John Cena may have played the part of the cavalry at WrestleMania 32, but rumors point to him not yet being ready to fully return to the ring.
Questions about his status swirled thanks to his absence on Raw. One report suggested that his rehab time isn't quite over.
WWE officials also reportedly went back and forth on how two championship matches at WrestleMania would end. The decisions on who would walk away victorious were apparently finalized not long before The Show of Shows arrived. Kevin Owens and Sasha Banks fans will be frustrated to dig through those rumors.
Other stories touched on Sami Zayn's rumored injury and Brie Bella's retirement.
Title Matches in Texas
Zack Ryder won the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania. Charlotte retained what is now known as the Women's Championship. Those results were reportedly not what WWE first had in mind.
According to F4WOnline.com (h/t Wrestling Inc), Owens was originally scheduled to retain the IC title at WrestleMania. There was no word on why or when that changed.
And per PWInsider.com (h/t Ringside News), officials were undecided about whether to have Sasha Banks or Charlotte win the title. The choice to go with Charlotte was made just a few days before WrestleMania.
That would explain how surprising both endings were. It felt like WWE was building toward Owens showcasing his dominance and Banks announcing her arrival by dethroning Charlotte on a big stage.
WWE is famous for making on-the-fly decisions like that rather than planning long-term. That hurts the product. Ryder's win felt more random than heartwarming as a result of this strategy.
It makes sense to tweak and adjust when necessary, but heading into the biggest show of the year, not having a plan in place is a mistake.
Update on Zayn
Zayn fans can rest easy. The rumors of him suffering another injury appear to be untrue.
After the scuffle between Zayn, Owens, Chris Jericho and AJ Styles on Monday's Raw, Zayn clutched his shoulder at ringside. Many fans feared the worst.
Was his surgically repaired shoulder already banged up? Speculation only increased when he was ousted from the Fatal 4-Way match by way of Owens power-bombing him through a table.
Busted Open Radio was among those who caught wind of rumors about Zayn being hurt:
There were no legitimate reports backing up this idea, though. Fans' fear and the speed at which information travels on the Internet led that story to catch fire, but Zayn looks to be just fine.
PWInsider.com's Mike Johnson wrote, "Sami Zayn's injuries last night were simply storyline as a way to put Cesaro into the main event of Raw as a surprise return while also furthering his feud with Kevin Owens."
It's always comforting when WWE can blur the lines between kayfabe and reality enough that it's hard to know what's real. It's nice not to see the strings sometimes.
And it's certainly a relief to hear that Zayn's career isn't already being derailed by injury.
Brie's Retirement on the Way?
If Brie is singing her swan song, it may be on her reality show rather than Raw.
Last week, Ryan Satin reported on Pro Wrestling Sheet that Brie was set to retire following the post-WrestleMania episode of Raw. It certainly looked like things were headed that way when she forced Naomi to tap out on Sunday, seemingly getting one last victory before her exit.
No retirement ceremony or speech aired on Monday's Raw, however. Brie's expected departure didn't even come up.
WWE may be saving it for its non-wrestling show. Johnson of PWInsider.com reported, "We were told the decision was made to make that a Total Divas storyline and her exit and retirement will be addressed there in the next season of the series."
Brie is no legend at this point, but she deserves more of a sendoff than that. As one of the faces of the women's division for the past decade, she should at least lose a retirement match as her last act with WWE.
Cena returned at WrestleMania, but perhaps only temporarily. The Superstar looks to still be dealing with injury.
Dave Meltzer noted on Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Wrestling Inc) that Cena may not be cleared to wrestle. While he was healthy enough to take part in the showdown with The Wyatt Family at WrestleMania, he may not be able to work full time as of now.
Cena's super-human recoveries in the past have conditioned fans to expect the impossible with him. The truth is it's only been three months since he had shoulder surgery.
Even if he could perform right now, WWE could be looking to take its time with Cena's recovery. With WrestleMania season over, there's not nearly as big of a need for him to wrestle. A wealth of fresh faces are getting a shot right now.
Keeping Cena out of action until there are no doubts about his arm is smart. But convincing the ultra-competitive Cena of that is surely a tough task.