Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar is officially booked as the main event for WWE SummerSlam on Sunday, August 23. The announcement came during the July 20 edition of Monday Night Raw, but as fans gear up for what should be an epic showdown, many questions persist.
Why did The Deadman choose now to exact revenge? Why is he after revenge in the first place? Has there been a bigger match in SummerSlam history, and will this event break records for WWE?
As with any other match in Vince McMahon's company, there are good and bad aspects. The bout is primed with great selling points but also plagued with burning questions.
The pluses and minuses are there, and each side is filling up faster by the day.
The most obvious selling point of this match is The Undertaker's return. WWE fans have grown accustomed to seeing him come back into the fold but only at the beginning of WrestleMania season. Taker's return this early is a bonus for every fan who did not expect a match of this magnitude to happen right now.
The Phenom is a legend; he's one of the most decorated and most respected talents in WWE history. At this point, fans would certainly not be surprised if he decided to retire. He's given everything he has to the business and has nothing left to prove.
But each year brings a new opportunity and a new challenge, and this year is no different. Lesnar is perhaps the toughest competitor Taker has ever faced, and they will lock up for a return bout following what has been hailed by many as the most controversial WrestleMania match ever booked.
Another positive here is the fact that Lesnar's immediate career path is no longer in question. If he was not meant to go over at Battleground against Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, then this was the next-best thing.
Without the upcoming match against Undertaker, Lesnar likely could have found himself with no one to challenge him. Rollins was the second non-legend Lesnar had worked with since coming back to the company in 2012, and unless that was going to become a routine for him, he would have been left with an empty dance card after Battleground.
He had already worked Triple H and John Cena. CM Punk is no longer in the company, and Daniel Bryan is still on the shelf. Every main event possibility, with the exception of The Rock, was not viable, and The Beast Incarnate deserves the spotlight for the work he's done over the past several weeks.
The voices opposing his part-time status were seemingly silenced as he began to pop the audience like never before. Every time he came close to destroying Rollins, fans cheered him on. Lesnar has an aura about him, a big-fight feel that makes him the most unique Superstar in the locker room.
The most unique Superstar not currently in that locker room is Sting, but now he has a way back into WWE. That is thanks to this match, which will open the door for Taker vs. Sting. If the unfinished business between The Beast and The Deadman did indeed need to be addressed, better it happen now than later.
Later is meant to be WrestleMania 32, the best night possible to feature The Stinger vs. The Phenom. That match was meant for that stage, and now it can happen. Working Lesnar at SummerSlam will clear the deck for Undertaker and leave him open to take on another new challenge, perhaps the most historic in WWE history.
The most glaring negative in this scenario thus far is the explanation. Taker's reasoning for wanting revenge on Lesnar now makes no sense and is highly questionable at best. Wanting to silence Lesnar's boasting of ending The Streak seems suspect considering it's been 15 months since it happened.
That's a long time for one man to stew over something. If Taker had not been seen in the meantime or if this had happened sooner, then perhaps fans would not be questioning it. But Taker worked Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 31 and then spent the next four months presumably planning his vengeance instead of just coming back before.
That vengeance is somewhat hollow as well. The Beast's win over Taker at WrestleMania 30 was likely the biggest moment of Lesnar's career, and to believe he would forever remain silent seems ludicrous.
There's also the fact that the match ended in clean fashion. Lesnar did not cheat, he did not manipulate the referee, and he was not assisted by another wrestler. He pinned Undertaker at WrestleMania 30 in the center of the ring, with no one else's help.
Taker is taking exception to that, and if WWE is not careful, he could appear to be whining over the loss. Had the match ended in controversial fashion, then this would not be the case. But Taker put Lesnar over cleanly, and now he's apparently upset about it.
Perhaps the most troubling issue with this match is that Lesnar will surely be forced to turn heel. The guy who was hot and had never been hotter has now seen what could be considered his best run fall down around him. Lesnar had been popping every crowd he played to and had filled the important spot as the top babyface previously held by Bryan.
That spot could now go to The Undertaker. In theory, that seems fine, as Taker has been in that role before, but the problem is that after SummerSlam, he'll likely be gone again. If Lesnar does indeed heel out because of this new storyline, then the question of who will take his place in the long term must be asked.
The long term is of major consequence when determining who will go over in this match. Logic says Taker cannot lose, or it could damage his character. A loss to Lesnar would send the message that he cannot hang with The Beast, and all the bravado he showed on the July 20 edition of Raw would have been for nothing.
However, a Lesnar loss to Taker could be bad as well. Again, Lesnar has been hot, but if he does the job to The Deadman, then it could destroy the momentum he has. No matter which way WWE decides to go, there is virtually no guarantee that both men will be as OK afterward as they were going in.