Reports of The Undertaker’s health leading up into WrestleMania 33 have been popping up for quite some time. Earlier this month, several publications, including the Inquisitr, reported that the legendary performer has been walking around on crutches. Photos of the 51-year-old Undertaker, real name Mark Calaway, had emerged along with those reports and spread on social media, and it was understandable that wrestling fans were speculating that his days as an active wrestler may be numbered.
Now it would appear that The Undertaker is much healthier-looking than he was about two weeks ago, as he made an appearance Tuesday night at the Cleveland Cavaliers’ locker room, right ahead of their NBA season debut against the New York Knicks. According to SEScoops, Undertaker hung out and posed with Cavs players in full costume, and most notably without the crutches he was using earlier this month. Those crutches were reportedly used to help ‘Taker as he came off hip surgery, but the new photos from Tuesday night point to the wrestler making a nice recovery thus far.
Also making an appearance with The Undertaker were his wife, former WWE Diva Michelle McCool, and the family of late WWE legend The Ultimate Warrior.
The photos show ‘Taker mugging it up with Cleveland Cavaliers big men Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, and Chris Andersen, as well as veteran forwards Richard Jefferson and James Jones, right before their home game at the Quicken Loans Arena against the New York Knicks. The Cavs ended up winning that game, 117-88, with Kyrie Irving scoring a game-high 29 points and LeBron James registering a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 14 assists.
While the “Deadman” didn’t end up accompanying the reigning NBA champions as they prepared to take the court against the Knicks, he did make the locker room appearance as a favor to one of his most famous fans.
A tweet from Akron Beacon Journal writer Jason Lloyd suggests that ‘Taker did it as a favor to Cavs superstar LeBron James, who wore the wrestler’s t-shirt ahead of Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals. Cleveland won that game, and also won the next two as they came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors. One can say that the comeback was reminiscent of The Undertaker himself, who has made improbable comebacks in many a wrestling match, not to mention all the times he’s been resurrected as an undead “Phenom” in WWE storylines.
Undertaker told me he's here because LeBron wore his t-shirt prior to Game 5 of the Finals. No previous relationship, just a mutual respect— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) October 25, 2016
Still, the question remains as to whether The Undertaker will be healthy enough to compete at WrestleMania 33, now that he appears to be in better physical condition. Recently, fellow WWE veteran Big Show had an interview with Digital Spy, and the “World’s Largest Athlete” shared his perspective on the chances of ‘Taker fighting at WrestleMania 33, and what fans can expect from such a match.
“I think the fans are happy to see Undertaker once a year and make that entrance and go out there and keep going,” Big Show told Digital Spy’s Mayer Nissim. “Taker’s always been a businessman too. He’s never been ego-driven like a lot of guys are. He goes out there and gets the match over, gets his opponent over and gets himself over. I think as long as ‘Taker feels healthy enough and feels good enough to go out there he will. And I’m okay with seeing ‘Taker on special events, because ‘Taker is the ultimate attraction.”
Right now, it may be presumptive to say The Undertaker will be in good health for a potential WrestleMania 33 appearance in April 2017. But his Tuesday night appearance at the Quicken Loans Arena does seem like a good sign, and as Big Show told Digital Spy, he’s clearly a big enough draw with fans, even at this stage of his wrestling career, and still has a decent chance of competing for a few more times in WWE, albeit on a very limited basis.
[Featured Image by JP Yim/Getty Images]