With Undertaker possibly exiting WWE as the company delays Sting's expected debut, their dream match looks mighty unlucky at this point.
The rumors coming out of the WrestleMania weekend provide insight on the future of those two stars, some of WWE's pay-pay-view plans and whether or not to expect the addition of a former NFL linebacker to the roster.
The following is a look at all those stories, picking apart backstage reports and tweets from around the Internet.
Undertaker's Streak Ending and Status for Future
Much of the post-WrestleMania buzz has centered around the Undertaker's future as an active wrestler. One assumption is that the Lesnar bout would be his final match.
F4WOnline, via PWMania, reports, "There was a lot of talk about Taker’s future backstage at WrestleMania and RAW. Nobody knows for sure if that was Taker’s last match but it was certainly being talked about like it was."
That's what many fans are thinking as well.
By almost a 10-1 margin, you guys think we just saw The Undertaker's last match #WrestleMania— WrestlingINC.com (@WrestlingInc) April 7, 2014
It would certainly be a surprising way to send him off if it was his swan song. Fans weren't expecting a farewell match, just another extension of the streak.
They also weren't expecting Lesnar to be the one to defeat Undertaker. The choice to do so may have been more Undertaker's than WWE's.
Dave Meltzer said on the Wrestling Observer radio show (h/t Keith Harris from Cageside Seats), "When this program was first suggested and this is going back three years, probably more than three years, Undertaker's idea was to lose to Brock Lesnar."
Did Undertaker again lobby for Lesnar to beat him? Did he know that he just didn't have much left to give in the ring and thought it best to go out giving back to the business?
We won't know that for sure until "The Deadman" speaks on the issue himself. That may have happened on Monday's Raw had he not spent Sunday night in the hospital.
Mike Johnson of PWInsider reports the following on Undertaker's health:
Taker was held overnight for observation after being diagnosed with a pretty major concussion, which occurred pretty early on in his match against Brock Lesnar. He was walking around very gingerly with an extremely stiff neck and a profound limp yesterday at Raw.
At his age, against a beast of a man like Lesnar, it's no shocker that Undertaker suffered injuries at WrestleMania. This report may explain why the match was not as crisp as his matches from previous years—he may have been working with a rung bell for most of it.
The end of the streak and these injuries put a potential WrestleMania 31 match in serious doubt.
Sting has been expected to show up to WWE ever since he left TNA. Many fans thought that he would appear at WrestleMania 30 or on Raw the next night.
He wasn't around for either.
In fact, PWInsider, via Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc, reports that "Sting was not backstage at last night's RAW in New Orleans." Sting was in New Orleans, though, appearing at WrestleCon on April 7. That's where he delivered a strong hint that he'll be a part of WrestleMania 31.
(NFSW note: Video features brief profanity at the end.)
When will the buildup to that potential bout begin? It appears that it won't be soon.
F4WOnline, via PWMania, reports, "There's now a feeling within WWE that Sting won’t be on WWE TV for a long time."
This is likely due to WWE having to shift its plans because Undertaker may not be available as an opponent. Officials may now have to put together another story against another rival for him.
The rumors about Sting officially coming to WWE will continue until he steps through the curtain for the first time.
Former NFL Star to Join WWE?
Shawne Merriman, once an All-Pro linebacker, looks to be joining the WWE team in some fashion.
He appeared on the WWE Network as part of a panel discussing WrestleMania. Rey Mysterio soon sent a shout-out via Twitter.
The fact that Mysterio called him "a future WWE Superstar" may hint at him knowing something about WWE and Merriman's relationship.
PWInsider's Mike Johnson writes the following:
Former NFL star Shawne Merriman's appearance last night on the WWE Network is part of a potentially larger role for him within WWE. Merriman was in New Orleans the entire weekend and there's talk of the company hiring him.
That role may not just be limited to talking behind a desk. Merriman tried out for WWE last November, although the tryout didn't go well, via Nick Paglino of WrestleZone (per the Wrestling Observer).
Future Pay-Per-View Plans
Monday's Raw teased Evolution reforming when Randy Orton, Batista and Triple H worked together in an attempt to destroy Daniel Bryan. The Shield stepped in, refusing to let the injustice continue, and a brawl erupted.
That could have been a preview of Extreme Rules.
F4WOnline, via Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc, notes this:
The idea of doing The Shield vs. Evolution (Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton) has been pitched, possibly for the WWE Extreme Rules pay-per-view, depending on who challenges Daniel Bryan for the WWE World Heavyweight Title.
WWE certainly looks as if it is headed in that direction. As for Bryan's opponent, it would have to be someone outside of his current circle of rivals.
Orton, Triple H and Batista would be busy with The Shield. Kane wouldn't be much of a convincing threat at this stage in his career.
Having Triple H perform at Extreme Rules, as he did last year, would boost the card's star power.
The company also has another exciting option to plug into upcoming pay-per-views and several shows afterward. Rob Van Dam returned to WWE on Monday's Raw, easily winning against Damien Sandow.
According to PWInsider, via Nick Paglino of WrestleZone, "Word backstage in WWE is that RVD's current run will take him through SummerSlam."
Perhaps he is one of Cesaro's first marquee opponents now that "The King of Swing" is free from The Real Americans. He could also look to avenge his loss against Alberto Del Rio or collide with Bray Wyatt.
The reported length of his latest stay gives WWE great flexibility with him.
He joins a roster that is now without The Undertaker and may include Sting at some point. Count on the rumor mill to focus on those two men for the near future until retirement is official for the former and a debut date is set for the latter.