Early last week we shared the rumor that despite declaring himself for the Royal Rumble Match, John Cena would miss the show due to injury. The general understanding is that he’s selling Drew McIntyre’s ankle lock, which also kayfabe injured Kurt Angle before Survivor Series. On Sunday afternoon, just hours before the Rumble pre-show was set to begin, WWE made the news official.
Here’s the announcement video and information via WWE.com:
Cena first sustained the left ankle injury during the main event of the Jan. 14 episode of Raw. In that match, the 16-time World Champion faced Finn Bálor, Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre for the right to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at the WWE Royal Rumble event.
As seen in the video below, the injury occurred when McIntyre trapped Cena in the ankle lock submission hold. Cena then appears to favor his left ankle while leaving the ring after Raw went off the air. The Cenation Leader was unable to sufficiently recover in time for tonight’s 30-Man Royal Rumble Match, and has been ruled out of the bout as a result.
Cena’s rumored to return for a WrestleMania program with soon-to-be NXT call-up Lars Sullivan, although that currently sounds up in the air due to Sullivan missing shows due to anxiety. The suggested story there is that Sullivan was to be the one to “injure” John and keep him out of the Rumble, setting up the match.
We’ll keep you updated on any surprise replacements for Big Match John in the Rumble. Can we just send out EC3 in a hat and some jorts and see if anybody notices?
Edit: A replacement has officially been named, and it’s a monster, who will be among men.