After being jumped by Dolph Ziggler during Monday’s episode of Raw, WWE superstar John Cena chased after the Money in the Bank winner and appeared to hurt his leg in the process.
Cena received medical attention and had his left knee wrapped backstage, but was part of a locker room dustup with Ziggler once again. This time, the damage delivered to his knee was reportedly much more substantial.
WWE.com reported Monday night that Cena could have a torn meniscus in his injured knee, and today’s scheduled MRI was performed on the WWE star. While no details were revealed, Cena did share some information via Twitter about the results of the testing:
MRI was typical good news bad news scenario. I've dealt with knees issues for the past few yrs, ill add one more to that list.....— John Cena (@JohnCena) November 20, 2012
I know the risks of what can happen to me and I'm willing to play the odds. #nevergiveup c u 2nite grand rapids— John Cena (@JohnCena) November 20, 2012
As real as the initial injury felt—everyone can relate to rolling an ankle or tweaking a knee running around—the subsequent backstage segment with Ziggler and Cena brawling in the locker room was clearly staged.
Despite the obvious nature of the work, there are still conflicting reports.
Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc. (via F4Wonline.com) explained how there is still a discrepancy about how much of this segment was real, how much was scripted and how Ziggler could be at the bottom of this:
As noted earlier, F4Wonline.com reports that John Cena is not really injured and WWE did the injury angle on RAW because they felt he needed to be handicapped going into a match with Dolph Ziggler. F4W adds that the backstage segment with Cena being injured were shot earlier in the night.
However, PWInsider reported this morning (via Wrestling Inc.) that Cena is legitimately injured.
Whatever the truth is behind Cena’s reported injury, the fact that it has stirred up this much controversy is great news for the WWE. The company is a business first and foremost, and when people are talking about the WWE, there are better ratings for the programming.
This is a very well-booked angle.
How This Helps WWE
While it was Eric Bischoff that became famous for saying controversy creates cash, it has been Vince McMahon and company that have perfected the art of controversy.
This worked Cena injury is just another example of how genius the WWE creative team can be when given the time and freedom to write what the fans would like.
The WWE Universe won’t be able to stop talking about Cena and whether or not his injury is real from now until the extent of the knee damage is revealed. With a backstage prognosis of a torn meniscus and inconclusive tweets, Cena and the WWE have left the door open for speculation.
When you let a wrestling fan’s mind wander, wander it will!
With the A.J. storyline treading water and an awkward kiss making things even harder to deal with, this injury and its implications force the fans that tuned out Cena’s current storyline back to paying attention.
Add in the possibility that this whole worked injury could be to give Ziggler the advantage at the duo’s likely match at the TLC pay-per-view, and this is a great move creatively from the WWE.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is This a Work?
There were serious questions about the severity of Cena’s injury when he pulled up lame while chasing Ziggler, and in slow motion, it genuinely looked like the WWE superstar tripped and hurt himself going up the ramp.
Cena’s actions after landing awkwardly and the way the announcers handled the situation made it feel very realistic, but as soon the screen showed the trainer’s table and the superstar getting his knee wrapped, it was obvious something was going on.
Those suspicions were confirmed when Cena and Ziggler had an all-out brawl in the men’s locker room. While the brawl led to the WWE reporting on a possible torn meniscus in Cena’s knee, it was clear that this whole segment was staged.
The question now is, why was it staged?
That’s easy: Dolph Ziggler.
With the WWE trying to build the Money in the Bank winner up as a viable champion leading up to whenever he will cash in the briefcase, Ziggler will likely face Cena at the TLC PPV. And win.
The majority of the crowd wouldn’t buy Dolph beating Cena clean, so what better way to help change that misconception than by having him beat the company’s No. 1 guy when he is injured?
Ziggler will win a clean match over Cena after their TLC battle, but this is all setting up for the future world champion going over in this mini feud.
Merit Meter: 2 out of 5 Mixed Messages
While it should come as a shock to no one that the WWE and the dirtsheets are not agreeing on the seriousness and severity of the situation, the fact that a good chunk of the WWE Universe bought into this angle proves that this angle was done correctly.
There will always be the fans that believe anything the WWE says and does, but when the company can trick the fans that are skeptical and keep them in the dark, the deception is a thing of beauty.
Part of the WWE’s appeal is the company’s awareness of the subcultures the WWE has caused and the news that has the tendency of getting out. One of the biggest reasons that scripted angles that leave the fans guessing work is because the WWE knows how to manipulate the dirtsheets.
Vince McMahon and company know what is going to get back to the fans, so they likely conscientiously release certain information in the hopes that it will become a big story on the Internet.
While it is an odd way of marketing, the WWE as a business depends on the hype around the product, and creating as much speculation as possible is a good thing for the company and the fans' interest in the product.
Everyone sees how much media attention the Cena injury has received so far, and the fact that the WWE has not released any definitive diagnosis, and likely will not until next Monday’s Raw, is the company’s way of feeding the beast.
No matter what the true merit of this story is—if Cena is genuinely injured or if this is all part of the WWE’s scheme—the fans should be appreciative of a thought-out angle like this on WWE programming; this doesn't happen often.
Not only does this prove the creative team is working harder to provide more interesting angles, the inclusion of Ziggler proves the company loves him enough to let him eventually go over the company’s No. 1 star at TLC.
It doesn’t matter how Ziggler is booked before he cashes in the Money in the Bank briefcase, as long as the WWE gives him a monster push when he wins it, but this is a great way to start what could be a long main-event run for Dolph.
Add in what could potentially be a huge swerve with A.J. joining forces with Ziggler (h/t Mike Chiari), and Cena’s injury could be the centerpiece for a main-event storyline for the WWE.
The fact that many still think it’s real makes the work even better, too.
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