Absence has clearly not made the Chicago wrestling heart grow fonder for the WWE's golden boy, John Cena. The 15 time WWE world champion kicked off Smackdown in front of a Chicago crowd that has made it their mission to boo him out of the building for the past 8-10 years. At this point in his career, Cena clearly seemed to take it as a sign of respect and awarded Chicago with an announcement that officially puts the Smackdown brand on the road to Wrestlemania.
After hyping the night's three championship matches, Cena asked the crowd "what the hell am I doing here?", which led to a raucous Undertaker chant.
The former champ then let the Chicago crowd know that, despite the rumors, he was not heading to Hollywood and that he was "sick of the new era BS." Cena said that no matter who won tonight's triple threat WWE championship match, he would be challenging them to defend their title at the 2017 Royal Rumble!
He finished his slightly heelish promo by saying, "because I'm John Cena! Recognize!"
While this gives Cena a chance to go after Ric Flair's 16 world championship, it seriously puts the much-anticipated rumored match between AJ Styles vs. The Undertaker in jeopardy. Previously most of the speculations suggested that Taker would get the chance to win the championship at the Rumble, setting up a dream match between the Deadman and Cena at Wrestlemania, but it appears the WWE will now have to reverse those roles to get that outcome.
Unlike recent years, February's Smackdown only Elimination Chamber gives the WWE another opportunity to switch the belt between the Rumble and Wrestlemania. While this is a convenient way to nullify the results of the Cena's Rumble championship match, it could also hurt some of the Mania build up.
The consensus among experts and fans has long been that Cena would not achieve his goal of tying the Nature Boy until he reached the grand stage of Wrestlemania.
Would you like to see John Cena tie Ric Flair's legendary record at the Royal Rumble?
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