While fans were left confused as to why CM Punk didn't return to Raw as reported, The Shield leads WWE's new generation of stars into WrestleMania.
After Punk didn't make an appearance on Monday's Raw, fans were left to wonder why not. For The Shield, it appears there should be little doubt that the trio will be a part of The Show of Shows even if the group shrinks down to two.
In other WWE rumors, Rey Mysterio may circle back to where he began his career, and conflicting reports have John Cena fans unsure of whether or not to hold their collective breath.
It's Punk, though, who is dominating WWE headlines, without even being in a ring.
No CM Punk in Chicago
Chicago fans waited, cheered and ultimately suffered disappointment, as Punk didn't make the return many expected to happen. Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter, via WrestlingInc.com, had the wrestling world abuzz when he wrote that a source told him Punk was headed back to WWE at Monday's Raw in his hometown.
Punk didn't show. Paul Heyman instead mocked The Best in the World and blamed the fans for him quitting the company.
Meltzer, via WrestlingInc.com, reported afterward that "his source called him immediately after RAW and said, 'I was lied to.'" That has led to speculation that WWE planned for word of Punk to spread with no intention of bringing him back.
At least that's what Matt Hardy theorized.
BTW, it wouldn't surprise me if the Punk "rumor" leaked to Meltzer was intentionally done by WWE as a strategy to counteract hostile fans.— Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) March 4, 2014
It ended up being an effective but irksome move should it be true. There's a chance now that fans in Chicago and elsewhere will feel as if they've been jerked around and made the fool.
That's not exactly the best way to get folks to spend money on your product.
If Hardy's theory is correct, it sounds as if only the top officials knew about it. The word is that many people backstage reportedly knew less about the Punk situation than fans.
PWInsider (h/t WrestlingInc.com) reported the following:
One person in WWE creative said on Friday that Punk wasn't even discussed but didn't rule out a surprise return. Most people within WWE didn't know Punk would not be appearing for sure until Monday afternoon. There was never a script written that included Punk in any way, beyond the few mentions that were made.
There will still be uncertainty surrounding whether Punk is gone for good, but expect the story to mostly fade away. Fans are going to be less excited about Punk return rumors after having been burned so badly this time.
More Confusion over John Cena Injury
Bray Wyatt and his unsightly crew attacked Cena on the Feb. 24 Raw. How much non-scripted damage that did to Cena is still unclear.
Cena apparently told fans, per PWTorch.com, at a house show in North Charleston, S.C. that he tore his groin during that fight.
When John Cena came to Charleston this past Friday he said it wasn't his knee that was injured it was groin.— Diamond Bankz (@DiamondBankz) March 4, 2014
A report from PWInsider, via WrestlingInc.com, stated the following:
While the knee injury was a planned angle on Monday's RAW, John Cena did in fact suffer a groin tear. Cena was said to be "pretty bad off" backstage at last night's live event but was gutting through it because of WrestleMania season.
That certainly sounds like some ill-fated timing with WrestleMania coming so soon, but Cena fans may not have to worry, though.
According to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, via WrestlingInc.com, "there is no real injury to Cena, with his groin or his knee." That has been the latest word, but it's hard to tell reality from kayfabe at this point.
Cena acted injured on Monday's Raw. The former world champ winced on his way to the ring and told fans that the medical staff wouldn't clear him for competition.
Whether Cena's injuries are real or not, one shouldn't expect him to compete much until clashing with Wyatt at WrestleMania. WWE has a commodity to protect and a story to sell.
Rey Mysterio Set to Leave for Mexico?
Mysterio could be returning to where his career began—Mexico.
PWInsider, via WrestleZone.com, reports the following:
With only 3 months left on his current deal, and a top spot in the company no longer available to him, Mysterio might be preparing to finish up his final WWE run.
There is also speculation that Mysterio might join the new AAA TV show debuting on the El Rey Network.
There's logic to that move for Mysterio. WWE hasn't given him much spotlight since his latest return, mostly putting him in six-man action.
Although he's sure to take a pay cut, Mysterio would be a major star for Mexico's Asistencia Asesoria y Administracion, where fans know him from his work there in the early '90s.
WWE could certainly work something out with him if the company views him as a priority, but AAA is likely to value him more at this point with as many young high-flyers as NXT has right now.
WrestleMania Possibilities for The Shield
The Shield continue to implode in front of the WWE Universe. Seth Rollins left his teammates in the middle of a battle on Monday's Raw.
It may be Dean Ambrose who is left behind, though. A new report has Roman Reigns and Rollins possibly sticking together for a tag team bout at WrestleMania XXX.
According to F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, in addition to each member of The Shield clashing with each other in a Triple Threat match, "Rollins and Reigns vs. Erick Rowan and Luke Harper plus Big E vs. Ambrose in a title unification match has also been pitched."
This scenario allows the crackling feud between The Shield and The Wyatt Family to continue and would also make the midcard title bout far more interesting.
WWE has focused much more on the Intercontinental Championship than Ambrose's United States title, perhaps as a way to prepare fans for a WWE world where only one of those titles exists.
With either proposal, The Shield appear to be making it onto the crowded WrestleMania card in some fashion, a position that Dolph Ziggler and Cesaro must be envious of. It's also increasingly clear that this will be the first WrestleMania without Punk in eight years.