This has been assumed for a while. John Cena making appearances for WWE in China and working shows in Shanghai and the Phillipines made getting to Richmond, Virginia for Sun., Sept. 11’s Backlash pay-per-view (PPV) a logistical nightmare, if not outright impossibility.
Cena’s now confirmed it in the most company man way possible, in a Tweet promoting the SmackDown brand show and the $9.99 per month streaming service where you can watch it:
Even though I'm on tour in #WWEManila & #WWEShanghai, YOU can see #WWEBacklash @WWENetwork! https://t.co/BLZNstv5Rf pic.twitter.com/fRx86ITvZs— John Cena (@JohnCena) September 6, 2016
As stated, most people figured Backlash would be a Cena-less show as soon as it was announced. Given how central he is to the company’s China strategy, there was no way Vince McMahon and team were pulling him off this tour, roster split be damned.
What’s more interesting is the decision to keep him off television in the period between SummerSlam and this Sunday’s event. He’s been working house shows and dark matches (he appeared after last night’s SmackDown went off the air to team with Dean Ambrose against AJ Styles & Bray Wyatt), so it’s not related to injury or any of his numerous side projects.
Instead, it’s a creative decision to allow Styles to use his victory over Cena in Brooklyn to further his character. And, while this remains to be seen, possibly to develop the 15 time World champion’s character in a real way for the first time in a long time.
Of course, when/if he comes back after Backlash, it’s probably only for about a month before he leaves again to start filming American Grit, season two. Which could either be a major plot point, or an excuse to just have same-old Cena show up whenever he’s free.
Time will tell. But for now, we know he won’t be at the PPV this weekend.
How are you enjoying life without “the champ”, Cagesiders?