Charles “The Prodigy” Richey is an on-air host and producer for chicagolandsportsradio.com
It appears that the WWE and its Universe of fans have not seen the last of the legendary Undertaker as the one and only “Deadman” seems to be gearing up for another big clash at Wrestlemania in a matter of months.
You may not be alone in thinking that his loss to Roman Reigns last year at Wrestlemania 33 was a perfect way to go out but in the end no one, not even his devoted boss, Vince McMahon is really gonna tell Mark Calaway when he’s gonna hang it up.
Taker may tease the sports entertainment world with it year after year but we have had many years to accept this fact — WrestleMania and the Undertaker seem to go together like peanut butter and chocolate. You can enjoy one without the other, but you hate to see the two separated when they don’t have to be.
The post-Mania run through the remainder of 2017 into ’18 was as quiet as any has been for Taker, he literally wasn’t seen in ring between leaving his gear in the middle of the ring in Orlando and popping up at Monday Night Raw’s 25th Anniversary in January, which can be seen above, but a recent video shared by his wife, Michelle McCool, on Instagram of him lifting a heavy curl bar lit up the internet and got booking rumors running wild again.
If this isn’t a sign that he’s on the road back again, then tell me what is? I got to believe that Vince isn’t going to let his greatest creation fade away in the dark for good just yet. It has been reported by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer among others that WWE is planning to through with the Undertaker squaring up against John Cena in New Orleans for Mania 34.
McMahon, however, may wait until the conclusion of the upcoming Elimination Chamber match, determining Universal Champion Brock Lesnar’s Wrestlemania opponent, to reveal the direction of any Taker-Cena storyline. Cena has already earned one of the six spots in the Chamber match, scheduled to headline the Pay-Per-View on Feb. 25. An ideal time-frame to set up this epic match is six weeks and Wrestlemania is scheduled for April 8.
If you ask me what we should see to close out the Elimination Chamber, though: first comes the infamous gong ringing and the lights go out. At the top of the ramp hooded in all his gothic glory, Undertaker makes his slow stroll to the ring, still with an apparent bad taste in his mouth from last year and ready to take his aggression out on Mr, “Never Give Up” Cena, the best target left in the WWE to signal that the Yard still belongs to the Deadman.
Both Taker and Cena have meant as much as any wrestler has to the blockbuster appeal of WWE in the Wrestlemania each, each man having taken on a multitude of legends and eventually overcoming the likes of Shawn Michaels (Taker), Triple H (Taker) and The Rock (Cena) as they built up their reputations, but the two icons haven’t met at the “Showcase of the Immortals.” Taker-Cena is truly one of the greatest possible unseen matches left to be seen at the biggest event in pro wrestling.
There may be a difference of opinion among some in the WWE Universe regarding what type of match Cena and Taker could put on at this point and which one should be put over the other but at the end of the day, the two just need to be put together to work with as many eyes on it as possible. Don’t mess up a good thing, Vince, just do what’s best for business!
Vinny Mac Steps Away From 205 Live During Major Shakeup
As reported by the Wrestling Observer, Vince McMahon has stepped away from running WWE’s cruiserweight showcase 205 Live. In McMahon’s place has been none other than his son-in-law, and NXT honcho, Triple H.
205 Live premiered on the WWE Network back in 2016, its creation was spurred by the success of that year’s Cruiserweight Classic tournament, which brought in an array of new talent measured at 205 pounds or less. Whereas the Cruiserweight Classic, which McMahon didn’t deal with directly, felt like a breath of fresh air, the weekly 205 Live has been more of a stale replacement since.
Part of the main reason for 205 failing to garner the buzz of its predecessor is that McMahon is struggling with emphasis on character-driven story-lines with athletes who shined mostly in a straighter, more “sports-like” presentation in the original tournament.
There has reportedly been some frustration between Vince and Hunter in recent time regarding McMahon’s stubbornness in putting over the NXT stars on the main rosters of Raw and Smackdown Live that Hunter raised through the developmental level. The timing of this particular move with the cruiserweights feels appropriate, it may be another sign that the elder statesman of sports entertainment is getting closer to heading out the door, focusing more on ventures like the return of the XFL.
Whereas in years prior McMahon may have felt there was no one worthy in his company to leave most of the control to, he has to feel less that way in the wake of Hunter’s established success with NXT even in the face of continuing turnover of talent feeding the rest of WWE. And like Vince 20 years ago, Triple H is still active in the ring and works as an effective on-screen authority figure alongside his wife, Stephanie McMahon.
According to Meltzer, recent 205 Live house shows have gotten better responses from fans as they have begun to feature more of the cruiserweights desplaying in-ring ability vs. them trying to get over characters they may not inhabit well.
Two of Triple H’s right-hand men that are responsible for the success of the series going forward will be lead writer Jonathan Baeckstrom and lead producer Adam Pearce. The immediate plan for now is to generate more ratings and excitement for the cruiserweight brand before they continue to roll out more house shows, which makes sense from a business perspective and potentially from an audience relationship perspective.
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