John Cena Undergoes Successful Shoulder Surgery, Expected to Miss 6-9 Months
John Cena had surgery on his injured shoulder this week. The injury is reportedly a torn rotator cuff, which would keep him out for at least six months. Even with Cena’s history of fast healing, there’s no way he’s going to be healthy in time for Wrestlemania this year.
It’s a huge blow to a struggling WWE product. Cena was the one star who was consistently appearing on TV. Without him, it’s even harder to see Raw and Smackdown picking up any steam.
Major New Japan Stars Give Notice, Reportedly Will Sign With WWE
New Japan stars AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Doc Gallows, and Karl Anderson have reportedly given their notice to New Japan and will sign with WWE. According to Dave Meltzer the money for Styles and Nakamura is such that they will bypass NXT (Nakamura may spend a little time there to learn the WWE style) and debut on the main roster.
I really like how WWE is handling this by actively acknowledging the rumors and having guys tease it on social media. There’s no way to keep this kind of news under wraps, so why not just roll with it?
Roman Reigns to Defend WWE Championship in the Royal Rumble
By order of Vince McMahon, Roman Reigns will have to defend his WWE Championship in this year’s Royal Rumble match. This will be the first time the champion has defended the title in the match and the first time the WWE Championship has been on the line since the 1992 Rumble.
I think this does a lot to spice up both the match and the road to Wrestlemania. I expect Reigns to lose the match (probably due to Triple H’s interference). Brock Lesnar is probably the most likely winner, but Undertaker winning doesn’t seem impossible either. I could even see Triple H winning. Or a curveball like Kevin Owens.
And then we’ll have to determine a #1 contender for Wrestlemania. And how they do that could create weeks of interesting TV (honestly, it probably won’t. But it could!).
Wrestle Kingdom Draws Disappointing Attendance
Wrestle Kingdom 10 took place Monday night at the Tokyo Dome. New Japan’s premiere event draw only 25,000 people, down from 35,000 last year. Some blame probably falls on the show being on a Monday night (the show traditionally takes place on January 4th regardless of what day that happens to be).
There’s also an element of staleness to New Japan’s product now. They’ve had the same group of guys on top for years. And while Nakamura, Okada, Ibushi, ect. are great talents, the same match-ups over and over get stale. With Styles and Nakamura on their way out, New Japan is going to have to elevate some new talent. What direction the company goes in 2016 should be interesting to watch.
TNA Debuts on Pop TV
The debut on TNA Impact on Pop TV drew 255,000 viewers, a decent number. It’s equivalent to what they were drawing for their last few episodes on Destination America. I’m still skeptical of the deal they’ve made with Pop, but maintaining their audience is a small victory.