John Cena and the Undertaker are without question, first-ballot WWE Hall-of-Famers whenever they decide to hang up their boots for good. Cena has stated on numerous occasions that he’s got plenty of years left, while rumors of the Undertaker’s retirement surface every year. As we reported on Monday, Undertaker was planning on calling it a career following WrestleMania 32, had his opponent lined up to be John Cena.
As we detailed, 2016 wasn’t the first time the Undertaker told Vince McMahon that he was walking away. The Deadman initially tried to leave after his ‘End of an Era’ match with Triple H at WrestleMania 28, but Vince convinced him to stay for at least two more ‘Manias. When Undertaker tried to retire two years later, Vince made the call to break The Streak in New Orleans, and the legendary career continued.
The Undertaker agreed to face up-and-comer Bray Wyatt in 2015 with the idea that his final match would come against John Cena in his home state of Texas in front of the largest crowd in WWE history at WrestleMania 32. Cena’s injury scrapped those plans and Vince and Undertaker agreed that his last match ever wasn’t going to come against Shane McMahon.
After hiatuses of varying degrees, the Undertaker and John Cena both returned to SmackDown this past fall. Though their comebacks fell on separate occasions (Undertaker on SDLive900, Cena on the final SmackDown of 2016) the plan was to eventually set up the dream match at WrestleMania 33. However, for the second year in a row, Vince scrapped the idea and went in a different direction, marking the fourth time that a proposed John Cena vs. Undertaker match at a WrestleMania has been canceled.
As noted, the match at WrestleMania 32 was scrapped because John Cena was injured and unable to participate in the build or a full match. This year’s proposed bout got switched because Vince wanted Roman Reigns to get the rub from the Undertaker instead. However, there were two other times the match was on the table, only for the company to go a different way.
The first time occurred in 2009 at WrestleMania 25, certainly one of the most hyped events of all time. The first draft of the card would have seen John Cena face the Undertaker and Edge against Triple H for the WWE Championship. Later, however, Vince changed his mind and wanted Cena to face Hulk Hogan, but Hogan wasn’t able to get cleared. By that time, seeds were planted for a feud between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, so they stuck with that. Triple H ended up facing Randy Orton for the WWE title, and Edge defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Cena and Big Show in a triple threat match.
The next year, original plans again called for John Cena to face the Undertaker. However, Shawn Michaels informed Vince that he would be retiring after WrestleMania 26. HBK wanted his final match to come against Triple H, but Vince vetoed the idea for a rematch from the previous year, in what would become the spectacular Streak vs. Career match. Cena was paired with Batista while Triple H ended up working with Sheamus.
Plans for Cena and the Undertaker were set so firmly in place for WrestleMania 26 in 2010 that they fired the first shot of the program in November 2009. The Undertaker successfully defended his World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series against Chris Jericho and Big Show, but on the go-home episode of RAW that week, The Phenom planted John Cena with a tombstone to end the night.
As noted, the Undertaker returned to SmackDown last fall because original plans called for him to face – and defeat – AJ Styles for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. His title victory would then have finally set up the huge match with John Cena at WrestleMania. The combination of those plans leaking, and the Undertaker physically unable to compete in a full match, nixed everything. So while the Undertaker is on a crash course with Roman Reigns, Cena appears content with the idea of teaming with Nikki Bella to take on The Miz and Maryse in a mixed tag match.
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