I understand the WWEâ€™s logic with advertising John Cena prior to his return versus keeping it a surprise. As the one of the top superstars the WWE has, allowing the fans to know when he will return gives people a heads up to tune in on Monday Night; and with RAWâ€™s ratings lagging (thanks to football), they need all the help they can get. Would a surprise really have worked in this day and age? Especially when Cena is slowly re-entering WWE live events? If Cenaâ€™s back to work, they might not be able to afford to keep him away from events until the Rumble, and lose out on potential ticket sales (and merchandise that are sold at these shows). Probably better to bring him back and let everyone know he is â€˜back to workâ€™.
I honestly expected him back on TV before the Tribute to the Troops show, because that seems like something John really enjoys doing. But there was a big part of me that figured he’d be kept out until the Rumble, since it’s a yearly tradition to have one or two major returning Superstars, mixed in with a few surprise entrants, that weren’t advertised. But, perhaps because it was too obvious, or perhaps because you can’t really drive Network subscriptions with the hope of a major surprise return, it made sense to bring him back and of course, announce and hype the return. And let’s be real-the ratings have really been hurting lately, and executives are likely as concerned about the ratings (if not more) than they are about subscriptions. They want to do well in both, of course, but the ratings issue is really a big deal, I think. Also, consider that the week of his return is a big week for college football bowl games, and WWE knew they were up against it. If you are in a fight, no need to keep a big gun on the bench. And Cena is absolutely a big gun.
I sort of liked how the WWE reintroduced John Cena with little hype. Theyâ€™re wasnâ€™t an angle to write him out of storylines, as he quietly stepped away for a short period to work on other activities. Instead of having Cena return on the final RAW of 2015, Iâ€™d have waited another week. Seven more days wouldnâ€™t have mattered, especially with people all worked up about the holiday. Itâ€™s the first RAW of 2016 and the WWE has the chance to jump in the ratings. The regular NFL season is done and Monday wonâ€™t be as competitive for TV ratings. The WWE should have stacked the card and one way would be having Cena return and wrestle. It was a nice break of no Cena and Iâ€™m sure he wanted to get a needed rest. Letâ€™s see what the WWE does with Cena now that heâ€™s back full-time. It could be anything. Maybe the popular United States Open Challenge will return, he goes for world title number 16, work a non-title program, win the Royal Rumble and countless other options. Iâ€™m glad to see Cena back as that short break was needed for a character who frequently overwhelms TV time.