The role of John Cena at Survivor Series was supposed to be as the guest referee for Brock Lesnar vs. Jinder Mahal at Survivor Series. The belief was that Mahal would lose the match, blame Cena for it and that would lead to a match where Cena beat Mahal for the WWE Title at a major show like the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania. Nope. Plans changed. Welcomes to WWE in 2017!
Last night on WWE Smackdown Live, AJ Styles beat Jinder Mahal to become the WWE Champion. This took place after they just announced Styles vs. Mahal last Thursday. This is coming after WWE has spent nearly a month advertising Jinder Mahal vs. Brock Lesnar as the main event of Survivor Series.
Why the change? Perhaps it was due to the awful ratings for Smackdown last week when they did about 2.1 million viewers, which is about 500,000 less than the usual. It may simply be a case of WWE wanting to get the title on Styles since his match with Lesnar will be much better than a Lesnar/Mahal match.
On Wednesday morning, Smackdown’s Commissioner Shane McMahon tweeted this about John Cena’s role at Survivor Series.
Cena, you may recall, is a “free agent” in WWE storylines, so they can put him on whatever brand they want to at any time.
That means the men’s Five on Five elimination match at Survivor Series looks like this: Team Raw led by Kurt Angle with Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe & Jason Jordan vs. Team Smackdown led by Shane McMahon with Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode & John Cena.
What does Cena’s teammate Bobby Roode think of it? He has a one word thought, of course.
The plan for Cena’s role at Survivor Series was changed by Vince McMahon within the last week according to a report from Mike Johnson of PWInsider. It was noted by Johnson that they had confirmed Cena would be the referee of Lesnar/Mahal at Survivor Series and claimed that “multiple sources” told them that. The story we cited on Saturday was from the Wrestling Observer, who were also told that Cena was going to be the guest referee. This is simply a case of Vince McMahon steering the ship in another direction.
Cena last appeared on WWE television at No Mercy on September 24th when he lost to Roman Reigns in a WrestleMania worthy main event match that Reigns won clean. The build to that match was outstanding, yet people were confused about why it took place at an event that wasn’t WrestleMania or even a “big four” PPV style show.
Cena has been off for nearly two months to focus on his various movie, television and commercial endeavors. It’s not known if he is going to return to WWE TV regularly after Survivor Series or if this is just a one time thing.
I think adding Cena to the match is great. He adds a lot of star power to the match. Putting somebody like Rusev or even Jinder Mahal wouldn’t excite me at all. Cena’s presence helps. With this change plus Styles vs. Lesnar at Survivor Series, I think Survivor Series got a lot better in the last 24 hours.