Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Is The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon Best For Business?

By Brandon Albright, @B_Rock1978

Wrestlemania 32 is only a month and a half away and the same question that pops up every year at this time of the season is......Who will be The Undertaker's opponent this year?

By now Vince McMahon and his great team of writers (lol) usually had a plan set in stone on what direction to go in with Undertaker's next victim....I mean opponent. Previous years we knew by the February pay per view just exactly who would step into the ring with the deadman on the biggest stage in sports entertainment, Wrestlemania. This year, however, due to a huge amount of injuries in the WWE, for the first time ever, the WWE was actually stumped on who to fight the deadman this year. That was until this past Monday on RAW.

In case you missed it, the prodigal son, Shane McMahon, made his triumphant return to the WWE and dropped a bombshell on the WWE Universe. The past six years, Shane has been off on his own, building his own businesses and making money for himself that didn't involve the sports entertainment world. But what no one in the company knew except for Vince McMahon, was Shane made a deal with Vince, after getting Vince out of undisclosed trouble and never lost his place in line to take over the company. Therefore when Vinnie Mac steps down, the mantel goes to Shane McMahon, not Stephanie McMahon and Triple H like originally thought. So Shane has returned and wants the keys to the kingdom handed over now before Stephanie and Triple H destroy what's left of the WWE. It won't be that easy though, as Vince cut a deal with Shane to win the rights to the company in a one on one match.
Shane quickly agreed to the match before Vince announced that Shane McMahon would have to defeat the deadman himself, The Undertaker, in a Hell In A Cell Match. This move by the WWE has come completely out of left field, as no one expected Shane McMahon to compete in the traditional Wrestlemania match against The Undertaker. As a matter of fact there was actually a long laundry list of guys that WWE were thinking about taking on The Deadman this year.

First on the list was rumored right after Wrestlemania 31. Many fans speculated that we'd finally get to see every fantasy wrestling bookers dream and get to witness The Undertaker vs. Sting at Wrestlemania 32. Even a photo of the two legends surfaced of Taker and Sting waiting at the airport, traveling home together after last year's event. Many quickly jumped on the thinking that they were planning their future big match. (Because why else would they be traveling together, even though they both live in Texas....Am I right?) That fantasy, however, turned possibly nonexistent, as one wrong turnbuckle power bomb by Seth Rollins in June seriously injured Sting's neck and may have even ended the Stinger's career.

The next rumored opponent for The Undertaker was Brock Lesnar (Because seeing them go at Wrestlemania 30 just wasn't enough). Rumor was, since it may be Taker's last Wrestlemania, Lesnar would do the deed and let Taker avenge his Wrestlemania 30 loss to the beast by winning their rematch and retire. The WWE, however, chose to wrap that feud up at Summer Slam and at Hell In A Cell and leaving the door wide open with for Shane to be The Undertaker's Wrestlemania 32 opponent.

Another name that was dropped was having Undertaker battle his "brother" Kane one more time with Kane actually getting the win and both "brothers" retire together. Honestly who better to have your last match against than none other than someone that helped make your gimmick even cooler.

Kevin Owens was another name that was tossed in as a possible opponent for The Undertaker. Owens has stated many times that he'd love to face either Taker or Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. Taker vs. Owens would be a very entertaining match as both men are brawlers and wouldn't hold back.

The Rock was another name that was dropped as a possible opponent for The Undertaker. The Rock will be at Wrestlemania 32, however, as an actual wrestler may be unlikely. The Rock has way too many movie roles coming up in 2016 and one wrong move could cause injury and ruin his movie pay days. (Can't have Fast and Furious 8 without The Rock in it, now can we?)

The next brilliant WWE idea, which actually seemed like a good idea and even I would have stood behind was having The Undertaker battle the face of the WWE, John Cena. Last time Taker and Cena wrestled was way back when Cena was still a newbie and using the rapper gimmick. Taker vs. Cena would have actually been a fresh feud that we've never seen repeatedly (**cough cough Cena vs. Orton cough cough**). But then just like Sting, John Cena went down with a shoulder injury and was ruled out for Wrestlemania 32. Back to the drawing board WWE.

The most recent name that was mentioned in January to meet The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 32 was Wyatt Family member Braun Strowman. But thankfully WWE was viewing the huge negative backlash on Twitter about the idea and have scrapped that match. Well duh WWE have you forgotten about what a cluster Taker vs. Giant Gonzalez was at Wrestlemania 9? That was probably the worst match in Taker's career! Having Taker fight Strowman would've been a slap to Taker's face and a kick to the nuts on the way out to retirement.

The WWE ended up stating a week ago that the man that would face The Undertaker would be someone not currently on the WWE roster. (Which Shane McMahon does fall under being gone for six years.) But it also could've been someone currently injured, in NXT or not even in the WWE at all. This idea could've opened the door for a huge amount of possibilities.

NXT wise, you have a nice roster that could go with Undertaker no problem. How about the deadman vs. the demon, Undertaker vs. Finn Balor? Undertaker vs. Samoa Joe would be a great match as well. Undertaker vs. Baron Corbin could even be good too, with Corbin's lone wolf, I'll do whatever I want attitude. Sami Zayn would be a very fast paced opponent for Taker, however, might be a little too David vs. Golith looking. Zayn's speed may also be a little too fast for the veteran Taker to be able to control as well.

Injured wrestler wise, many were still hoping for Sting or John Cena to return from injury in time to pick up their original plans, but both seem far from happening. Some brought up Seth Rollins. Good choice, however, angle wise having Rollins return, even if he could, and battle Taker makes zero sense. Obviously Rollins will be put into some kind of a Authority feud upon return. Cesaro has also been brought up, as the Swiss Superman has been spotted touring house shows, just not wrestling yet. Cesaro facing Taker at Wrestlemania might help establish Cesaro with a push that he greatly deserves that we all thought he was getting after Wrestlemania 30, but was denied. Some marks are still clamoring for Taker vs. Daniel Bryan, even though Bryan officially retired from wrestling, due to having the Bret Hart concussion syndrome. Of course there's the Taker vs. CM Punk people too that just can't get over the fact that Punk is never coming back. Punk is under UFC contract and just had back surgery, it's not happening people please just stop!

Unsigned wrestler wise, one name has been consistently mentioned and I would love to see it happen. Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle. Angle is no longer under TNA contract, is officially done with TNA and is only taking Independent dates for now. Angle has mentioned on numerous occasions he wants to come back home to his first love, the WWE. Would WWE do it though, considering they denied Angle last year when he met with Vince McMahon and Triple H. Another wrestler not under a WWE contract that has stated for the right price and reason he'd wrestle one more match is Bill Goldberg. Taker vs. Goldberg sounds like a great reason to come back one more time Bill. Another name that has been mentioned as a possible opponent not under a WWE contract is Batista. This seems highly unlikely though, as Batista hasn't shown any interest in returning being too busy with his new acting career. Another name that has been mentioned is Shawn Michaels. Honestly, two Taker vs. Shawn Michaels matches at Wrestlemania I think have been enough. And honestly, I don't see Michaels ever coming out of retirement. Michaels has stated time and time again he'll never return because he doesn't want to be labeled as "that wrestler that always comes out of retirement" (Oh hello Ric Flair).

So now the question is will Shane McMahon really fight The Undertaker in a Hell In A Cell Match? Shane has never disappointed in his matches and was always very entertaining. But would it make better sense to have Shane pick someone from the list of above names I've stated to wrestle in his place? There have been rumors this week stating John Cena might be ready by Wrestlemania, coming back from his shoulder surgery.

Who knows what's going to happen, but one thing that's for sure is we'll all be tuning in and finding out on April 3 as Wrestlemania 32 goes live at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Being in Texas, I'd be happy to see Taker face Tony Romo and tombstone Romo on his head. (Shout out to @nevaRWilliams and @ImissWiggins at @TripleThreatCLE lol)

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