Interestingly, the A.J. Lee/John Cena romance storyline, which has dominated WWE television in recent times, was downplayed on this past Monday's Raw.
Indeed, sans a lame backstage skit in which Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero taunted Cena about their flourishing relationship, the whole angle was almost absent from the entire show.
So what's going on? Having concluded that fans don't want to see a cheesy melodramatic romantic angle, has WWE decided to go in another direction? Or is there some other reason?
Well, in this week's (subscribers-only) F4W Newsletter, Bryan Alvarez notes that WWE decided to cut back on the storyline this week after the story about Cena dating former WWE Diva Nikki Bella in real life hit TMZ and other gossip sites. (The news broke after the former WWE champion was filmed accompanying Bella to her high school reunion.)
Alvarez reports that, due to the massive publicity the news item got, WWE made the decision to pull back on the Cena/A.J. romance, for now, anyway, fearing that the Nikki Bella story would still be in people's minds:
They also went out of their way to not push the AJ/Cena storyline on Raw this week. The feeling from the company, whether right or wrong, was that a lot of people saw the TMZ story over the weekend and saw his real girlfriend, so doing the AJ stuff just two days later would have thrown the storyline in the face of the fans. It'll likely pick up again in the next week or two.
WWE may have a valid point here: It's difficult to see people being able to suspend their disbelief and buy that John Cena is infatuated with A.J. so soon after it's been established he has another girlfriend.
Of course, whether or not they'll be able to forget about it in another week or two remains to be seen, but WWE certainly must be hoping they do.