Thanks to the latest WWE rumors, fans have no reason to worry about John Cena's leg injury and don't have to abandon hope about CM Punk coming back.
Two former world champs who recently returned to WWE, Hulk Hogan and Batista, are at the center of backstage buzz as well. The company is reportedly unhappy about Hogan's return being spoiled. As for Batista, he's in the same category—suffering from an injury that only appeared to be real.
The backstage reports and rumors in circulation this week provide a lesson in deciphering the scripted versus a shoot.
Injuries: Worked or Legit?
Some fans were unsure where the script ended and reality began when medical staff hauled Cena out of the arena on a stretcher during Monday's Raw.
According to PWTorch, Cena's injury was not legitimate. The report goes on to add the following:
WWE went through with a coordinated effort to sell the injury, as WWE had audio of Cena complaining about the "injury" on a single-leg take down by Erick Rowan and the announcers were prepped to focus on the takedown spot during a post-segment replay.
WWE didn't play up Batista being hurt after his match against Alberto Del Rio on Sunday's pay-per-view, but rumors still circulated about a possible injury.
I think Batista's left arm may be legitimately hurt #Raw— WrestlingW/Subtitles (@WrestleSubtitle) February 25, 2014
Some fans already had backup WrestleMania plans ready.
Batista hurt does that mean CmPunk gets the Main event???— Ashley Stevens (@ashley5432110) February 24, 2014
The injury rumor has seen been crushed. F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, reports that "There was some concern that Batista injured his arm at last night's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view but word from backstage was that he's fine."
In an era where kayfabe has long been pronounced dead, it's comforting that it's not always clear if things are part of the show are not. In the cases of both Batista and Cena, they were, but the fact that there was some doubt points to great selling jobs by both men.
Could CM Punk Come Back?
Punk hasn't appeared for WWE since Jan. 26, but he's still at the center of discussion online and backstage. The latest word on the situation gives fans reason to be optimistic, to a point.
No official statement from WWE has come out yet about Punk's departure, although Vince McMahon did address it briefly during a conference call. According to WrestlingInc.com, McMahon said of Punk, "He's taking a sabbatical, let's just put it that way."
"CM Punk is taking a sabbatical" My parents said the same thing about my childhood goldfish.— Attitude Era Podcast (@AEPodcast) February 20, 2014
There's a reported reason why McMahon and company haven't just moved on already.
As F4WOnline (h/t WrestlingInc.com) writes, "There's a feeling among people close to CM Punk and WWE that Vince McMahon will end up talking Punk into coming back to work."
With WrestleMania XXX still over a month away, there is still time for Punk and McMahon to engage in several long discussions. Whether that leads to anything is far from certain, though.
Can WWE offer Punk a spot on the card that matches where he feels he belongs? Would the company be willing to insert him into the Batista vs. Randy Orton match? That seems like a long shot at best.
Still, if folks close to both parties are hopeful, then fans shouldn't give up on the idea of seeing Punk back in action yet.
WWE Upset with TMZ?
Hogan returned to WWE to open Monday's Raw. Word of that appearance got out before company officials reportedly wanted it to.
F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, reports the following:
Word is that WWE wanted to make a big deal about Hogan coming back this Monday, just hours before the big RAW from Green Bay. When the report came out from TMZ, WWE felt they needed to do it themselves so they issued the press release.
The strangest part of this is that WWE didn't just announce that Hogan was coming on the previous week's episode. That would have provided an incentive for fans watching that night to tune in the following week and allowed for enough time for word of his return to spread.
Why spring it on the audience just hours before the show?
Even if WWE was upset about TMZ leaking the info, it turned out for the best, providing more of a buzz for Hogan's return. It's not as if word of his involvement with WWE and WrestleMania wasn't already floating around the Internet.
This is an age where WWE fans know surprises before they come, know details about a wrestler quitting even if the company doesn't acknowledge that he's gone and can usually pick out a real injury from one that a writer came up with.