By Graham "GSM" Matthews
John Cena broke the news on Twitter tonight that he will undergoing shoulder surgery tomorrow to repair a torn rotator cuff, which was confirmed by WWE.com and later PWInsider. The report didn't mention how long Cena will be out of action for, but it's been speculated that he will be off WrestleMania. Obviously, this would be a major blow to The Show of Shows as WWE intends to make it the biggest installment ever by filling the 100,000 seat AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.
With WrestleMania a little under three months away, there's a small chance he could make it back in time, and given Cena's past miraculous recoveries (see: 2008 and 2013), I wouldn't count him out just yet. That said, Cena missing the event is the safe bet at this time until more is known about the injury. With Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Sting, Daniel Bryan and Cesaro already missing 'Mania this year due to injuries, the last thing WWE can afford the face of their company to sit on the sidelines as well. I'm not at all suggesting they rush him back if he isn't 100 percent, but it certainly leaves the top matches at WrestleMania in question.
He just recently returned to WWE at the tail end of 2015, unsuccessfully challenging Alberto Del Rio for the United States Championship. Conspicuous by his absence on the first Raw of 2016, Cena appeared in a non-wrestling role at the next night's SmackDown tapings in Laredo, TX. It's been rumored for months that he was penciled in to face The Undertaker in a dream match for many at WrestleMania 32 or challenge for (or even defend) the WWE World Heavyweight Championship versus Roman Reigns. He could have very well been the planned winner of the 2016 Royal Rumble, but I guess now we'll never know.
If Cena is indeed off WrestleMania, it will be the first installment he has missed since joining the main roster in 2002. Technically, he didn't appear on the televised portion of WrestleMania 19, but he was present at the event, though he was not in action. That said, he's been a staple of The Granddaddy of Them All for over a decade and there isn't a worse time for him to miss 'Mania than this year with WWE trying to bill it as the most star-studded show of all-time.
I'm of the belief that he was going to be in a match with Undertaker at WrestleMania 32, but with Cena out, who is there for 'Taker to face? Sting is an obvious opponent, but he's supposedly still rehabbing the neck injury he suffered at Night of Champions and won't be a part of WrestleMania. He's already lost to Brock Lesnar twice and they wrapped up their feud at Hell in a Cell. He has feuded with Bray Wyatt twice as well. Unless they call up Finn Balor on such short notice, I'm stumped who they will have him go up against.
Now is the time for the young guns of the roster to rise up and take their spot at the top. Cena's injury is by no means a positive for WWE or the fans, but it is undoubtedly an opportunity for the stars of NXT and others such as Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens, and even AJ Styles, who could be coming into the company sooner rather than later. This has surely been the most interesting road to WrestleMania we've had in years and it's only early January. Hopefully we'll have more updates regarding Cena's injury in the days to come and we'll get a better idea of how long he could be out of action for and what his status for WrestleMania will be.