There was a brief moment there when it seemed like the Undertaker, often considered the quintessential loyal WWE lifer, might be done with the company. After initial reports that he was going to perform at WrestleMania 35, he not only vanished from discussions of that show, all mention of WWE vanished from his social media accounts, and he advertised that he was open for bookings. He was even scheduled to appear at Starrcast II, the wrestling podcast convention held in conjunction with AEW’s first show, Double Or Nothing. Then, all at once, something changed. He pulled out of Starrcast, and while he still didn’t appear at WrestleMania, he returned on Raw the next night. He continued to appear at WWE’s Saudi Arabia shows, and more recently made another surprise return to WWE TV to set up a tag match with Roman Reigns for Extreme Rules.
So what changed Taker’s mind? According to Dave Meltzer at the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Vince McMahon made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. While no specific numbers have come out, the contract was reportedly for a ridiculous amount of money, and lasts for so many years that it basically locks down the Dead Man for the rest of his life. It specifically keeps him from taking non-WWE bookings, including ones like Starrcast that he had already agreed to before he signed. So now it seems that Taker really is a WWE lifer, in a very real sense.