The news that John Cena would miss two-to-three weeks of action due to surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow sent shock waves through the wrestling world on Tuesday, but a suddenly revised timetable of six-to-eight weeks has fans talking even more. I contend that it's nothing more than a work, however.
WWE.com initially reported that Cena would miss two-to-three weeks following the procedure performed by the famed Dr. James Andrews, but supposedly new information came to light on Wednesday. Apparently WWE.com announced the two-to-three week recovery time prematurely prior to the surgery, but in talking to Andrews learned that it would take significantly longer.
On the surface, it seems legitimate, especially since Cena proceeded to go on a Twitter rant. Cena attacked WWE.com, saying it had as much credibility as the satirical site The Onion and that Andrews himself told him that he would need at least six weeks of rest.
I give the WWE plenty of credit for going to such great lengths in order to give the six-to-eight week timetable some credibility, but I'm not buying it. Firstly, I have a hard time buying that a company guy like Cena, who is the No. 1 star in WWE and gets paid millions of dollars to be precisely that, would go on a Twitter tirade against the company that made him famous.
Cena never says a bad word about the company, so I doubt he would start now. He attacked WWE.com specifically, but WWE.com isn't some rogue branch of the WWE. I'm certain that nothing gets published on that site without approval from higher-ups such as Vince McMahon, and he certainly wouldn't allow the site to present a fake injury recovery time unless it was part of the storyline.
All of this is being done in order to make Cena's eventual return a surprise and to make Cena look extremely strong when he inevitably obliterates the six-to-eight week timetable. This is a guy who was supposed to miss somewhere in the neighborhood of seven-to-12 months with a torn pectoralis major muscle in late 2007, but he incredibly returned in three months and won the Royal Rumble.
With that in mind, I doubt that the removal of bone chips will keep Cena out nearly as long as a major, career-threatening injury like a torn pec. Had Andrews come out and said with certainty that he would be out for six-to-eight weeks, I might have believed it since he probably wouldn't lie about something related to his livelihood, but that wasn't the case.
Cena and the WWE have likely been planning this surgery for quite some time since bone chips don't just happen. I'm sure Cena has been cognizant of the injury and was simply looking for a period of time where he could get things taken care of. Since Hell in a Cell is six weeks away, the Tuesday following Night of Champions and RAW made a lot of sense.
This can now be incorporated as part of the storyline as WWE Champion CM Punk can say that while he and Cena fought to a draw at Night of Champions, he was the real winner since Cena left with his tail between his legs to get surgery. Punk can talk about his superiority for a couple weeks before Cena "surprisingly" returns well ahead of schedule.
I suppose WWE.com could have reported from the start that Cena would be out six-to-eight weeks, but the way this whole thing has been handled has stirred up controversy, and I believe that is precisely what Vince McMahon and the WWE powers that be wanted.
Essentially everything that the WWE does is calculated, and I have no reason to believe that this angle is any different. There is no doubt that Cena is legitimately injured and underwent surgery to correct it, but the recovery time is very sketchy, and that's exactly how WWE wants it.
This way, if there is some sort of setback, the WWE is still covered with the longer timetable. The hope and the expectation is probably more like two-to-three weeks, however, so I expect to see Cena back in action by Columbus Day.