WWE is currently without a few of their most popular stars because of injuries, but the company’s No.1 wrestler is healthy and hasn’t been on television for over a month. John Cena last appeared on WWE TV at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on Oct. 25, and it could be a while before he makes his return.
Cena lost his United States Championship to Alberto Del Rio at Hell in a Cell, and WWE has not made mention of his absence. The 15-time world champion is taking time off to film a reality TV show, and neither WWE nor Cena has announced when he will be back.
— John Cena (@JohnCena) November 18, 2015
There had been rumors that Cena would only miss one PPV, returning for a U.S. Title rematch with Del Rio at TLC on Dec. 13. With two weeks remaining until the event, Del Rio still doesn’t have an official opponent, but it seems unlikely that Cena will have a match soon. Del Rio will likely face Jack Swagger at TLC with the title on the line, considering the two wrestlers traded promos on “Monday Night Raw” and had a match that ended in a disqualification on “Smackdown.”
All signs seem to indicate that Cena will wrestle again before 2016 arrives. He’s scheduled to face Del Rio at a live event on Dec. 26 at Madison Square Garden, though the card is subject to change. But even if Cena does return to the ring in 2015, that doesn’t necessarily mean he has to appear on TV before the start of the New Year. He’s also scheduled to headline WWE’s tour of India in mid-January.
WWE was in a very similar situation with Cena just two years ago. After losing the WWE Championship to Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam 2013, Cena was sidelined with a triceps injury. He returned at Hell in a Cell after having not appeared live on “Raw” for two months, beating Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship at the PPV.
Whether Cena returns to TV sometime in December or in January, the most likely scenario seems to have him challenging for the U.S. Title at the Royal Rumble. Cena could potentially remain off TV until the Royal Rumble and take part in the 30-man battle royal as a surprise entrant. WWE probably won't keep him off TV for three months, especially considering their low ratings of late.
Cena brought increased prestige to the United States Championship by holding it for half of 2015. He doesn’t seem likely to win the belt back, and he could be headed for a match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 32.
Cena can never be completely counted out of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture, and there has been some speculation that he could face Roman Reigns in a title match at WrestleMania 32. But a match with the Deadman at the biggest WWE PPV of 2016 makes the most sense for Cena.
In addition to Cena missing time, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins and Cesaro are all out with injuries. All three wrestlers could miss WrestleMania 32.