John Cena will be in title contention in nearly two years as the GOAT takes on Austin Theory for the United States Championship at WrestleMania 39 this Saturday in Los Angeles. It appears that Mr. A Town wasn’t WWE’s first choice for the much-anticipated match-up on the grandest stage of them all.

Click here to watch WrestleMania 39 opening video package.

John Cena returned to WWE RAW on March 6, 2023, to set up his WrestleMania match against Austin Theory. The two superstars engaged in a vicious promo battle that culminated with Cena accepting Theory’s challenge for their clash on the Showcase of the Immortals.

Sean Sapp noted behind Fightful’s paywall that several stars who got wind of Cena’s match at WrestleMania 39 pushed to have a match with the 17-time world champion. According to the report, some even pushed for Cody Rhodes to face Cena in Los Angeles.


Austin Theory ended up getting the spot, but several wrestlers had been pushing to work with John Cena.

Dating back to last Summer, there was top level talent in WWE who were angling to work with Cena on the WrestleMania show. We’re told that several talent that got wind of Cena being planned for WrestleMania, and open to what will be his first WrestleMania singles match in front of a live crowd since 2018. At one point, there were actually people within WWE who were pushing for Cody Rhodes to face John Cena, even though by August, it was pretty well determined that Cody would be facing Roman Reigns.

Logan Paul was considered for John Cena, and even tentatively planned as of the fall according to internal WWE documents. There was nothing on the slate for Austin Theory as of that point, but as of December, WWE had nailed down Theory vs. Cena, and shortly after finalized Rollins vs. Logan Paul.

This year will be his Cena’s singles match at WrestleMania in front of a live crowd that was promoted ahead of time since Rusev.

As previously reported, Cena and Theory will kick off WrestleMania 39 on Saturday in Los Angeles. Apparently, there was some confusion about the match placement but WWE cleared the confusion.

How would you’ve booked John Cena’s road to WrestleMania? Who do you think will come out the winner in the United States Championship match this Saturday? Sound off in the comments!

Manik Aftab

Manik Aftab serves as a news writer at Ringside News. He has covered pro wrestling and sports entertainment for a variety of publications, including Sportskeeda Wrestling, The Sportster, and WrestleZone. Outside of his professional duties, Manik likes to indulge in fiction, thrillers, comics, manga, and anime.

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