According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestlingInc), The Undertaker has emerged as the front-runner to take on John Cena in what would improbably become his 17th consecutive WrestleMania match.
All told, Undertaker has competed in 25 total WrestleManias, including 22 of the last 23. With a record of 23-2, being a fixture of WWE's biggest show of the year no longer carries the once-marketable mystique of The Streak.
At 53 (Undertaker's birthday is in March, a few weeks before WrestleMania), Taker and Cena, 40, would combine for one of the highest total ages in WrestleMania history.
I've said my piece about how John Cena vs. The Undertaker sounds like a terrible idea, a sentiment many will share should WWE move forward with its rumored plans for its two living legends.
But a match featuring two grizzled veterans nearing the end of their runs with WWE could present enough smoke and mirrors to fool Father Time.
It can safely be argued that The Undertaker's last great match at WrestleMania was in 2013 at WrestleMania 29. That year, on an otherwise lackluster show, his opponent was CM Punk, a student of the game who had been wrestling full time since 1999. Punk's veteran instincts and feel for the big match made him the perfect ring general to guide the 48-year-old Phenom to what was easily the best match on the show.
In the two years prior, The Undertaker battled Triple H at WrestleMania 27 and 28 in quite possibly the best back-to-back run of matches in Undertaker's entire WrestleMania catalog. Triple H possessed a similar ring generalship to Punk's, and the two were able to hide their combined age (89 by WrestleMania 28) with a little help from weaponry and Hell in a Cell.
Though Taker's age is certainly a culprit in the subsequent drop in quality of his WrestleMania matches following Mania 29, his opponents are also a factor.
Brock Lesnar (WrestleMania 30) and Shane McMahon (WrestleMania 32) are both part-time performers who, though they possess the ability to shine in big matches, do not have the veteran instincts that are developed over the course of lengthy, full-time in-ring careers.
Bray Wyatt (WrestleMania 31) and Roman Reigns (WrestleMania 33), though talented (and Reigns tried his damndest to get a great match against The Undertaker but had to settle for a satisfactory one), present the wrong dynamic for what a great Undertaker match had become.
The Undertaker simply doesn't click with WWE Superstars on the ascent because his special attraction appeal makes him more believable against his peers.
That's where Cena comes in. Though on paper, this is a match between two aging lions in winter, it is quite possibly the one Undertaker match with the propensity to defy odds, logic and Father Time.
Nobody will ever question Cena's star power, but he is underrated as a ring general. He has the ability to lead a wrestling classic, as he has done time and again even in the back end of his career. Cena appeared twice on WWE.com's Top 25 Matches in 2017, including the top spot for his Royal Rumble bout against AJ Styles.
The Undertaker vs. John Cena sounds suspect, but if these two proud warriors have any say in the matter, it just might overachieve.