Every year, we hear the rumor that the upcoming WrestleMania event will feature The Undertaker’s retirement match, and every year, the rumor — which is typically always reported by reliable sources — turns out to be untrue.
Following this past year’s WrestleMania 32, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that The Undertaker told WWE chairman Vince McMahon that he was “done” following his Hell in a Cell match with Shane McMahon. Following the report, The Undertaker was pulled from all shows that he was advertised for, and it looked like the retirement rumor was finally going to end up being true.
Questions about The Undertaker’s future surfaced again last month, when a picture of The Deadman on crutches made the rounds. It was reported shortly thereafter that The Phenom had undergone hip surgery, which, again, raised questions about his in-ring future, and more specifically, his role at WrestleMania 33.
11 years ago today. Orton v Undertaker inside HIAC. Really good PPV main event. pic.twitter.com/w0y3wRj5af— PWM - WWE COVERAGE (@ProWrestlingMag) December 18, 2016
On November 15, The Undertaker made his return to WWE television on SmackDown, during the “Cutting Edge” segment, which featured all of the blue brand’s top stars. Upon returning, he told the WWE fans that he was back and that WrestleMania would no longer define him. We haven’t seen him since.
By now, everybody knows the rumor — which was first published by Forbes— which suggests that The Undertaker will challenge AJ Styles for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble show on January 29. If the rumor is true, then we should see The Deadman pop up again after the new year.
The rumor not only suggests that he’ll take on AJ Styles in January, it also suggests that he’ll win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and go on to defend it against John Cena at WrestleMania 33. Of course, Cena has been on a two-year quest to tie Ric Flair’s record for most WWE World Heavyweight Championship wins, and most figure that he’ll tie that record at WrestleMania 33.
According to Bryan Alvarez of Figure Four Online, WWE could be looking at doing a championship vs. career match in Orlando next spring, where if The Undertaker loses, he’ll be forced to retire. Alvarez’s scenario has been backed up by the folks at SportsKeeda, who, in their latest story, suggest that The Undertaker will lose the career vs. title match on April 2, and then be forced to retire.
Undertaker, who will be 52 by the time WrestleMania 33 rolls around, has been a WWE mainstay for almost three decades. During that time, he’s held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship multiple times, and he’s had some of the best matches in WWE history at their biggest event of the year, WrestleMania.
Last year, it was rumored that The Undertaker would headline the Hall of Fame ceremony in Dallas. But, WWE ultimately decided to have Sting close the show. If The Deadman is, in fact, retiring following WrestleMania 33, then he’d be a good choice to close out the Hall of Fame ceremony. Of course, that might give away the finish of the next night’s match, however, they did do the very same thing with Ric Flair in 2008, and it ended up being an incredible weekend. So, they could do it again.
Former WWE play by play guy Jim Ross said on a recent edition of his podcast — The Ross Report— that he’d book The Undertaker’s retirement match for next spring’s big event, and he’d also have John Cena turn heel in the match. So, if WWE goes with Ross’ angle, we could have two huge stories coming out of next year’s WrestleMania.
As of this writing, The Undertaker isn’t advertised for any upcoming WWE shows. But, as previously mentioned, he’ll likely return to television at some point next month, as WWE gears up for the 2017 Royal Rumble.
[Featured Image by WWE]