John Cena will NOT compete in tonight’s 30-Man WWE Royal Rumble match.
Earlier this week WWE.com announced that Cena’s status in the annual over-the-top-rope classic was “questionable” after suffering an injury following his Fatal 4-Way match on Monday Night Raw nearly two weeks ago. The company has now officially confirmed that the 16-time world champion has been pulled from the show entirely.
This is an interesting situation as several reputable sources have stated over the last few days that Cena was never actually scheduled to be at the Rumble pay-per-view in the first place.
The original plan, according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, was for Lars Sullivan to take him out on the road to the Rumble, setting up an injury angle that would take him off the show and potentially set up a WrestleMania program between the two.
Due to issues with Sullivan believed to be related to severe anxiety, his main roster debut was pushed back and WWE had to come up with a last-minute way to get Cena off the card.
It has been widely speculated that with Royal Rumble being in such a large arena, WWE was worried about ticket sales and blatantly advertised Cena to draw more attention with full knowledge that he wouldn’t be there. This is the same reason they continued to advertise Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman for the Rumble main event for a full month after plans had reportedly changed.