Thursday, April 18

WWE WrestleMania Matches That Were Possible But Never Happened

WWE’s WrestleMania event is the biggest professional wrestling spectacle each and every year and the most iconic wrestling show in history. Some of the all time greatest matches have taken place at WrestleMania between legends, former world champions, and Hall of Famers.


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While these WWE WrestleMania moments are far from bad, they’re not as good or as iconic as some fans make them out to be.

However, not every dream match or potential show-stealers have managed to make it onto a WrestleMania card, even though these matches were actually possible at some point in time. Whether it is a case of wrong place, wrong time, or a case of WWE deciding against booking certain matches, there are several examples of this from over the years.

Kurt Angle Wanted To Retire Against John Cena At WrestleMania

Angle & Cena Made Sense For A Retirement Match

  • Kurt Angle retired at WrestleMania 35
  • His last match was against Baron Corbin
  • Angle wanted to face Cena

When John Cena first arrived on the WWE main roster, his first opponent was Kurt Angle. The Hall Of Famer Angle wanted this to come full circle at WrestleMania 35 for his retiring, bowing out to Cena. WWE had other plans though, and booked Baron Corbin in that spot, despite Cena being available. In an interview with Chris Van Vliet, Angle explained this. (h/t WrestlingInc)

“I asked Vince, ‘Hey, can I have John Cena? ‘Because I started his career. I think it’d be proper if he ended my career.’ And Vince said, ‘No, you have Baron Corbin. You’ve been doing a program with him for six months. You have to continue. But if you want Cena, you can have it next year.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m going to go this WrestleMania.’ And he said, ‘Well, then you’re going to wrestle Baron Corbin. Are you okay with that?’ I said, ‘Yeah, that’s fine.’ So I wasn’t able to get Cena, but he gave me the option.”

Hulk Hogan Vs. Ric Flair Would Have Been A Major WrestleMania Matchup

WWE Had The Chance But Didn’t Pull The Trigger

  • Ric Flair & Hulk Hogan were both in WWE at their peak
  • WWE opted with different matches
  • Flair vs. Hogan never happened on WWE PPV

When Ric Flair signed with WWE in the early 1990s, there was only one match on anyone’s minds – Flair vs. Hulk Hogan. WWE had the chance to book this match at WrestleMania 8, but Vince McMahon decided to go in another direction.

Due to Flair vs. Hogan not being the desired draw at live events, McMahon went for Sid Justice instead as Hogan’s WrestleMania 8 opponent.

Gunther Could Have Gotten A Star-Making Win Against Brock Lesnar

WWE Missed Their Chance On This Match

  • Fans wanted Gunther vs. Brock Lesnar for the last two years
  • They faced off at the Royal Rumble in 2023
  • There were plans for a match this year

According to Dave Meltzer in a Daily Update on WON, Gunther and Brock Lesnar were set to lock horns at WrestleMania 40 this year. However, with Lesnar being implicated by the Wall Street Journal’s story on Vince McMahon’s allegations, Lesnar is no longer in WWE plans.

WWE could have booked this match the previous year after it was teased in 2023, but instead chose Omos as Lesnar’s opponent in an underwhelming direction for WrestleMania 39.

Steve Austin Vs. CM Punk Could Have Been A Huge Battle Of Anti-Heroes

A Match Was Teased Between Steve Austin & CM Punk

  • WWE teased this encounter back in 2011
  • This was later teased during promotion for WWE 2K13
  • Austin didn’t return to the ring until 2022

In the early 2010s, Steve Austin and CM Punk faced off a couple of times in tense interactions, teasing a potential match. Many fans wanted this at WrestleMania, though it never came to fruition.


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Some of the most emotional moments in WWE history took place at WrestleMania. Here are the ten most emotional moments at The Granddaddy Of Them All.

Due to Steve Austin returning to the ring in 2022, it just went to prove that if he wanted to, Austin could have returned to the ring sooner in a match which wasn’t too physically demanding. Back in 2011, when Austin would have likely been more mobile, a match could have taken place in hindsight.

The Stars Never Aligned For A Shield WrestleMania Triple Threat Match

WWE Ran The Shield Triple Threat At Battleground

  • There were talks of this match happening at WrestleMania 32
  • WWE put this marquee match on a B-level PPV
  • This match is no longer possible with Dean Ambrose leaving WWE

A triple threat match between Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose would have been an incredible WrestleMania main event, though some injuries supposedly got in the way of it happening back in 2016.

WWE never ran it back when it was possible, instead booking the match at Battleground 2016 prior to the brand split. The match was ultimately underwhelming due to a rushed story and the build being more about RAW vs. SmackDown rather than their history in The Shield.

John Cena Vs. CM Punk Never Happened At WrestleMania

This Great Feud Didn’t Make It To The Grandest Stage

  • Cena & Punk were arguably each other’s greatest rivals
  • They could have wrestled at WrestleMania 28 & 29
  • WWE chose The Rock as Cena’s opponent

John Cena and CM Punk had several great classics against one another, becoming entwined in each other’s legacies. However, they never had a match at a WrestleMania.

Especially at WrestleMania 29, after Punk had a great year, he couldn’t find his way into a WrestleMania main event with Cena, with WWE opting to go two years in a row with Cena vs. Rock. This match was certainly possible for WrestleMania, but it never ended up happening.

Steve Austin Turned Down Facing Hulk Hogan At WrestleMania

A Battle Of WWE’s Two Biggest Stars Did Not Happen

  • This match was supposed to take place at WrestleMania 18
  • Austin decided against the match
  • The Rock faced Hulk Hogan instead

One of the most iconic matchups of all time could have taken place at WrestleMania, with it being possible at WrestleMania 18. However, Steve Austin turned the match down, explaining why on Jim Ross’ podcast several years back. (h/t TJR Wrestling)

“I guarantee you, if my head had been at a little different place, then by all rights, a [match] should have happened. Physically and mentally where I was at, I could go. I think Hogan probably would have been a step or two behind that. That wasn’t acceptable to me, and I didn’t want to slow myself down. I say that with all due respect to Hulk Hogan because he had a hellacious run. That was my thought process back in the day. I didn’t think we could deliver.”

Roman Reigns Vs. Goldberg Eventually Took Place Outside Of WrestleMania

This Was A Planned WrestleMania Match

  • Roman Reigns vs. Goldberg was set for WrestleMania 36
  • The pandemic led to this being canceled
  • WWE didn’t go back to this for WrestleMania

The battle of the two best spears in WWE was set to take place at WrestleMania in 2020, but when the pandemic hit this match was put to one side. When Reigns returned, Goldberg did stick around in WWE for another couple of years, so this was possible to come back to.

There were opportunities for WWE to return to this dream match for WrestleMania, but they opted against it, instead finally hosting this match at the 2022 Elimination Chamber event in Saudi Arabia.

Fans Never Got To See Ronda Rousey Vs. Becky Lynch

WWE Took Away This Singles Match From Fans

  • Becky Lynch’s injury led to their Survivor Series match getting canceled
  • Charlotte Flair was added to their match at WrestleMania
  • A singles match never took place

There was a lot of anticipation for Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series 2018, but an ill-timed injury led to the match being changed. Fans then expected the bout to take place at WrestleMania 35, but WWE decided to add Charlotte Flair to the mix, much to the chagrin of many.


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Every WWE wrestler dreams of main eventing WrestleMania. However, there have been some mediocre WrestleMania main eventers throughout history.

This could have been a highly personal singles match, but it became instead a lethargic and heatless triple threat. Even in Rousey’s second WWE run, the company decided against this match. At WrestleMania 38, Rousey won the Royal Rumble but did not choose to challenge Lynch for her title.

The Undertaker Vs. Sting Was A Dream Match For Many Fans

Sting & Undertaker Nearly Crossed Paths

  • Sting was one of WCW’s most popular characters
  • The Undertaker’s gimmick is WWE’s most iconic
  • Fans wanted to see these two larger than life names collide

The Undertaker and Sting, for their darker auras and sometimes similar looks, were compared all throughout their professional wrestling careers, and it was a match that so many fans wanted throughout the years. When Sting came to WWE in 2014, they were finally under the same roof. WWE opted against this match though at WrestleMania 31 and SummerSlam 2015, with WWE choosing to put Sting up against Triple H instead. When speaking to Bleacher Report, Sting also noted that he wanted a cinematic match with Undertaker.

“It wasn’t a goal of mine to get back in the ring. The only thing I thought I might do is have a cinematic match against Undertaker when I was with WWE. We weren’t able to come to an agreement.”

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