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Undertaker vs. Cena at WrestleMania: Book It!!
Ever since The Rock declared at Raw 1000 that he would be battling the WWE Champion at the 2013 Royal Rumble, speculation ran rampant that The Rock would be victorious, winning his first championship in ten years. This, of course, came to pass. The premise was that Rock's victory would set the stage for a WrestleMania main event, Rock vs. John Cena II, this time for the WWE title. After Cena won the actual Rumble, the match at 'Mania was all but official. A wrench in the plans, however, has presented itself in the form of the tenacious CM Punk. Punk, incensed that his history-making title reign came to an unceremonious conclusion, has refused to leave the title picture and rightfully so. His persistence caused Cena to make a match that could possibly change the WrestleMania main event; he volunteered to battle Punk on Raw with his place in the championship match on the line. Since then, Cena has been Tweeting daily, counting down the days until he faces Punk. Assuming CM Punk emerges victorious, and barring any managerial interference from Vickie Guerrero or Brad Maddox, Cena will find himself without a match with a little over a month to go until the biggest show of the year. He will have to regroup, and quickly. Luckily, there is one man, one legend, who has yet to make an appearance or declare an opponent for WrestleMania: The Undertaker.
After last year's victory against Triple H, The Undertaker exited Miami with an unprecedented 20-0 'Mania record, and only made one more appearance on WWE television, on Raw 1000, for the remainder of 2012. Many wrestling news outlets reported that 'Taker wasn't in the greatest physical health; some stated that he had undergone hip surgery. Fans wondered if he would even perform at WrestleMania 29. While Triple H did state at the 2012 Slammy Awards that "[we] have not seen the last of The Undertaker," he did not intimate when or where the Dead Man would return. For months, there was much discussion among the WWE Universe that if 'Taker was physically able to compete by 'Mania, that CM Punk would be his opponent. With Punk holding court as one of the biggest heels in the company, and 'Taker's status as a highly respected veteran, this match would surely be a blockbuster and candidate for match of the year. After Cena's questionable decision to add such a huge stipulation to his match with Punk in Dallas, the possibility of Punk facing The Rock for the title at 'Mania is looking more and more likely. If this occurs, then Cena vs. Undertaker needs to be booked for the Show of Shows. If the ultimate goal is to generate more viewers and attract casual fans, this is the match that is going to do it.
Anyone who watches even one episode of Raw knows what a polarizing figure John Cena is. Wherever he wrestles, sometimes even in his home state, the crowd is split in half by his fans and his detractors. The warring "let's go Cena!" and "Cena sucks!" chants have become as integral to his matches as his theme music and his Attitude Adjustments. If Cena were to face The Undertaker, neither of them would really be booked as the heel in that match, but that wouldn't be necessary. Cena would generate venom and boos no matter who he wrestled, but to go after the biggest dog right in his own yard? A yard where he has achieved an undefeated record spanning over 20 years? Cena would be booed right out of the Meadowlands. After all, he is the face of the company, and he will be wrestling a man from a different era, who is held to the highest esteem as one of the toughest men to ever lace his boots.
The build-up to a Cena vs. Undertaker 'Mania match would be phenomenal to behold. Though 'Taker is undefeated at The Grandest Stage, the goal of his opponents each year is to convince the fans that he will be the man to finally break the infamous streak. Edge was very believable in this role, as was Triple H. Cena, due to his track record, would arguably be the most believable of all. His tendency to win matches he should technically have lost has led some fans to dub him "Super Cena." Cena has won the majority of his high profile matches for most of his career; this knowledge will cause fans to wonder and worry if he will actually be the one to mar The Undertaker's perfect WrestleMania career. While Undertaker should absolutely win the match and move to 21-0, the mic work and the mind games leading up to the bout should be such that the WWE Universe goes into 'Mania with some real concern for The Undertaker. This is a rivalry that wouldn't require promoting. These two men are so visible that even a non-wrestling fan would likely know who they are. If Undertaker vs. Cena was on the card, it would probably steal the show.
Another reason why this match should occur is because the reception for a possible Rock/Cena II has been less than stellar. With last year's match touted as "once in a lifetime," it should stay that way, particularly since it was promoted for over a year. The match itself was outshined both by 'Taker vs. Triple H and Punk vs. Jericho, which may be another reason why fans are reluctant to revisit this rivalry. Cena hasn't really been in The Rock's crosshairs in recent months anyway, since Rocky has been focusing all of his energy on CM Punk. And though 'Taker and Cena have feuded before, it was a very different Cena who faced the Dead Man. He was younger and he was a heel, cutting promos in graveyards to prove that Undertaker's mind games weren't working on him. Today's Cena would approach the match differently, perhaps even utilizing footage of The Undertaker congratulating a young Cena after one of his first few matches.
With Undertaker nearing 50 and a couple of years away from retirement, this is the ideal time to book a match of this magnitude. Cena has never faced Undertaker in such an important match, and after four years of 'Taker facing men he's already beaten, this concept is fresh and exciting. Although Ryback has also been mentioned as a possible opponent, a match between him and The Undertaker, at least at this point in Ryback's career, would not be nearly as compelling to watch. Cena and 'Taker have a history, and the Dead Man has never crossed paths with Ryback. With numerous reports stating that Undertaker was spotted at a show over the weekend, fans may hear the bells toll tomorrow night on Raw. 'Taker may interfere in Cena's match with Punk, and provide assistance so that Punk is victorious. This will not sit comfortably with Cena, who may then challenge The Undertaker at WrestleMania. And if he does, the WWE Universe will truly be in for a spectacular treat.
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