Considering the fact that consecutive episodes of Monday Night Raw drew some of the lowest ratings in the past 15 years for WWE, and were acting as the bread to a Battleground shit sandwich, it came as little surprise when John Cena's return to action was announced. Sure, he's two months ahead of schedule on his recovery from a torn triceps, but he didn't get the nickname "SuperCena" for nothing.
The dude is a freaking superhuman.
The natural assumption was WWE had looked at the ratings and gauged response to its awful pay-per-view (PPV) and decided to bring Cena back -- not to mention Shawn Michaels -- in a panic move. According to the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required) that's simply not the case.
Many jumped to the conclusion that having both Cena and Shawn Michaels appear at Hell in a Cell was in response to the terribly negative response to the Battleground PPV, among the worst WWE major shows in years. But that isn't the case. As noted here, Michaels was scheduled to return for an angle several weeks back. We've since learned that the plan for Cena vs. Del Rio was secretly on the books for about two weeks, dating back to the announcement of Cena appearing on the late December show in Madison Square Garden.
Michaels always made sense, as he has ties to the main event storyline in a way no one else ever could. Cena, however, is coming back for a world heavyweight title match against Alberto Del Rio that has been given zero explanation. It's quite the surprise, but not nearly as surprising as the fact that it's been planned for weeks now.