When Undertaker came out of the back and announced he was competing in the Royal Rumble later this month, there was a bit of discomfort I felt. Would WWE do the unthinkable and have the 51-year-old once-a-year performer not only wrestle in the event for more than a few moments, but was there a chance he wins the match?
Personally, I hope not. I have talked with other wrestling bloggers who have said the same thing – giving this kind of match and its importance to a part-timer would soil the work of the others who are in the ring night after night. How the company books Undertaker is important for his build toward WrestleMania 33 in April. Of course, this is the first step in creating the perfect opponent.
I have thought about this and decided to take a neutral position on the notion of him winning the event and headlining WrestleMania 33. If that is the case, then there is plenty of build as a possible final run for him in his career. If he doesn’t win the event, who could eliminate him, leading to a solid match in April?
Here’s a look at five scenarios that work for the Dead Man in San Antonio later this month.
Braun Strowman becomes Undertaker’s opponent at WrestleMania 33 – If there is one wrestler who may be able to take Undertaker out of the event by himself, it should be Strowman. As he continues to build his resume as a terror to be reckoned with, at some point, Strowman will have to showcase his talents against a big man who will put him over as a main event star. With all do respect to Seth Rollins, Undertaker serves as a bigger challenge for the green mountain man who has run through his competition. The prospect of Strowman eliminating ‘Taker has plenty of sizzle and a lot of pop the fans can get behind. It does not have the star power of Cena and the Undertaker, but it does have plenty to do with building the future of this company.
He wins the Rumble and challenges the AJ Styles-John Cena winner – This might be the most likely finish of them all. Like I said in the past, this is not as appealing to me as it might be to others, but it also sets up as a potential retirement match if it is Cena who holds the belt. The match that could have taken place this past year now takes place in Orlando. Cena doesn’t have much more to accomplish, except winning his 16th title and to pick and choose matches that mean something to extend his legacy. Undertaker may be in great shape, but also needs someone who can work with him and potentially carry a match, if need be. Styles presents a unique chance for Undertaker and would ultimately put the Phenomenal One over as one of the greats in the company. No matter who wins that match and faces Undertaker, the fans ultimately win.
When It Reigns – It turns out to be a stellar match. Now that Roman Reigns does not have the United States Title, he will certainly be the odds on favorite to win the Universal Title match in San Antonio. Personally, I would love WWE to force Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho compete against each other for the title, but we all know that won’t happen. Jericho beating Reigns means he would have to win the Rumble match and I don’t see that happening, either. I don’t know if WWE has thought about this kind of confrontation, but it certainly would put Reigns over if he were to turn heel and face the Dead Man. Putting the title back on Reigns’ waist only works if there is a swerve to go along with it.
The Lone Wolf Challenges The Dark Side – Of all the scenarios of how Undertaker’s Rumble match is booked, maybe facing Baron Corbin is the least likely and the most intriguing. Corbin is the fast riser on the stock exchange everyone wants to hate and loves watching to see if he falls at the same time. Corbin’s ascension to the top of the main event platform took a major step forward in his WWE World Title match last week. It could catapult him to the main event sooner rather than later. Would his elimination of Undertaker – or vice versa – lead to a match at ‘Mania that helps the newbie get over as a future star and title holder? Corbin is holding his own against Dean Ambrose, John Cena and Dolph Ziggler. This could certainly become an interesting storyline to watch.
The Kevin Owens Show – Owens said last year he wanted to work a program with both Brock Lesnar and Undertaker. I think the program with Undertaker could give Owens that edge once again he is missing with his current angle with Jericho. The thing I used to like about Owens was his ability to remain a true villain and compete with the best. He still competes with the best, but now he is a bit of a circus act with Jericho, which takes away from his brilliance. A program with Undertaker puts him back in a spot that he is familiar with – going against the best of the best. Owens has the ability to become the top performer on either brand as both a babyface and a heel. He is best suited for the heel role. If we wants to pick his shots and take a swing for the fences, why not do it against the company’s longest tenured superstar?