As they are wont to do, WWE Shop has released new merchandise for a returning star.
It's what that shirt says, the angle the company's designers decided to take with it, that has this fan (obligatory: heel biker 'Taker is my favorite 'Taker) giddy with anticipation...
The "Deadman Inc" branding was last prominent when The Phenom had ditched the supernatural elements of the gimmick in favor of his Harley-riding, mixed martial arts training persona. It went hand-in-hand with leather pants, bandanas, "Big Evil/Red Devil" merch and, sadly, Limp Bizkit music.
This was the Undertaker who so wanted a match with Ric Flair that he stalked and beat up his kids in wrestling school locker rooms (and, in one of my favorite moments on WWE television ever, responded to David's pleas of "what are you doing?" with "I'm kicking your ass...what do you think I'm doing?"). This Dead Man enjoyed punishing Jeff Hardy in the Raw ladder match made famous by Jim Ross' "DO IT KID! MAKE YOURSELF FAMOUS!" call, to the point where his sign of respect for the Charimatic Enigma was integral in Jeff becoming a main eventer.
We've seen signs of that ruthless S.O.B. in the two appearances this Summer. His motivation for wanting revenge on the now-babyface Brock Lesnar isn't exactly the stuff of Bushidō...and that's without even mentioning all the nut shots and manager intimidation he squeezed into two shows.
A new shirt that calls back to the Ruthless Aggression era probably isn't an indication of anything more than WWE's (smart) instinct to see if they can get a few bucks out of nostaligic Biker Taker fans like me. In the 'Reality' era, every part of every character's history is fair game, and the guy we get a SummerSlam will be a little of the gimmick from 2004, a dash of the one from 1997 and some of last WrestleMania's.
But a boy can dream.
Now excuse me while I go put some nu-metal in my Discman.