The Undertaker returned to the WWE ring Monday night and made it clear — the four-sided ring is still his yard.
What started with Braun Strowman calling out Roman Reigns quickly turned into the ‘Taker showing up and intimidating the “Monster among Men.”
Strowman exited the ring, giving way to the Deadman before Roman Reigns came down the ramp and ran his mouth off. After the Undertaker gave a quick glance to the WrestleMania sign — a pretty clear challenge for the big show in Orlando, Florida — Undertaker chokeslammed Reigns and closed the show out on top.
Royal Rumble build
Undertaker returned for the Royal Rumble only to be eliminated by Reigns, which led to their interaction Monday night.
WrestleMania build despite health concerns
Despite a short run in the Royal Rumble, there’s apparently concern over ‘Taker’s health heading into ‘Mania.
“So Undertaker, he was hurting real bad last night,” said pro-wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio. (subscription required) “I mean you could look at him and you could see that he wasn’t in shape, and you know, it’s the hip.”
Undertaker had hip surgery last year, which was severe enough to leave the “Deadman” on crutches over the summer. Undertaker had made a few television appearances since then, but the Royal Rumble was the first time he got physical in a match since his match at WrestleMania 32 against Shane McMahon. It appears that the match — of which Undertaker participated in for eight minutes and took an uninspiring fall over the ropes — took a toll that left the WWE legend in rough shape.
“He’s got two months before WrestleMania,” Meltzer said. “He had surgery. He came back too quick from surgery, I think that’s pretty clear.”
Undertaker matches at WrestleMania are generally slower and more methodical to accommodate his age, and it’s possible that WWE could pull off enough smoke and mirror to work around an injury to have a match. It appears WWE is moving forward with the idea that Undertaker is good to work the big event.