On with the Show..
Today's topic is urban legends. This is a column where I will look at several Internet fallacies about wrestlers and the like and try to examine them and probably prove them wrong. This is probably going to get controversial, but I don't care.
Legend 1: The Undertaker is (choose one) [A:too fat, too old, B:unwilling to sell, C:unable to put together a good match, D:Kevin Nash]
I hear questions all the time like : "Why is Undertaker still winning all his matches", "why won't he job to a guy like Lance Storm?", "How can the WWF justify giving the guy a push?"
The reason why he doesn't job to guys like Lance Storm and other up and comers is because it would ruin the character and pristine that the Undertaker carries. The Undertaker isn't SUPPOSED to job all the time. He wouldn't be the Undertaker if he did! He gets a continued push because of several reasons. The first reason is that he is a MAJOR draw. Whenever the WWF needs to put together a good main event on short notice, they throw the Undertaker in there. Fans still take to him. He is a LEGENDARY player in this game. The second reason is that he has been loyal to the WWF for over10 years. That means something to the fans and the WWF staff. The third reason is that the guy is one of the best sports entertainers in the world! Why waste him in the lower card, when he can make you more money in the upper card?
The next myth about the Undertaker that bothers me is the constant bitching that he won't sell in his matches and thus his matches suck. I say to you, the matches he "won't sell" in are usually 3 minute TV matches. When you give a character like the Taker 3 minutes to tell a story in the ring, of course he won't bounce around the ring, especially when your putting him up against the likes of Booker T. The Undertaker character is supposed to be damn near impervious to pain. That's one of the major things that makes his character so popular. If in the course of 3 minutes he is getting his ass handed to him, he no longer seems invincible. I know if I saw a 7 foot guy getting his ass handed to him within a 3 minute time span by a 6'5 wrestler, I would think the guy was a joke. A typical Taker match sees the Taker dominate early, the opponent capitalize on a mistake, the Undertaker make a comeback, and then a finish. This formula would seem ridiculous in a 3 minute format, so Undertaker usually dominates those matches, and either wins after some token opponent offense, or the opponent pulls one out of his ass, usually due to some kind of interference. The proof about both the Undertaker's ability to work a good match and his willingness to sell is in the pudding. Look at what happens when Taker is given 10-15 minutes to work such as main events and PPV matches. He has no problems selling then because it doesn't make his character look like the Underpussy.
People bitch about his work history and how he barely put on any good matches until 97 and that was because Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley carried him in Hell in A Cell. That is also a huge fallacy. Look at his major feuds since he entered the WWF: Warrior, Hogan, Jake the Snake, Sid, Kamala, Giant Gonzales, Friggin KAMA, Mabel, King Kong Bundy, Deisel and it goes on like that! It's like a wrestlecrap hall of fame!! Not only did the Undertaker have to work against one giant goof/ stiff after another, but he made those matches watchable. That really says something about his ability to carry a match. Besides, look at what happens when he goes up against guys who can work like Bret Hart, Michaels, Foley, HHH, etc. His match quality for all those confrontations are in the *** (if you rate matches, which I usually don't) and above range. Is that the mark of a bad wrestler? In fact, I feel that the Undertaker should go down as one of the greatest big men, (#2 behind Andre the Giant) in N. American wrestling history. Foley himself in his book, "Have a Nice Day" credits the Undertaker's ability in the ring and knowledge of how to work a match with being the thing that saved Hell in a Cell 2 from being 2 spots long.
I think the thing that pisses me off the most is the comparison of the Undertaker to Kevin Nash. To compare the Undertaker, who is a hard working, well-respected locker room leader to Kevin Nash, who is an immature, lazy locker room cancer is almost sickening. I honestly hope you can see that "the phenom" deserves better than that.
Look at the Undertakers career. When he first entered the WWF until the mid 90's he was used primarily as a sideshow attraction. His biggest contribution was that he could literally bury a departing wrestler by squashing the hell out of him. After a while Vince began to push him to the main event. Soon whenever Vince was in a bind, he turned to the Man from The Darkside! Who was the wrestler that put Mick Foley over in his WWF debut feud while legitimizing the hardcore style to WWF fans with a brutal boiler room brawl? The Undertaker! Who did McMahon turn to when he needed a main event for Wrestlemania 13? The Undertaker! Who can forget Hell in a Cell revolutionizing the cage match? Undertaker was a major reason for that match's success. When Vince needed a second blockbuster feud to make WrestleMania 14 better who did he turn to? He turned to the Undertaker, creating Kane and the subsequent feud. Hell in a cell 2? And there are dozens of other great moments in the big man's career. Give the man a break, and let's enjoy this legend while we still can.
I was going to do more today, but I saw how long the first one was, and well my next legend was going to be the myth that Hall and Nash would help the WWF. I'll do that next time. That is going to be REALLY long!!!
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