WWE has revealed a new opponent for The Undertaker in a Casket Match at the Greatest Royal Rumble later this month.
Taker, who returned to action at WrestleMania 34 on Sunday with a resounding victory over John Cena, is heading to Saudi Arabia.
The seven-time world champion, 53, was scheduled to clash with Rusev, one of the most popular superstars on SmackDown LIVE.
But the Bulgarian Brute has been pulled from the match and the Phenom will now square off with a fellow future WWE Hall of Famer.
(Image: Getty Images North America)
He will now face Chris Jericho, who last competed in WWE in a triple threat match with Kevin Owens and AJ Styles on SmackDown last July.
The six-time world champion, 47, was announced as Rusev’s replacement in a shock statement released by WWE this evening.
WWE said: “In a stunning turn of events, The Undertaker will battle Chris Jericho in a Casket Match at the Greatest Royal Rumble.
“Originally, the Casket Match was to be between The Deadman and Rusev.
“However, Lana, who originally showed public support for her husband competing against The Undertaker, recently tweeted second thoughts over The Bulgarian Brute competing in the grisly bout.”
(Image: © WWE)
All over the world, little boys and girls are celebrating #RusevDay , they smile for the greatest Superstar ever ! I’ve already spoke with @WWE officials to change that match because I REFUSE to let my husband @RusevBUL compete in a Casket Match at #WWEGRR ! Happy #RusevDay
— CJ (Lana) Perry (@LanaWWE) April 12, 2018
Bury me softly, Brother https://t.co/IWnBvL20Ez
— RusevFromRusevDay (@RusevBUL) April 11, 2018
Rusev had previously tweeted self-depreciatingly in anticipation of the showcase match: “Bury me softly, brother.”
But after the latest switch, the former U.S. Champion took to Twitter to comment: “Life is life….. it will be #RusevDay somewhere”
The decision will add fuel to rumours that Rusev, 33, is unhappy abut the way he is being used in WWE and wants to leave the company.
According to PWInsider , a source within WWE said Rusev requested to be released from his contract with the American sports entertainment giant.
However, WWE is said to have countered by putting him in the U.S. Championship Match at WrestleMania with Randy Orton, Bobby Roode and Jinder Mahal.
That match was won by Mahal, despite fans being overwhelmingly behind Rusev, whose ‘Rusev Day’ gimmick has led to huge chants for the star.
Life is life….. it will be #RusevDay somewhere
— RusevFromRusevDay (@RusevBUL) April 12, 2018
(Image: © WWE)
One of the Phenom’s signature contests, a Casket Match can only be won by trapping your opponent inside and closing the lid.
Undertaker defeated Kamala in the first Casket Match in WWE at Survivor Series in 1992 and it has since become one of his staples.
The Demon of Death Valley and Y2J are no strangers to one another, but have never clashed in a high profile singles match.
They have competed side-by-side, including in the epic Team WWE versus Team Alliance Match at Survivor Series in 2001.
And they met in the Elimination Chamber Match in 2010, when Jericho overcame Taker to capture the World Heavyweight Championship.
(Image: © WWE)
The Undertaker swiftly defeated Cena in New Orleans in a crowd-pleasing response to his loss to Roman Reigns a year earlier.
The Greatest Royal Rumble will stream live on WWE Network and be available on pay-per-view outside of the Middle East.
It will air at 11pm in the UK and is set to feature Brock Lesnar versus Roman Reigns in a Steel Cage Universal Championship match.
The showcase will of course also feature an over-the-top rope Royal Rumble – the first rumble match to feature 50 superstars!
John Cena will face Triple H, while The Bludgeon Brothers defend the SmackDown Tag Team Championship against The Usos.
Five other titles will be on the line: the WWE Championship, Intercontinental Championship, United States Championship, Raw Tag Team Championship and the Cruiserweight Championship.