WWE Rumors on John Cena's Schedule, Io Shirai's Future and Liv Morgan-Natalya Heat

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 12, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 18: John Cena, Wipeout on TBS and Peacemaker on HBO Max attends the Warner Bros. Discovery Upfront 2022 arrivals on the red carpet at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on May 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Discovery)
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Discovery

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.

Reason for Cena's Reported SummerSlam Absence

There is apparently a good reason for John Cena seemingly not competing in a match at SummerSlam this year.

According to Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Live (h/t Nitish Vashishtha of ThirstyForNews.com), Cena will be busy filming Season 2 of the HBO Max series Peacemaker in Canada, which is why he wasn't available for SummerSlam.

Cena made his return to WWE programming a couple of weeks ago on Raw to celebrate his 20-year anniversary with WWE. At that point, most fans seemed to assume that Cena would be on the SummerSlam card.

Instead, nothing was announced for Cena at SummerSlam, and WWE isn't advertising him for any additional appearances in the near future.

Cena returned last summer at Money in the Bank and challenged Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam, but it doesn't look as though he will be part of one of WWE's biggest events this year.

Instead, WWE may be saving Cena for next year's WrestleMania 39 in Inglewood, California, which would make sense given Cena's status as a burgeoning Hollywood star.

WWE has been teasing a match between Cena and Mr. Money in the Bank Theory, even going so far as to have Theory cut a promo on Cena backstage on Raw.

Theory is presently focused on facing Bobby Lashley for the United States Championship at SummerSlam, however, plus he has a new rival to worry about in Dolph Ziggler.

It seems clear that Theory vs. Cena is going to happen at some point, and WrestleMania would be the perfect venue for the match to occur.

Shirai Reportedly Preparing to Leave WWE

Former NXT women's champion and NXT women's tag team champion Io Shirai may have wrestled her final match for WWE.

According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t WrestlingInc's Matthew Wilkinson), Shirai's WWE contract expires at the end of August, and she has not signed a new deal with the company.

Meltzer added that Shirai has told people that she wants to go back to her home country of Japan to be closer to family, and the expectation is that she will do so when her contract expires.

That would perhaps open the door for Shirai to go back to Stardom, which is where she wrestled before joining WWE in 2018.

Kairi Sane was in a somewhat similar situation a couple of years ago, although she still had time left on her WWE contract when she went back to Japan, so she served as a WWE ambassador until her contract ran out and then returned to Stardom.

Io tweeted the following Tuesday, however, which could be an indication that the report isn't entirely accurate:

็ดซ้›ทใ‚คใ‚ชใ€Io Shirai @shirai_io


Shirai has been widely considered among the best female wrestlers in the world throughout her WWE tenure, and she has had many memorable matches and feuds in NXT.

The Joshi Judas has not wrestled since NXT Stand & Deliver in April when she competed in a Fatal 4-Way match for the NXT Women's Championship against Mandy Rose, Cora Jade and Alba Fyre.

Shirai reportedly suffered an injury during the match, and while she was expected to return soon, that may no longer be the case.

Although Shirai has done some great things in NXT, she unfortunately hasn't gotten called up to the main roster where she could potentially face the likes of Asuka, Becky Lynch and others.

Still, if Shirai has reached the end of the road in WWE, her tenure in the United States was largely a success.

Details on Natalya-Morgan Incident at House Show

New details are emerging regarding what may have gone down between Natalya and SmackDown women's champion Liv Morgan at a WWE live event in Sacramento, California, over the weekend.

Video surfaced showing Morgan hitting her finisher on Nattie and pinning her, only for the Canadian veteran to pop up immediately before pointing and yelling at Morgan, and then exiting the ring.

Generally, a wrestler is supposed to sell after getting hit with a finisher, and Natalya didn't seem to do that, which was curious given her consummate level of professionalism.

According to Meltzer (h/t Michael Perry of Ringside News), Natalya was angry about something, but she wasn't specifically mad at Morgan.

Meltzer added that Nattie and Morgan cleared things up that same night, so it doesn't appear as though there will be any lingering issues.

That is a positive development since Morgan and Natalya are set to face each other in a championship contender's match on Friday's episode of SmackDown.

Morgan is currently scheduled to defend the SmackDown women's title against Ronda Rousey at SummerSlam after winning the women's Money in the Bank ladder match and successfully cashing in on Rousey that same night.

Nattie would conceivably get added to the match if she can beat Morgan on SmackDown, and that seems likely to happen since it would allow Morgan to win at SummerSlam by pinning Natalya rather than having Rousey take another direct loss.

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