A WrestleMania Preview THAT CAME FROM THE VAULT: Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker

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With WrestleMania Sunday, it's time for The Classical to present a WrestleMania Preview THAT CAME FROM THE VAULT. Today, it's The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt.

We’ve all heard the crowd reaction. Seen The Rock and “Hollywood” Hogan turn their heads in stereo to soak in the ecstasy of the 68,237 people chanting “This is Awesome!”. Watched those same 68,237 turn on the Rock and embrace Hogan completely despite the fact that Hogan had tried killing The Rock with a semi-truck on the Raw before the show and just few weeks after he blamed the fans for driving him out of the WWE  in the early 90s.

And that’s probably all most of us remember.

Though even without remembering much else about the match, which stole the show at WrestleMania X-8 in Toronto, it’s still pretty easy to understand just how significant the moment was. There’s an immediate sense of its enormity, as two worlds were coming together. It was, in every sense of the phrase but the literal one, a “passing the torch” moment, and something you knew, regardless of what happened bell-to-bell, you’d remember it for years to come. At WrestleMania 31 in Santa Clara, we’re going to get another one and it’s going to come from a match that, somehow, seems like the sleeper of the show.

The stands will light up in an otherwise pitch-black Levi's Stadium on Sunday, as the crowd creates a swarm of fireflies with their smart phones and sway back and forth through the darkness before the spotlight turns onto Bray Wyatt once he enters the ring. Then the lights will go out again, a bell will toll and all hell will break loose. When the Undertaker hits the ring, removes his hat, and stares face-to-face with Bray Wyatt, it’ll be one of those moments. They’re not going to sell the crowd reaction the way Rock and Hogan did, but it’ll be just as intense and memorable as it was 13 years ago.

Much like Hogan-Rock, this is one of wrestling’s ultimate dream matches. Bray Wyatt is a throwback character who has not yet come close to hitting its peak. Undertaker is a legend to such a degree that, if I have to explain it to you, you probably shouldn’t be reading this to begin with. Their pairing is something most wrestling fans could have only dreamed of.

It’s easily the biggest match of Wyatt’s career so far. And, if it’s Taker’s last (like we guess it will be every year,) it will be perhaps most fitting: a man who has given himself and his well-being entirely over to the business, going out by playing his part in securing the future of the industry.

When Bray Wyatt is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame 25 years from now, this match is going to be mentioned. A lot. It won’t be for the match itself, however. It will be the staredown, with a voiceover of JBL talking about Taker passing the torch. While the Wyatt character may sometimes feel closer to Jake Roberts than The Undertaker, that has much more to do with the fact that will never be another Undertaker, and the crowd probably wouldn’t accept a comic book character brought-to-life on Taker's level ever again. (I’m looking at you, Ascension.) But Bray… Bray is special.

What’s more, and more fitting in with the legacy of matches like Rock-Hogan, is how entirely unexpected it was. After Brock ended The Streak at last year’s show and nearly broke Mark Callaway, it seemed like it was -- especially after the latter was forced to spend the night in a local hospital (brought there by Vince McMahon himself) -- and probably should have been his last match. But, as he has done over and over again since he entered the company in 1990, Taker came back from the dead for what might be his final curtain call.

This being his last match -- next year’s WrestleMania (LONE STAR) takes place in Taker’s real-life home state of Texas -- isn’t set in stone , but calling it a career against Bray Wyatt would be an appropriate bookend to a career that really can’t end otherwise. A typical match, against a typical opponent, is something Undertaker would always come back from. But a supernatural villain like Bray Wyatt? He could, theoretically, take Taker down for good.

It may be the only real way to end Taker’s in-ring career. Plus, what’s left for Undertaker after this, anyway? There’s no one on the main roster that benefits from jobbing to Taker. There’s no one that stands out as a dream opponent for Taker. After Bray Wyatt, everyone feels like filler, bridging the gap between Bray Wyatt and a Hall of Fame speech.

He transcends the character he portrays, much like Taker has for more than two decades. He will be the new standard bearer for dark, paranormal, and downright evil characters. WrestleMania 31 will be the day the world of wrestling realizes it, when Bray’s dark side is officially endorsed by the darkest superstar in WWE history.

In the end, this match should create the same amazing atmosphere -- and make for the same moment to remember, which will far overshadow the match itself -- as Hogan and The Rock did. Bray Wyatt is going to leave looking like the god he’s long-claimed to be. And when it’s all said and done, if Undertaker decided to ride off into the sunset after WrestleMania 31, you’ll be satisfied with his decision.

Oh, and prepare for “This is Awesome!” chants. They’re coming.

Andy is a lifelong wrestling fan, and a regular contributor at JuiceMakeSugar. Despite the angry rants, he insists he really does love pro wrestling. Follow Andy on Twitter at @AndyMillerJMS.

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