When WWE legend The Undertaker returned to SmackDown five days before the Survivor Series show, he said that he’s back and “WrestleMania will no longer define me.” However, we haven’t seen him since, and according to Cageside Seats, we probably won’t see him again until the end of this year, at the earliest.
About a month ago, a photo surfaced which showed The Undertaker on crutches. Then, a few days later, it was reported that he recently underwent hip surgery and that he’s currently in the recovery process. As of right now, The Deadman isn’t fully healed, but WWE is hoping that he will be in time for the 2017 Royal Rumble event on January 29.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, who recently appeared on the Live Audio Wrestling podcast, WWE wants The Undertaker to be a part of the Royal Rumble show, because they want to break the event’s all-time attendance record, and they’re trying to load the card with as many big stars as possible.
“A lot of people are talking about [The Undertaker] and AJ Styles, and I know that he’s still undergoing rehab for his hip, so he’s not ready to go now. Will he be ready by the end of January? I mean, the whole thing with that end of January show, is that they’ve got that big Alamodome to fill up so, they are wanting Undertaker on that show.”
The rumors of WWE doing an Undertaker vs. AJ Styles match at the Royal Rumble started before WWE even announced that The Deadman would be returning to television. It’s definitely a dream match, and if anyone can carry a guy who isn’t 100-percent to a great match, it’s AJ Styles. So, booking an Undertaker vs. Styles match wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.
In a recent interview with Planeta Wrestling, Styles commented on a potential match with The Undertaker, and he seemed open to the idea, as long as it’s something that WWE fans want to see.
“It may be a dream match for The Undertaker. More importantly, is it a dream match for the WWE Universe? If they want Undertaker [vs.] AJ Styles, I say we give it to them.”
Currently, AJ Styles is in a feud with Dean Ambrose, which is expected to end at this coming Sunday’s TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs show. We should have a pretty good idea of what’s in store for Styles following next Tuesday’s SmackDown show.
Bryan Alvarez of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has been pretty strong on the idea of Undertaker wrestling Styles for the title at the Royal Rumble, saying that The Deadman should defeat The Phenomenal One in the show’s main event, then go on to drop the title to John Cena at WrestleMania 33, and retire the next day. Of course, there are rumors going around that suggest The Undertaker will retire following next spring’s WrestleMania, but we’ve been hearing those rumors for at least the last six years, and they never turn out to be true.
There’s a small chance that The Undertaker will actually be part of the Royal Rumble match, but, with names like Goldberg and Brock Lesnar already announced for the annual 30-man match, it looks like they have all the star power they need for it, and that Undertaker would be better used in a singles match.
As of right now, The Undertaker isn’t officially advertised for any upcoming SmackDown shows, but if WWE is going to use him at the Royal Rumble, he’ll probably return at some point before the end of this year.
[Featured Image by WWE]