WWE was forced to reevaluate their WrestleMania 32 plans this week when John Cena underwent shoulder surgery. The injury will reportedly force the 15-time world champion to miss the event, where he was rumored to face The Undertaker in one of the biggest matches on the card.
The Undertaker is always one of the biggest attractions at WrestleMania, and that sentiment remains the same this year. There’s been speculation that his match at WrestleMania 32 could be the last of his WWE career, and the PPV could feature the largest crowd in the company’s history.
Multiple injuries have left WWE without a clear opponent to face The Undertaker. Fans have wanted to see The Undertaker vs. Sting for years, but the former face of WCW needs neck surgery and it doesn’t look like he’ll be on the card. Seth Rollins, who was WWE’s No.1 heel for most of 2015, is expected to miss the event because of a torn ACL.
Brock Lesnar and Bray Wyatt have both faced The Undertaker multiple times in the last year, making little sense to pit either wrestler against the Deadman at WrestleMania 32. Kane might make sense as the final opponent of The Undertaker’s career, but the Brothers of Destruction won a tag match at Survivor Series and a match against one another in April would feel forced.
Let’s take a look at some of WWE's options in choosing The Undertaker’s WrestleMania 32 opponent.
Owens made a big splash in 2015, and there’s no better heel in WWE at the moment. He more than held his own when taking on John Cena this summer, and WWE could have big plans for the former NXT and Intercontinental Champion. Between his size and physical style, Owens has a chance to give The Undertaker his best WrestleMania match since he faced CM Punk at WrestleMania 29.
After their run in at Night of Champions, it only makes sense that Ambrose and Chris Jericho are scheduled to fight for the Intercontinental Title at WresteMania 32. But the card needs to be changed after Cena’s injury, and Ambrose is easily one of the company’s top healthy performers. An Ambrose heel turn feels long overdue, and The Undertaker and Ambrose have history that dates back to his time with The Shield.
A large portion of the fan base won’t like it, but Sheamus might be one of the top candidates to face The Undertaker. He’s been positioned as WWE’s No.1 heel over the last couple of months, and it seems like his time in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture is finished for the moment.
The Undertaker is much more likely to take on an established member of the main roster, but WWE could make a match between the Deadman and the current NXT champion work. Balor’s “demon” persona makes him a natural opponent for The Undertaker. He could join forces with the newly signed members of New Japan’s Bullet Club, making himself a formidable heel in a short amount of time on WWE TV.
It’s a longshot, but this is certainly in play if The Rock intends to have a match at WrestleMania 32. With Cena likely out, WWE will need as much star power as possible to sell over 100,000 tickets, and a match between the two icons would get people in the building. But the odds are probably against The Rock actually wrestling at the 2016 PPV, and he'd likely face Lesnar or Triple H if he is on the card.