Last night, The Undertaker made his first appearance on WWE television since Super ShowDown. However, with everything going on with the company right now, is it too soon for him to re-emerge?
In a head scratching turn of events, The Undertaker made a surprise appearance last night on WWE Raw to interfere in a handicap match featuring Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre. But why? What does “The Deadman” add to this dull feud, which really has no reason to continue?
Later in the night, WWE inexplicably announced Reigns and The Undertaker will face McMahon and McIntyre in a tag match at Extreme Rules. You would hardly believe it if there wasn’t an accompanying graphic.
Let’s ignore the fact that these four men seem to be just thrown together for no storied reason for a second. Forget the continuity between Roman and the Undertaker, which would suggest they wouldn’t want to team up. Why is WWE already enlisting the future Hall of Famer to bolster this feud when he just wrestled in a disastrous match against Goldberg less than a month ago?
There’s no doubt the Undertaker is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time and possibly the company’s best creation. His iconic entrance will always get a pop from the crowd. He earned that. However, at what point is it time to let him rest and rely on the stacked roster that they put together.
Judging by his matches at Crown Jewel and Super ShowDown, we’re too late to debate about diminishing return. To be blunt, “The Deadman” is a shell of himself and continuing to go back to that well will only net similar or worse results. More to the point, they just don’t need to keep relying on him for nostalgia anymore.
They have call ups from NXT and 205 Live who aren’t doing anything right now. Aleister Black is still doing pre-recorded promos every week. Instead of replaying the greatest hits, why not focus on making him into the successor to The Undertaker? He has a unique look and moveset and an awesome entrance.
What about Finn Balor? Focus on building the Demon King’s selling power so you don’t have to bring back legends to sell tickets. The Firefly Funhouse is the hottest thing on WWE television. Give Bray Wyatt the green light to come back and make him into the biggest threat in the company.
There are so many other options and that’s what makes this all so bewildering and frustrating. There is no lack of talent. This is the deepest the WWE roster has ever been. Even more, if the premise is there aren’t enough stars, that’s not a good enough reason. There are plenty of notable wrestlers that WWE could mold into household names. Becky Lynch proved that over the last year.
When creative continues to rely on old names like The Undertaker, they’re doing a disservice to all the talented men and women languishing backstage. Moreover, over-reliance on nostalgia does nothing for the future of the company. The instant gratification these appearances garner is doing more harm than good in the long run. The fans and the WWE roster deserve more than a quick fix.