Just as the WWE prepares to put the finishing touches on this year’s WrestleMania, they’ve also already begun to draft a blueprint for next year’s showcase event. Reports began surfacing last week that WWE officials were planning on a WrestleMania 31 rematch between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship in 2018 inside the Superdome in New Orleans.
Earlier on Saturday, we reported that the WWE was also brainstorming some long-term booking in regards to the Undertaker as well. If the Deadman is up to it, WWE officials finally want to put together the Undertaker-John Cena WrestleMania match that has been on the table for at least four years, and book it for next April. But if the latest developments are any indication, that’s a big if.
According to PWInsider (via Wrestling Inc), the Undertaker’s health was a major topic of concern this past Monday at the WWE RAW tapings. As you recall during the main event match between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman, the Phenom appeared out of nowhere to interrupt the proceedings. After a stare-down with Reigns, the Undertaker delivered a choke slam to Strowman before receiving a spear from his WrestleMania opponent.
The Deadman did do his patented sit-up as Reigns walked back up the ramp to close the show with another ominous stare-down, however, something clearly wasn’t right. WWE officials have been monitoring the Undertaker’s physical condition since his return to the WWE last November, but even the WWE Universe could see that he was experiencing difficulties during the final segment this past Monday.
Before he returned to the WWE for this latest run, the Undertaker underwent hip surgery, but the slow recovery didn’t allow for a proposed singles match with AJ Styles for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. Instead, he was inserted into the Rumble match itself and was said to be in a great deal of pain afterwards. ‘Taker was only in the match for five and a half minutes, but that was still longer than other WWE behemoths like Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, Big Show, Mark Henry, and even Roman Reigns.
Despite the short night, the Undertaker was telling WWE officials backstage that he was uncomfortable and not happy with his performance in the ring. Backstage, he was walking around in a great deal of pain. That’s been rather commonplace during some of his more recent matches in WWE. He was in pain after his Hell in a Cell match with Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 32, worked a relatively easy, soft match with Bray Wyatt the year before and was famously taken to the hospital after his WrestleMania 30 match with Brock Lesnar.
But it was his condition after the Royal Rumble that had WWE officials worried about his future, compounded by the events from this past Monday night. He may have taken a rough spear from Reigns, but the Undertaker was noticeably wincing after the choke slam to Strowman. This has led to several WWE officials truly believing that it could finally be the end of the road for the star.
There may have been preliminary discussions about a potential Undertaker-John Cena match at next year’s WrestleMania, but everything is now hinging on the Deadman’s well-being. As noted, he had surgery last year before his return to the WWE, but there is talk that he may need another operation soon. And this time if he goes under the knife, it would almost definitely spell the end of his career.
WWE executives are fully aware that potential showdowns with Cena and even Sting would be major draws. There was some discussion about matches with Braun Strowman and Goldberg, as evidenced by multiple teases on television. However, the Undertaker may not have enough left physically to deliver those.
We’ve noted before how if the Undertaker was planning on retiring, the WWE would take full advantage of the build and promotion for such a monumental occasion, similar to that of Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair. His involvement in the WrestleMania 34 press conference earlier this year was a further indication that he was planning to be in New Orleans next year and the WWE could have spent a significant amount of time building towards his last match.
As of now, his match with Reigns next Sunday is not expected to last very long, but how long the rest of his WWE career lasts may completely hinge on how he feels coming out of it. If he wins, which is not expected at this time, it will be the Undertaker’s 100th pay-per-view victory, the most all-time.
[Featured Image by WWE]