Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Sting, Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, Wade Barrett, Vince McMahon, Kane. They have all been linked to the now unofficial third title match at wrestling's biggest night of 2011, WrestleMania XXVII. And yet the question remains, can any of them actually end the Undertaker's streak?
It remains one of the greatest wrestling debates as to whether or not the Undertaker can retire with his streak in tact. It has been said that the Undertaker would like to put someone over and lose the streak, but that it is Vince McMahon that has refused.
Whether that is true or not, the streak has become something truly special and if it is to end, the victor is guaranteed a monumental push.
After the last two Wrestlemanias, we as wrestling fans have been somewhat spoilt. We witnessed two of the greatest matches and build ups in history. I spoke to a fellow BR reporter this week who had actually been there at the match at WrestleMania XXV and he said he would struggle to describe how amazing an experience it was.
It is clear that the Undertaker is nearer the end of his career than the start. He has maybe two years left before the injuries begin to seriously reduce his schedule. However, a rotator cuff injury and a second orbital bone break in 2010 has seriously reduced his involvement this past year.
Could retirement be brought forward, with the Undertaker losing his streak at WrestleMania?
On a side note (and pardon the deviation), I found it quite interesting that the Undertaker has actually broken his orbital bone twice. The two athletes who injured him were Rey Mysterio and King Kong Bundy. It seems that it doesn't matter how big or small you are, you have the potential to break the deadman's orbital bone!
I, for one, do not believe we will see the streak broken this year, simply because there has been no time dedicated to the feud. Look back in history and you can see that the Undertaker's streak match has always involved a three-month or more period of development.
In 1996, Diesel interfered in the Royal Rumble to cost the Undertaker the title.
In 1997, the disputed Royal Rumble led to the Final Four PPV and then WrestleMania.
And in 1999, the match with Big Boss Man began with him being buried alive prior to the Royal Rumble qualifying matches.
That being said, his match with Randy Orton at WrestleMania XXI only began in March, and given that the Undertaker returned on Monday, there is more than enough time for a decent build-up.
Reports coming out of Connecticut are, however, varied. Some suggest the Undertaker will retire Triple H, whilst others suggest that the Game is still not fit enough to return. That's also overlooking the fact that a prolonged rivalry with Sheamus is surely still to be resolved for the Game's injury last year.
If not the Game, then maybe Sting. And this remains the biggest question of all: is he coming and will he even compete at WrestleMania? I would say, and a lot of debate has occurred on this one, that he will do neither. The Hall of Fame is meaningless in its current state and I doubt that Sting would come for one big pay day only to get beaten at the WWE's showcase event.
And if we also discount Shawn Michaels, it really begins to whittle away potential candidates to end the streak. Barrett, Sheamus and McIntyre have no claim whatsoever at this current stage in their careers, whilst someone like Alberto Del Rio is simply too inexperienced (having been in the WWE only a year).
And so, who is left? A returning legend back to end the Undertaker—Hogan, Savage or Warrior? No. It wouldn't be believable or desired.
For me there is only three potential candidates left: Kane, Diesel and Vince McMahon.
Kane is an obvious choice given their feud prior to Buried Alive. And yet there is no point in giving this huge victory to someone who is himself close to retirement. It could be a major way of thanking Kane for his loyalty over the years, but it is hardly a way for the Undertaker to retire either.
Diesel asked to return so to challenge the Undertaker, lose and then to join McMahon's Kiss My Ass club. Whether he fights at all is dependent on the next few weeks and the reaction of the WWE universe. I would say it would be unlikely to turn him heel so soon after his thunderous pop at the Rumble, to challenge the Undertaker again and lose again. Again a victory for an aged superstar like Diesel makes no sense.
And so, the last conceivable candidate, Vincent Kennedy McMahon. The creator. The boss. Could the Undertaker possibly tip his black hat to the very man that created the legend that is the phenom? Could there even be a Montreal style shoot finish? Could the WWE locker room come out in force to put down the Undertaker once and for all at the behest of Vince McMahon, that way ensuring he is never seen again?
There are many possibilities in truth, some of which do not feature in this article. But the question remains as to whether or not the streak makes it, first, through WrestleMania XXVII and then to the end of the Undertaker's career.
I do not see anyone having the popularity or skill to beat the Undertaker this year. And after the two matches with Shawn Michaels I do not see any scenario where he can be beaten cleanly in the years to come. Can the streak end on a dirty finish? Can outside interference cost the Undertaker his streak?
What is clear is that the WWE will leave us wondering right until the very end. Like that Dallas moment of whodunnit, our question will be whowilldoit, if anyone? Some say he has to drop the streak, but my argument would be that this is simply too special for it to be lost.
A record of 20-0 at wrestling's grandest stage is something for the ages.