A few months back the world of pro wrestling was dealt a seemingly massive blow. A legend appears to have finally stepped away from the ring, and this has left a massive hole in the hearts of millions around the world. With the assumption being that WrestleMania 33 was The Undertaker’s final curtain call, things have felt somewhat empty, we’ve lost the man from the Darkside. As a result fans of The Deadman have been scrambling, trying to find someone to take up the mantle, someone who can play the role of dark saviour. We’ve wondered about this for a bit, but it seems that we’ve finally got some options on the horizon.
Obviously people assume the new person to fill the role of The Undertaker has to be a larger than life figure, not just in character but in physical stature as well. As a result the first man people seem to be gravitating to is Braun Strowman. The Monster Among Men is an insane anomaly, how can someone so massive move so smoothly and with the ease of someone so much smaller? As a result this pushes my view that he’s more in line with Kane than Undertaker. A larger guy, massive build, ridiculously strong, who can move like a cruiserweight. While Undertaker was always pretty agile, he was never likely to attempt a hurricanrana, which Kane somewhat executed on an episode of Smackdown back in the day. Good choice, but just a hair off the mark.
Another favorite among fans for this role is Bray Wyatt, he’s got the mysticism down pat and seems to play the darker role perfectly. The downside is he hasn’t been utilizied properly for an Undertaker level role yet. Also, he feels more to me like he’s the first Bray Wyatt (or second Waylon Mercy for those who remember the name) than a new Undertaker. Ultimately he’s going to cut his own path in the business and by the time it’s all said and done we’ll be looking at a retirment that leaves yet another massive void years down the road when Bray finally steps away. It’s just a matter of time before Bray Wyatt finally gets that top spot push and becomes the face of evil we all know he posssesses deep inside.
The man I had hoped would land the spot, and who I still feel has just in a different version, is Baron Corbin. A big, athletic guy, tattoos, a dark demeanor, he just exudes Undertaker when you look at him. I originally expected him to go the Darkside, but he’s gone more of the American Badass route, and personally I love that gimmick. He’s still in that mold, just not beholden to the theatrics of a “Creature of the Night,” which works perfectly for Corbin. He’s able to talk, he can move around without sticking to the slower, more methodical pace, and isn’t stuck with the mortician style look. While he’s still Undertaker-esque, it’s still not quite a true replacement.
Over the last couple months we’ve seen another man emerge, on the NXT brand, and every time I see him I get that same feel I did when watching The Deadman. He’s a perfect blend of two favorites, and it’s connecting with fans in a big way. Aleister Black has taken the NXT fan base by storm, fitting in as the perfect combination of Undertaker and CM Punk, what seemed impossible may finally have been accomplished. A dark character, hardcore appearance, tattoos, and the feel of a certified badass, that’s certainly got Undertaker written all over it. While he’s not a 7′ monster from Death Valley, he is a very lethal weapon and looks to have an incredibly bright future ahead of him in the WWE. Much like Bray, he may blow up to a point of being “the first Aleister Black,” but right now he’s doing an awesome job of filling that massive black hole left in our hearts with The Undertaker riding off into the sunset.
Wreslting fans can be a strange lot, when we find a favorite we want them to be around forever, and when they have to go we immediately get started looking for their replacement. It’s a circle that’s been repeated for ages and will only continue to run for as long as the business is viable. In a perfect world we would have been able to see one of our chosen replacements as the man who retired the Deadman, in a passing of the torch. Instead they now have to boo a man who has become secondly only to John Cena for hatred among the “smark” community in Roman Reigns. We may never get a true replacement for Undertaker, but we certainly have some great options to cheer for in the future. The future of the Darkside of wrestling is surprisingly bright at the moment, and only appears to be getting even better as we move forward.