So much for retiring.
WWE pulled off one of its patented swerves Monday night when it led the WWE Universe to believe that Mark Henry was retiring, only to have him hit WWE champion John Cena with his World’s Strongest Slam.
Shortly after the Cena-Henry confrontation, WWE tweeted the following:
However, given the events that transpired earlier in the night, WWE may have had no choice but to put Henry up as Cena’s next pay-per-view opponent.
In an earlier match between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton, Bryan appeared to get injured when he dived out of the ring after Orton and wound up striking his head and neck against the ringside barrier. He lay at ringside for several moments and tried to continue, but the WWE medical staff finally stepped in and got the match stopped.
Instead of the usual histrionics associated with Bryan’s character over the past few weeks, he quietly and stiffly walked away from ringside accompanied by WWE personnel.
Later on in the broadcast, Michael Cole reported that Bryan may have suffered a stinger, and his status for this week’s SmackDown tapings would be evaluated.
It’s quite possible that this is all to build up what is looking like a major WWE title defense at August’s SummerSlam between Cena and Bryan, and that Henry is nothing more than a transitional opponent for Cena at the next PPV.
Big men have not fared well against Cena at recent PPVs, so it’s highly unlikely that Henry will walk out of Philadelphia with the WWE belt.
On the other hand, Henry has been one of WWE’s more solid workers over the years, and WWE might decide to reward that service with a successful shot at the company’s top title. If that were to happen, Henry would be nothing more than a transitional champion because he would turn around and drop the belt to Bryan at SummerSlatm.
We will know more about this in the coming days as events start to unfold and more details about Bryan’s injury—real or storyline—are released.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.