WWE choosing to put The Undertaker into the Shane McMahon angle for Extreme Rules is actually one of their better decisions lately.
It’s funny to think about how much has gone on in the wrestling world in the past week. The week started with The Undertaker making a surprise return to WWE Raw, which basically no one saw coming.
Then, Seth Rollins started dropping bombs on Twitter, which began an online feud of sorts with Will Ospreay. Next, we saw Ring of Honor’s most recent pay-per-view, along with the shocking reveal that Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman were taking on executive director roles in WWE.
That led us into the weekend which saw All Elite Wrestling’s second official show, complete with the chair shot heard ’round the world.
Amidst all of those immensely newsworthy events, it’s almost easy to forget that the whole crazy week started with The Undertaker saving Roman Reigns then.
Personally, I think that’s actually how the genius of the decision to insert The Undertaker into the ongoing Shane McMahon and Roman Reigns rivalry starts to shine through.
Instead of being the obvious set-up to some massive WrestleMania angle with a major star, this was just The Undertaker returning for a standard feud primarily with Shane McMahon of all people. In a way, that entirely changes the dynamic of how his return should be measured.
While he still technically falls into the dreaded “part-timer” category, Undertaker won’t be competing in some match we’ll all try to look back decades upon to judge. He’s not facing some superstar who we’re expecting to make a moment that stands the test of time.
He’s facing Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre at Extreme Rules in a tag team match. That’s it.
Now, I know Drew McIntyre is someone who definitely deserves a stronger push than he’s receiving now. He’s clearly capable of being so much more than just a henchman. We all know that.
Nevertheless, he’s not going one-on-one with ‘The Deadman’. The onus is not solely on him to have to make something spectacular here because of some unspoken expectations we have for how momentous a match with The Undertaker should be nowadays.
McIntyre is simply going to get a big name opponent to add to his track record, one which will likely draw all the eyes that night to his match at Extreme Rules and make him one of the most talked about superstars after the show by default.
In more blunt terms, that essentially means Drew McIntyre will receive all the hype a match with The Undertaker brings to a superstar, without having to worry about how he may have to hide Taker’s weaknesses in 2019.
Speaking of those weaknesses, it seems fitting that WWE is giving Undertaker a chance to redeem himself so soon. Nothing may be able to wash the taste of knowing 2 past their prime stars came back for a huge payday in Saudi Arabia to put on that caliber of match quite like this upcoming bout at Extreme Rules.
Any deficiencies in The Undertaker’s in-ring game should be thoroughly hidden at Extreme Rules. Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns are 2 of the fittest and cleanest workers in WWE today, and we all know Shane McMahon will do anything necessary to sell the match now.
Hopefully, this gives The Undertaker a quick and easy way to give fans a match they will remember far more fondly than the one at Super ShowDown, by replacing the memory of all the gifs and snippets of the various botches that circulated on social media for days afterwards with those of some fun and exciting spots.
That’s even another element in and of itself you have to look at here as well. The fact that The Undertaker’s mere presence could very well make this match and rivalry genuinely exciting to watch.
If this were some other superstar, someone like The Miz or some underutilized WWE roster member, we would have to worry about how they came off in the feud. We would be sitting here worrying about that superstar having to try to make something out of the same stagnant Shane McMahon promos we’ve had to hear for weeks.
Then, instead of being excited or at the very least intrigued by the match at Extreme Rules, we might be talking about how WWE needs to make sure Reigns’ tag partner comes away looking strong against McMahon.
I would even argue it’s possible we would all be debating whether they couldn’t have used that superstar for something better than the tag match at Extreme Rules.
In other words, this rivalry has been lackluster enough thus far that putting some up-and-coming or underutilized star in it would create almost too great of a possibility of damaging said star to make it fully enjoyable to watch.
The Undertaker’s addition to this rivalry, however, takes all that weight off. This whole angle becomes more of an attraction than a storyline element we’re all going to be forced to judge these superstars’ future on for months to come.
All in all, that goes to show that although there’s probably a lot negative that could be said about The Undertaker returning for a big rivalry in 2019, it seems like there’s quite a lot of positives we ought to consider first when we take a step back to look at the situation as a whole.