Don't look now, but WWE's resident golden boy, John Cena, has managed to become an afterthought in Sunday's WWE Championship match.
On Sunday's Survivor Series card, WWE champion CM Punk will defend his title against the aforementioned Cena and the surging, lava-hot Ryback.
At first glance, the top star in the industry appears to belong in the match. After all, he has feuded with Punk over the last few months and is always a factor when the company's top prize is at stake.
But, upon further examination, one could almost sit back and question just what Cena is doing in the match. After all, he has been the centerpiece of a story involving AJ Lee, Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler. And considering that Ziggler captains a traditional Survivor Series match on this year's show, it surely would have made more sense for him to captain the team opposite Dolph.
Add to that the fact that the rivalry over the WWE Championship has managed to successfully segue from Cena versus Punk to Ryback versus Punk, in the process freshening up a title scene that had become stale.
At this point, the interest in Cena's involvement can be chalked up to capitalizing on his name value.
Unless, that is, he is only in the match to take the pinfall.
It has been a very long time since John Cena's involvement in a major championship match meant as little as it does Sunday at Survivor Series. With his story advancing elsewhere on the show and the main conflict over the title being between CM Punk and Ryback, Cena finds himself in the role of the "odd man out."
Perhaps that is not such a bad thing. A Superstar that has dominated WWE television for seven years, he has reached such a level of stardom that he can be involved in these sort of situations without having the spotlight shone directly on him.
Cena can fill a spot in a match like Sunday's Triple Threat match, lose the match and suffer no damage. He is the rare "bulletproof" performer that can be made to look weak or lose the occasional match without losing anything in the eyes of the fans.
At Survivor Series, John Cena is absolutely an afterthought in the WWE Championship match. With his presence needed elsewhere, in another major storyline and a major title rivalry that is thriving on its own, that may not be such a bad thing.
As long as he does not leave Indianapolis as the new WWE champion.