Ask your average WWE fan who’s been following the company’s storylines over the past decade and they’ll probably tell you they’ve seen way too much John Cena vs. Randy Orton for their liking. And given how both main event veterans are among the most recognizable names in WWE for casual fans, that just might be the path the company will be taking for WrestleMania 33.
There’s been a lot of speculation regarding the identity of the wrestler John Cena will be facing at WrestleMania 33. In the run-up to Royal Rumble 2017, it was widely expected that Cena would be The Undertaker’s opponent at ‘Mania, but that planned match was apparently scratched by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, with someone from the Monday Night RAW roster penciled in instead as ‘Taker’s opponent. Citing the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer, 411Mania wrote that this was because McMahon was keeping WWE’s long-term future in mind with his booking plans for WrestleMania 33.
— #JohnCenaFC (@WWECenaFC) January 30, 2017
The Inquisitr then wrote in January that WWE was considering John Cena vs. Samoa Joe at WrestleMania 33, a match that would pit the now-16-time world champion against one of the hottest names in NXT of the last few years. But with Joe having made his main debut on this week’s Monday Night RAW by attacking Seth Rollins and effectively aligning himself with Triple H, that greatly reduces the chances of Cena vs. Joe at the “grandest stage of them all” two months from now.
At Royal Rumble 2017, John Cena defeated AJ Styles to become a 16-time WWE Champion, and later on in the evening, Randy Orton won the Royal Rumble match, beating 29 other men to earn a title match as WrestleMania 33’s main event. Most reports leading into and coming shortly after the Royal Rumble pay-per-view suggested that this would mean Bray Wyatt winning the WWE Championship from Cena at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view on February 12, and Orton turning on his Wyatt Family stablemate and facing him for the title at ‘Mania. But a new comment from Meltzer made on Wrestling Observer Radio might suggest a WWE Championship match between John Cena vs. Randy Orton instead.
According to WrestlingNews.co, Meltzer’s inside information suggests John Cena’s WrestleMania 33 match won’t be “something that will be celebrated,” and won’t necessarily be “good news” to wrestling fans. And if you also take into account Orton’s comments from WWE Talking Smack about a match against Cena being something fans “want to see again” whether they know it or not, the odds of John Cena vs. Randy Orton at WrestleMania 33 may have gone up just two days after Randy’s Royal Rumble match victory.
As such, that might mean WWE will be booking a match fans have literally seen over a hundred times. According to wrestling statistics database Cagematch, Cena and Orton have faced off on television or pay-per-view in 21 singles matches from August 2001 to October 2014, with matches in former WWE developmental territory OVW included. That means they haven’t had a singles match in over two years, but the numbers show it all, and fan comments on Cagematch show just what many people think of the John Cena vs. Randy Orton rivalry.
“The most samiest [sic] rivalry in WWE history. Literally lame how they tried to push this as the next Rock vs. Austin yet they’ve faced twice or almost three times as many as they have done on TV! Full of mediocre wrestling with only a few gems, makes it an overall samey mediocre rivalry.”
Then again, there’s the possibility that Meltzer’s comments may mean Cena will be facing someone else who isn’t exactly beloved by the “smark” audience in the same way as Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, or Dolph Ziggler. According to WrestlingNews.co, John Cena’s WrestleMania 33 opponent may be an up-and-coming big man who’s been enjoying a much-improved push as of late – Baron Corbin.
“Randy Orton is scheduled to challenge for the WWE Championship and AJ Styles is rumored to be facing Shane McMahon so the only two top heels left on the brand are Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler. I doubt we’ll get Cena vs. Ziggler but considering how they are pushing Corbin as of late, I wouldn’t be shocked if they announced him as Cena’s opponent. Cena defeated Corbin in a SmackDown Live TV match just a few weeks ago.”
Additionally, there’s been talk that Cena’s WrestleMania 33 match may be a mixed tag match where he and girlfriend Nikki Bella take on the husband-and-wife team of The Miz and Maryse. According to Cageside Seats, this may be Nikki’s last match in WWE before she retires due to neck problems.
At this point, everything is all rumor and speculation, as WWE’s “Road to WrestleMania” has just begun in earnest. But if Dave Meltzer’s “not necessarily good news” remarks are to be believed, there’s a chance it may be John Cena vs. Randy Orton at WrestleMania 33, a match hardcore fans have seen so many times before, yet one WWE may see as tried-and-true for the casual fan.
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