A recent report by WWE is reporting John Cena is injured and potentially won't be at the Royal Rumble this Sunday. That injury, however, is fake and if he's out, it's for another reason.
According to Dave Meltzer on the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, the report by WWE that Cena injured his ankle when Drew McIntyre applied an ankle lock during the fatal four-way contender's match on RAW, was not an actual injury but a work designed to give Cena a reason to miss the Royal Rumble. The real reason Cena is out is that he's back shooting a movie.
BREAKING: @JohnCena's status for this Sunday's Men's #RoyalRumble Match is in question following an injury he suffered last week on #RAW. More details: https://t.co/VECZsMMlxu pic.twitter.com/NlTSrXeesk— WWE (@WWE) January 22, 2019
Cena started filming another movie in Vancouver this week and this may be the reason he's away. Speculation is also that the plan to have Cena face Lars Sullivan was scrapped and that could be playing a role in WWE's decision to remove him from the event or let him film his movie instead of appearing at the pay-per-view.
It is still possible Cena makes a surprise appearance but it seems unlikely considering the trouble WWE is going to here to announce his absence.
What This Means
If Cena isn't going to be around much after the Rumble and his storyline with Sullivan is no longer happening, it makes sense WWE has not put an onus on his appearance this Sunday. Giving him the time off he needs when he's merely an add-on to the show instead of playing a central role is a no-brainer.
Sullivan has yet to make an appearance on the main roster and should this program have been given the green light, Sullivan would have had to take out Cena at the Rumble, Cena miss some time and then return in time to promote a WrestleMania 35 match. Considering Cena's movie schedule, that plan included a number of unknown variables that might have made giving the program the attention it required tricky.