The annual mystery surrounding the Undertaker and his WrestleMania match is upon us. Injuries and circumstances have made this answer more complex than ever. Yet a new report may have answered the question while a new one is posed.
I can’t think of another card in WrestleMania history that has been hurt by the injury-bug as much as WrestleMania 32. Injuries to several top WWE stars have resulted in the company reshuffling the lineup, while trying to optimize the event as much as possible. The Undertaker was a victim of these circumstances when his opponent succumbed to the injury-bug, causing the dead man to be in limbo.
Many have speculated about the Undertaker’s WrestleMania 32 opponent, but only Dave Meltzer has been able to finally shed some light on the mystery. Meltzer has a report in the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter which is making a lot of headlines and stirring up some juicy rumors.
“There is a top of the WrestleMania card done, as we’ve been told Undertaker has a match. We don’t know the opponent, other than being told the planned name isn’t Cena, Owens, Lesnar or Strowman, and that it is someone who is not on the roster right now.”
Let the speculation begin! Taking a step back, the Undertaker was originally booked to wrestle Brock Lesnar at 32. However, Vince McMahon reportedly had a big idea for Brock and called an audible, expediting the rematch last year. Reports surfaced a few months back that Taker was then booked to wrestle John Cena in a match billed as “Legend vs. Legend.” That match appeared off once Cena tore his rotator cuff. Thus here we are without a logical opponent for the Undertaker just several weeks out of the big show.
With no big match or special attraction reportedly on the books, the company likely feels the need to maximize the Undertaker’s appearance. Unfortunately management really shot themselves in the foot when they ended the streak at 30. The streak with the right opponent could have carried the show. Yet that isn’t even an option anymore for the creative team.
So who is this opponent that isn’t on the roster? Meltzer said on a subsequent podcast that he was led to believe that the opponent was not someone on the NXT roster, thus this guy would truly not be on the current roster. Looking at the available free agents who could have a big match with the Undertaker, there really aren’t that many options.
Sting – Sting is the first one who comes to mind. Technically he isn’t on the active roster, although I think you could argue he is on the roster. Sting will be 57 by 32 and be coming off of spinal stenosis. While he makes the most sense on paper, I can’t imagine he would be back in shape by the event at his age and current physical state.
Bill Goldberg – Goldberg has flirted with the idea of returning for a WrestleMania match for a few years. There were several reports out a few years back that the company were in negotiations for a Goldberg vs. Ryback match at Mania before they fell apart. Goldberg did not leave the company on good terms and there are reports of lingering bad blood with Vince McMahon. Quite honestly I don’t even know how good the match would be. However, Goldberg is one of only a handful of guys that fit this criteria so he has to be in consideration.
Batista – There were a few stories several weeks ago that the company brought Batista to the Royal Rumble to propose a WrestleMania idea. It was later reported or speculated that Batista turned those ideas down. He certainly fits the bill of a big name currently not on the roster. However, he and Undertaker already wrestled at WrestleMania so I am not sure what kind of interest there would be in a rematch.
Randy Orton – Finally, the Viper comes to mind. Orton has been out for several months with injuries, yet nobody has reported a clear timeline for his return. Orton would fit the bill of a guy who is currently not on the active roster. If the streak was active, I’d say go for it. I always thought their WrestleMania match was highly underrated. Yet like Batista, without the streak, I am not sure what kind of interest there’d be in a rematch.
The good news is that we’ll find out soon enough, maybe as earlier as this coming Monday.