We all know of and frequently bitch about Vince’s bizarre obsession with making Roman Reigns the company’s top guy, no matter how much the audience pisses on it. Vince has shown a staggeringly thick head when it comes to tuning out fan backlash against Roman’s push. And that’s why the Undertaker’s very likely last match ever at Mania is defying what fans want as Vince has forced Taker to face Roman and… what’s that? It wasn’t Vince’s idea? TAKER demanded it? What the hell???
Yep. All kidding aside, yes, sadly, it’s true. For once we can’t blame Vince for putting Roman in a spot he hasn’t earned and angering the audience in the process. Vince actually wanted Taker’s last opponent to be Cena. It was Taker, one of the few wrestlers with enough real weight backstage to veto Vince if they don’t like the existing plan, who decided that his last match should be used to cement a younger player. Cena is a part timer now, and about to pull a Rock and disappear to Hollywood. He doesn’t need a Mania victory over Taker. Not that it means as much as it used to.
Taker has apparently been drinking Vince’s Kool-Aid if he honestly thinks Roman is the guy to put over in his last match. There are easily a good dozen other people on the roster who deserve it far more. (In fact, let’s play a game in the comments and have everyone comment their personal Top 5 Guys Who Deserve To Beat Taker At Mania More Than Roman lists). For whatever reason, Taker believes Roman is the guy that he needs to pass the torch to on Sunday.
Now, on the surface, this seems as stupid and doomed as every other attempt WWE has made to get Roman over as a top guy. After all, bringing the Rock out to raise Roman’s hand bombed at the Rumble 3 years ago, why would beating Taker be any more well received? Well, let’s look at that, shall we?
First of all, how many people have been utterly made because they faced Taker and he made them look like gods? How many times have we as fans been kinda meh at best about a guy, then watched Taker work with him and by the end started thinking “Hey maybe there’s something to this guy?” Even as he’s aged to the point where we all desperately want him to retire before he ends up crippled, we almost all of us still respect Taker. He’s about the only part-timer no one gives any grief for it. He’s one of those rare wrestlers we all like. So if he makes Roman look good, there is indeed a very real possibility that he can turn a good chunk of the crowd over on Roman. If ANYONE can make us like Roman Reigns, it’s Taker.
Still, just because he could make us finally accept and like Roman, SHOULD he? While nothing has been officially confirmed, it is indeed highly likely that this is it for Taker. Like Mick Foley, Marc Calloway has been desperately in need of hip replacement surgery for a good long while now, surgery he’s been putting off in order to keep commitments with the company. Taker will like get that surgery shortly after Mania just like Mick. And there just aren’t a lot of guys who can undergo this surgery and still have a vibrant in-ring career afterwards. So the odds are 99.9% certain this Sunday is Taker’s last ride, pun intended.
Which begs the question; just because Taker CAN elevate Roman and maybe even make us like him, SHOULD he? Or should he have given this career cementing nod to someone else?
Beating Taker at Mania is no longer the biggest deal in the world. Most of us agree having Taker give the Streak to Lesnar was meaningless and stupid, but what’s done is done. But being the guy who truly ENDS Taker altogether? THAT could still be a big enough deal to cement someone forever.
I don’t think that guy should be Roman. But it might be the company’s last chance to get past Roman’s X-ac heat and get the crowd behind him at long last. Especially if the long term plan really is Roman/Lesnar II at Mania 34 in New Orleans. Dave Meltzer and Wrestletalk News, both pretty reliable sources, have both said the ultimate plan is for Roman to be the company’s top babyface by next year so he con conquer the Beast at Mania 34. If that IS indeed the plan, then this match NEEDS to be perfect. If Taker fails at making us care about Roman, this next year is going to be utter shit to watch. Because they’re GOING to push Roman regardless.
All we can hope is that Taker knows what he’s doing and makes us care about Roman Reigns.
Because if not, then Taker’s last match will be remembered much like Raul Julia’s last movie; a cheesy crapfest that forever tainted a great performer’s resume.
Tags: A Penny For Your Thoughts Wrestlemania Countdown, Roman Reigns, undertaker