The gong will hit, smoke will billow and New York fans will roar for Undertaker’s return at the 25th anniversary of WWE Raw.
The Deadman’s first onscreen appearance since WrestleMania 33 will be momentous and memorable, but nostalgia can’t be the only nerve it hits. WWE has an opportunity to turn a celebratory moment into a productive one, to build up another man’s name by leaning on Undertaker’s star power.
WWE’s premier show is coming up on a quarter century of existence. And Raw is going to commemorate the occasion in style.
The 25th Anniversary of #RAW is guaranteed to be LEGENDARY! @RealKevinNash @ShawnMichaels https://t.co/H8bAvcW10G
On its official website, WWE announced that it will host a special edition of Raw on Jan. 22, 2018 that will unfold in both the Barclays Center and the Manhattan Center in New York City. Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash and Undertaker are all slated to be there.
This will be the first time fans have seen Undertaker since he collided with Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33 in what was played up as his retirement match.
After losing to The Big Dog, the future Hall of Famer took off his gloves and hat. He laid his mortician garb in the ring and left it behind in what seemed to symbolize his exit.
Vintage #Undertaker as the lights go out at #WrestleMania… https://t.co/CEV8rUIbMQ
Now he, Nash and Michaels are set to step back into the spotlight as WWE looks back at Raw history. It should be a fun and special night. But WWE shouldn’t just trot Undertaker out there, let him soak up the appreciation and walk back.
There’s a chance here to produce some nuclear heat for a heel.
Kevin Owens put his stamp on the New Era by headbutting Vince McMahon and flattening him on the canvas in September. Seth Rollins held Edge hostage, threatening to smash the Hall of Famer’s injured neck with a Curb Stomp in 2014. In each case, an emerging star took a mighty leap forward.
The 25th anniversary of Raw would do well to craft a moment like this.
Perhaps Reigns shows up to rub his WrestleMania victory in Undertaker’s face. Imagine the vitriol The Big Dog would receive if he were to spit on The Deadman and tell him he didn’t belong here anymore.
Will Roman Reigns and Undertaker cross paths again?Credit: WWE.com
Samoa Joe snarling at Undertaker and threatening to put him underground would be powerful. As would The Revival showing up looking for a fight.
Undertaker doesn’t have to take any bumps. He doesn’t have to start a feud. And another match most certainly isn’t necessary.
Just being the one to talk trash and get in the icon’s face will generate big buzz for someone.
That has to be one of the goals for WWE when it travels to New York next year. Undertaker is beloved. He’s one of the biggest names in this industry ever. And he’s also potentially a powerful tool in changing another man’s career.