The Deadman and the Big Dog are about to fight for the yard, whether we like it or not. When the Undertaker vs Roman Reigns match was confirmed for WrestleMania 33, the collective groaning of wrestling fans around the world was almost audible. The Undertaker is a revered legend, a favorite of many. Meanwhile, the WWE Universe has let its disdain for Roman Reigns be known every time he steps into the ring.
It’s been an unspoken agreement among everyone that this would be the Undertaker’s last match. He’s too old, too banged up to do much more. But is WWE really going to give the honor of retiring him to someone as despised as Roman right now?
It all began during the 2017 Royal Rumble. Some predicted they would award the victory to the Undertaker, setting up a potential Taker vs John Cena main event at WrestleMania 33. Now that would have been a worthy retirement match – dropping to a 16-time world champion. Instead, Reigns tossed Undertaker over the top ropes.
Then early this March, Undertaker exacted a small measure of revenge by chokeslamming Roman Reigns into the mat. And soon after, Roman Reigns expressed to Shawn Michaels: “With all due respect, the Undertaker retired you. And I’m the guy that’s gonna retire him.”
Just like that, the match was set up. In some ways, the match-up makes a lot of sense: both are big men who were known for being powerhouses, but were always technically adept. They’re both former champions, both former Royal Rumble winners, both former WrestleMania headliners. They’ve both been at the top.
The concern? While fans appreciate Undertaker when he’s the face, they’ve all but rejected Roman Reigns when the company presents him as the new top dog of the company. The boos would have made sense if he were a heel. Instead, everyone from Michaels to The Rock have tried to show sponsorship for him, and he’s still being booed.
How The Match Can Still Be Great
So, if this is indeed the Deadman’s last WWE match, should he win, or lose? A few would certainly hope he walks away the victor, leaving the company in the same way he entered it: a dominant force.
However, some would recommend that retiring at WrestleMania means, by tradition, going out with a loss. That indicates a passing of the torch, an acknowledgment of the changing of the guard. That’s how Ric Flair did it, that’s how Shawn Mchaels did it, and many agree that that’s how the Undertaker should do it as well.
But this could be the big opportunity that WWE needs to finally turn heel, and turn those boos healthy. We know the match is likely to be a great one: blows being traded, signature taunts, near-falls. Probably, more Superman Punches and Tombstone Piledrivers than we’d care to count.
If WWE opts to turn Reigns into a dirty fighter, or perhaps tweaks his attitude to draw more heat from the crowd, this could be the most significant heel turn of the year. Reigns would finally step into a villainous role befitting his strength and stature. And The Undertaker would head off into the sunset, amidst more than twenty-five years worth of adulation and cheers.
This is the move that makes sense. Fans have been pleading for WWE to turn Reigns heel for a while now. What better place to do it than WrestleMania? Perhaps, strike Taker with a steel chair while the ref isn’t looking. Go low, and finally be the bad guy we need him to be.
And if they don’t, and they try keeping Roman Reigns as a shaky face for another year? Well, fortunately, there’s always the SmackDown Live storylines to look out for.