Posted by Michael Patterson @WatchTower
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Michael Patterson

With the WWE's new era well underway, RAW and SmackDown have once again become separate brands with their own unique rosters. During the recent WWE Draft, one name was noticeably absent from the list of potential draftees: The Undertaker.

The Undertaker is without a doubt one of the greatest WWE Superstars of all time. Having had a legendary 26 year career with the company, he is justified in taking lengthy hiatuses and only competing once a year at WrestleMania. However, after this year's event, rumors began to circulate that the Undertaker was telling people that his match with Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 32 was his last and that he wanted to retire quietly. Many speculated that we had seen the last of the Undertaker, with his absence on the draft list confirming this.

The Undertaker — A Free Agent

However, WWE has since posted an article on their website covering the hottest free agents at the moment. Shockingly enough, the Undertaker is on that list. The excerpt reads:

Marquee matches are always at the forefront of any GM’s mind, and there’s a small number of top-shelf athletes who can change the landscape of their respective sports with a single fight. Boxing has Floyd Mayweather, MMA has Conor McGregor, and WWE has The Undertaker. Yes, The Deadman typically only competes a few times a year, but when he does it always is an attraction … an attraction that can put the spotlight on whichever brand The Deadman chooses to represent.

What is interesting here is that although it references that he is a marquee superstar, it talks about him as though he is still an active member of the roster. Furthermore, why tell us this now? Why after the brand extension? Most people assumed that his name was absent because either he had retired or because his legacy understandably exceeds the brand limitation. However, the fact he's a free agent could come into play. Especially because the article alludes to the idea that the Undertaker would be the one making the choice. Wouldn't he have to be there to choose a brand? Moreover, could he return soon and choose his next victim, thus choosing a brand to represent?

From hat to hat: The evolution of the Undertaker (via WWE).
From hat to hat: The evolution of the Undertaker (via WWE).

Without a doubt, just being able to say that they have the Undertaker on the roster would add an enormous amount of prestige to whichever show he would choose to be part of. Even if he still only wrestled annually, the Undertaker is a major draw and would bring viewers to his respective brand.

A Summer Return Is Possible

Let's not forget that the Phenom shocked the world when he returned last summer at Battleground, resurrecting his rivalry with Brock Lesnar and costing the Beast Incarnate the WWE Championship. What caught us all off-guard was that he had already wrestled his annual match at WrestleMania against Bray Wyatt — the summer return was a welcome surprise.

The Deadman Lives: Undertaker attacks Lesnar.
The Deadman Lives: Undertaker attacks Lesnar.

He would go on to face Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam and again at Hell In A Cell before celebrating his 25th anniversary alongside his brother Kane when they defeated the Wyatt Family at Survivor Series. So, instead of his one annual match, the Undertaker competed four times last year. After disappearing again after his annual match at this year's WrestleMania, one has to wonder: Could another summer return be on the cards for the Deadman?

The Deadman Lives

When the man behind 'Taker is not headlining marquee events for WWE, he enjoys his semi-retirement with his wife Michelle McCool and their family. Over the past few years, when he has been sighted out and about, he usually looks quite different. From the moment he went part-time, he shaved his head bald. Even when he kept shaving his head or left his hair the natural color, the Undertaker looked very much like a happily retired man.

However, this year, when spotted by fans, he looks very much like his WWE persona. His newly grown long hair has not been shaved off and is still very much the trademark black color. Despite the reports of retirement, why would Mark Callaway maintain his trademark black hair, instead of cutting it short like he did when he only semi-retired?

So with all that in mind, it's looking more and more likely that the Undertaker is not retired. If WWE considers him a free agent, then there's most definitely something cooking. Because an icon like the Undertaker should not be a free agent and the WWE are well aware of that. The question is: Could they planning for him to return in the near future and correct that by choosing a brand?

Whether he returns over the summer or next year for WrestleMania, we do know this: The signature gong will sound again, and the Deadman shall indeed rise again.

Do you think that the Undertaker will return to WWE soon? Let us know in the comments!