It was known for several weeks that ex-WWE World Heavyweight and United States Champion John Cena would be taking up to two months off following October's Hell in a Cell, and his absence has, up to this point, lessened the value of the United States Championship, and it has had a negative impact on the show.
Following the Seth Rollins injury, on top of all of the other injury issues the WWE roster seems to be having at the moment with Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, and Rusev all being out of action due to injury, there was a belief that WWE would immediately contact John Cena, and see if he'd be able to return earlier than expected.
As of right now, John Cena won't be returning any sooner than expected, but of course, that could change if Cena finds an opening in his schedule, as he's in the process of filming a fitness-based reality show that will air sometime next spring.
While it was known that Cena would be going away for a while, nobody besides WWE knew when he was going to return to being a weekly television character. But now we know, as Cena is being advertised for the January 4 RAW show in San Antonio, Texas.
Before that, Cena's only scheduled appearance is on December 26th at Madison Square Garden, and he's also scheduled for WWE's tour of India following his return to WWE television.
Prior to Alberto Del Rio's return, John Cena was scheduled to lose the United States Championship to Sheamus at Hell in a Cell, which would lead to a feud between the two following Cena's return. But now Cena is scheduled to begin feuding with Alberto Del Rio when he returns, and he'll likely regain the United States Championship at some point during the feud.
Since Cena's departure, WWE hasn't explained why he's been gone, which, according to Bryan Alvarez of Figure Four Weekly, has left some of WWE's casual fans confused as to why Cena hasn't been on WWE television these last few weeks.
Alvarez then went on to suggest that WWE should have done an injury angle to explain Cena's absence, saying that they should have announced that the super kick that Del Rio delivered to Cena gave the fifteen time WWE Champ a concussion, therefore he won't be able to compete for the next several weeks.
In recent years, WWE has rarely advertised anything that's coming up on their weekly shows, or acknowledged when someone is going to be gone for a while simply because they want their viewers to be under the impression that anything can happen at any time on the show, which is likely why they haven't explained or even acknowledged John Cena'a absence, as they probably want their fans to think that Cena will appear on the show at some point, therefore the viewers at home will be glued to their television.
Since Cena has been gone, the RAW ratings have fallen to record lows. This past Monday's RAW from the United Kingdom was one of the lowest rated shows in the history of the company.
Before Cena left, the ratings were beginning to drop, and some weeks they hit record lows, but since his departure the ratings have only gotten worse.
Typically the fall and early winter months are the worst months for WWE, so Cena's return in January, which is usually when things begin to turn around for the company, will likely draw a huge rating for the show, and if it doesn't, then that may be a sign that WWE has been running their fans off due to the weekly, three-hour format, which many fans have criticized, saying that the show is far too long, and it drags too much.
[Image via WWE]