The Undertaker

Which Wrestlers Could Become Undertaker’s Successor in WWE

With The Undertaker seemingly retired from WWE, which of the company's current wrestlers could take up that mantle and become the Deadman's successor?

Who among the current WWE roster could be the next Undertaker? The man known as Mark Calaway has enjoyed arguably the most storied career in WWE history, debuting at 1990’s Survivor Series and leading Vince McMahon’s collection for the majority of his 30 years as an in-ring competitor. As revealed in the finale of his The Last Ride documentary, The Undertaker appears to have retired following his Boneyard match with AJ Styles at Wrestlemania 36, stating he has no desire to get back in the ring and nothing left to achieve.

While even Calaway himself admits the wrestling business is a “never say never” world, The Undertaker looks to be done, and his absence will be keenly felt by WWE. Wrestling fans have been debating a potential Undertaker successor ever since the Deadman started reducing his appearances with the company but, for one reason or another, no definitive contender has ever emerged. It could even be argued that an Undertaker replacement is impossible in the modern industry, with the current landscape incapable of producing the same brand of long-term star.

Which qualities should even be sought in The Undertaker’s potential successor? The ability to lead a locker room? The presence and in-ring ability of a superstar? A supernatural themed gimmick? An unwavering loyalty to WWE? To truly take the torch from the Deadman, a wrestler would need all of the above, but seeing as that specific combination is virtually impossible, who else could potentially be developed into WWE’s next Undertaker?

Finn Bálor

Finn Balor Returns To NXT

Finn Bálor has experienced both the dizzying highs and crashing lows of WWE. Following a brand-defining stint in NXT, Bálor was finally promoted to the main roster and given the prestigious honor of becoming the inaugural Universal Champion, only to sustain an injury in that very match. Upon his return, WWE never quite got behind Bálor with the same enthusiasm, and the Irishman currently finds himself in NXT once again, reinvigorating his career.

Now in his late 30s, Bálor is hardly an up-and-coming young talent, but his Demon persona is one of the few current gimmicks in WWE that possesses genuine mystique. If WWE were to call Finn Bálor to RAW or Smackdown once again and book him with the same gusto as they did in 2016, the Prince could undoubtedly become their new main man. Never far away from a good match and with enough experience to command a locker room, Bálor with a brand built around him would have Undertaker parallels.

Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns on WWE Smackdown Live

If anyone was going to become the successor to The Undertaker, the logical choice would be Roman Reigns, since it was he the Deadman last put over at Wrestlemania. After this sound defeat in 2017, ‘Taker left his hat and coat in the ring and appeared to bid the WWE universe farewell, although this hinted-at retirement would eventually amount to nothing. Nevertheless, it was Reigns who got the most recent rub of a big victory over The Undertaker, putting the Big Dog in pole position to inherit Calaway’s crown. Reigns is also reportedly considered a locker room leader in WWE already.

Aside from having a decidedly un-supernatural gimmick, however, Reigns has always been far more divisive with fans than The Undertaker, and the crowd reaction following the pair’s Wrestlemania match proved in no uncertain terms that Reigns had yet to win over the entire WWE universe as the company’s main player. Further complicating matters is Reigns’ present status within the company. Recently choosing to take some time away from the ring, WWE have edited Reigns out of certain video packages, which some have interpreted as a potential rift between wrestler and company.

Aleister Black

Aleister Black in WWE

If The Undertaker’s successor was judged on ring entrance alone, Aleister Black would already have the job. Surrounded by candles and rising off the ground like a vampire emerging from a coffin, Black’s occult theme is arguably the closest thing WWE currently have to the paranormal tone of The Undertaker. While he’s yet to seriously trouble the main event scene, Black has generally been portrayed strongly during his main roster run and has the credibility to be positioned as WWE’s next unbeatable ghoul.

Black’s progress was hindered by his early “sit in a room and wait” gimmick, but if WWE choose to develop his character and expand the mystical elements of Aleister Black, the company could be onto a winning formula. Like Undertaker, Black is a silent, brooding type who does his talking in the ring and while his potential is yet to be fully unleashed on the main roster, Black is also one of the few NXT call-ups not to have been ruined by poor booking. And the Black Mass is awesome.

Seth Rollins

Looking at the current layout of WWE in 2020, Seth Rollins is absolutely one of the company’s top stars. Thriving in his Messiah character, Rollins has assembled a credible stable and remains one of the biggest attractions on Monday Night Raw regardless of his position on the card. Like ‘Taker, Rollins is a reliable in-ring performer and is versatile as either a face or a heel. His current cult leader gimmick could also be viewed as a modern, less horror-tinged update on The Undertaker’s Ministry. Rollins will almost certainly be one of WWE’s top guys for years to come and has expressed a strong loyalty to the company, sometimes to his own detriment.

If WWE are looking for a big character who can form a tentpole of their creative output now and then be wheeled out for big occasions in the twilight of his career, Seth Rollins could be the guy to take The Undertaker’s mantle, even if reports have suggested Rollins isn’t viewed as a leading figure backstage.

The Fiend

WWE - The Fiend Bray Wyatt

Few wrestlers have turned their career around so dramatically as Bray Wyatt, whose transformation into The Fiend over the past year has been nothing short of astounding. A creepy kids’ TV host who transforms into a monster straight from horror cinema, The Fiend has captured imaginations in a way few have done in WWE since, well, The Undertaker. Wyatt has always been a captivating presence in the ring, but the Wyatt family lost their sparkle through poor booking. Despite a hugely controversial loss to Goldberg, The Fiend still has an aura of mystery around him and the gimmick could still expand in a variety of supernatural directions.

Wyatt’s Firefly Funhouse match with John Cena highlighted the creative potential still to come from The Fiend and his segments are regularly among WWE’s weekly highlights. Even better, The Fiend’s sparse appearances have created a big-game feel around the character, not dissimilar to The Undertaker, and at 33, Wyatt still has many years of freaky antics to come. Unlike some of the others on this list, Wyatt is more known for his WWE career than any indie credentials, and his move set more closely resembles The Undertaker’s than the uber-athletic Bálor and Rollins.

Ember Moon

A choice from left-field, Ember Moon debuted with all the promise in the world at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn II. With a werewolf-tinged character and a hell of a finisher, Moon looked set for big things in WWE and brought a breath of fresh air to the company’s women’s division. Unfortunately, a mixture of injury and bad booking halted Moon’s progression on the main roster before it ever began. One particular feud was even based entirely around someone breaking her Nintendo Switch.

Fortunately, age is on Ember Moon’s side, and if she can overcome her current injury issues, there’s still plenty of time for that early potential to be realized. WWE has even acknowledged Moon’s Undertaker parallels with the “Shenom” nickname, and it’d be hugely refreshing to have a dominant, paranormal character in a women’s roster currently dominated by the Four Horsewomen and lacking in creative gimmicks. Here’s hoping Ember Moon is off the shelf before too long – fans have deeply missed that stunning Eclipse finisher.

Drew McIntyre

Drew McIntyre at WWE Wrestlemania

In among the extravagantly long entrance and promise of “taking souls” it’s easy to forget that The Undertaker is a quintessential WWE wrestler – tall, brawny, intimidating and skilled with a microphone. Though that kind of superstar is becoming increasingly rare in the modern, workrate-heavy era, McIntyre fits the bill, and WWE have pushed him to the stratosphere in recent months with a big win over Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 36. While McIntyre’s true worth as WWE’s leading man may not become fully apparent until fans are back in seats, it’s abundantly clear that the Scotsman has the aura and charisma of an Undertaker-esque figure, if not the paranormal influences.

After his big WWE Championship win, Drew McIntyre is positioned as one of the current faces of WWE, fulfilling his early billing as the next big thing. With an Undertaker-shaped hole in WWE’s in-ring roster, McIntyre is undoubtedly one of the faces Vince McMahon will be looking towards to make the step up, and if his current impressive run continues, there’s no reason to think McIntyre won’t be viewed as one of WWE‘s modern greats in 5 years time.

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