The Undertaker Signs – In Essence – A Lifetime Contract With WWE
He may never rest in peace...
There has been much said about The Undertaker in recent months, in recent years honestly, suggesting he should really hang up the boots. And when they say that, they say it for his own good. I myself touched on the issue in one of my earliest articles here at The Overtimer.
The fact of the matter is, pretty much any wrestling fan you could ever meet will tell you that they absolutely love The Undertaker. He’s one of the most cherished and respected men in the history of the industry. So if people are saying he should retire, you know that it’s only because they care about his health and his legacy. Both of which seem more and more at risk with each passing match.
At 54 years of age, The Undertaker has been considered old for a wrestler for a very long time. For quite a while he was able to conceal his aging to a degree and still put on great matches. But over the past five years or so that’s been more and more of a struggle. Somewhat eerily it seemed to start with the end of the Streak. His match with Brock Lesnar which led up to the end of the decades of dominance was easily the worst he’d had in years. He had some good ones in the years after but little by little, performances like the one at WrestleMania XXX – bereft with injury concerns and a dwindling mobility – have become more and more commonplace.
In more brief appearances, such as his squashing of John Cena and tagging alongside Roman at Extreme Rules, he’s put on fun matches. But he just can’t do 15-30 minute singles matches anymore.
And yet, they seem to refuse to learn this lesson.
In the past three years, his matches with Shane McMahon, Roman Reigns, Triple H, DX in tag action, and most notoriously his bout with Goldberg, have all been varying shades of depressing to watch. And while it was nice to see him look solid again in his last match, commentary’s hard sell was troubling. ‘Undertaker looks better than ever, his career is on a resurgence, who would ever say the Deadman is done?’ ect. This narrative made it clear that they plan on trotting him out plenty more times going forward.
Just to confirm this, he was recently re-signed to a new deal, unsurprisingly. But it wasn’t just any deal. Per the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, his contract may not literally be a lifetime contract but with the years on it, it effectively is one. In other words, it pretty much runs through the rest of his projected lifespan.
In theory, this could just transition into a ‘legends’ deal…
Legends contracts are basically low-tier non-exclusive deals where WWE can send people out to make appearances when they see fit. They really don’t entail wrestling in any capacity. I figure Undertaker should be on one of those in the near future.
Still, the thought of him/WWE stubbornly going forward with more big, full length Undertaker matches into his 60s is a harrowing one. It’s truly symptomatic of WWE’s long-standing issue with making new stars and over-reliance on previous generations. It’s as if big names of Taker’s caliber just aren’t allowed to retire anymore. Even already long-retired acts like Goldberg and Shawn Michaels have been lured back to stem this. At some point it should maybe occur to them that is in no way sustainable.
You can’t have these guys doing this forever. The longer they try, the uglier this is going to get.