John Cena’s Instagram page is a haven for independent wrestling fans who love to fuel rumors for a potential WWE debut.
In his latest post, the 16-time WWE Champion posted a photo of current Ring of Honor superstar Jay Lethal. This is not the first time Cena has caused a stir on social media as he’s posted pictures of Kenny Omega and AJ Styles leading up to the last two Royal Rumble events.
As the bio on Cena’s page reads, “Welcome to my Instagram. These images will be posted without explanation, for your interpretation. Enjoy.” His pictures of Omega turned out to be a tease as the New Japan Pro Wrestling star re-signed with the company last month; Styles actually debuted at the Royal Rumble last year and has become a major WWE superstar.
So with that in mind, let’s try to interpret Cena’s post.
Lethal, 31, has been with ROH since 2011 when he returned to the company after a multi-year run with TNA Impact Wrestling. Since returning, Lethal has twice captured the ROH World Television Championship, secured his first ROH World Championship, holding both titles simultaneously at one point.
The former “Black Machismo” has also since lost his hair, become one of ROH’s top heels (bad guy), and has the freedom of not being tied down as he’s allowed to book independent wrestling dates. But several of Lethal’s former colleagues, including AJ Styles, Austin Aries, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, Roderick Strong, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Kevin Owens, have moved on to successful runs in the WWE system.
Lethal himself admitted he would like to step in a WWE ring someday under the right circumstances.
“For me and most of the wrestlers from my generation, our love for professional wrestling started by watching the WWF, at the time, which is now the WWE,” Lethal said to Jim Ross on the WWE Hall of Famer’s Ross Report podcast (h/t Wrestling Inc). “So for me, personally, it would be very cool to get to work for, even if it was just for a minute, to get to work for the company that really started my love for professional wrestling, so that would be a ‘yes.’ I would definitely work for them given the right time [and] given the right circumstance.”
The reality that WWE may not be in Lethal’s immediate or long-term future does not seem to bother him.
In an interview with Comicbook this past January, Lethal spoke about his career and the possibility of never competing inside a WWE ring.
“My dad asked me a few years [ago], ‘if you don’t make it to the WWE, I think that you have made it in wrestling in general. You have an action figure, you’ve been able to purchase a home with your wrestling money. People all around the world know you. You can travel to a different country and people want to meet you. They want to shake your hand. They want to talk to you. You’ve made it!’ And I agree with him 100 percent. Once you get into the wrestling business, I think once you step behind the curtain you get to see a lot of things you didn’t get to see as a fan, therefore your dream kind of changes. Am I saying that my dream along time ago wasn’t to make it to the WWE, of course! They shaped my love for professional wrestling. My dream as I got older … I am extremely happy where I am right now.”
However, in a separate chat with Comicbook just two days earlier, Lethal confirmed he re-signed with ROH on a two-year pact. That means Lethal will not be able to compete inside a WWE ring until 2019 at the earliest.
Cena’s post could be a play on words for the recent Southpaw Regional Wrestling, where the “Face That Runs The Place” plays the role of an announcer named Lance Catamaran. In the four released episodes, the buildup of the promotion is toward its big pay-per-view, Lethal Leap Year.
[Featured Image by WWE]