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The Undertaker vs John Cena: Doomed to Never Happen?

WrestleMania 33 marks the 4th time Cena-Undertaker has been pulled from WrestleMania. I reveal why Vince McMahon has canceled it once AGAIN

Many expected John Cena vs. The Undertaker to main event the upcoming WrestleMania, and rightfully so. It is a huge match that has never happened on the grandest stage of them all and it was actually the plan going into 2017 until Vince McMahon changed his mind. This was sadly the fourth time that Vince McMahon decided to pull the match from a WrestleMania card.

WrestleMania 33 is not the first time The Undertaker vs John Cena has been cancelled, it was also shelved at WrestleMania 25, 26 and 32.

WrestleMania 25:

John Cena vs. The Undertaker was planned for WrestleMania 25 until McMahon decided he would go for two mega-matches instead, opting for Undertaker vs. Michaels and John Cena vs. Hulk Hogan, with Edge defending the WWE Title against Triple H.

As we all know, Hulk Hogan wasn’t medically cleared and WrestleMania 25 underwent major changes. The WWE booked a chaotic Elimination Chamber PPV, flip-flopping both it’s world titles. Triple H vs. Edge became Triple H vs. Randy Orton, with Triple H going in as WWE Champion and Edge had to defend the World Heavyweight Title against Cena and Big Show.

Jeff Hardy vs. Christian was also changed to Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy when the internet leaked that Christian had signed with WWE and was behind a number of mysterious attacks on Jeff Hardy. This becomes a very relevant fact, later on in this piece.

WrestleMania 26:

The WWE had concrete plans to do Cena-Taker at WrestleMania 26. The plans were so concrete, that they even had Undertaker Tombstone John Cena on Raw at MSG (see video below) on the Survivor Series 2009 go-home show.

Unfortunately, Shawn Michaels alerted WWE of his plans to retire and his desire to work with Triple H at WrestleMania 26. In one of the rare cases where Triple H and Michaels didn’t get their way, Vince McMahon decided he wanted The Undertaker to face Shawn Michaels in a rematch from WrestleMania 25, with Triple H programmed in with Sheamus and John Cena facing Batista for the WWE Title.

WrestleMania 32:

After being off the table for six years, mainly due to Cena working a 3-year program with The Rock, The Undertaker vs. Cena was set to be The Phenom’s final match in the WWE. Unfortunately, Cena was injured and fans saw Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon instead.Despite being fully poised to retire at this show, The Undertaker is now back for WrestleMania 33. See my previous article here for more about The Undertaker’s plan to retire last year.

WrestleMania 33:
The Undertaker will head to WrestleMania 33 to take on Roman Reigns, while John Cena may be placed in a very underwhelming role, as he teams with his girlfriend, Nikki Bella to take on Miz and Maryse. It’s quite sad to see a man who had a 5-star match at the Royal Rumble, take part in a mixed tag match at WrestleMania.

However, my sources tell me that Cena is now very keen to do the match, as the couple will be taking part in several mainstream media projects together to promote the match and themselves, on route to WrestleMania.

Back to WrestleMania 32…

WrestleMania 32 was meant to be biggest WrestleMania ever and the original card was very special. It was set to be:

  • The Undertaker vs. John Cena
  • Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title
  • The Rock w/Ronda Rousey vs Triple H w/Stephanie McMahon
  • Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks

Once WWE realised that The Rock vs. Triple H was not possible, they reshuffled their deck and came up with a new card. The new card looked like this:

  • The Undertaker vs. John Cena
  • Seth Rollins vs. Triple H
  • Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar, for the WWE Title
  • Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks

However, once the WWE lost Seth Rollins and John Cena, the card became an absolute mess. Brock Lesnar’s opponent actually changed three times, going from Daniel Bryan to Bray Wyatt to Dean Ambrose. As we all know, The Undertaker ended up taking on Shane-O-Mac and Triple H went in as WWE Champion against Roman Reigns.

So What’s the Deal with WrestleMania 33?

As we fast forward to now, WrestleMania 33 is suffering from the same chopping and changing as WrestleMania 32, despite having none of the injury concerns (I am assuming Seth Rollins is going to make it). To understand why Vince McMahon is making these changes, we have to understand Vince McMahon himself…

Vince has a massive ego…

Vince sees himself as a great mind and creator, which he has been in the past. WrestleMania 33 should have been the easiest card to book of all-time. However, the easy way isn’t the way of a great creator like Vince.

Instead of auto-piloting into WrestleMania 33 by giving fans the great matches they missed out on at WrestleMania 32, Vince McMahon probably could not resist the urge to let his creative juices flow and revamp the original card.

Vince hates spoilers…

As I pointed out earlier, the WWE once had plans to do a Jeff Hardy vs. Christian match, however, Vince changed that to a Hardy vs. Hardy program, once the internet leaked info about Christian re-signing with WWE and him being behind all the attacks on Jeff Hardy. This is NOT the only example of Vince swerving the internet.

Sometimes a card may benefit from changes after a leak. The leaked card for WrestleMania 27 featured Sheamus vs. Triple H and Wade Barrett vs. The Undertaker, but that was changed to Undertaker vs Triple H. When John Cena returned to Smackdown on December 27th, fans chanted “Un-der-taker.”

That immediately put the match in huge danger. Knowing that the internet knew what the great mind of Vince McMahon was planning, would not have sat well with Vince.

Vince had a plan…

There be an element of OCD to this one, but Vince had a plan in his mind for The Undertaker vs. John Cena, with the big picture being, The Undertaker got to win the WWE Title from AJ at the Royal Rumble, in his hometown and John Cena would tie Ric Flair by beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania.

This is how Vince McMahon saw things playing out and it was a grandiose plan. However, The Undertaker was not ready to go one on one with AJ and Cena vs. AJ was booked for Royal Rumble instead. So why not do Undertaker vs. Cena, with Cena going in as Champion instead?

I don’t know because I am not Vince McMahon, but it’s very likely that he soured on the idea because he wanted it to play out exactly as he saw it in his own mind.

An excuse for Randy Orton?

Vince McMahon has always been high on Randy Orton, particularly since his return last summer. He has urged his writers to find good stories for Orton and has been wanting to give him a good push. The fact that Undertaker could not make the Rumble, gave Vince McMahon the perfect chance to push Randy Orton higher up the card.

The WrestleMania 33 card now seems finalised, assuming Seth Rollins does make it. It is actually a pretty decent card, but it could have been better if McMahon’s original plans had stuck. Be sure to stay tuned to my podcast as we head towards WrestleMania 33.

This article was originally published at Sportskeeda.

Also published on Medium.

Billi Bhatti

About Billi Bhatti

I am a lifelong WWE Fan, and have followed MMA for the past decade. I have attended WWE and UFC events in the US, including every Wrestlemania since 2005.


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