John Cena’s status in the Men’s Royal Rumble Match is in question following an apparent left ankle injury sustained during the main event of Raw last week.
In that match, Cena faced Finn Balor, Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre for the right to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble. As seen in the video below, the injury seemingly occurred when McIntyre trapped Cena in the ankle lock submission hold. Cena can then be seen favoring his left ankle while leaving the ring after Raw went off the air.
According to a report by Dasha Fuentes before Raw on Monday, the injury was exacerbated earlier in the day while Cena was training his legs at the gym.
Cena is not actually injured, according to Dave Meltzer on the post-Raw edition of Wrestling Observer Radio. Furthermore, Cena was never scheduled to compete in the Men’s Royal Rumble Match, according to a report by John Pollock of POST Wrestling.
“John Cena is not expected to be at the Royal Rumble Sunday with the storyline explanation that he suffered an ankle injury at the hands of Drew McIntyre. We were told that Cena was never scheduled to be in the Royal Rumble match,” Pollock wrote on Tuesday.
Cena is slated to take time off soon to film a family comedy movie in Vancouver, British Columbia called Playing with Fire. He stars as “the leader of a rugged crew of wildfire fighters who meet their match when they attempt to rescue three rambunctious kids.” According to a report on Monday by the Vancouver Sun, production starts on February 4.
Meltzer reported two weeks ago that WWE had plans for Cena to face Lars Sullivan at WrestleMania 35. Pollock adds that WWE planned on having Sullivan take out Cena since Cena isn’t going to be available for the Royal Rumble. This would have started the build toward their match at WrestleMania and kept Cena off television while he filmed Playing with Fire. Sullivan, however, had an anxiety or panic attack hours before his main roster debut at Raw on January 7 and ceased communication with WWE. This left WWE no choice but to scrap Sullivan attacking Cena and run with an ankle injury angle instead.
According to Rajah.com, WWE planned on having Sullivan make his television debut on Raw this week in a pre-taped segment where he would have attacked Cena. WWE planned on taping the segment at Raw last week in Memphis, Tennessee due to Cena not being available this week.