For the last two months WWE has had to figure out life without John Cena.
Cena returned Sunday night, and the first order of business for WWE's franchise performer was breathing life back into the world heavyweight title.
Cena won the belt from Alberto Del Rio at the "Hell in a Cell" pay-per-view, just more than two months after Cena announced he would be out 4-6 months due to a real-life torn triceps that required surgery.
Cena entering the world heavyweight title picture was a huge shot in the arm for a belt whose identity has been unclear. For years, the WWE championship was largely the “Monday Night Raw” title and the world heavyweight title the “Friday Night SmackDown” championship.
But with WWE stars now working both shows again, the world title status has dwindled. At WrestleMania XXIX, the WWE championship match between The Rock and Cena was the main event, and the world title match between champion Del Rio and challenger Jack Swagger wasn’t even one of the three featured matches.
Del Rio’s most recent feud, with Rob Van Dam, further clouded the title’s importance because it was well known Vam Dam was working under a short-term WWE contract and that a title change was unlikely.
But at Hell in a Cell, the title change happened emphatically, when Cena dodged a Del Rio cross armbreaker attempt and hit Del Rio with the attitude adjustment finisher for the win.
A popular saying in the wrestling business is that the wrestler makes the title, not the other way around.
Cena now gets a chance to prove this saying true.
Also at Hell in a Cell:
* Randy Orton won the vacant WWE championship by defeating Daniel Bryan in a Hell in a Cell match. During the match, special guest referee Shawn Michaels got too close to the action and ended up laid out in the corner. WWE executive Triple H came to the ring with a trainer and had the cell opened so they could check on Michaels. Triple H accosted Bryan, who was trying to help Michaels get his wits back so Bryan could pin the prone Orton. Bryan responded with a high knee to Triple H, and Michaels -- who trained Bryan and is Triple H's best friend -- responded instinctively with a sweet chin music superkick to Bryan. Orton then covered Bryan, and a conflicted Michaels had no choice but to make the three count.
* CM Punk won a “handicap” Hell in a Cell match over Ryback and Paul Heyman. Before the match, Heyman used a mechanical lift to get to the top of the cell and avoid any combat. But after Punk beat Ryback with an elbow drop through a table, a kendo stick shot and his go-to-sleep finisher, Punk scaled the cage. He proceeded to pummel Heyman with the kendo stick and then hit the GTS on him on top of the cell.
* Brothers Cody Rhodes and Goldust retained the WWE tag-team title, winning a triple-threat match against the Usos and The Shield members Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. In one of the more original high-impact moves in years, Rhodes superplexed Rollins from the top rope outside the ring, taking out the other four combatants on the floor in the process. The move earned a “This is awesome” chant from the crowd in Miami.
* The Miz came out and challenged Bray Wyatt to a fight. Wyatt’s henchmen, Harper and Rowan, came out and attacked Miz. Kane made his return after being taken out by Wyatt at SummerSlam and quickly disposed of Harper and Rowan. But his appearance wasn’t meant to save Miz, and he proved as much by giving the former “Real World” star a chokeslam.
* In a mixed tag-team match, Fandango and Summer Rae got the win over The Great Khali and Natalya, with Summer Rae getting the pin on Natalya.
* Dean Ambrose from The Shield retained his United States championship despite losing to Big E. Langston by countout. During the match a real-life accidental clash of heads opened up a gash on Langston’s face. But Langston was still able to deliver his big ending finisher on Ambrose after the match.
* Los Matadores defeated The Real Americans in tag-team action.
* AJ Lee retained her Divas title, beating Brie Bella.