Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, and The Business

Posted on October 24, 2010


At UFC 121, after Cain Velasquez’s devastating knockout win over Brock Lesnar to become the new UFC Heavyweight Champion, there was an incident as Brock was leaving the Octagon between him and his former co-worker in WWE, twenty-six year veteran Mark “The Undertaker” Calaway.

Undertaker was answering a question from MMAFighting.com‘s Ariel Helwani when his eyes appeared to catch something off-screen. He paused and moved towards where his eyes had become fixated: at former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, who was still reeling from his loss to Velasquez.

Lesnar, still groggy and needing stitches for a severe cut he received from the finish, gave him a brief confused look and kept walking with his entourage.

The video is below, and the incident in question begins at the 0:40 mark.

If Lesnar was confused, MMA journalists and fans were positively baffled. The morning after, the fog of confusion lifted as people tried to piece together what had happened, and the speculation began. Rumors started on the internet that WWE had made an official offer to Lesnar to face Undertaker at Wrestlemania.

As a background: there has been talk for some time in WWE of trying to get Lesnar back in for a short-term deal. That there’s talk, though, essentially means nothing. They talk about a lot of things that never come to fruition, and some of the ideas are so wild that in hindsight they sound ludicrous even to the person that pitched the idea in the first place.

This is also likely Undertaker’s final year as a professional wrestler. In the past sixteen months, it has become increasingly apparent that the years have caught up to him. Even a full-time schedule seems too much for a man who has taken more than his fair share of abuse in an industry that operates on an unnatural stretching of the pain threshold and endurance of human beings, which as everyone knows results in the highest mortality rate for any legal form of sport or entertainment in the world.

As such, Wrestlemania this coming Spring will most likely be Undertaker’s final match, and no doubt he (and WWE) would like a big name opponent to cap it off.

It is not all that unreasonable – and entirely plausible – to come to the conclusion that Undertaker was referring specifically to that. Undertaker is a company man through and through.

That said, I’m not completely sold on this being the case.

I think Occam’s Razor absolutely applies to this situation. The simplest and most likely explanation is this: The Undertaker, like so many professional wrestlers and especially those that have become as engrained and dependent on the lifestyle as he has, is a wound-up nutjob who says and does things that make sense only to him and the other carnie freaks that inhabit the strange, baffling, and outrageous world that Brock Lesnar was so lucky to escape intact.

Regardless of the real story behind the incident, Vince McMahon is an insanely shameless opportunist and if he hasn’t already will most definitely offer Lesnar some type of deal. For his sake, I hope Lesnar shows the same good judgement he showed in 2003 and tells the industry to take a powder, staying as far away from that insane and dangerous freak show as possible.