Even though he’s supposedly retired, much has been made recently about a possible return of The Undertaker.
Taker, 52, hasn’t been seen in WWE since he was “retired” by Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33, and it seemed his storied career had officially come to a close. He symbolically left his trench coat, gloves and hat in the middle of the ring and disappeared into a cloud of smoke on the ramp. Despite the emotional display, there remains plenty of speculation and subtle hints that Taker will make a return to wrestling before the year is over.
For starters, there were rumors that Taker had been spotted on his way to New York City prior to SummerSlam. A Twitter user on a plane snapped a photo of a man appearing to look like the Undertaker standing up in an aisle aboard a plane.
PWInsider reported that Taker was indeed backstage at the pay-per-view, but it could have been to “record footage for a video package or for the upcoming WWE 2K18 video game.”
Coincidentally, John Cena and Reigns, who are in a feud on RAW leading up to their match at No Mercy dropped Taker’s name on the August 28 episode of the show in reference to Reigns’ victory at WrestleMania.
Reigns bragged to Cena that he did something that he was unable to do: retire The Undertaker. Cena responded by saying: “I’m not The Undertaker. I’m not a battered veteran at the end of his career with a bad hip.”
Is there more to the off-the-cuff line than was first anticipated?
Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer said there’s a chance. He addressed the rumor of Taker returning in early August, saying “it’s possible.” Meltzer said he could see Taker back in the mix to wrestle Reigns, but “there’s a good reasons he retired,” citing “The Deadman” needing “a lot” of surgeries. There’s also the possibility that Taker could return to battle Cena in what would be one of the most highly-anticipated matches in quite some time, and it would be the perfect sendoff of Taker.
A “hint” some internet fans pointed out is that at the very end of the No Mercy promo vignette, there’s an audible “gong” sound, eerily similar to Taker’s entrance music. Could that indicate an Undertaker return at the September 24 PPV?
To add fuel to the fire, the U.K. publication The Daily Sun reported that Taker has started training for one more match, despite his hip issue. WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross said he believes Taker has at least one more match before he officially heads into retirement, too.
Ross said during an interview with WrestleZone that The Undertaker is “active and could return and wrestle at any time.”
“Until he says he’s done he’s not done,” Ross said. “I think Vince McMahon is a marketing genius. He’s not going to miss any opportunity to monetize and maximize this amazing investment in this legacy of The Undertaker.”
Many rumors of Taker’s return have yet to be confirmed. But where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.