A few months ago, it seemed highly unlikely that the Undertaker would ever meet his on-screen brother Kane again at Wrestlemania. Even with their latest feud, few imagined that it could stretch all the way to March 2011.
And yet, it seems like it might just do that. Why? Because of the Undertaker's physical condition.
Wrestling has the ability to sometimes go wrong. Certain events happen that mean WWE has to change its plans very quickly. The whole General Manager mystery grew from the problems that Bret Hart was having with his insurance.
The fact that it has been several months, and we still do not know the identity of the new GM is probably because WWE doesn't either.
The angle with Bret as GM was dropped, and in its place, WWE concocted the mysterious, albeit at times annoying, GM via laptop.
Not all changes are, however, a bad thing. When Triple H was penalized for his involvement in the infamous Madison Square Garden incident, his push got canceled, given instead to the Ringmaster, Steve Austin.
Arguably, Triple H was always destined for success, but in the middle of 1996, his career was put on hold.
In addition to the Bret Hart storyline, WWE has already re-drawn plans involving the Undertaker twice this year. On both occasions, it was due to injury—once because of Rey breaking his orbital bone and more recently because of a shoulder injury.
When Taker re-broke his nose, Rey was given his spot, Kane won MITB, and Taker went into a vegetative state.
Kane began a witch-hunt, won the title from Rey and then Undertaker returned weakened to challenge his assailant. All this grew from the fact that the Undertaker broke his orbital bone.
Fast forward a few months, and it has happened again. Undertaker was never meant to lose the Bragging Rights match. And yet it became clear to many fans, especially those awaiting the Undertaker's appearance on the European tour, that plans had changed.
Undertaker was definitely going to lose the match.
And yet, had things worked out differently, Undertaker would have buried Kane, won the title, probably defended it at Survivor Series in a feud-ending contest to celebrate the Taker's 20 years in WWE. Kane would have gone, probably Paul Bearer too, and all eyes would focus on Wrestlemania XXVII.
Now, the Undertaker has a worse win-loss record than the Texas Rangers; even they have managed one win in the Series against the Giants. The Phenom is 0-3 against Kane in recent months.
Historians of the ring might correct this, but has the Undertaker ever lost three PPVs in a row? I do not think so. The reality is that he will be out until at least mid-December, if not later. His return will have to involve some kind of retaliation against the Nexus, but also against Kane and the so-called "conspiracy."
I imagine there is no conspiracy at present; no one has actually explained why Nexus got involved, other than perhaps to set up this "greater power" storyline. Given that all great Wrestlemania matches take at least three months to plan, it is likely that a returning Undertaker will face Kane.
Outsider bets might involve Wade Barrett, but that overlooks the fact that the Undertaker has to avenge his three defeats and finally beat Kane.
In a further twist, I also wonder whether the Undertaker, in exchange for coming back as the Deadman, was given a chance to retire as the American Bad Ass. It's a character that suits him well given his biker and MMA personality.
Whatever character he returns as, the story lines have changed. Gone are the original plans; WWE is thinking on its feet at the moment.
This is a risky thing at the best of times, and yet the company is entering an important time of the year. This could be the last Wrestlemania of the Undertaker's career.
Ruin a possible send-off and it robs the wrestling world of a truly monumental moment. There are so many possibilities and scenarios, but given the recent events, it seems that only one match is possible:
Undertaker vs. Kane at Wrestlemania XXVII.