John Cena vs. The Undertaker, a dream match by anyone’s standards and in typical WWE fashion they’ve managed to squander it.
When the build for John Cena vs. The Undertaker first started way back at 26th February edition of Monday Night Raw when John Cena first said the match couldn’t happen, everyone was excited for exactly what would happen. From there on out it was a slow build, but it was good, subtle teases here and there, and eventually direct challenges from Cena to the Deadman.
But then everything started to stall, week after week we’d have Cena coming out to the ring and challenging the Deadman to a match at the Grandest Stage of them all, Wrestlemania. But week after week, Taker didn’t answer.
Now here we are, the go home show of Raw has come and gone and still no sign of Taker.
Don’t get me wrong, this match will happen at Wrestlemania, there’s no doubt about it. But what should have been an epic build with two icons of the industry squaring off in the ring, we’re going to be left with a segment at Wrestlemania and a match in the best case scenario. In the worst case scenario we get a match with no segment.
A good build to The Undertaker vs. John Cena would have sold tickets for Wrestlemania and it would have sold subscriptions to the network, even if only temporarily, there’s no questioning it. So that begs the question, why have WWE left it until the day of Wrestlemania itself to reveal whether the Undertaker will show up? Is it purely for a “Wrestlemania moment” at the expense of good build and a memorable storyline? Or are they saving an American Badass Taker reveal for the day? There are a lot of questions surrounding this storyline but very few answers.
However, forgetting the lack of a build, there are a number of other major issues that the WWE have now created surrounding this feud.
1.) Time on the show: Wrestlemania is already an incredibly long show, but if the WWE really plan on having a segment between Cena and Taker precede their match on the show then they’re in trouble. Either Wrestlemania runs long, or a match which has actually had build has to have its time cut to accommodate the extra time that Cena and Taker need.
2.) What next?: So the Undertaker shows up at Wrestlemania, explains away why he hasn’t been showing up on Raw or Smackdown, fights Cena and then sails off into the sunset again? That is some BS levels of writing even by the WWE’s standards. The casual fan who doesn’t buy Wrestlemania/Isn’t signed up to the WWE is going to have absolutely zero context as to what has happened. We all know that Taker is probably going to vanish again after Mania, possibly forever, so either he comes out on Raw the night after and has to explain everything all over again, or this entire feud has just been a massive waste of time for many in the audience.
3.) Is it still a dream match?: If The Undertaker had returned 3 or 4 weeks ago and planted his flag right in front of Cena and actually started to build this feud then yes maybe this could still be a dream match. But because of the way the WWE have built the entire feud around John Cena coming up with new and elaborate insults for Taker every week a match at Wrestlemania is just going to feel thrown together and forced. Not to mention that even by the most optimistic of suggestions, this match is at least 3 years too late.
About two weeks ago I was excited that The Undertaker would return on Raw as the American Badass, beat up Cena and go on to have one last match in the WWE. But now, even if he does return as the American Badass I will only feel apathy. The WWE have possibly squandered not only a dream match between two icons that we have never seen wrestle at Mania, but also what is probably going to be the Undertaker’s last match ever.
Perhaps it’s best that Taker doesn’t show up on Sunday? Let Cena go to Mania “as a fan” and let the Deadman rest in peace.