AJ Styles threw out the challenge to The Undertaker for a match at WrestleMania 36 on this week's Raw. But unlike past challengers who referred to "The Deadman" as some sort of mythical being, Styles called out the man behind the gimmick — Mark Calaway — and chastized him for coming back to wrestling after what seemed like his send-off at WrestleMania 33 after his loss to Roman Reigns. Styles appeared on WWE Backstage the following night to explain his actions.
"I don't think I said anything that maybe one of our fans wouldn't have said themselves," Styles said. "Let's talk about the 'retirement,' the 'fist up,' what a beautiful moment it was. And then he came back."
"He's The Undertaker," he continued. "[I have] so much respect for the guy and everything he's done for the business. [Shrugs] Hopefully we get in the ring together."
Xavier Woods (appearing on the show as an analyst) asked Styles to dig a little deeper into the reason why he's essentially shooting on "The Phenom."
"Who exactly am I talking to? Am I talking Mark Calaway? Am I talking to 'The American Badass' with Limp Bizkit as his best friend? Or am I talking to The Undertaker? I talking to every one of them. I'm talking to that guy who thinks he can come into my ring and chokeslam not once, but twice. Ruin two matches of mine? I don't think so."
Undertaker first attacked Styles at Super ShowDown, pinning him with a single chokeslam at the end of a six-man gauntlet match. A week later "The Deadman" attacked again, this time costing Styles a No DQ match against Aleister Black at Elimination Chamber.
Since his pseudo-retirement, here's every match Undertaker has been apart of.
- A squash match over John Cena at WrestleMania 34
- A casket match against Rusev at the Greatest Royal Rumble
- A July 2018 live event at Madison Square Garden
- A No DQ match with Triple H at Super ShowDown (2018 in Melbourne, Australia)
- A tag team match with Kane against DX at Crown Jewel (2018)
- An infamous match with Goldberg at Super ShowDown (2019)
- A tag match with Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules (2019) against Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon
The contract signing between Styles and Undertaker will take place on next week's Raw.
Check out the official card for WrestleMania 36 (so far) below. The event will take place on April 5 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
- WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre
- WWE Universal Championship: Goldberg vs. Roman Reigns
- John Cena vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt
- Raw Women's Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler
- NXT Women's Championship: Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair
- The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles