Ahead of John Cena's WWE return in February 2020, Dave Meltzer reported on Wrestling Observer Radio that The Doctor Of Thuganomics would be squaring off with Elias at WrestleMania 36. The Drifter and Cena had altercations at both WrestleMania 34 and WrestleMania 35 and WWE's original plan was to blow off the feud at The Showcase Of The Immortals. The planned match was ultimately scrapped, however, after Vince McMahon booked Goldberg to defeat "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt for the Universal Championship at Super ShowDown.
Elias confirmed he was originally booked to face the 16-time world champion at 'Mania during a recent interview with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated.
The former 24/7 Champion said: "New Orleans, I'm in the mix with John and The Undertaker. The next year, I'm in there with John and The Undertaker again - John at WrestleMania, The Undertaker the night next on Raw. I was supposed to go on and face the Undertaker at the show in Saudi Arabia. That never ended up happening because of Goldberg, but that was supposed to be my match.
"The year after was supposed to be myself against John Cena at WrestleMania in a three-year running story. Things obviously changed and that didn't end up happening."