The Undertaker is unquestionably one of the most iconic superstars in WWE history, and a big part of that is his unprecedented 20-0 streak at WrestleMania. It seems as though Taker will likely attempt to extend his streak at WrestleMania XXIX, but there is some concern about whether or not he's healthy enough to put on a great match.
Taker is now 47 years of age and there comes a time in every wrestler's career when they decline. Also, the older a competitor gets, the easier it is to get injured. Near the end of The Deadman's full-time WWE tenure he got injured regularly, and that was probably one of the main things that necessitated his part-time schedule.
Over the past couple years Taker has been a one-match guy, and that figures to be the case once again in 2013. The Undertaker has already accomplished everything possible as a regular singles competitor, so it's likely that the only thing that excites him anymore is the allure and mystique of the event which he has become synonymous with.
There is still no guarantee that The Undertaker will compete at WrestleMania XXIX, but Triple H declared at the Slammy Awards that we haven't seen the last of him, so that would seem to indicate that he will be back in the coming months. Just as is the case with his character, The Undertaker is a secretive person, so you almost never hear updates when it comes to his status.
Last year there was plenty of speculation when it came to his health as his WrestleMania XXVII match with Triple H seemed to take a lot out of him. There was concern about Taker having the ability to compete and people were even worried about the fact that he cut his trademark long locks. It turned out that The Undertaker was fine as he and Triple H put on another classic, and his mohawk suited him well to boot.
There has been no such chatter since then as most seem to assume that he's in decent health. He did make an appearance on the 1,000th episode of Raw as he and Kane battled a brigade of jobbers and he looked to be just fine, but you never know how many bumps and bruises Taker has suffered over the years. They could very easily be mounting, which could make it difficult for him to compete.
The Undertaker has always been touted as one of the toughest men in the business, so despite his advancing age and the wear and tear his body has endured, I fully expect him to be in East Rutherford, N.J. on April 7. Whether or not he is capable of living up to the high bar he set for himself in the past remains to be seen.
I admittedly have no knowledge of what may or may not be ailing The Undertaker, but I do know that he finds a way to dig down deep and come through with an awe-inspiring performance whenever he is called upon. At the past four WrestleManias he has faced Triple H twice and Shawn Michaels twice, and all of those matches were among the best of the entire year across every promotion.
Of course, much of Taker's success depends on his opponent. His past few matches have been great because they have been against legends in the business. Among the top options for his match at WrestleMania XXIX are Brock Lesnar, CM Punk and John Cena. All of them are iconic in some way and all of them would provide a big-match feel.
As I have said several times over the past couple weeks, I'm pulling for The Undertaker vs. The Shield in a handicap match. Perhaps that wouldn't have the same feel as a match against Lesnar, Punk or Cena, but it probably wouldn't be as physically demanding on Taker's body as a one-on-one slugfest would be.
Taker would absorb quite a bit of punishment in the match, but he could be protected by having The Shield take the big bumps through tables and chairs. If The Undertaker is in dire straits physically, then that type of match would probably be best for him. If he has a traditional singles match, then he'll have to be on top if his game for the entire time and it would likely take a greater toll on him.
Regardless of what the creative team decides to do with Taker, I have no doubt that he'll deliver. There are several reasons why he only wrestles one match per year, and one of the biggest is so he is able to put on a top-notch performance for the fans. Taker always raises his game at WrestleMania, and as long as he is walking, he'll manage to put on a fantastic match.
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