John Cena made his return to WWE programming last week after movie and television commitments kept him out of the ring for nearly three months. Cena's return will now lead to a WWE Championship match against AJ Styles at the Royal Rumble later this month, the next fitting chapter to arguably the company's most compelling feud of 2016. But as big as their match will be, a program of even more significance appears to be looming.
Last week we reported that WWE officials had locked-in three marquee matches for WrestleMania 33. At the time of the report, the company was planning on featuring a bout between Triple H and Seth Rollins, Goldberg against Brock Lesnar, and a match between the Big Show and Shaquille O'Neal. Notice John Cena's name was not among them.
It has been speculated for years that a WrestleMania match between John Cena and the Undertaker was inevitable. In fact, Vince McMahon has been plotting their paths to cross on his grandest stage for more than four years. Cena's shoulder injury prevented the match from happening at WrestleMania 32, and now that both appear healthy and able to sign off on a showdown at WrestleMania 33, Vince is having second thoughts.
Vince's reservation stems from an inclination to put Roman Reigns against the Undertaker instead. He believes a match between John Cena and the Deadman does nothing for the future of the WWE, while Reigns would benefit immensely from being in that spot.
However, it should be noted that as of Monday evening, WWE officials were reconsidering their entire vision of this year's WrestleMania card. It's hard to imagine them straying away from any of the aforementioned bouts, but they certainly teased some other options for Goldberg on the most recent episode of Monday Night RAW.
During John Cena's promo that opened last week's SmackDown Live, he put over that night's card which featured three title matches, including a triple threat for the WWE Championship. Cena then pondered aloud, "What the hell am I doing here?" Right on cue, the Chicago crowd chanted "Undertaker" in unison as if to fantasy book his next move.
Rather than address the Deadman directly, Cena fired back at those who he believed to be writing his future for him, and writing him off WWE entirely in the not-too-distant future. However, John did not dodge the Undertaker question posed to him in a recent interview with ESPN.
"Undertaker certainly is a cornerstone of WWE, and just as I say to myself that I really would have liked to been able to get to know and certainly get in the ring with Andre the Giant, just because of all the respect and folklore that went around with Andre, I think The Undertaker has that same sort of respect and folklore around him... If you're asking if I'd want to be in a high-profile match with one of the most legendary superstars in the industry, my answer is yes."This should only add to the speculation that John Cena and the Undertaker are destined to square off in Orlando. However, Cena and Reigns have recently engaged in a social media spat and that isn't expected to lead to anything substantial, yet. Plus that decision remains in the hands of Vince McMahon. Vince remains enamored with Roman Reigns even though Reigns may be better suited to face Braun Strowman instead of the Phenom.
There were original plans to have the Undertaker face AJ Styles at the Royal Rumble, but working the actual Rumble match may be less taxing on the legend as opposed to a long singles match, especially coming off recent hip surgery. The expectation is that Undertaker will announce his intentions of entering the battle royal next week on RAW.
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