On Monday night’s episode of WWE Raw, John Cena challenged The Undertaker to a long-awaited dream match at WrestleMania XXXIV. Over its illustrious history, WrestleMania has played host to many matches fitting into the dream match category. The two biggest examples are clearly Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III in 1987 and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock at WrestleMania XVII in 2001, but huge WrestleMania match-ups have also taken place pitting the likes of The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, and Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle.
This year, WrestleMania’s dream match looks to be Cena vs. Taker, assuming the Dead Man accepts the challenge. Realistically though, WWE likely wouldn’t even mention the possibility of such a match if it hadn’t already been set in stone. Many fans had thought that Undertaker was retiring for good after last year’s WrestleMania loss to Roman Reigns, which saw WWE’s resident reaper leave some of his trademark gear in the ring, and bid what seemed to be a final goodbye. Clearly though, the tendency of wrestlers to never fully retire has struck again, and Taker will soon return for another possible grand finale to his decades-long career.
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A possible Cena vs. Undertaker WrestleMania encounter has been rumored for years, only for the stars to apparently never align properly until now. Many would argue that the match should have taken place years ago, back before Taker had suffered so many injuries, and had lost his vaunted WrestleMania winning streak to Brock Lesnar. Whether that’s true or not really doesn’t matter at this point though. Judging by the thunderous crowd response to Cena’s calling out of Undertaker last night, WWE fans still badly want to see the two titans duke it out.
Much of the allure around seeing John Cena and The Undertaker finally go to battle on WWE’s grandest stage is due to the company pretty masterfully keeping them apart over the years. The two sure to be future WWE Hall of Famers have only ever had one singles match on pay-per-view, way back at Vengeance 2003, when Undertaker was still in biker mode and Cena was just beginning his rebellious rapper character. They’ve had a few run-ins on TV since, but never with a decisive victor. Cena and Undertaker have actually teamed together in multi-person matches more often than they’ve directly locked horns.
With Cena and Undertaker all but completely confirmed for WrestleMania XXXIV, the big question on the minds of many fans will be whether or not Taker still has another great match in him. While dramatic, his encounter with Reigns last year wasn’t all that good, as Taker’s age and injury history made themselves pretty apparent. In fact, Taker’s last truly great outing at WrestleMania was arguably his match with CM Punk at WrestleMania XXIX in 2013. On the other hand, Cena has shown an ability to get good matches out of people who aren’t necessarily known as exemplary in-ring performers, and may just have the juice to get Taker to rise to the occasion, similarly to how Shawn Michaels was able to carry a pushing 60-year-old Ric Flair to one final WrestleMania classic in 2008.
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WrestleMania XXXIV streams Sunday, April 8 on WWE Network.