Is the Deadman Walking into His Last Survivor Series?

Is the Deadman walking into his last Survivor Series? As we head into WWE’s Undertaker week, this retrospective on his legacy at the yearly event picks up in 2003 against the boss himself, Mr. McMahon.

Click here to read Undertaker’s Survivor Series Legacy Part 1

After missing the 2002 event, the Undertaker returned to put an end to Vince. During a match with future Paul Heyman protege Brock Lesnar, Mr. McMahon cost the Undertaker his chance at another championship run by pushing him off the ropes and leaving him prone to receive Lesnar’s wrath. This prompted Big Evil to set his sights on his employer, with the survivor of a buried alive match as the final battleground between these two foes. After losing what seemed most of his blood supply, Vince stumbled away as the winner thanks to the Deadman’s corrupted brother, Kane, showing his proclivity for supporting management. Despite being buried alive, the Undertaker returned in 2004, only be hounded by the Heyman advisee, Heidenreich. The unhinged superstar went so far as to sedate Taker with chloroform and attempt vehicular homicide by driving a truck into a hearse carrying the prone Deadman. When the two finally clashed, the Phenom did what he does best and walked away with the win. Heidenreich absorbed a Last Ride powerbomb and a chokeslam before succumbing to the tried and true favorite, the Tombstone.

The Undertaker did not participate at the 2005 event, but returned for a bloody encounter with Mr. Kennedy in a first blood match. The lead up saw the brash Wisconsin native bash the Undertaker with a microphone repeatedly, busting the Undertaker open in the process. When the two men finally squared off, JBL, the WWE’s “chief physician” reminded us over and over that people can bleed internally. His prognosticating being supernatural, Kennedy did indeed bleed internally. Only outside assistance from MVP in the form of a towel and later a chairshot, led to the Deadman officially losing the match. Post match however, the Undertaker got his revenge in the form of a tombstone.

The Phenom entered the 2007 event as a World Heavyweight Champion, looking to settle the score against Batista in a Hell in the Cell match after looking decidedly less supernatural than he has in the past. Despite this humanization at the hands for The Animal, the Undertaker was in position to successfully defend his title after planting Batista’s head into the steel steps with his patented Tombstone piledriver. Just before the referee’s hand could strike the mat for the count of three, the ultimate opportunist Edge slithered out from under the ring, broke up the pin and drew the ire of the Deadman and fans alike when he struck the incumbent champion with a television camera, rendering the Undertaker unconscious and thus crowing Batista World Heavyweight Champion.

The first of two consecutive Survivor Series matches with the Big Show began in 2008 in a Casket Match. Why superstars continued to challenge the Undertaker to matches that he is known for still baffles most pundits. The result would be no surprise, although the finish did provide for a new wrinkle for this match type. After the distraction of the druids bringing out an oversized casket, both men teetered on the stage until the Deadman threw the Big Show into a standing casket.This match would not be the final nail in the coffin on this feud however, as the two would clash in autumnal combat again the very next year.

The following year saw the behemoths clash again, with Chris Jericho entering the fold. Before the event, Big Show turned on RAW at Bragging Rights, thus cashing-in on a backroom deal with Teddy Long, who promised him a title match. What Big Show did know was that his partner would be added to the mix. Undertaker defended his World Heavyweight Championship against the World Tag Team champions, Chris Jericho and Big Show in a triple threat match. In spite of the disadvantage of not needing to be pinned against the tag team of JeriSHow, the Undertaker took advantage of the dissension between the teammates to eventually make Big Show tap out to the Hell’s Gate submission. With this victory, the Undertaker would start of Survivor Series sabbatical of sorts, not deigning to return until this year, an event that will mark the 25th anniversary of his debut and what seems to be his last.

Hyping 11/16/-11/20 as “Undertaker Week”, stated that “WWE Superstars, Legends and Hall of Famers pay tribute to the legacy of The Phenom during Undertaker Week on the award-winning WWE Network”. For a full schedule and  description of the programming click on the following link.

Undertaker Week: Celebrating 25 Phenomenal Years on WWE Network

With all this hype going into this silver anniversary of the Undertaker, it appears that the teaming up of the Brothers of Destruction to take on two of the Wyatts will be the final chapter in this impressive legacy. It may not be comparable to the Wrestlemania streak, but it’s an impressive display of continued greatness by one of the all-time great gimmicks in the history of the business. The haunting image of Undertaker being carried out by the Wyatt family after his Hell in a Cell clash with Lesnar and ensuing return with his brother Kane this past week on RAW indicate that this contest will at the very least be a memorable one. The “End of an Era” gets thrown around a great deal when the Undertaker is involved, but the Survivor Series, a PPV event that is historically WWE’s closest to Halloween for the majority of it’s history, has seen the Undertaker’s immortal nature and aura grow with each casket and buried alive match and this year’s iteration will truly be the end of such a dominant inexplicable mystical performer.