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John Cena rumored out of action until July

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For several weeks in February, John Cena played with our belief in his myth to drive headlines about his rehabilitation from shoulder surgery. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Cena teased that maybe, just maybe he wouldn't miss his first WrestleMania since 2003. And we paid attention, thinking - he's done it before, so, yeah, he'll probably do it again.

Eventually, at the press conference announcing the home of the 2017 Mania, Cena confessed it wasn't happening.

Now, if the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required but recommended) is right, the Face Who Runs the Place may be missing from the ring at a lot more than just Apr. 3's Show of Shows.

They report that internal speculation has Cena returning in July, meaning Battleground on the 24th of that month would be his first pay-per-view (PPV) of 2016. The 15-time World champ would also be absent for Payback, Extreme Rules and Money in the Bank, if the Observer's sources are correct.

A July return would represent a six month recovery window - the longer end of estimates for recovery from rotator cuff surgery, but then, Cena is now nearing 40 and, even considering the remarkable shape he keeps himself in, with a lot more wear and tear on his body than he had during his previous miraculous comebacks. Plus, as a film actor, and producer & star of non-wrestling television projects, he has more to keep him busy than he did when he was defying expectations in the Aughts.

The Observer says there are definitely plans for a non-contact appearance or role at next month's WrestleMania in Arlington, Texas, and American Grit premieres on Fox later in April, so you won't be without Cena completely.

But Vince McMahon will have a few more months without the star he and his Creative team have looked to to solve almost every problem for the last decade-plus.

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