With WrestleMania now only two months away, it is only natural that fans are expecting The Undertaker to return to action. Taker has only been on WWE television once since WrestleMania XXVIII as he assisted Kane on the 1,000th episode of Raw. There is a growing sentiment that The Undertaker could be present at tonight's edition of the show in Nashville, however.
According to WrestlingNewsWorld.com, The Undertaker attended a Nashville Predators hockey game at the Bridgestone Arena on Sunday. Photographic proof is circulating across the Internet as The Phenom had his photo taken with the Predators' mascot, Gnash. That would seem to indicate that Taker will be in Nashville on Monday night, but nothing beyond that has been confirmed.
When will The Undertaker return to WWE programming?
There has been a lot of scuttlebutt regarding The Undertaker's status for WrestleMania, and while most fans agree that he and the WWE will come to an agreement, dirt sheets and wrestling news sites are perpetuating paranoia in that regard. If The Undertaker isn't in Nashville to appear on Raw, it is certainly possible that he will engage in discussions with Vince McMahon, Triple H and other high-ranking officials in the WWE.
At the same time, there is a definite chance that something has already been agreed upon, so Taker could very well be in Nashville to appear on Raw. If that is the case, then there are obviously several possibilities. The overwhelming sentiment is that The Undertaker will face former WWE Champion CM Punk at WrestleMania, but if The Deadman returns to the fold tonight, then his ideal opponent would likely be Brock Lesnar.
Since Punk has a rematch forthcoming against The Rock at Elimination Chamber, it wouldn't make much sense for The Undertaker to start a feud with him tonight as it would overshadow the WWE Championship match. That means Taker won't likely appear on Raw if the plan is for him to go head to head with Punk at WrestleMania. If Taker vs. Punk was nothing more than an unsubstantiated rumor; however, it is certainly plausible that The Phenom could show up tonight.
Due to the fact that Lesnar attacked Vince McMahon upon returning a couple weeks ago, most believe that Lesnar will have a rematch with Triple H at WrestleMania. It is an obvious conclusion since McMahon is Triple H's father-in-law and Triple H already faced Lesnar at SummerSlam. Lesnar "broke" Triple H's arm in the match and it prompted Triple H to "retire" without actually saying that he was retiring.
Every fan knows that Triple H isn't actually retired and that it's only a matter of time before he wrestles again. Lesnar would be the ideal opponent from Triple H's perspective as it would allow him to get revenge on the grandest stage of them all. There are mixed feelings from the fans regarding Lesnar vs. Triple H II, though, and that could prompt the WWE to call an audible during the lead up to WrestleMania.
Taker vs. Lesnar is a more desirable match on paper, and although that would potentially leave Punk out in the cold, the WWE can find a way to put him in the WrestleMania main event against Cena and The Rock if need be. The mere fact that everyone seems to think that they know what direction the WWE is heading in gives me pause to some degree. Taker vs. Punk and Lesnar vs. Triple H still appear to be the leaders in the clubhouse with regards to WrestleMania, but Taker may have negotiated different terms.
Provided we are going to see Lesnar face The Undertaker at WrestleMania, tonight would be the perfect time for The Deadman to return. Returning to feud with Punk would overshadow Punk's match with The Rock, but returning to feud with Lesnar would simply serve as another primary storyline that can be developed in the coming weeks. There hasn't been much rhyme or reason for Lesnar's attacks, so The Undertaker could simply appear and try to stop him.
Maybe the WWE will even run an angle in which Triple H attempts to stand up to Lesnar. That would make every fan believe that Lesnar vs. Triple H at WrestleMania is a lock, but it could potentially lead to Lesnar beating down Triple H only for The Undertaker to make the save. Triple H, Taker and Shawn Michaels embraced following their match at WrestleMania, so it's conceivable that The Undertaker could attempt to help Triple H out of respect for him.
Truth be told, nobody knows for sure exactly why The Undertaker is in Nashville, and that alone should add to the excitement of tonight's Raw. It wouldn't surprise me if he's simply in town to discuss business, but many fans are expecting to see him now that photographic evidence of him being in Nashville has leaked.
Ultimately, if Taker is going to face Lesnar at WrestleMania, then I'd love to see him on Raw tonight. If he is facing Punk, however, his return should be postponed until a later date. Whatever the case, The Undertaker appears to be nearing a comeback and that should make for an interesting night and an interesting couple of months as well.