In terms of WWE's perception of a Superstar, it's hard to find a wider distance than the one between how company officials view John Cena and how they view Ryback.
While Cena's position with the company may have led to being overworked, Ryback continues his descent into WWE's doghouse. How much of the pain Cena has been playing up on TV is worked and how much of it is real? A recent report points to it being the kind that doesn't end when the cameras turn off.
Other recent rumors provide possible insight into how long Paul Heyman may be gone and speculation why Layla hasn't been around.
Sifting through the latest backstage reports, we find some information fans may have already suspected along with a possible explanation why a former Divas champ has been seen on WWE programming less than Santino Marella's cobra.
Monday's Raw in Nashville featured nearly the entire Divas division decked out in western wear playing musical chairs. Layla was not among them. She is not booked to be in the 14-woman traditional tag team match at Survivor Series, either.
Where is she? One has to wonder if something is wrong when WWE is willing to use Jo-Jo Offerman and Rosa Mendes before going with Layla. At least one outlet thinks maybe there is.
WrestlingInc.com reports that "There's some speculation that she may have injured her knee again but that's not confirmed."
That would explain her long absence from TV, but so would some backstage tension of some sort. There has been no word about an injury or friction with WWE officials, so the aforementioned speculation is all we have to go on for now.
CM Punk thrashing Heyman at Hell in a Cell was seemingly a moment created to end that feud and write Heyman off TV. He was soon seen mocking Ryback and suffering a beatdown from Punk once more.
This time, his departure from Raw and SmackDown is expected to last much longer. Per F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, "The belief is that Heyman will be kept off WWE TV until Brock Lesnar returns or if they make another storyline change and bring him back with someone else."
Lesnar may not be back until either the Royal Rumble or, more likely, closer to WrestleMania XXX. So it may be until then that we witness Heyman's villainy live again.
The above report suggests flexibility in the plans for Heyman, though.
With the large number of wrestlers in Heyman's crew in the last year, it seems unlikely that WWE would go that route with a new Superstar already. At some point, the "Heyman guy" distinction becomes less significant the more members join the club.
On Monday's Raw, Cena wore a sling to the ring, seemingly in order to lure Alberto Del Rio into a proverbial false sense of security.
Cena is still recovering from his surgery a few months ago, or is he? WWE continues to blur the lines of reality and kayfabe with Cena's arm.
As much as it's central to the storyline of his feud with Del Rio, Cena is reportedly hurting in real life as well.
As reported by PWInsider, via WrestleZone.com, Cena "is pretty banged up at the moment, but that's not because of new injuries he's sustained, but because he pushed himself to return from injury so quickly."
This comes as no surprise, as Cena went from the surgeon's table to the wrestling ring far faster than anyone expected. He has not been taking it easy since rejoining WWE, either; Cena's been the same workhorse he was before the surgery.
WWE has to see that overusing him will only lead to more injuries and more absences from him.
As bullheaded as Cena appears to be, though, WWE would have a fight on its hands if it tried to reduce Cena's schedule or ask him to take some more time off.
The company's backstage opinion of Ryback has been a topic of discussion for several weeks now. The latest word is more bad news for Ryback and his fans.
F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, reports: "Regarding Ryback being in the doghouse, word is that it's because he went out a week ago and did the spear and the jackhammer, Bill Goldberg moves, and didn't get permission from WWE management first."
If this is true, Ryback is finding new ways to anger those in charge of his career. Maybe it's frustration that led to him yanking Goldberg's arsenal. Maybe this is Ryback's way of trying to entice Goldberg to fight him at WrestleMania XXX.
Whatever his motivations, rumors around Ryback and WWE's relationship are once again negative. Here's hoping that the next report about "The Big Guy" is something about his career trajectory heading upward.
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