The Undertaker has been sending mixed signals since his last appearance in a WWE ring. But then again, he made a successful living for more than 20 years doing just that. But this year, more than ever, the pendulum seemed to be swinging more towards retirement than a return.
But, you can put that off for a little while longer. The Undertaker is returning to the WWE later this month, according to Daily Wrestling News. The Deadman will make his first appearance in WWE since WrestleMania 32, as he has been booked for the November 15 episode of SmackDown Live from Wilkes Barre, PA.
The significance of that night is that it is the final show (the go-home show if you will) before the Survivor Series pay-per-view in Toronto on November 20. It will also be a historic night for WWE, as it will mark the 900th episode of SmackDown in the show’s 17-year history. The Undertaker, of course, was a tent pole of SmackDown for years so it makes sense from that standpoint. It will almost certainly open up the floodgates of speculation as well.
Though the Undertaker will be appearing just five days prior to the Survivor Series, it’s more likely he’s been booked to add to the celebration of 900 episodes rather than add anything to the build to the upcoming pay-per-view, let alone appear there. There has been discussion, however, that this appearance on SmackDown could be the launching pad to his WrestleMania 33 angle next April.
Those mixed signals referenced above included the Undertaker removing his gloves after his match with Shane McMahon inside Hell in a Cell seven months ago. That is one of the few symbols that a fighter can display to indicate that he no longer wishes to compete. John Cena did something similar at SummerSlam when he removed his armband, but has yet to fully reveal the meaning behind the gesture.
However, it was the weeks that followed that raised many eyebrows, leaving many to question if we had, in fact, seen the last of the Undertaker. Just two months after WrestleMania ended, we reported that Undertaker’s relationship had reached a breaking point with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. It stemmed from Vince pitching the idea of Shane defeating The Phenom and then assuming he’d continue appearing at several more dates in 2016.
The Undertaker was originally booked for WWE’s overseas tour following WrestleMania but was pulled at the last minute. Initially, reports surfaced that the Deadman withdrew due to concerns with terrorism, but then it was revealed that things with the boss had become sour.
Vince was busy with stockholders, the day-to-day of creative and the impending brand extension as a way to appease the USA Network. But he was telling those close to him that a major priority was to resolve things with the Undertaker before they got worse.
Apparently, both sides came to a resolution, as the Undertaker has been seen in more promotional materials lately. Not only that, but he appeared in character last week in Cleveland for opening night in the NBA at the Cavaliers game where he posed for pictures with several of the players.
It’s also been noted that The Phenom is among several WWE legends being courted by the company to appear at the upcoming Royal Rumble, along with fellow Texas residents, Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin. The WWE is giving this year’s Rumble the WrestleMania treatment due to the venue and historical significance of the event.
Nothing has been confirmed as of yet on that front, but today’s news that the Undertaker will return in two weeks makes it a greater chance than earlier this summer. Keep in mind that Shawn Michaels kicked off his WrestleMania 26 program with Taker in December, nearly five months before their epic rematch. So it’s not totally out of the question that he could set the stage for his ‘Mania showdown on SmackDown in Wilkes Barre. We’ll continue to monitor any additional scheduled appearances for one of the greatest superstars of all time.
[Featured Image by WWE]