#ThankYouTaker and Other WWE WrestleMania Thoughts by Christian Michael

Yes, you read that correctly. It’s Christian Michael back on TJR! I “retired” at WrestleMania 32 and just like every other WWE Superstar ever, I came out of retirement for WrestleMania.

Last night, WWE held the 33rd edition of The Showcase of the Immortals, WrestleMania from Orlando, Florida. While the night was a mixed bag (I’ll get into that later) the main story coming out of WrestleMania was the end of the career of The Undertaker.

Roman Reigns defeated The Undertaker in the Main Event of WrestleMania. After the match was over, Undertaker put on his trademark trench coat and hat. It looked like he was going to leave the ring but he went back to the center of the ring, took off his gloves, coat and hat and left them in the center of the ring. Which to me and many others watching symbolically meant the end of his career. He then went to kiss his wife and descended into the night of the entrance ramp. It was his Terminator 2 farewell as my buddy Joey Image mentioned last night. The kiss to Michelle McCool was the most telling part of it all to me. The Undertaker never breaks character so for him to do that meant it was the last time he would ever compete in the squared circle.

The story was so simple to tell. The old dog in the yard tries to prove to himself he has one last fight in him. Despite his best efforts he can’t beat the bigger, younger dog and goes out in a blaze of glory. It’s how The Undertaker should’ve gone out passing the torch to the leader of the next generation. Whether you like it or not, that man is Roman Reigns and The Undertaker knows it. The Undertaker wasn’t going to have his last match against anyone. We are all smart enough to know that he had to be behind the idea of losing to Reigns and going out like this. I don’t disagree with it but it should’ve happened two years ago at WrestleMania 31. The Streak should’ve never been broken in New Orleans. WWE didn’t need The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XXX and if they did they didn’t need Lesnar to win. The Streak should’ve been ended by the man to retire The Undertaker. Last night would’ve meant so much more to Roman Reigns had he snapped the Streak instead of being #2.

Today and the next twenty years can be about Roman Reigns. Last night was about saying goodbye to an absolute legend in WWE. It is a character that morphed into what it needed to be and transcended wrestling for the last 27 years. When Undertaker debuted we had no idea he’d become the legend he became. The Undertaker was a silly wrestling gimmick forced to battle other equally silly wrestling gimmicks but the man behind The Tombstone made it work and worked hard to make all of us believe in him. For every terrible match with The Big Show, Mark Henry and Yokozuna he proved he was far more gifted in the ring that the prototypical big guys when he went to war with guys like Edge, Triple H, Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels.

The Undertaker held a funeral of sorts last night in Orlando with the way he left his gear in the ring and exited the arena. It was a fitting goodbye to a man we first met in a graveyard. While it’s been sad to see him lose a step the last few years, it’s still sad to see him go. No one can match the presence of The Undertaker. No one can command the respect that he does when he enters an arena. The entrances of The Undertaker were almost as mythical as some of his classic battles. Last night, The Undertaker said good bye and today we say, thank you.

Other WrestleMania Thoughts

Best Match- This distinction goes to Shane McMahon and AJ Styles. I had the match at ***3/4. It’s disappointing that no match at WrestleMania hit the four-star level but both these guys busted their asses to put on a great show. Shane usually thrives in gimmick matches but he held his own with AJ and they were able to add in the big Shane spots with a referee bump. This match opened WrestleMania and unfortunately no one after them was able to exceed their effort.

Worst Match- The WWE Championship Match between Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton at WrestleMania was awful. I rated it at **. I had other matches rated lower but because of their importance and time allotted I can’t consider them worse than this. The thing WWE did with the maggots and what not showing in the ring was odd to say the least. It was original and sometimes original works and sometimes like last night it doesn’t. It looked like Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton were building to a big finish when Orton kicked out of Sister Abigail but Orton just hit an RKO and became the new WWE Champion. What a massive disappointment as a match.

The WrestleMania Moment- This was the return of The Hardy Boyz. The New Day came out before the RAW Tag Team Championship Ladder Match to announce the match went from a Triple Threat to a Fatal 4 Way. Most people thought it would be The New Day adding themselves to the match. It would’ve made sense since The New Day deserved more than they were given at WrestleMania. It wasn’t The New Day, it was a SWERVE! The Hardys came out to a massive ovation and went on to win the RAW Tag Team Championships.

WrestleMania 33 is in the books. I’d rate it at a 6/10. I didn’t hate the show but if you count the Kickoff Show it was a nearly 6 ½ hour show. It’s just so damn long, too long. I know WWE wants to get as many people into the show as possible but they have to find a way to cut the show to 5 hours (1 hour Kickoff, 4 hour PPV) for the sanity of the fans. This year’s show was lacking in that classic match and outside of The Hardys return lacking in the legend appearances that make WrestleMania special but they made sure they had plenty of Pitbull.

Let me end this by simply saying #ThankYouTaker

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