WWE Rumors: John Cena's Return 'Being Discussed' for 1st SmackDown with Live Fans

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVMay 23, 2021

John Cena, a cast member in the upcoming film "Playing with Fire," addresses the audience during the Paramount Pictures presentation at CinemaCon 2019, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) at Caesars Palace, Thursday, April 4, 2019, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

John Cena hasn't appeared on WWE programming since WrestleMania 36, but that could soon change with the company set to resume its touring schedule.

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Ringside News) reported that WWE has been in talks with Cena regarding an appearance on the July 16 episode of SmackDown, its first regular event back in front of a live audience.

Cena's burgeoning acting career and COVID-19 restrictions have made it difficult for the 16-time world champion to appear since his loss to Bray Wyatt in a Firefly Fun House match.

Filming commitments in Vancouver for his HBO series, Peacemaker, caused Cena to miss WrestleMania for the first time since 2002. Strict restrictions on travel across the United States and Canadian border have been in place throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I really, really want to get back to WWE," Cena recently told Nick Harley of Den of Geek. "I really want audiences to get back to WWE.

"Heck! I’m with everybody I think around the world saying I just want the world to get back to normal, but these are interesting times, and I have a lot of interesting opportunities at my feet."

It's unclear what type of role Cena would have upon his return considering he would have to carve out time for a full-time run. While he almost certainly has at least one more title reign remaining in his career—securing a 17th championship seems like a given—it's anyone's guess when Cena's schedule would allow for that. 

Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: some language NSFW).