The dirt sheets were set ablaze when PWInsider reported that the Undertaker could return to the WWE as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble but may consider foregoing WrestleMania 29 just a few months later.
Should this story continue to grow legs, this would mark the first time since WrestleMania 2000, over 12 years ago, that Undertaker and his famed streak were not part of the WWE's biggest show of the year.
As big of a draw as Undertaker's streak has become over the years, it simply cannot be a difference-maker all by its lonesome as Undertaker must be paired with a formidable opponent in order for fans to believe that it could possibly come to an end.
Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Edge and Batista are all among the top stars and future Hall of Famers who have had a crack at the streak over the past six WrestleManias, and that caliber of superstar is a necessity for Undertaker's annual "Streak Match" to matter.
Looking at the current WWE landscape for Undertaker, as the WrestleMania picture begins to take form, formidable competition and compelling programs are at a premium.
Brock Lesnar comes to mind, as the WWE could take advantage of the staredown heard 'round the world, but the WWE has largely dropped the ball in booking Lesnar as a monster, and there simply isn't enough time or contract dates for the WWE to rebuild Lesnar into the potential killer he would need to be to properly challenge Undertaker's unblemished WrestleMania record.
The WWE couldn't go to back to the Triple H well as the two legends have already faced off in three WrestleManias, including the last two.
Ryback could benefit from an Undertaker rub should his undefeated streak still be intact come April, but there is virtually no chance of Ryback scoring such a monumental victory. In the long run, this loss has the potential of hurting the WWE's next big thing just as much as it would help.
John Cena appears to be on a collision course with The Rock, and with Steve Austin recovering from knee surgery, this leaves CM Punk as the most likely contender for Undertaker as he runs the risk of being stuck in no man's land come WrestleMania season.
Unfortunately, CM Punk vs. Undertaker is not the dream program worthy of getting Undertaker off his couch. And no matter how good that program could be creatively, it would be a foregone conclusion that CM Punk would be doing the job. Such a caveat would hurt the program overall.
Undertaker's field of potential WrestleMania opponents looks more grim than the graveyard we're supposed to believe he was born in.
Taker has been there, done that, and it has been quite some time since he needed the WWE more than they needed him. With Undertaker's WrestleMania record already up to 20-0, the incentive for the Deadman to return to the ring may have died itself.
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