John Cena came out on WWE Monday Night Raw this week and talked about his disappointment when it comes to his career right now. Cena talked about not winning the Royal Rumble match and then losing in the Elimination Chamber, meaning he has no WrestleMania 34 match at this time. Cena then said that he wanted to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania 34, but the WWE brass told him that was “impossible.” As a result, John left the Monday Night Raw brand and went to SmackDown Live, something allowed since he is a “free agent” and can wrestle for whatever brand he wants. However, the real reason that Cena moved to SmackDown Live was evident after his first match there this week.
John Cena Helps SmackDown Live
Cageside Seats reports that last week, SmackDown Live finished with a 0.8 rating for the adult 18-49 demographic and viewership of 2.613 million viewers. That rating matched the Jan. 23 episode and was only the third time this year that it broke 0.8. It also saw the most viewers since the Jan. 2 episode.
With John Cena back on SmackDown Live this week, the show picked up somewhat. Jason Powell of ProWrestling reported that this week’s episode, which featured John Cena battle AJ Styles in the main event, finished with 2.692 million viewers and 0.86 rating, the highest since Sept. 12, 2017.
Despite the seemingly low numbers, Showbuzz Daily reported that SmackDown Live was the top-ranked original cable series for Tuesday night. As is the case for the WWE over the past few years, John Cena brings in more fans, and returning to SmackDown Live gave the show a boost that it needed.
This comes on the heels of photos that fans posted online (via PWmania) from SmackDown Live events that showed a lot of empty seats and low attendance at the shows. There are rumors that low ticket sales are why the WWE chose to eliminate brand-specific pay-per-views after WrestleMania 34.
John Cena And His WrestleMania Plans
John Cena beat AJ Styles in the main event on SmackDown Live, and he now gets into the multi-man WWE title match at Fastlane. However, if he loses that match, Cena will still be without a match for WrestleMania 34.
There are a few options for the WWE. John Cena can beat AJ Styles for the world title to keep him out of the world title picture at WrestleMania for the second year in a row. John Cena can lose in the match and find a new opponent for WrestleMania — possibly the rumored Undertaker match — completing the swerve started on Monday Night Raw. The third option is for John Cena to end up involved in the AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura match at WrestleMania 34, making it a three-way.
There is also the chance that John Cena could wrestle someone completely different at WrestleMania 34, but his road to WrestleMania is through SmackDown Live now, which should help attendance for the show at least until that huge event.