New reports suggest that John Cena’s WWE return date may have a patriotic twist to it, if you could call it that. With close to a month and a half having passed since his last appearance on WWE programming, it looks like the 16-time WWE Champion will be back on television on the Fourth of July, as he makes his return to SmackDown Live a few weeks prior to the blue brand’s Battleground pay-per-view.
For a good part of 2016 and 2017, Cena has been paying more attention to his Hollywood career, as he has been taking more and more time off from the WWE to shoot and/or promote movies. Earlier this week, The Wall made its debut, with Cena starring alongside Aaron Taylor-Johnson in a gritty war drama far removed from his usual comedic appearances in films such as Trainwreck and Daddy’s Home. Due to the filming of the latter movie’s sequel, Daddy’s Home 2, wrestling fans are also having to wait a little longer for John Cena’s WWE return. But a report from Wrestling Inc. suggests that the decorated 40-year-old finally has a definite return date.
With WWE heading to Phoenix right in time for the anniversary of America’s independence, John Cena is advertised for the July 4 episode of SmackDown Live. Wrestling Inc. noted that this is the only future date so far where Cena shows up on promotional materials, so there’s a chance this may be a one-off appearance before John continues focusing on non-wrestling-related projects. But with the SmackDown-exclusive pay-per-view Battleground scheduled for July 23, there’s also a chance John Cena’s WWE return will see him engaging in a new rivalry to be showcased at that event.
Playback: John Cena on ‘The Wall,’ Favorite Films and Time Away From WWE https://t.co/Eg36VARlpT
— Variety (@Variety) May 11, 2017
Prior to his current hiatus, Cena had last appeared at WrestleMania 33, where, in a battle of real-life WWE “power couples,” he and Nikki Bella defeated The Miz and Maryse. Cena would successfully propose to Nikki after the match, though as the Inquisitr had previously reported, marriage plans for the newly-engaged couple are still “very ground-level” at the moment.
What can we expect from John Cena when he makes his WWE return? One possibility, regardless whether his July 4 SmackDown Live appearance in Phoenix is a one-off or the start of a full-fledged return, is his reappearance alongside Nikki Bella. As Nikki and her twin sister Brie are natives of nearby Scottsdale, it won’t be surprising to see Nikki alongside her fiancée as she makes her own return to WWE television.
As for actual rivalries, Bleacher Report recently compiled a list of five possible wrestlers whom Cena could feud with once he comes back from his current hiatus. These include erstwhile mid-carders Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler, and the current number one contender for the WWE Championship, Jinder Mahal. But among those listed, the two highest-profile potential feuds for John Cena upon his WWE return may be those against United States Champion Kevin Owens and Shinsuke Nakamura.
Talking about a possible Cena vs. Owens feud, Bleacher Report noted that this could be a chance for John to fight for the title he helped make relevant in 2015, against no less than the man who defeated him in his very first WWE main roster match. The fact that Owens is currently hyping up his U.S. Championship by calling himself the “Face of America” was also brought up as a possible motivation for Cena, should he fight for that title.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. John Cena would be a rivalry between two heroic characters, and while Nakamura has yet to compete since being called up to the main roster on SmackDown Live, Bleacher Report observed that he is already one of the blue brand’s best-loved talents, and possibly in line to beat SmackDown’s finest as he moves up the card. Should both men face each other at some point in the future, Bleacher Report believes that it would make for a marquee match worthy of WWE’s biggest pay-per-view events.
“Nakamura vs. John Cena is a dream match waiting to happen, and there is bound to be electricity in the air when they inevitably share the same ring together.”
Who do you think John Cena should face when he makes his WWE return? Do you think he’ll be placed back into SmackDown Live storylines for the brand’s Battleground PPV, or will his July 4 appearance be a one time deal for the time being? Let us know in the comments below.
[Featured Image by WWE]