Counterfeit Pennies 1.09.03: Lord Of The Wrestling Ring

No, I am not talking about Terry Kiser reprising his role as Bernie Lomax for Weekend At Bernie’s III. Besides, America’s favorite odd couple – Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman, of course – surely wouldn’t be available to work such a low-budget film due to their skyrocketing Hollywood careers, right?

And I am not talking about WWE giving Al Snow his own tribute reel either, though I am sure that anyone watching would immediately collapse out of sheer boredom! (That one’s for Mick Foley Gosh I miss him.)

What I would like to discuss in my little corner of the Internet wrestling community this week are the implications of one subtly placed 30-second promo I noticed during last week’s live Smackdown! show. After a few mundane minutes of programming I suddenly became captivated at the sound of chiming church bells that could only mean one thing and one thing only: The Undertaker, the real Undertaker, is making his eminent return to WWE. We’re talking about the one Lord of Darkness who once worshipped an urn and masterfully rolled his eyes back into his skull; the Phenom from Parts Unknown who scared the crap out of kids everywhere when he locked the Ultimate Warrior in an airtight casket and took years off of Mick Foley’s career when he threw the Deranged One first off the top of a Hell In A Cell cage through to the announcer’s table and then as the match continued choke-slammed him through the very same cage into the middle of the ring. Not to mention that this is the man who attempted to perform a “black wedding” on Stephanie McMahon and spearheaded the Ministry of Darkness/Corporate Ministry; the man who burned his parents and brother when he was a child; and the man who made The Big Show run through a desert to prove his worth Okay, so two out of three ain’t bad.

My point is that I have to look at The Undertaker’s return to his original persona as a good move across the board. Let’s face it, the motorcycle-riding, tobacco-spitting, “This is my yard”-gabbing Undertaker had run his course in WWE, and many wrestling fans including myself had wondered at the inception of the American Bad-Ass push exactly when we would see the resurrection of the old Undertaker who not just preached respect and went “Old School” every once in awhile during a match but dominated the entire wrestling industry. You see, the old Undertaker didn’t just talk a good game, the old Undertaker was the game itself. Instead of gawking at the competition he was a man of few words who demanded respect just by his sheer, seemingly invincible presence. And whenever he slowly uttered the words, “Rest In Peace,” during his pre-match promos, in that slow, deep, raspy, forceful voice, you just couldn’t help but to feel a little freaked out as well as a tad sorry for his next victim in the ring.

So, will the dead man rise again to rule them all? Probably not, as his best years are most likely behind him. But let’s just say this old Lord of the Wrestling Ring is bound to make some sort of booming impact in 2003, starting with this year’s Royal Rumble. Just think, at last year’s Rumble, the American Bad-Ass was eliminated by – of all WWE superstars – Maven. I just wonder how many Tombstone Piledrivers will serve as payback for such embarrassment.

See y’all next week –

Chris Biscuiti