John Cena made history when he defeated AJ Styles to capture the WWE Championship at Sunday’s Royal Rumble. I mean, he tied history, but that’s still making history. The win gave Cena his 16th world championship — one which he immediately shared with a Make-A-Wish kid, because he shall forever remain the one true John Cena. That number ties him with Ric Flair for most all-time world title reigns in pro wrestling. At least as far as the official history books are concerned.
According to PWInsider.com, the celebration at the pay-per-view almost went down very, very differently. WWE brought in the man himself, Ric Flair, with the intent that he would have an onscreen celebration with Cena to officially coronate him as the only other wrestler to reach his high-water mark.
However, late in the day, those plans for a Flair appearance in front of the live crowd were nixed, and WWE opted instead to go with behind-the-scenes social media bits from Flair, like the above video and these tweets.
As always, there’s some grumbling about Cena winning the title at this stage in his career, but the plan has always been for him to someday break Flair’s record. Cena doesn’t have too many years of wrestling as a full-time main event player left in him, and you have to get to 16 before you can get to 17.
Let’s just all enjoy the fact that Cena and Styles put on what will almost certainly be one of the very best matches of 2017. We can all agree on that, right? No? Okay, I’ll show myself out.