There are a few reasons why that “Card subject to change” disclaimer gets slapped on advertisements for upcoming shows, and one of them has triggered a few changes to the WWE Live Holiday Tour dates in the New York area scheduled for later this month and early Jan. 2019. They also may be giving us some clues about how John Cena will be used when he return to wrestling over that same time frame, or maybe even for his road to WrestleMania 35.
Fans often say house shows are “out of continuity”. And that’s true, to an extent. They’re not so far removed from current characters and stories that WWE wants them to completely contradict what’s happening on our screens each week, if they can avoid it.
Several weeks lead time is enough to avoid it, and the changes start with one of the biggest house shows on the company’s annual calendar, their post-Christmas show in Manhattan’s iconic Madison Square Garden. Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler are no longer a team, so they’re previously announced tag showdown against John Cena & Finn Bálor no longer makes sense for Weds., Dec. 26. The newest line-up on MSG’s website now just hypes Cena’s return to the Garden and moves Finn to the “also scheduled to appear” section.
NXT also has a showcase match on this card, but Johnny Gargano was first announced on the babyface half of a ten-man tag, partnering up with Aleister Black - who we now know he’ll face in a steel cage on Dec. 19. As such, that one is now an eight-man tag with no Gargano and one member of Undisputed ERA presumably sitting it out for the rudo side.
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House shows can also be used to test out or “rehearse” future feuds and programs, and Cena’s announced plans for Thurs., Dec. 27 at the SmackDown brand Long Island show could be an example of that. Not that he needs much practice working with The Miz.
NYCB Live’s website still doesn’t offer much detail (and the only thing they specify is a probably-out-of-date AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe WWE title tilt), but PWInsider is reporting that Cena will guest on a Miz TV segment on the 27th. On television, Miz looks to be in the mix for the WWE championship currently held by Daniel Bryan. Could this be a sign the Bumblebee star will be chasing his WWE record 17th World title in 2019?
- Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles in a Steel Cage match for the WWE championship
- Miz TV featuring John Cena
- Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s title
- Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton
Cena is also scheduled to work two Raw tapings during the three weeks’s worth of dates he’s been announced for (so far). And the WWE title picture could be in flux, at least based off some other advertisements in January that PWInsider has.
Those includes a Jan. 6 show at Crown Complex in Fayetteville, North Carolina which lists an AJ Styles vs. Miz match for the belt and a Daniel Bryan vs. Samoa Joe bout with no championship on the line. But the heel vs. heel nature of DB vs. Joe isn’t the only reason to not get too worked up about that, though. The next night (Jan. 7) in North Charleston, South Carolina is advertising the same two bouts, but with Bryan vs. Joe as the WWE title bout.
Then at the end of the month, in a day-after-Royal Rumble house show in Tucson, we’re back to Styles vs. Miz for the strap while the New Daniel Bryan is listed as facing a different heel, Randy Orton.
Which all probably adds up to “don’t read anything into any of this”. But some of us will, and some of those forecasts may pan out, so now you know.
Do with it as you will.