The wrestling world is buzzing today over the news that John Cena was injured Tuesday night at a WWE house show. Reports indicate that top WWE superstar injured his hip and abruptly went to the finish of his match. The early prognosis is not good with Cena telling the live crowd after the match that he may need time off.
Wrestling websites and media have been scrambling for the last 24 hours looking for more details on the injury. I have read several fan reports and they all report that Cena stopped his Steel Cage match with Wade Barrett in the middle of the match after taking Barrett’s Wasteland. Barrett started climbing the cage after the move. The typical spot here would have been for Cena to catch him and pull him down. Cena couldn’t stand up. Barrett climbed down on his own and immediately went to the finish, which probably looked rather ridiculous.
The ramifications of this could be devastating for the WWE. The timing couldn’t be worse as the WWE is set to begin building to WrestleMania 27 starting with the Royal Rumble. The WWE has done a great job of creating parody among its wrestlers but Cena has been pushed well beyond anyone else in the company and is the face of the WWE. If the top WWE superstar is unavailable for WrestleMania, plans would have to change immediately beginning with the January 3 Monday Night RAW.
Cena has been one of the more resilient top WWE superstars over the last several years only suffering one major injury as opposed to guys like Edge, Randy Orton, and Triple H who have all missed time with numerous injuries. Cena is regarded as the busiest WWE wrestler in the company between personal appearances and wrestling so his ability to remain relatively injury-free is impressive.
The WWE has really boxed themselves into a corner. Regardless of the severity of the injury, this should be a wakeup call. The WWE has not prepared themselves at all for any kind of a Plan B if Cena would go down for any amount of time. Nobody has been promoted even close to his level and without Cena, there would definitely be a major gap in the programming. It is so bad that even when Cena was “fired” by Wade Barrett the WWE wouldn’t remove him from television for even a week to sell the angle. The lack of depth at the top is probably the worst it has been in years.
Jeff Hardy cashed in the last time Cena went down and took the babyface spot left open when Cena went down in 2007. Hardy was both lucky and well prepared for the role and relished in his feud with Randy Orton. Hardy only got that spot after Orton’s feuds with Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho fizzled fast. Hardy was such a success that even after Cena returned, Hardy remained a top guy so in the end the WWE used the injury to elevate a new star. Unfortunately I don’t see anyone at first glance that can match Hardy’s success from either brand. The WWE are going to have a hard time scrambling around for a guy to move into that role naturally and successfully.
Off the top, there aren’t any candidates that immediately stick out as potential replacements. Triple H is an obvious and probably the likely choice. Two weeks ago CM Punk would have been perfect in the role. Unfortunately his sudden heel turn nullifies any chance of that. Wade Barrett is an interesting possibility, but I think it is too soon to turn him although that looks like where it is going. Rey Mysterio could come over from SmackDown but it weakens SmackDown too much in my opinion. Edge is old news at this point and fans aren’t ready to accept him as the ultimate babyface that Cena was. If there is someone I am missing let me know because I just don’t see him.
Calling Shawn Michaels!
UPDATE: WWE.com reports that John Cena suffered a hip injury and is day to day. “His return to action will be evaluated on a day to day basis.” Ironically the article not only refers to the video on You Tube but actually provides a link to the clip. That is a bit of a surprise considering the usual WWE plan of attack when it comes to those kinds of videos is to have them removed due to copyright violations.
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