It would be very strange if The Undertaker wasn't on Raw's 20th anniversary show. - Photo via Steve Wright Jr. of Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.
The big name returns for the 20th anniversary show of Monday Night Raw on Jan. 14th could include Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and The Undertaker, but not Brock Lesnar.
A week ago, we reported that WWE were advertising big name returns for the 20th anniversary show of Monday Night Raw on Jan. 14th, 2013. But as these appearances are planned at the very last minute nowadays, WWE couldn't announce anyone beforehand in their ads promoting this landmark event.
The Rock unsurprisingly is now a definite for this anniversary celebration, but as he was needed on TV this week to kickstart the hype in earnest for his match with WWE Champion CM Punk at the Royal Rumble, his appearance alone won't be enough to make it feel like a historical episode of WWE's flagship show.
Ric Flair will also be back to have another confrontation with Punk, an angle The Rock will likely be involved with in some fashion, but once again the novelty won't be that great, as "The Nature Boy" made his WWE return just four weeks earlier.
Those two names are a good start, but more star power will be needed if WWE hopes to match the success of last years 1,000th episode of Monday Night Raw.
So it should come as no surprise then, that as per usual, (according to this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter) WWE is trying to coax almost every former headliner who is not under contract to TNA to appear on this anniversary event.
Of course, this would include the three biggest WWF stars of the mid 1990s: Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and The Undertaker. Shawn sounds like a lock to be on the show, but the other two, whilst still possible, aren't definite.
It was confirmed that Bret has been asked to return, but he's only willing to come in if WWE have something special for him to do. As always, he's being very protective of his legendary stature and doesn't want to appear if he's only got a meaningless bit part to play on the show.
Meanwhile, The Undertaker is being considered because the event is being held in Houston, his home town. The problem is that the obvious role to use in him, teasing his WrestleMania 29 opponent, is out of the question, because that's currently pencilled in to be CM Punk, who is already scheduled to be in key segments with other performers. Of course, he could be used in a one-off role to save his brother Kane from another beat down by The Shield. Given that "The Dead Man" headlined the very first episode of Monday Night Raw against Damien Demento, I'd be very surprised if he wasn't there 20 years later in a scenario similar to the one I suggested.
One person you can rule out though from being on the show is Brock Lesnar, whose dates are agreed upon months ahead of time and isn't scheduled to be back until February. I guess when WWE management were drawing up his schedule, it completely slipped their minds that they would be promoting the 20th anniversary of Monday Night Raw in January.
We'll be sure to update you Cagesiders as and when any more plans get leaked for the big extravaganza in the few days left before it takes place.