From a booking perspective, John Cena is perhaps the most protected star of the modern era.
But this weekend, we saw a prime example of how no amount of guarded scripting can preserve talent from the lingering threat of legitimate injury.
In a match with Bray Wyatt at this weekend’s live event in Madison, Wisconsin, Cena came out on top but unfortunately suffered a nasty eye injury, as reported by Wrestling Inc.: "John Cena defeated Bray Wyatt in a No Holds Barred match. Cena hurt his eye early on, but they still went close to 30 minutes. Cena was favoring his eye throughout the match, with Wyatt intentionally stalling."
The report goes on to state that “Cena barely acknowledged the fans and stormed out” immediately after his match. Obviously, that’s an understandable reaction given the potential severity of an eye injury, but, nonetheless, it’s highly uncharacteristic of the leader of the Cenation.
More often than not, Cena will be the last man to leave the ring, regularly engaging fans in various segments to ensure they get their money’s worth. For him to leave so abruptly would seem to suggest that the injury is pretty darn serious.
Luckily, Cena was in action the following evening—and thus we can safely assume he did not suffer a concussion.
Nonetheless, further reports note that his eye remained “visibly swollen shut” and that his scheduled one-on-one bout with Wyatt was switched to a six-man tag—presumably to give Cena some respite.
So, what can we take from this news?
Well, given that Money in the Bank is still three weeks away, I’d imagine Cena’s availability for the upcoming pay-per-view will not be compromised off the back of this injury.
However, it usually takes a good couple of weeks for a black eye to heal, so Cena may be used rather fleetingly in the coming weeks on Raw.
That’s going to make it rather difficult to build up a new feud, so perhaps we’ll see his rivalry with Wyatt continue for a fourth PPV. Or maybe the company will take the easy way out and place Cena in the Money in the Bank match—a bout so important that little build is necessary.
Of course, that’s assuming the injury is merely a black eye. Eye injuries are tricky and can often lead to permanent damage. (Just ask Daniel Bryan.) Thus, the company shouldn’t rush Cena back into action.
The news also raises potential questions about Bray Wyatt’s in-ring style. Cena allegedly suffered the injury after a series of head-butts from his opponent. While the injury was obviously unintentional, it shows there is a clear risk in Wyatt’s unorthodox style.
Accidents do happen, though, so I wouldn’t be too hasty to point the finger at Wyatt on this one.
For me, the biggest talking point is that Cena could be out of action for a week or two. That may not sound like a lot of time, but given the uncertainty about the continuation of his feud with Wyatt, the timing of this incident is less than ideal.
Here’s hoping the WWE can rectify this situation and, more importantly, that Cena makes a full recovery from the injury.
Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts on this one as well as any of the issues that were raised in this article.