Even though we now find ourselves approaching the final straight on the Road to WrestleMania, it appears it is not too late for the WWE to spring a surprise on us.
And for the benefit of those of you averse to spoilers—now is the time to look away.
As reported by WrestlingINC.com, one of the biggest heel authority figures of the past few years was present on Tuesday night’s SmackDown tapings, and he had a message for WWE Champion The Rock:
John Laurinaitis will make his return to WWE TV on this Friday's episode of SmackDown, taped tonight in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Laurinaitis returned by interrupting The Rock's promo to kick off the show. He revealed that Teddy Long gave him permission to come out. Laurinaitis mentioned John Cena was the reason he got fired from WWE and he wanted to be in The Rock's corner at WrestleMania 29. Rock ended up shaking hands with Laurinaitis but laid him out with a spinebuster and a People's Elbow.
Needless to say, this is a highly surprising revelation.
Laurinaitis hasn’t been seen since his embarrassing dismissal from WWE television at the hands of John Cena and Vince McMahon, while he was also replaced backstage by Triple H as the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations.
Rumors of an on-screen return persisted, though, and it appears that such an eventuality will finally come to fruition this Friday night—but what can we take from this unexpected appearance?
This article outlines three possible explanations for John Laurinaitis’ return to WWE television on SmackDown.
To Screw Cena
Having told The Rock he wants to be in his corner at ‘Mania, there is always the possibility that Big Johnny is in fact planning on keeping to his word.
His dislike of Cena is certainly logical, and though it’s a very late stage at which to add him to the WrestleMania main event picture, he could have an intriguing effect on the match-up itself.
If he truly is planning on being in The Rock’s corner, then this would no doubt involve the former GM looking to screw Cena as payback for his No Way Out humiliation, rather than acting as a mere innocent bystander.
That being said, screwing Cena would result in The Rock retaining his title.
While there has been speculation that The Brahma Bull will be featuring at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view after WrestleMania, it is widely expected that The Rock’s WWE run will conclude at ‘Mania for the time being.
Thus, it’s very difficult to envisage Cena getting truly screwed, and so I would be fairly confident in discounting this as a possible explanation.
To Instigate Cena’s Heel Turn
Having said that, this is the world of professional wrestling, and as a result, we must use pro-wrestling-logic rather than conventional rational thinking.
With this in mind, a far more appropriate reason for Laurinaitis’ desire to be in The Rock’s corner could be to go back on his word and double-cross the Great One, thus siding with a heel-turned Cena.
This development would most likely be the most popular option amongst many a WWE fan, as there has been constant demand for a Cena heel-turn for a very long time indeed now.
However I still don’t think that such a situation will materialise, as the WWE still don’t appear confident enough in any of their other faces to assume the gargantuan void that Cena will leave.
As much as I’d love to see this happen, in something of a WrestleMania X-7 kind of moment, I can’t see Creative pushing ahead with an idea like this just yet.
Simply to Fill a Segment
As a result, we’re left with one more potential explanation—that Laurinaitis’ appearance on SmackDown will have no impact on the match at WrestleMania itself.
As anti-climactic as this would be, it could just be the WWE’s attempt to inject some more excitement into a rivalry that has unfortunately lost a lot of momentum over the past few weeks.
Having Laurinaitis return will certainly get people talking, and thus, it could just be a clever piece of promotion from the WWE.
Furthermore, it is somewhat in keeping with the recent trend that was initiated on Raw of having former faces weigh in with their thoughts and input regarding this year’s WrestleMania main event.
Nonetheless, I feel that this outcome would represent a big opportunity missed for the WWE.
Though I was never a fan of Laurinaitis due to his shocking mic skills and inability to remember even the simplest of lines, his return could be the catalyst for a truly game-changing development in the landscape of the WWE.
Unfortunately though, I believe that his appearance was merely a one-off that won’t bear too much significance on this year’s WrestleMania—though I hope I’m severely mistaken.
But what do you guys think about this unexpected news?
Will Laurinaitis return to WWE TV permanently?
Will he mastermind the much-craved Cena heel turn?
And furthermore, how do you feel about Big Johnny being utilized in storylines once again?
Comment below with your thoughts on this recent development as well as any opinions you may have on the issues discussed in the article itself.