The Undertaker Vs. Tribal Chief Roman Reigns Would Have Been Perfect
If only Roman Reigns and The Undertaker's WrestleMania showdown happened four years later, it could have been perfect.
Whether you like the character or not, if you don’t think Roman Reigns is doing the best work of his career right now then you need to look a little harder. The Tribal Chief returned as a heel last summer, became Universal Champion a week later, and hasn’t looked back since. Reigns is everything fans wanted him to be for so long, and while it might have taken a while for him to get to where he is today, it is definitely a case of better late than never.
There are certainly moments during Reigns’ career where it would have been great had he discovered this side of himself sooner. His first go-around with John Cena, for instance. Look no further than the promo during which Reigns compared Cena to missionary position for proof of how far he has come. Another time Reigns could have benefitted from discovering his inner Tribal Chief is when he did battle with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33.
Roman Reigns And The Undertaker
Undertaker’s match against Reigns was one of a handful of times WWE fans thought they had seen the last of The Deadman. In fact, that might have been the most convincing false finish of all. The Deadman left his hat, gloves, and coat in the ring before being lowered back down through the ramp from which he emerged at the start of the match. Most fans collectively agreed that was it.
But it wasn’t, and it wouldn’t become clear why The Undertaker decided to come back after what felt like the perfect send-off until years later. As The Phenom himself revealed once he finally retired for real in 2020, while what happened after his match with Reigns was perfect, the match itself was actually pretty terrible. After a 30-year career, one that will forever be remembered as one of the greatest of all time, Taker couldn’t have it end with a subpar match.
The Undertaker would return and wrestle nine more matches after that, repeating a similar cycle. Have a good match, get a taste for wrestling again, try to retire, have a bad match, and need to come back again. The pandemic was a blessing in disguise for The Deadman. It meant he could have his Boneyard Match with AJ Styles, pre-taped and with no fans in attendance. Move not look the way you wanted it to? No problem, let’s just shoot it again.
What Of He Had Been The Tribal Chief?
Back to Reigns, and hypothesizing what could have been had he discovered this heel person four years earlier. For argument’s sake, let’s say he made his triumphant return and heel turn exactly four years prior to when he actually did. So at SummerSlam 2016. Reigns could have gone on a similar path to the one he did last year, winning the title and battling various opponents. However, instead of crossing paths with Edge and Daniel at WrestleMania, who were both retired at that point in time, he could have clashed with The Undertaker.
Reigns has not only become the Head of the Table within his own family, he is arguably heading up WWE’s table now. If not all of WWE, Reigns is the head of SmackDown’s table at the very least. That’s a position The Undertaker filled for a very long time, and perhaps one Reigns felt couldn’t have been truly his until The Deadman was dealt with. Ergo, a reason for the two of them to do battle at WrestleMania.
The Undertaker’s career on the line against Reigns’ title in the main event of WrestleMania. The Big Dog could have cut some scathing promos on The Deadman, all while The Undertaker tried to intimidate him with his camera trickery and mind games. All building to what would have been an absolute decimation on Reigns part on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
A one-sided match in which The Undertaker would not have been required to do much at all. A dominant performance in which Reigns backs up everything he would have said on the road to WrestleMania and a match that would have set him up for life. To be the one who sent The Undertaker away for good, and in a dominant match on a stage where The Undertaker used to effectively be invincible. What could have been had Reigns and WWE tapped into this terrific side of him a few years earlier.
This is all hypothetical, of course, and Reigns simply wasn’t ready to be the man he is today at that point in his career. He hadn’t experienced Cena humiliating him on international television. He had only just begun to experience fans getting on his back and forcing him to be something different. The match should have probably never happened. I’m also not advocating for it to happen again now that Reigns has found his best wrestling persona. The moment has gone, it was mistimed, it happens. Reigns has found that perfect character within him, Undertaker had his big send-off against AJ Styles, it all turned out okay in the end.