Booking the WWE Returns of The Undertaker, Roman Reigns and Sami ZaynMay 30, 2020
While WWE's Raw and SmackDown rosters boast no shortage of star power, there are several big names who aren't appearing on WWE programming currently but will almost certainly figure into the mix some time in the near future.
The Undertaker hasn't been seen since beating AJ Styles in the Boneyard Match at WrestleMania 36, Roman Reigns left just prior to WrestleMania because of concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic and Sami Zayn left for the same reasons right after WrestleMania.
All of the aforementioned Superstars play a big role when they are actively working for the company, and there is little doubt that WWE will find some prime spots for them once they decide to return.
Here is a look at the best return scenarios for The Undertaker, Reigns and Zayn when they re-enter the fold for WWE.
Although The Undertaker hasn't been seen on regular WWE programming in nearly two months, he is still at the forefront of wrestling fans' minds because of the Undertaker: The Last Ride docu-series that has been airing on WWE Network for the past few weeks.
The documentary is a look at the past few years of Taker's career and his internal struggle regarding whether he should keep wrestling. His WrestleMania 33 match against Reigns, WrestleMania 34 match against John Cena and appearances in Saudi Arabia have all been touched on thus far.
It seemed for a while that The Deadman was shot and on the verge of retirement, but the Boneyard Match breathed new life into him, as he and Styles stole the show at WrestleMania in one of the most unique and entertaining matches to ever take place at The Showcase of Immortals.
Styles returned to WWE programming several weeks after the loss to Taker, and hints have been laid out suggesting that a rematch will happen at some point. Styles was seen watching the documentary during a recent episode of Raw and walked into a room that housed a casket during the Money in the Bank ladder match.
The Phenomenal One was traded from Raw to SmackDown and is in the midst of the Intercontinental Championship tournament. Assuming Styles loses in the finals to Daniel Bryan, he will need a dance partner heading toward SummerSlam.
SummerSlam is the type of tent-pole event that makes sense for a part-timer like The Undertaker to be part of, so having Styles call him out leading up to the event and Taker accepting the challenge is a distinct possibility.
Then, WWE can put on the second edition of the Boneyard Match with an entirely new look and feel at SummerSlam, which would be a big-time draw for those watching at home.
Reigns was originally scheduled to take part in a dream match at WrestleMania 36 against then-Universal champion Goldberg, but shortly before the match was supposed to be taped, Reigns pulled out and cited concern about the health of his children and pregnant wife amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Big Dog hasn't appeared on WWE programming since March, but he is the face of the company nonetheless, and it is fair to expect him to be placed in a big storyline immediately upon his return.
Reigns had his sights set on the Universal Championship before he left, so it stands to reason that it will be his focus when he returns as well. Braun Strowman holds the title after beating Goldberg for it at WrestleMania, but he may not be long for the championship.
Strowman is likely to retain against The Miz and John Morrison at Backlash, but it seems fairly obvious that he will have to contend with "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt after that. Strowman beat the regular version of Wyatt at Money in the Bank, and he has been conspicuous by his absence ever since.
Assuming The Fiend is Strowman's next feud after The Miz and Morrison, a logical prediction would be that The Fiend beats Strowman for the title at Extreme Rules and then retains it against him at SummerSlam.
If that is the case and Reigns is ready to return by then, the most impactful way to have him come back would be to save Strowman from a post-match attack at the hands of The Fiend at SummerSlam, which would then set the stage for Reigns vs. The Fiend.
Reigns and Wyatt have a long and storied history, but since he still hasn't crossed paths with The Fiend, a rivalry between them for the Universal Championship would feel fresh and like a big-time program on SmackDown.
Zayn last competed at WrestleMania when he retained the Intercontinental Championship over Bryan. Because of his absence, however, he was stripped of the title.
A tournament was put in place to determine a new champion, and Zayn has done well to play up to it. Zayn has fired off several in-character tweets about how unfair the tourney is, which suggests that whoever is holding the Intercontinental Championship when he returns will be his target.
Zayn was already feuding with Bryan when he left, and Bryan is the favorite to win the title, especially after the passionate promo he cut about the importance of the Intercontinental Championship to him after beating Drew Gulak in the first round.
It has been done many times in wrestling, but the angle of a wrestler getting stripped of a title because of injury or other factors and then returning and claiming that the championship was unjustly taken away is tried and true.
Zayn's irritating heel character is perfect for that type of storyline as well since he will stop at nothing until he is granted a title match against Bryan and given an opportunity to win back the title he never lost.
The IC title hasn't been spotlighted much in WWE over the past couple of years, but the tournament seems to be changing, and Zayn coming back with the sole goal of winning the championship will add to its prestige as well.
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