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WWE WrestleMania 39 Prediction & Analysis: Can Austin Theory Defeat John Cena on His Return to The Show of Shows After 3 Years?

Published 03/29/2023, 11:45 AM EDT

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WrestleMania 39: John Cena vs Austin Theory- Prediction and Analysis: WrestleMania is just days away, and WWE has been pulling out all the stops for the annual spectacle. The expectant wrestling world tuning into the festivities at Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium (Home of the NFL’s Rams and Chargers) will witness a massive homecoming. John Cena will grace ‘The Showcase of The Immortals‘ for the first time since losing to ‘The Fiend‘ Bray Wyatt in a bizarre Firefly Funhouse Match at WrestleMania 36. He is scheduled to challenge Austin Theory for his WWE United States Championship in what may be seen as a clash between generations.

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The ‘Hollywood John Cena’ gimmick from WrestleMania 36 earned praise, showing that he can still tell a story in the ring. However, the 16-time World Champion has not earned a Premium Live Event singles pinfall or submission win for quite a while. John Cena will look to take heart from the fact that he is undefeated in US Title matches at WrestleMania. Will the 45-year-old Hollywood star extend that streak to 3-0 with a statement win at ‘WrestleMania Goes Hollywood‘? Or will the 25-year-old Theory confront his “Ghost of Christmas future,” and prove that he is not a “wannabe” and more than just a “theory?”

Here’s a look at why both superstars should or should not win at WrestleMania 39


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Why is WrestleMania 39 a must-win for John Cena? 

John Cena has not won a singles match at WrestleMania in 8 years: John Cena is among WWE royalty with a stellar resume. However, there comes a time when the WWE Universe knows that a superstar poses no threat at a particular event with their best years beyond them. This may be the case with Cena, as his recent singles record has not been great. 

If one has to look at WrestleMania history, Cena’s last win came six years back. This was when he teamed with Nikki Bella against The Miz and Maryse at WrestleMania 33.


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To locate ‘The Cenation Leader’s last singles win at WrestleMania, one needs to go back to 2015. That event saw a rampant Rusev take his maiden pin in WWE and lose his title and undefeated streak to boot. Eight years without a win at ‘The Show of Shows’ is a long time for someone like Cena. WrestleMania aside, Cena’s last singles win on a Premium Live Event came during WWE’s PPV era, i.e. at The Greatest Royal Rumble against Triple H in 2018.

If Austin Theory wins, John Cena will go 0-3 in his last three WrestleMania appearances: The 16-time World Champion is heading into SoFi Stadium on the back of consecutive defeats at WrestleMania. Before Cena’s WrestleMania 36 defeat, The Undertaker squashed him in under three minutes at WrestleMania 34. Three straight losses at ‘The Super Bowl of Sports Entertainment‘ will not present John Cena as a credible threat should he choose to return to WWE in the near future.

What factors make WrestleMania 39 a must-win for Austin Theory?

Defeat for Austin Theory will see him go 0-3 at WrestleMania: Austin Theory lost on his WrestleMania debut when he teamed up with Angel Garza to challenge The Street Profits for the Raw Tag Team Championship. He then suffered a pinfall defeat to Pat McAfee at WrestleMania 38. Another loss will see him go 0-3, with two of those coming against part-timers. An 0-2 singles record against part-timers at ‘Mania would take away the work he has put in since dropping the selfie gimmick. 

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Besides losing at last year’s event, Austin Theory also took stunners from Stone Cold Steve Austin. Erasing that memory is crucial, which makes it essential that ‘A-Town’ leaves the home of the NFL’s Chargers and Rams with his belt. 

Theory needs a WrestleMania win to elevate his title reign and career: Austin Theory is ‘The Now’ of the WWE, in moniker and in reality. He has held onto the belt with wins over the likes of Seth Rollins, Mustafa Ali, Edge, and Bobby Lashley. However, none of these wins have been both clean and in singles competition. A win (clean or tainted) at WrestleMania over a company icon will see Theory hopefully elevate himself and draw a reaction from the crowd to dispute Cena’s claim of “fake crowd noise.”

The WWE seems to have taken that seriously and is putting the match on first when the crowd would be fresh and invested in the in-ring action. A spectacular in-ring display with or without underhanded tactics will certainly get the audience to respond and get invested in his character, which could be a springboard for his career. 

Why should John Cena not win at ‘WrestleMania Goes Hollywood’?

John Cena may be retiring: WWE sees retiring wrestlers go out on their backs. It has happened with the likes of Batista, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, and Kurt Angle. John Cena dropped retirement hints in 2020 and now, as his Hollywood career has picked up, he may end his in-ring career at the Hollywood-themed WrestleMania. This would require him to do the job to Austin Theory

Cena had a win in his last WWE match: John Cena may not have a good PLE or singles record, but the record books show that he won his last WWE match. It came in the final SmackDown of 2022, where he teamed with Kevin Owens against Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn. That means that even if he is unsuccessful in winning the title, he won’t have consecutive career defeats. 

Why should Austin Theory not win at ‘WrestleMania Goes Hollywood’?

There are really no reasons for this outcome. If Austin Theory is not ready, they can simply have him drop the title later with the knowledge that he just didn’t have it

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There could only be one reason for Austin Theory to lose at WrestleMania 39, i.e. if John Cena sticks around and defends the title regularly. Having Cena win, only to drop it on the Raw after WrestleMania, would not be a good idea. Yes, there would be a passing of the torch, but it wouldn’t be in front of a packed stadium at WrestleMania

WrestleMania 39- John Cena vs Austin Theory: Prediction

The scheduling ensures that John Cena will attract the casual fan base to WrestleMania 39 right from the start time of 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. Most of the “Let’s go Cena” fans will want to see their hero maintain his streak in US title matches at Mania and tie Ric Flair’s record for most US Title reigns at six. However, the “Cena sucks” fans’ wishes may be delivered as WWE’s scheduling decision may have given away the winner. They will allow ‘The Now’ to get the rub, show Cena that he is ready, make him eat his words, secure his first WrestleMania win, and go over. 

Even if John Cena vs Austin Theory was to go on later, Cena winning could invite boos from all over. While the WWE Universe isn’t averse to part-timers showing up, having them go over full-time talent irks them at times. Triple H realizes this and so does John Cena. For fans claiming that a WrestleMania 39 win would be a feel-good moment for Cena, he has had plenty of WrestleMania moments in the past. 


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One of these came when he claimed the WWE United States Championship after beating The Big Show to open WrestleMania XX. Nineteen years later, the same title is on the line on a WrestleMania main card opener. Cena doing what Show did and putting over a rising star in the exact same scenario would be fitting, potentially resulting in Theory’s first WrestleMania moment.

This will really usher in the era of Theory, leading to WrestleMania 39 starting with a bang. It would also show fans that the Triple H era is moving forward and will focus on the present. A Cena win would be a really bold call from the creative team and it isn’t looking likely. 


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Prediction: Austin Theory will beat John Cena and retain his WWE United States Championship.

Watch This Story: WWE Superstars With The Highest Number of WrestleMania Matches

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Written by:

Reubyn Coutinho


One take at a time

Reubyn Coutinho is a Senior Editor, Writer, and Content Quality Associate at EssentiallySports. Having earned his bachelor's degree in Mass Media with a specialization in Journalism from St.Xavier's College, Reubyn has interned with the sports desks at DNA and Times Now before joining EssentiallySports to further his passion for sports journalism.
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Edited by:

Sherjeel Malik