The John Cena vs. AJ Styles match at the Royal Rumble was a historic one–but you might not have caught that by the way WWE was presenting it.
By winning the WWE Championship, John Cena tied Ric Flair’s officially recognized record of sixteen world championship runs, putting him in league–by the numbers, at least–as one of the greatest of all time.
According to the Wrestling Observer (subscription required), Flair was scheduled to endorse Cena after his title win, but his appearance was reduced to a quick photo op and video for WWE.com. In fact, mention of tying the record was made minimal, both at the Rumble itself and on SmackDown the next Tuesday.
You’d think that given Cena’s position in the company and the historic nature of the record, there would’ve been far more made of this sixteenth reign. But there wasn’t.
Vince McMahon made the call to downplay the record weeks before the Cena vs. Styles match. Why? We’re not sure. But given the reports that Bray Wyatt is scheduled to take the title at Elimination Chamber, it may be because Cena’s reign is set to only be a short one.
Perhaps the big celebration is to be saved for Cena’s likely inevitable seventeenth reign. Or maybe they’ll build to Flair’s actual, self-proclaimed record of 21 world titles. Who can say?
What do you think is up with WWE’s decision? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook!