For those in the WWE Universe who have been waiting with bated breath for John Cena’s return to the company, the wait is almost over. His recovery time was supposed to last close to nine months after undergoing shoulder surgery, but Cena will be live and in living color next week on the Memorial Day episode of Monday Night RAW. Bringing back their biggest star on this particular holiday is no coincidence.
Traditionally, holiday shows had done lower ratings, but with the advent of the DVR, that hasn’t nearly had as big of an impact as in the past. Bringing John Cena back is a ploy to help what otherwise may have been a poorly-rated show. Incidentally, there have been reports floating around suggesting that since July 4 falls on a Monday, the WWE is bracing for perhaps its worst rated show of all time. There have been two schools of thought in lieu of that looming doom: Book an incredible show with tons of surprises to draw more fans, or book the show the way they would a normal non-televised live event.
Since Cena tweeted that he’d be returning to RAW next week in Green Bay, several rumors have circulated in regards to what his role would be, and who he might feud with. The Inquisitr has reported on two of those options that have been discussed by WWE officials. We noted that his first match back was being advertised locally as a six-man tag pitting John Cena with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose against AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Originally, we speculated that it was more than likely that this match would be a dark match after RAW goes off the air, and this week’s show further validated that.
The Club essentially broke up, albeit somewhat peacefully, so Styles won’t be teaming with his former New Japan running buddies anytime soon on WWE programming. It is interesting and worth noting that the three are still scheduled to team up on all the house shows, so that’s worth monitoring. So Cena may work with the other five, but it’s almost a guarantee that the match won’t take place on TV.
The other match being thrown around by the writers would see Rusev defending his newly-won United States championship against John Cena, renewing a long feud from 2015. The idea would be that Cena winning that particular title on that particular holiday would make for a great story and add prestige back to the belt. This would require Rusev to successfully defend his championship on Smackdown this week against Kalisto.
However, there is now a third option for John Cena, as reported by Cageside Seats. Fans have seen this feud a hundred times before, but the report indicates that Cena will renew his rivalry with Alberto Del Rio after he comes back to WWE. The same house-show tour bookings that see Roman Reigns and The Bloodline taking on The Club are also advertising Cena vs Del Rio, including the show on Sunday, July 17, at the Glens Falls Civic Center. That date is only significant in that it comes after the Money In The Bank pay-per-view, and one week before Battleground.
WWE would like to see the U.S. title regain some of the glitz it had last year, with all that credit going to Cena and his weekly open challenges. But if the company plans on putting Cena into a program with Del Rio (whose relationship with Paige is the most significant thing happening with his career at the moment), then it’d have to be a quick transition from Rusev. All of this will begin to take shape next Monday, so the speculation on what Cena will do next can die down a bit.
[Image via WWE]