Despite recent images showing The Undertaker walking with the assistance of crutches, the WWE legend is expected to compete at Wrestlemania 33 in April, according to Anthony DiMoro of Forbes.
Undertaker appeared at the Cleveland Cavaliers season opener against the New York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena last night. Dressed in his full in-ring persona, Undertaker met with several Cavaliers players before watching the game — dressed in street clothes — from his seat for the remainder of the game.
The Undertaker hung out w/ the @cavs on Opening Night & presented K-Love w/ a WWE championship belt
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 26, 2016
Name the WWE’s newest tag team.https://t.co/13T44KOxFD
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) October 25, 2016
The 51-year-old phenom last appeared for WWE at Wrestlemania 32 in Dallas, Texas on April 3. He faced Shane McMahon inside Hell in a Cell, surviving Shane O’Mac’s death-defying leap off the top of the structure to secure his 23rd win on WWE’s grandest stage. DiMoro’s report adds that WWE expects Undertaker in Florida for Wrestlemania 33, and the recently returning Goldberg has been mentioned as a possible opponent.
Goldberg is scheduled to face Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series in his only scheduled bout. However, if WWE can convince the former WCW Champion to wrestle more matches, Undertaker vs. Goldberg could be on the table. This would be a stark change from recent reports on Undertaker’s in-ring future.
The day after Undertaker defeated McMahon, Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline reported that Undertaker was telling people backstage that Wrestlemania 32 was his final bout, via Wrestlezone. However, multiple reports in prior years reported similar news, ultimately resulting in The Deadman returning to the ring.
In recent weeks, Undertaker was spotted with crutches, which brought his health into question.
— Pro Wrestling & MMA (@ProWrestlingWW) October 12, 2016
Another photo of The Undertaker. You can see the crutches in his trunk which tells you it’s his. I hope he heals up soon. pic.twitter.com/teU8Lz0Axu
— Zack Lethal (@TheZackLethal) October 12, 2016
PWInsider later reported that Undertaker underwent hip surgery, and the operation was the reason he was using crutches, via Wrestling Inc. While the timeline of when he had the surgery is not clear, an Instagram post from his wife and former WWE Women’s Champion, Michelle McCool, showed the couple at a September wedding without crutches.
After four decades of in-ring action, countless injuries, and a myriad of surgeries, Undertaker’s future in the WWE was uncertain. However, his longtime on-screen rival and former tag team partner, The Big Show, recently told Digital Spy that he believes we have not seen the last of Undertaker.
“No, I don’t think Taker’s story is done,” he said. “Taker’s one of those amazing, iconic characters that has built WWE and stood by WWE through thick and thin times. He’s one of the guys that never jumped ship back in the day.”
Looking at Undertaker’s workload in recent years, he has rarely wrestled outside of Wrestlemania. But last year was one of his most demanding in-ring years of the decade. He wrestled four matches; defeating Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania 31, defeating Lesnar at SummerSlam, losing to Lesnar inside Hell in a Cell, and defeated the Wyatt Family at Survivor Series. The year prior in 2014, he only wrestled one match — the infamous bout against Lesnar at Wrestlemania 30 when Undertaker’s legendary undefeated streak was snapped.
Despite the streak’s controversial ending, Undertaker has competed at two Wrestlemania’s since. In fact, Undertaker has wrestled at every Wrestlemania since 1991 with the exception of Wrestlemania 10 and Wrestlemania 2000. It doesn’t seem as if that will change on April 2, 2017.
[Featured Image by JP Yim/Getty Images]