In the weeks leading up to this past Sunday's WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs show, it was reported multiple times that The Undertaker was going to make his return during the show, and possibly interfere in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles. But, those reports turned out to be untrue, and while we did see a third party get involved in the match, that third party wasn't "The Deadman."
When The Undertaker made his highly-anticipated return to SmackDown last month, he made it seem like we'd see him again before WrestleMania 33, and most believe that we'll see him compete at the Royal Rumble show on January 29. Of course, nothing's been made official yet, but the road to the Royal Rumble starts now, at least on the SmackDown side, as TLC was their last big show before WWE heads to the Alamodome in January.
The big rumor over the last couple of months has been that The Undertaker will challenge AJ Styles for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble. As of right now, Styles doesn't have any credible challengers, and while WWE could put him with Dean Ambrose again at the Rumble, it does look like they're moving in a different direction, as Ambrose will likely work with James Ellsworth next.
Now, the question is, when will The Undertaker's next SmackDown appearance be? As of this writing, WWE doesn't have him listed on any of their upcoming shows. However, Bryan Alvarez of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter believes that we may see "The Deadman" again on this Tuesday's SmackDown show.
"There was no Undertaker [at TLC], but he could show up at the end of SmackDown, and they could shoot the angle for the Royal Rumble in front of the largest possible audience."The "angle" that Alvarez is referring to is the rumored AJ Styles vs. Undertaker angle.
AJ is set to defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against James Ellsworth in the main event of Tuesday's SmackDown. Of course, there's almost no chance that Ellsworth will win the title on the show, so they could setup the AJ vs. Undertaker title match following Tuesday's main event.
Another rumor that's been going around suggests that The Undertaker will defeat AJ Styles at the Royal Rumble, win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and then go on to defend the title against John Cena at WrestleMania 33, where Cena will beat him, and win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the sixteenth time, which is something that WWE has been building to for almost three years now.
There is some concern on WWE's end about how much John Cena will be around in 2017, as he continues to get offered, and accept a ton of non-WWE offers. So, because of that, they may not go with Cena vs. Undertaker for the title at WrestleMania. Cena is scheduled to return in early-January, so we'll probably have a good idea of where they're going with him as soon as he returns to television.
Shortly after WWE announced that the Royal Rumble show will take place San Antonio, Texas, it was reported by Cageside Seats that WWE wants Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker to be a part of the show. So, while we don't know if The Undertaker will wrestle AJ Styles at the event, we do know that he'll probably be on the show in some form, along with Austin and Michaels.
Tuesday's SmackDown show will take place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, and, as we all know, The Undertaker is a Texas native, so it would make sense for him to return to television in his home state, and kickoff the rumored angle with AJ Styles.
[Featured Image by WWE]