One of the biggest dream matches in WWE history was John Cena vs The Undertaker, in a marquee match at WrestleMania.
A match of that magnitude and majesty should have been the pinnacle of both men’s careers. A huge competition between two of WWE’s all-time greats.
There were many times over the years the match could have taken place, and could have been used to create an even bigger star in John Cena.
For years, fans were clamouring for Cena to turn heel, to turn his back on the fanbase and have a run as a bad guy for the first time in over a decade.
His support with adults was waning, and a heel turn would have been perfect for The Champ during this time.
And the best way to maximise the hatred for John Cena’s heel turn? Ending The Streak.
In one of the most legendary records of all time, The Undertaker went 21 wins without defeat, over a 23-year period at WrestleMania.
In it, he defeated some of the all-time greats, like Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Kane and countless other former WWE stars.
However, one man who never had a shot at ending The Streak was John Cena.
In fact, outside a brief rivalry at the beginning of their career, the two men’s path rarely crossed for the two decades they shared in the WWE.
Cena was usually the main star on Raw, while Smackdown was held on the shoulders of The Undertaker. They both won world titles on their respective brands, but fans always wanted to see them face off at WrestleMania.
During the time of The Streak, the match never happened. Stars like Batista, Edge and Shawn Michaels hogged Undertaker’s WrestleMania matches. He added numbers to his tally, waiting for The Champ to finally step up.
But, alas, it never happened. In 2014, Brock Lesnar beat The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX, ending the streak and ruining any chance of the perfect heel turn.
The WrestleMania John Cena vs Undertaker match could have been perfect. A 30-minute main event, around the time of his series of matches with Shawn Michaels and Triple H, would have seen both men in their prime.
A main event of WrestleMania clash, with Cena cheating to beat The Undertaker and turning his back on the WWE Universe would have been absolute poetry.
Sadly, this didn’t happen. John Cena did challenge The Deadman at WrestleMania 34, with The Undertaker squashing him in a little under five minutes.
It was underwhelming to say the least. There was a good reason for it though. The Undertaker had been going through various surgeries, and WWE did not trust him to wrestle a full-scale bout with Cena (although he claims he trained for a 45 minute match that year).
They had been planned to wrestle two years prior, when both men were in much better physical shape.
Sadly, The Undertaker vs John Cena at WrestleMania 32 didn’t happen, and for very good reason.
The Undertaker vs John Cena at WrestleMania 32
According to multiple reports, the planned match for WrestleMania 32 was John Cena vs The Undertaker.
The dream match came a little later than expected, but it was better than nothing.
And actually, under the circumstances, it couldn’t have been a better time. The Deadman had wrestled more in the year prior than ever before, wrestling a handful of matches in bouts against Brock Lesnar and Bray Wyatt.
Cena was coming off the back of a fantastic United States Championship run. His stock was at an all-time high, and even the hardcore fans had started cheering him again (due to his fantastic US Open Challenges).
The match between the two seemed like the perfect choice. With The Undertaker’s time in the ring coming to an end, this was maybe the last chance to have the match both men would have wanted to put on.
WrestleMania 32 looked set to pit John Cena against The Undertaker – until disaster struck.
Cena was struck down by a long-term injury in late 2015, during a match with Alberto Del Rio. He was forced to undergo shoulder surgery, keeping him out of the ring for up to 8 months.
Instead, The Undertaker was shoehorned into the feud between Vince and Shane McMahon, facing the younger McMahon inside Hell in a Cell at WrestleMania.
Meanwhile, John Cena did appear at WrestleMania 32, but not wrestling The Deadman. He shocked the fans by helping The Rock fight off the Wyatt Family, following The People’s Champ’s match against Erick Rowan.
He would actually return to the ring two months later, and the time for the match with The Undertaker was past.
The feud between John Cena and The Undertaker in their prime is one we, sadly, will never get to see. And that is a shame.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.