For the first time since his run in the Corporate Ministry in the late-90’s, the Undertaker is a heel within WWE’s universe.
The Undertaker returned to WWE Sunday night at Battleground, interfering in the main event between WWE World Champion Seth Rollins and challenger Brock Lesnar. Lesnar was dominating the match, hitting Rollins with more german suplexes than you could count and ultimately an F-5, that had the former champion — who never was pinned to lose his title — primed to recapture the championship he lost at WrestleMania 31 this past March.
But the lights went out.
The lights shot back up and gone was Rollins, and there stood Undertaker. He jumped Lesnar, kicking him in the groin before delivering a pair of Tombstone Piledrivers to lay out the former champion before leaving the ring.
The show then went off the air.
So the Undertaker returned. He attacked a babyface challenger, costing him the World Title. In doing so, he kicked the challenger with a low blow. And for what? For revenge from his WrestleMania 30 loss, which ended “the streak,” at least we assume. Again, a returning wrestler takes out a babyface as he’s about to win the title, uses some dirty tactics, and it’s all to avenge a CLEAN loss.
That sounds like a heel to me.
And therein lies the problem with the angle. Undertaker’s not supposed to be the heel, at least we’re all assuming, yet that’s how his return was booked. WWE just flipped Lesnar to a babyface at WrestleMania. He’s essentially been a babyface, on television, all of four times. Turning him heel again so soon is incredibly dumb and lazy. It could do significant damage to the hottest property in the company.
Not to mention, where does WWE go from here? Does Undertaker get his win back against Lesnar at SummerSlam? Is that really good for business? No, it’s not. Brock Lesnar’s allure is that he’s a monster. He can’t be tamed and he can’t be beaten. But you’re going to have a 50-year-old man beat him at the second biggest show of the year? That’s not smart.
But this is what Vince McMahon does when he’s in a panic, he goes back to old reliables like Undertaker. And to an extent, that’s OK. There were some positives in the angle. First, it took Lesnar out of the title picture, which ultimately does him, and the company, better. Lesnar is bigger than the title, and he doesn’t need to be in matches for it. He’s a special attraction.
Undertaker beating Lesnar at SummerSlam would unquestionably do some damage to his speciality, though.
Bringing Undertaker back into the fold for a SummerSlam match also isn’t a bad idea. Ratings are circling the drain and when WWE releases its financials later this month, my guess is we’re going to see either a drop or not much movement in WWE Network subscriptions.
So it’s a tough spot. There aren’t many roads WWE can go down, at this point, that makes much sense.
Undertaker returned to avenge a clean loss? That’s a heel.
Undertaker returned to avenge Kane (a heel’s) broken leg? That’s a heel protecting a heel.
We’ll see where they take this, but pairing Undertaker with a different opponent for SummerSlam was probably the best way to go.
1. King Barrett def. R-Truth to retain his King of the Ring crown
2. Randy Orton def. Sheamus
3. The Prime Time Players def. The New Day to retain the WWE Tag Titles
4. Bray Wyatt def. Roman Reigns
5. Charlotte def. Brie Bella & Sasha Banks
6. John Cena def. Kevin Owens to retain the WWE U.S. Title
7. Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar ended in a no-contest after Undertaker interfered.
1. John Cena’s win over Kevin Owens drew a lot of groans on social media. I’d compare it a lot to Daniel Bryan’s rise through the ranks and ultimate WrestleMania 30 World Title win last year. Be patient. John Cena didn’t have to lose to Owens last night. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them have another match at SummerSlam. Let it all play out. Cena has continued to elevate guys since winning the U.S. Title and there’s absolutely, 100 percent no question that even though he beat Owens last night, he has elevated Owens throughout their feud.
2. The Wyatt-Reigns match was sort of clunky and featured a lot of rest spots. It was a long match, more than 20 minutes, and it really seemed to drag on. Rumors are swirling that Reigns will team with Sting to face Luke Harper and Wyatt at SummerSlam.
3. Not a bad debut for Charlotte, who defeated Brie Bella and Sasha Banks in a three-way match in her PPV debut. Banks and Charlotte looked terrific here, and we’ll soon realize that they can blow away most of the other divas on the roster in terms of workrate in the ring. Paige can hang with them, so can Natalya, but that might be it.
There are a lot of questions to be answered on Monday’s Raw, particularly what happens Undertaker and how he is booked against Lesnar. On paper, there appears to be a lot of problems with it.