Tonight on SmackDown Live, Shinsuke Nakamura defeated John Cena, meaning he will face Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam. So what’s next for Cena? Is he going on another hiatus?
It does indeed seem that Cena is preparing to leave the WWE to film a movie again. This week, it was announced that Cena will be joining the cast of Bumblebee, the Transformers spinoff that is set to be released in December 2018. According to The Hollywood Reporter, production on the movie is currently underway in California.
It’s not totally clear when John Cena will be needed on set. It’s not uncommon for a movie to begin principal photography without its lead actor, especially in the case of a Transformers movie where many scenes consist largely of computer generated robots. Bumblebee will likely be filming for quite a while. For comparison, Transformers: The Last Knight began principal photography in May 2016, and it concluded filming in December 2016. If Bumblebee followed that same schedule, it would conclude its production in February 2018.
When this Bumblebee news was announced, the big question concerned John Cena’s SummerSlam plans and whether he would still be able to participate in the August pay-per-view. The fact that he lost to Nakamura on Tuesday is a pretty good indication that he’s leaving to begin production on Bumblebee pretty soon, although it’s still possible that Cena could be given another SummerSlam opponent and that he could begin his hiatus after August 20th. He is, after all, on the official SummerSlam poster.
But the common theory was that if John Cena didn’t face Jinder Mahal at SummerSlam, he would face the United States Champion. We now know that this can’t happen, since AJ Styles is facing Kevin Owens at SummerSlam.
Something that could potentially get in the way of Cena competing at SummerSlam is the fact that movie studios’ insurance policies often prevent wrestlers from competing before a shoot, with the concern being that they will get injured and delay the start of production. That’s why Dwayne Johnson couldn’t have a proper match at WrestleMania 32: he was about to start filming a movie, according to WrestleZone. Granted, John Cena was allowed to compete at WrestleMania 33 even though that took place a month before production on the movie The Pact began, but that was also a comedy and not a huge action blockbuster like Bumblebee.
Cena is advertised for some upcoming WWE shows, including No Mercy on September 24th, according to Wrestling Inc. However, the card is always subject to change, and so just the fact that Cena is on the schedule next month does’t necessarily guarantee he’ll be wrestling on those dates.
A lot about John Cena’s upcoming hiatus is still pretty up in the air, then, but we know for sure that he’s leaving sometime in the immediate future in order to go film Bumblebee, something that will likely take him out of action for most of the rest of 2017. Whether this will keep him off of SummerSlam remains to be seen, but he will almost certainly miss the fall pay-per-views like Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series. Cena will likely be able to return in time for WrestleMania 34, and the current rumor is that he will face off against Roman Reigns in the main event.