Having just returned to WWE programming on Monday Night Raw less than two weeks ago, John Cena has been sidelined with an injury. Reports indicate that Cena will miss not only the Royal Rumble, but likely WrestleMania 32 as well. Expected to play a major role at the event in Dallas, John Cena’s surgery leaves WWE scrambling to figure out what they’ll do at the “Super Bowl of pro wrestling.” With Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson having already announced his plans to be at Mania and Brock Lesnar set to make a big announcement on the next episode of WWE Raw, there is a lot of speculation as to whether WWE may headline their biggest event of the year with The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar.
IT'S OFFICIAL: People's Champ is coming home to do 3 things with THE PEOPLE: Set an ALL-TIME attendance record, ELECTRIFY Dallas like never before & make all time #WRESTLEMANIA history. And we have FUN. Ok that's four things but you know what the hell The Rock's sayin'.. ????. THANK YOU #WWEUniverse! It's always an honor coming home and I wouldn't miss it for the world. #PeoplesChamp4L #MakingElectrifyingHistory #SmackethLaidDownOnThyCandyAsses ????????????
Less than three weeks from now, WWE’s annual Royal Rumble event takes place in Orlando, Florida. Traditionally, this event is seen — and marketed as — the beginning of the “Road to WrestleMania,” WWE’s biggest night of the year. Prior to the news breaking about Cena’s injury, Vince McMahon and the WWE had already upped the stakes for this year’s Royal Rumble Match by forcing current WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns to enter the match with his title on the line, something that has never happened in the nearly 30-year history of the Royal Rumble event.
This changes things dramatically. Since 1993, the tradition has been that the winner of the Rumble Match was guaranteed a match against the champion, who normally is not required to compete in the match at all.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) January 8, 2016
Considering that John Cena, who is still the biggest draw in WWE, just recently returned from a break and hasn’t held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship since August of 2014, it was thought by many that Cena would be involved in the championship scene by the time WrestleMania 32 came around. With Cena injured, however, WWE’s potential plans for their biggest title and their biggest star at their biggest event of the year are all up in the air.
Vince McMahon loves statistics and records that prove WWE can compete with any other entertainment brand on the planet. What Culture points out that by holding WrestleMania 32 at AT&T Stadium, Vince can break the all-time attendance record for WrestleMania, the stadium itself, and even legitimately break the all-time indoor attendance record. To pull off a feat that substantial, the card is going to have to be packed with some big names.
— WhatCulture WWE (@WhatCultureWWE) January 8, 2016
More so than any other time of the year, WWE likes to bring in outside celebrities and WWE legends into the WrestleMania mix to help build a lot of anticipation through major media outlets that wouldn’t normally be interested in professional wrestling. Thanks to his enormous success in Hollywood, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is both a celebrity outside of the wrestling world and a wrestling legend at the same time. Because of his dominant presence in the NCAA and UFC, Brock Lesnar has also achieved a great deal of celebrity outside of WWE while maintaining his legendary status as one of the most destructive professional wrestling champions of all time.
Considering that The Rock and Brock Lesnar are both arguably in as good of shape today as they have ever been in, putting them up against each other at WrestleMania 32 seems like a very viable option. But that would mean bumping Roman Reigns from the spotlight, and it’s clear that Vince McMahon wants to see The Big Dog become the next big WWE Superstar. Last year, Reigns headlined WrestleMania with Brock Lesnar. But if WWE wants WrestleMania to be even bigger this year than last year, their main event is going to have to be even bigger. If Roman Reigns is removed from the picture, he can be replaced with his cousin, The Rock.
— Collin Wing (@CollinWing) January 6, 2016
Setting the story for “The Brahma Bull” against “The Beast Incarnate” as the main event of WrestleMania 32 wouldn’t be difficult at all.
As confirmed by WWE.com, Brock Lesnar will be appearing at WWE Monday Night Raw this week in New Orleans, where Lesnar shocked the WWE Universe in 2014 by ending the Undertaker’s undefeated WrestleMania streak. Since losing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 31, Lesnar has been without a WWE title. At Raw on Monday, Lesnar could announce that he’s ready to take the title back and enter his name into the Royal Rumble main event.
— WWE (@WWE) January 5, 2016
Already boasting an undefeated Royal Rumble record, Brock Lesnar wins the Rumble Match and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. At WWE Fast Lane in February, Roman Reigns is granted his rematch. He fails to recapture the title, and Lesnar continues to beat on the former champion even after the match has ended. Having been spotted backstage earlier in the night, The Rock comes out and makes the save, and Fast Lane ends with The Rock and Brock staring each other down.
The next night on WWE Raw, just as expected, it is announced that The Rock will challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 32. The Rock and Brock Lesnar, in the weeks leading up to their showdown in Dallas, will be all over the media, from ESPN and TMZ to the Today show and SNL.
— People's championⓂ️ (@A_ksa_A2014) December 30, 2015
So as not to count the two-year push of Roman Reigns as a complete waste, he can be involved in a match with Triple H and/or Vince McMahon at WrestleMania. Since their current feud is reminiscent of the Austin vs. McMahon feud of the Attitude Era, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin can have an official role in the match. He can be an aggressive referee, or even be a limited tag team partner as Reigns and Austin battle Triple H and McMahon.
While the Internet Wrestling Community may throw a fit about the main event involved two “part-timers,” you can give them a few matches that they want to see so they acquiesce. Give Daniel Bryan the thumbs-up to return to action, and put him in a Fatal Four-Way Match for the Intercontinental Championship against Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens. Let Finn Balor make his WrestleMania debut — with his best “demon” entrance to date — in a showdown with the Undertaker. Let Bullet Club members AJ Style, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows make a surprise appearance when they respond to an open challenge by The New Day for the WWE Tag Team Championship.
— brandon sackfie (@sackfie_brandon) January 3, 2016
When your go-to money-maker is on the bench, you’ve got to turn to someone you know can deliver. The Rock and Brock Lesnar both have mainstream appeal and an emotional connection with most casual and serious WWE fans. As John Cena prepares to undergo shoulder surgery, Vince may have to depend on two guys who have had Cena’s number in the past.
Brock Lesnar returns to WWE television on January 11’s WWE Monday Night Raw on the USA Network. He will likely announce his intentions for the WWE Royal Rumble, airing on the WWE Network on January 24. The Rock, who is already confirmed to appear at WrestleMania 32, may have to show up earlier if he is to be involved in a match at the event. Vince McMahon and the WWE Universe will continue to hope and pray that John Cena makes a miraculous recovery from his upcoming surgery and competes at the WWE’s biggest night of the year on April 3.
[Image via Twitter]