WWE always tried to elevate the rivalry between John Cena and Randy Orton into the pantheon of the legendary - Rock Vs. Austin acting as the clear inspiration.
Much of its failure stems from the year 2009, in which, across all match types, Cena and Orton clashed on no less than five occasions, with four of those matches taking place consecutively from SummerSlam to Bragging Rights. The overkill culminated in - deep breath - a 60 Minute Iron Man Anything Goes, Falls Count Anywhere, No DQ match. Fans were left literally tired by all this, and so any attempts to resuscitate the programme failed spectacularly.
The first such attempt took place during the 2011 Rumble match. Orton entered at #39, and after a brief flurry of eliminations, turned around to face his career nemesis. With hushed breath, fans were meant to savour this meeting of the two legends. They...did not. Instead, they rubbed the sleep out of their eyes. They were seein' double here: two Eric Escobars! There was no palpable emotion to be felt; even apathy was out of reach. They couldn't even bring themselves to groan.
This all changed three years later.
Despite the events of 2011, WWE relegated Daniel Bryan to the midcard, and promoted Cena and Orton as the two biggest stars in the company - the only two worthy of unifying and feuding over the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships. Booed out of the building, the fans didn't even want this match at the Rumble, much less 'Mania, as Cena had optimistically pointed towards in '11.
With one arrogant gesture - we can use this in a hype video! - WWE tainted the aura of their two supposed legends.