One of the biggest mysteries of this year's WrestleMania line-up is who The Undertaker will face. For the past nine WrestleManias, The Undertaker has always been programmed with an established headliner, but with WWE's current injury plague that now seems impossible, barring a miraculous recovery from shoulder surgery by John Cena, his previously pencilled in opponent.
Yesterday, Bryan Alvarez stuck his neck out by being the first to officially report that Vince McMahon wants to book The Undertaker against Braun Strowman at WrestleMania 32. Today, on Wrestling Observer Live, Alvarez, however, was quick to reemphasise that even though Vince is so bullish on the idea, he's sceptical that the match will even take place:
"As we talked about yesterday, Vince McMahon loves Braun Strowman, because he's big and so what he would like is to have Braun Strowman versus The Undertaker at WrestleMania. Now, I don't know if they've even asked The Undertaker yet, because the last time I talked to somebody about this they said they hadn't even asked because the assumption was Undertaker is gonna say no, Undertaker is not going to want a match with Braun Strowman, so maybe they are going to wrestle at WrestleMania and maybe they're not. Now, after yesterday's show, I heard from somebody else and they said 'Oh, you heard that Undertaker is gonna face Braun Strowman?' and I was like 'Yeah, what have you heard?' There's even more suggestions! I have heard that they are considering another André the Giant Battle Royal, this is unconfirmed, but Braun Strowman would be in that match, because, of course, he is a giant, and they actually have talked about, and this is the other reason I'm sad Mike isn't here because he's been talking about this for days now, a multi person match. Some combination of Undertaker, Kane, Big Show, maybe even Brock [Lesnar] against the Wyatt clan in some form or fashion. So they could do Lesnar vs. [Bray] Wyatt in a singles match and then Undertaker, Kane and Big Show versus the remaining Wyatts if they did not want to do a singles match, so there are a lot of plans that have been discussed, there are 28 writers for crying out loud, there's Vince, there's Stephanie, there's Hunter, there's a million guys talking about ideas, so I don't know what The Undertaker match is gonna be until it is officially announced, it's probably gonna change 50 times, but there are a number of different scenarios that have been bandied about."
Given Vince McMahon is dead set on pushing Braun Strowman to the moon, having him win the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal would be the smart play, as it wouldn't risk his inexperience being badly exposed by having him work a long singles match in front of a notoriously tough WrestleMania crowd. However, when Vince has his heart set on something, it can be very difficult to get him to change his mind, even if it is a patently bad concept to everybody else in the writers room, many of whom will be too timid to voice dissent.
The other idea being pitched, The Undertaker, Kane & Big Show vs. Braun Strowman, Luke Harper & Erick Rowan, is much less likely to be an in-ring disaster, but would be harder to sell as a WrestleMania calibre match and probably would be a chore to sit through. It seems like a waste of an Undertaker appearance at this stage of his career.
One wonders where Triple H stands on this issue. Does he share Vince McMahon's apparent belief that Braun Strowman is the best candidate for the prestigious spot of being Undertaker's WrestleMania opponent? Is he lobbying for one of his guys like Kevin Owens or Sheamus to get the position instead? Or is he happy to sit back and let Vince make such an obvious booking blunder, knowing he won't get the blame, secretly wanting his NXT Takeover: Dallas show to be the best WWE event of the weekend? Maybe he's just glad he didn't pick the short straw of having to work with the clumsy oaf?
I personally don't know, but that may be the bigger story here.