Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Royal Rumble, John Cena and Aleister Black

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2021

Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Royal Rumble, John Cena and Aleister Black

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    Rebecca Cabage/Associated Press

    The Road to WrestleMania begins Sunday with the Royal Rumble, and as such, all fan attention is on the prospective winners of the men's and women's matches.

    But does WWE even know who will be leaving the 2021 extravaganza with guaranteed title opportunities?

    That question and more are answered in this week's collection of rumors, including John Cena's status for this year's Showcase of the Immortals.

Royal Rumble Winners Decided

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    The Royal Rumble is traditionally one of the most overanalyzed and prognosticated matches of the year.

    Despite late speculation that may pop up between now and Sunday's bell time, Steve Carrier of Ringside News reports WWE officials have already decided the winners of the Rumble matches, saying: "We have been told there is no more discussing. Right now they have their winners determined."

    Whether that is a good thing is something we will find out Sunday night when the victors' arms are raised high in the air and the reality of their WrestleMania title opportunities set in.

    In a company where creative plans change on a whim, it is almost shocking to hear that the plans are so decisively determined this far out from the show. Perhaps it is an indicator that WWE Creative is motivated by the return to a stadium and the presence of fans for this year's show and wants to provide a clear main event for the broadcast.

    Or Brock Lesnar. LOL.

    Whatever the case may be, it is, for now, an encouraging sign.

Where Is Aleister Black

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    Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select reported Tuesday that Aleister Black has not been seen backstage at SmackDown in months despite being drafted by the blue brand in October.

    Sapp went on to state that Black has not been backstage since his wife, Zelina Vega, was released from her contract in November: "We haven't heard as to whether or not there are any specific issues between Black and WWE, but one person we talked to in the company seems to think that they're letting any ill will between the two subside."

    For Black's fans, or those who recognized his potential when he enjoyed a mini-push of sorts at this time last year, it is nice to have some sort of light shed on the situation. The former NXT champion has been conspicuous by his absence.

    That WWE Creative has not come up with anything of any note for him when the SmackDown brand is thriving is massively disappointing, but at the same time, the prospects of two disgruntled sides trying to make things work isn't exactly an ideal situation.

    If there needs to be a cooling-down period for both sides to set aside any differences to provide solid creative moving forward, then so be it.

    If not, and there will be continued excuses as to why Black is missing from television, perhaps it is time to cut bait and let both sides move on before the relationship becomes any more fractured.

Guess Who's Back, Back Again...

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    "John Cena is 100 percent a lock for WrestleMania 37," H Jenkins of Ringside News reported Tuesday.

    The problem, he continued, is that is all that is known. Citing a source, Jenkins reported Cena may not even know exactly what his creative for the show will be.

    Anyone who has paid any attention whatsoever to WWE over the past five years or so should not be surprised by this news. The creative process within the company is one that changes with the slightest of whims or reconsideration by CEO Vince McMahon and the power brokers on the writing team.

    It is inconsistent, to say the least.

    That WWE knows it wants Cena for the show but doesn't know what he will be doing on it, while comically inefficient, is not surprising.

    Nor is the idea that Cena would want to return to WWE for its first show in front of fans in more than a year. So much is made of Edge not getting to work his first match back in front of an audience, but Cena returned for WrestleMania 36 and was also robbed of said opportunity.

    That he will also have The Suicide Squad to promote does not hurt.

    Hopefully, whatever WWE comes up with for Cena is worth his time and star power. There are a ton of young stars who could benefit from sharing the squared circle with the most prominent star of his generation.