves for three minutes on Sunday, but can you trust him to do more than that? Probably not.
We have these guys’ entire careers on WWE Network
Why would we want to watch Undertaker try to wrestle in 2018 when we can fire up any of his PPV appearances over the least thirty years? Seems inefficient to me.
Legend booking can be tricky.
The long-standing theory of booking wrestling legends & the long-standing practice of booking wrestling legends is two different things. The theory is that you use your legends to get over the new talent. Every old school wrestling booker will tell you this is the way to success. In practice, it’s rarely ever happened. Bill Watts wasn’t jobbing on his Last Stampede against the young, fresh Midnight Express in Mid-South Wrestling. Fritz Von Erich & Verne Gagne won their promotions’ heavyweight championships in (one of) their retirement matches. Hulk Hogan would still be dropping the leg on people if he was still physically able to, brother.
So as much as I’d like to rail against WWE for their current practice of having their legends feud with each other & treat their current roster as not worth their time, I can’t do it. It’s not like other promoters did better.
Besides, the majority of longtime wrestling fans don’t want to see their favorite old wrestlers putting over these new fellas. Every WWE celebration show features legends making most of the current wrestlers look like ineffective buffoons, and the majority of the fans are all about it. Some of us wonder what’s going to happen when today’s crop of wrestlers become the people that are supposed to be legends, but most of us aren’t worried about that. It’s decades down the road.
I’m a bit more optimistic than some. I do think we’ll fondly remember guys like Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Braun Strowman & other current favorites. Someday Old Man Bryan will be putting young whippersnappers in the Yes Lock while we chant “YES”. Heck, Roman Reigns might actually be universally accepted when he’s main eventing WrestleMania at 60 years of age.
Hopefully it won’t be a rematch with the Undertaker.
At the end of the day, Undertaker throwing John Cena around for three minutes doesn’t really hurt anything. The whole angle was a drop in the bucket of a seven hour show. I guess it isn’t so bad to have a portion of WrestleMania every year dedicated to legends matches. Maybe I was too harsh when I said the whole thing was a waste of time on Sunday. After all, even if it was, it was only three minutes wasted.
Did I just hear myself say THREE MINUT-oh wait, they can’t come back. My bad.