Monday, April 7, 2014

6 Reasons Why We're Overreacting to Undertaker's WrestleMania Loss

I, like most all of you, was absolutely shocked when The Undertaker lost at WrestleMania XXX. The Undertaker is my all-time favorite wrestler, and in my opinion, is the greatest to ever step in the ring. We all expected the Deadman to walk into New Orleans, have a bad match with Brock Lesnar (none of you thought it was going to be good, be honest), and walk out 22-0. When the ref's hand hit that mat a third time--at least I think it did, it looked like a botched finish--I experienced an entire range of emotions. I jumped out of my seat, with my hands clasped behind my head, in complete shock. My logic was always this: The Undertaker is not going to lose to someone at WrestleMania unless it's an up-and-comer who would benefit from the win, like a Bray Wyatt or Roman Reigns. What benefit would Brock Lesnar get from winning? He's already established. The last time I thought Undertaker was in danger of losing was WrestleMania XXI versus Randy Orton. When I was over the shock, I started to feel anger. I felt like the WWE betrayed me. But when I woke up this morning, and let it all digest, I had gotten over it, and I think I may have overreacted. Here's some reasons why.

It's Undertaker's Decision

I don't know about you guys, but I'm pretty sure when the decision was made for Undertaker to put over Lesnar, the conversations didn't go like this:

WWE Creative: "Hey Taker, you're losing at WrestleMania."

Undertaker: "K."

That didn't happen. If you've read anything about the streak, you know that it's ultimately the decision of The Undertaker. Let's face it, guys, Taker is 49 years old, he's been doing this for 25 years. His first WrestleMania was WrestleMania VII, the main event of that show was Hulk Hogan vs. Sergeant Slaughter, that's how long ago that was. Taker wouldn't have done this without putting a lot of thought into it. If he was presented with the idea of losing, and he wasn't for it, he would have said 'no'. He's The Undertaker, he has that kind of say-so.

WWE Just Showed You That Nothing Is A Guarantee


This was the most shocking moment in professional wrestling since the Montreal Screwjob, the only difference is that the Undertaker was in on it. Remember when Sean Waltman beat Razor Ramon on Raw back in the day, no one saw that coming either. Granted, this was a much bigger stage and grander spectacle, but the idea is the same. For people complaining that the WWE product has gotten stale and predictable, they just showed you why you should never think you know what's going to happen. I didn't expect it to happen, you didn't expect it to happen.

The odds for Lesnar winning last night were 850-1, according to a random thing I read on the Internet that I didn't do any double-checking on, and the only person in the world that would have picked Lesnar is that guy in Vegas with a gambling problem that has never watched wrestling.

It Doesn't Take Away From The Fact That It Was An Amazing Show

A lot of people on Twitter were saying this was the worst WrestleMania of all-time. Listen, Undertaker losing does not nullify every awesome thing we saw last night. That show was spectacular. Yes, it did suck every last bit of life out of the room until the last ten minutes of the main event, but that shouldn't cloud how you look at the show as a whole. The ones I feel sorry for are the divas, they had to follow that match.

Daniel Bryan versus Triple H was an A+ match. The six-man tag was short but gave the people the outcome that they wanted. Kofi Kingston again showed his creativity and athleticism. Cesaro showed why he is possibly, pound-for-pound, the strongest man in WWE history when he easily hoisted Big Show up and over the ropes. Cena versus Wyatt was slow, methodical, and told an amazing story (go back and watch it, the commentators barely spoke, because the wrestlers were telling the story perfectly). Undertaker and Brock didn't have a very good match overall, but you'll never forget where you were when Brock won. The divas...had a match. The main event got more out of Batista than I expected, and left the fans with what they wanted to see. I would definitely rank WrestleMania XXX in the top ten WrestleManias of all-time, if not the top five.

You're Doing What They Want You To Do: You're Talking About It

Go on Twitter, go on Facebook, go on almost any social media site, and you'll undoubtedly find post upon post upon post of people talking (i.e. complaining) about Taker versus Brock. Even if you're one of those people who hates wrestling, you must admit that this is a big deal. People cared about the streak. It had become bigger than WrestleMania itself. For the past twelve or so years, it was always big news when you found out who Undertaker was going to wrestle. Then at the event itself, you'd see tons of signs for the match, most of them nothing more than a number next to a 0 or 1. The creative team at WWE did their job, they got people talking about the product.

It Had To Happen Eventually

Like I said earlier, The Undertaker is almost 50 years old. I know he only wrestles once a year, but the guy wrestled a full schedule for over twenty years. I wrestled for ten years and only had a fraction of the amount of matches, bumps, and bruises that he's had. I can't even imagine what kind of agony his body goes through on a daily basis. Then, take into consideration how he's looked the last few years, physically. He's not as in shape as he used to be. Why? Because he's 50! Age catches up to all of us eventually, and that's no different for the Deadman.

One of the unwritten rules of professional wrestling is: "You come into the business on your back, you leave the business on your back." Ric Flair did it (before un-retiring), Shawn Michaels did it, I did it, and now the Undertaker has done it. I'm not sure if that was definitely Undertaker's last match, but if it was, it's good to see that he has enough respect and love for the business to hold up a time-honored wrestling tradition. It doesn't matter how big or small you are on the pro wrestling totem pole, you honor the business.

This Doesn't Tarnish His Legacy

If you did a survey of every wrestling fan in the world, and asked them to list who they thought were the top 5 greatest wrestlers ever, 99% of them would have Undertaker on that list, and the other 1% stopped watching wrestling in 1989.

The Undertaker did have other matches that didn't take place at WrestleMania, it seems like some people are forgetting this. Yes, a lot of his best matches took place at past WrestleMania events, but you know what? A lot of his best matches took place at other events. One loss does not take away the 20+ years the man has dedicated to entertaining us. Think about all the great matches he had with Mankind, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, and so on. Four of the six men I just listed he never faced at WrestleMania.

The Undertaker is timeless. He is a legend. In my opinion, there will never be anyone better. It's the best character in WWE history. The streak does not define the man. Are we wrong for being upset over the outcome of a pre-determined match? Or does the fact that the WWE had control over the outcome justify us getting upset? In my opinion, rather than getting upset, let's celebrate the career of the Deadman and appreciate what he's done.

It was the ultimate swerve, and even though I'm not happy about it and would rather have seen someone else end the streak, I'm sure WWE has taken the time to plan out, step-by-step, where they go from here. They're not going to take the streak lightly, it's a very big deal in the WWE.

Thanks for reading,


You can follow me on Twitter @TheDustinThomas, I also have a videogame podcast you can subscribe to on iTunes here.

1 comment:

  1. What upsets me isn't solely the loss. The most upsetting thing was how unceremonious it was. There was a 3 count, Brock and Heyman did a bland victory walk up the aisle, then Taker got up, stumbled around a bit, then left. He didn't even touch the mic; we didn't hear him say anything.

    Now, I'm not sure if him saying anything would have been a good thing, but something to signify this unprecedented moment would have sufficed: some sort of fanfare, other wrestlers coming out and shaking his hand or hugging him, Taker leaving in a cool way (lights darken and Apollo's brazen chariot descends from the heavens. Or Valkyries. Probably Valkyries).

    Point is: this was history, but it didn't feel like it. Instead of honoring something sacred, we were left to revel in the shock. Though I'm sure that was the point, it wasn't enough. That only satisfies the character of the Undertaker, not the man who was the Undertaker.

    That brings me to my next point: the subtext of the loss. Everyone knows that wrestling is fake (or, more aptly put, predetermined. Most of that shit's real). You know what's not fake? Mortality. Taker losing is a big fat reminder that we're all eventually going to get "too old for this shit," symbolically speaking. The fact that his loss warranted no ceremony or fanfare leaves a bitter taste in our mouths. [Insert your own religious allegory here]

    Of course your points are valid, but wrestling is no longer a thing to simply be consumed. There's a high level of audience engagement now and means to consume wrestling beyond just watching the matches (internet, twitter, etc.) This engagement has cultivated fans to look beyond what's on the screen. Wrestling has gone "Meta," for lack of a better term, meaning we look for reasons why things happen (what's the significance of that loss? Why the heel turn? Why let Taker lose to an established star instead of letting an up-and-comer benefit from Taker's legacy?)

    In short, wrestling fans are becoming critical thinkers. That being said, we can't figure out a reason as to why Taker would lay down for Brock. The only benefit Taker gains from this loss is just another reminder of our mortality: he's ready to get out of the game. And that scares us.

    So there. I put what everybody was thinking down paper, or computer screen. Whatever. I'm not editing it, though. I ain't about to read all this crap!