When John Cena appeared to step awkwardly while chasing Dolph Ziggler toward the backstage area on Monday's edition of Raw, many members of the WWE Universe figured that the face of the company had once again injured himself. Based on the ensuing happenings, however, Cena's affliction is simply a work.
There aren't a lot of things in professional wrestling anymore that blur the lines between fantasy and reality, but Cena's injury angle did precisely that. When it initially happened, it looked very real, and the announcers reacted accordingly. They showed replays of the incident that showed Cena rolling his ankle, so a legitimate injury seemed like a possibility.
All of that went out the window when Cena was shown with A.J. Lee in the training room getting his knee wrapped, however. A.J. felt guilty since Ziggler attacked Cena while she was kissing him and was there to lend Cena support. The fact that this particular segment was done so seamlessly, though, made it very obvious that it had already been planned and perhaps even taped earlier in the day.
There are differing opinions on the matter throughout the wrestling world currently. According to WrestleZone.com (via F4WOnline.com), the injury was not real, and it was simply done as a way to put Cena at a perceived disadvantage heading into a potential match with Ziggler at TLC.
According to PWInsider.com, however, the knee injury is legitimate and resulted in Cena getting an MRI. Also, the site is reporting that the segments involving Cena following the injury went forward as planned, but they were shot live in order to incorporate Cena's knee injury.
Call me crazy, but I'm not buying the latter report at all. Obviously, there are times when backstage segments are shot live, but some of the things that were done on Monday were far too intricate to risk it. The spot where Ziggler speared Cena through the bathroom stall in the locker room could have very easily gone wrong, and it would have been idiotic to do it live when there was plenty of time before the show to make it perfect.
There were several scenes involving Cena following the storyline injury, and it would have been very difficult for the writers to make all of that happen on the fly. I'm sure the creative team is very capable, but most of them have backgrounds in sitcoms or soap operas where everything is carefully planned. Had so much of the show been redone on a whim, it would have been much more noticeable.
Also, the explanation of the injury was quite strange. The doctor told Cena that he could have a torn meniscus, yet the video of Cena's injury doesn't show anything that would indicate a knee injury. If anything, it would have been a sprained ankle or ligament damage in the ankle area. Sometimes major injuries happen through seemingly harmless circumstances, but that doesn't look to be the case in this instance.
WWE.com picked up the story of Cena's MRI today, including tweets from Cena himself. Cena called the MRI a "typical good news/bad news scenario," but he went on to suggest that he would be competing at the Smackdown tapings in Grand Rapids, Mich.
There is no way Cena would be allowed to compete with that type of injury, just like the WWE brass wouldn't have let him get speared through a bathroom stall had he really been hurt. Cena makes a ton of money for the company and is just coming off an elbow injury, so Vince McMahon is going to do everything within his power to protect his most valuable asset.
From a storyline perspective, this injury makes too much sense to be legitimate as well. Not only does it weaken Cena and give Ziggler a possible advantage at TLC, but it also brings A.J.'s involvement into question. WWE.com has a poll question asking the WWE Universe if A.J. is partially to blame for Cena's injury, and it certainly isn't a coincidence that the WWE would ask that question.
It's clear that A.J. is working with Dolph, and she will ultimately turn on Cena. Ziggler attacked Cena when A.J. was kissing him, and A.J. also led Cena to slaughter in the locker room as he came to her aid when she was hitting Dolph. Ziggler has no real reason to care about the supposed affair between A.J. and Cena, but revealing that he and A.J. are together in actuality would make sense of it all.
In the coming weeks, people will accuse A.J. of being bad news for Cena, but the leader of the Cenation will showcase his heart of gold and wax poetic about the former Raw general manager. It will ultimately lead to Cena's undoing, though, as A.J. will side with Ziggler and help him beat Cena in a shocking moment at TLC.
The WWE did a nice job with this angle in making so many people believe that Cena was really injured, but the fact of the matter is that it's all part of the show, just like almost everything else we see on a daily basis.