Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on John Cena, Kairi Sane and More
John Cena returns to WWE programming Friday night, wrestling his first match of 2022 at the last possible second and keeping alive a streak of wrestling at least once across two decades.
Fans may not have to wait quite so long to see his next match, according to the latest report.
His status for a potential WrestleMania appearance headlines a collection of rumors and innuendo that also features a prominent international name appearing in the Royal Rumble and an NXT call-up for one of that brand's most entertaining acts.
WrestleMania Plans for John Cena
John Cena returns to the ring Friday night on SmackDown, teaming with Kevin Owens to battle Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn in a blockbuster main event.
It may not be the only time we see Cena in the next couple of months, though, as Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported there were (and possibly still are) WrestleMania plans for the franchise star that calls for a showdown with United States champion Austin Theory.
Meltzer emphasized that the plans existed under Vince McMahon and may have changed since then.
Prior to that, Meltzer had stated on Wrestling Observer Radio that Cena is "probable" to appear at The Showcase of the Immortals.
It would make sense for Theory to be Cena's opponent. Triple H has done a very good job of heating him back up after a comically bad Money in the Bank cash-in, portraying Theory as a more focused and dangerous heel champion.
A match with Cena is also something Theory has been jockeying for dating all the way back to his time with Evolve Wrestling.
EVOLVE Wrestling @WWNEVOLVE
New EVOLVE Champion Austin Theory calls out John Cena!?!?! Is the 21-year-old @austintheory1 the right guy for <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnCena?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JohnCena</a> to pass the torch to? Watch and judge for yourself. <a href="https://t.co/eY47lGNQjL">pic.twitter.com/eY47lGNQjL</a>
Whether it was calling out the biggest star from another company, posting videos to Twitter of him with the U.S. spinner belt or dressing up like him for a photoshoot celebrating The Champ's 20 years with WWE, Theory has a long history of idolizing Cena.
They also had a backstage confrontation the last time Cena popped up on television, and such a match would go a long way in establishing Theory as the future in WWE.
No matter whose idea it was initially, it still is far from a bad one.
Could Kairi Sane Appear at the Royal Rumble?
Kairi Sane is a former NXT women's champion and held the tag team gold with Asuka during her time under the WWE umbrella. A departure from the company in 2020 led to her return home to Japan, where she has done some fantastic work as part of Stardom.
A new report from Meltzer in The Wrestling Observer Newsletter suggests we may see The Pirate Princess back in a WWE ring as part of the annual cameos that take place in the Royal Rumble match.
Stardom has yet to hear from WWE, but that can change between now and the Rumble premium live event.
Sane is one of the best women's wrestlers in the world and was a standout for the company. Her feud with Shayna Baszler went a long way in establishing a new era of women's wrestling for NXT after the original Four Horsewomen and Asuka departed for the main roster.
Bringing her back, even for a one-off, would likely be received well by fans and could open up the possibility for more crossovers between the two companies. There is a wealth of talent in Joshi right now, especially in Stardom, and if anyone has shown a willingness to cooperate with other promotions in a way Vince McMahon rarely did, it is Triple H.
Sane, now known simply as Kairi, will next appear on January 4 at Wrestle Kingdom 17 for New Japan Pro-Wrestling, where she will square off with Tam Nakano for the IWGP Women's Championship.
NXT Team to Be Called Up to the Main Roster?
Pretty Deadly's Elton Prince and Kit Wilson are arguably the best tag team in all of NXT. They recently impressed even their most ardent detractors with their work against The New Day, proving they can hang with one of the most celebrated tag teams in pro wrestling history.
According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com, the duo may be making their jump to the main roster sooner than anyone expected.
"There were rumblings right after Pretty Deadly lost the WWE NXT Tag Team titles that they could be getting a look and working some house shows in January," he reported.
Both Raw and SmackDown's tag team divisions could use some freshening up. Add in the over-the-top personalities of the Brits, and you have an act that was destined for Mondays or Fridays.
Just imagine the expression on their faces upon being SHOOSHED! by Chad Gable or confronting Matt Riddle. They are ready-made for the top two shows and will thrive there, as long as they can continue growing and evolving their already impressive in-ring game.
WWE 2K Update
Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select reported the latest on the next WWE 2K video game release.
"Fightful was told that we could expect some WWE 2K updates in January, whether they be official announcements or anonymously sourced."
OK, so there is not an abundance of information surrounding the game, but it would seem to suggest that an earlier announcement may lead to an earlier release date. The last release, WWE 2K22, dropped in March and could set the standard for when fans can expect the game to hit shelves moving forward.
After a disappointing release in 2019, WWE and 2K took the time to retool their offering and produced a more acclaimed 2K22 game. How the companies will look to improve upon it and continue restoring fans' faith in the partnership remains to be seen, but it looks like we may find out sooner rather than later.