This news of a John Cena return leaked a couple of weeks ago with advertising, but the WWE finally officially confirmed it tonight on SmackDown Live. The WWE announcers told the fans, live on Tuesday night, that Cena will make his return to television on the July 4 episode of SmackDown Live.
This is John Cena’s first appearance in the WWE since he and his fiance Nikki Bella beat The Miz and Maryse at WrestleMania 33. After that match, John dropped to a knee and proposed to Bella and she said yes. While no one has announced when John Cena and Nikki Bella will get married, it is expected to be televised.
John Cena has been away from the WWE making movies and working on the next season of his television show American Grit. The most recent movie with Cena was the military movie The Wall, and he is also appearing in Daddy’s Home 2 as well as voicing the lead character in the upcoming movie Ferdinand. Cena is also appearing in the upcoming comedy The Pact.
However, while the announcement stated that John Cena was returning to SmackDown Live on the July 4 live edition of the show, it did not say what the plans were. According to a message sent out to WWE Network subscribers, there will be “family, friends, fireworks… and John Cena.” The announcement then asked what the “16-time World Champion” has to say about the current “state of the blue brand upon his return.”
The next SmackDown Live exclusive pay-per-view is Money in the Bank and the main event is the WWE World Championship match between Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal. With Mahal expected to hold on to his world title, the question is, what is next for Jinder Mahal?
In an interview with the Hindustan Times before winning the WWE World Championship, Jinder Mahal said that his dream opponent in the WWE is John Cena and that he hoped to be world champion when he faced Cena.
The next pay-per-view after Money in the Bank for the SmackDown Live brand is Battleground on July 23. The John Cena WWE return comes right in the middle of the two pay-per-view events and SmackDown Live should have determined the next contender to Jinder Mahal by the time Cena is back on the Fourth of July.
However, the next pay-per-view after that is SummerSlam, the second-biggest pay-per-view of the year after WrestleMania. There might not be a bigger show for John Cena to battle Jinder Mahal than at SummerSlam.
Professional wrestling insider Dave Meltzer said that the two biggest draws in the WWE today are Brock Lesnar and John Cena. Both men have been gone since WrestleMania 33 and the WWE ratings have crashed as a result. Brock Lesnar is returning next week for Monday Night Raw and now John Cena is coming back on July 4 for SmackDown Live.
The idea right now is for Brock Lesnar to battle Braun Strowman at SummerSlam. Braun was bringing huge ratings to Monday Night Raw as the giant, unbeatable monster before an elbow injury curbed his push. Braun Strowman battling Brock Lesnar should bring big ratings back to Monday Night Raw.
Jinder Mahal has been criticized for his push out of nowhere, but he has developed into a solid heel, with fans starting to boo him for the right reasons. Having one of the biggest names in the WWE return on the most patriotic holiday of the year makes it look like the WWE is setting up that John Cena vs. Jinder Mahal feud.
SmackDown Live seems to be the best place for John Cena vs. Jinder Mahal to take place, and there might not be a bigger place for John Cena to finally break Ric Flair’s record of 16 world title reigns.
[Featured Image by WWE]