WWE Rumors on John Cena's Return, Naomi to SmackDown; Speculation on Braun Strowman

Adam WellsJuly 20, 2021

Source: WWE.com

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe. 

John Cena's Top-Secret Return

Even though there had been speculation that John Cena's return to WWE was imminent, his appearance at Money in the Bank was a surprise that only a select few people in the company knew about. 

According to PWInsider.com (h/t H Jenkins of Thirsty for News), WWE didn't include Cena's entrance on the rundown sheet for Sunday's pay-per-view and "it was kept secret from most in the company beyond a small circle."

After Roman Reigns defended the WWE universal title against Edge in the main event, Cena shocked the WWE Universe by coming out at the end of the show to have a staredown with the Head of the Table. 

The leader of the Cenation made his intentions clear on Raw. He issued a challenge to Reigns for the championship at SummerSlam in Las Vegas on Aug. 21. The universal champion will address Cena on SmackDown this week. 

Cena's return at Money in the Bank marked his first appearance on WWE television since losing to The Fiend Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 36 in a Firefly Fun House match on April 5, 2020. 

Based on how the crowd greeted Cena on Sunday night, it's safe to assume that WWE's keeping his comeback a secret was a success. 

Naomi Moving to SmackDown?

WWE's recent roster reshuffling appears to include Naomi going from Raw to SmackDown. 

Per PWInsider.com (h/t Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc.), WWE has "quietly moved Naomi to the blue brand," but it's unclear when the switch will be announced. 

Naomi was listed as a Raw Superstar during her appearance in the women's Money in the Bank ladder match Sunday night.

WWE has practical reasons to move Naomi from Raw to SmackDown. The most obvious being that she's married to Jimmy Uso, who is one-half of the SmackDown tag team champions. 

From a storyline perspective, the SmackDown women's division needs more depth. Sasha Banks has been on hiatus since WrestleMania, and Bayley is out of action for nine months after injuring her knee while training. 

The babyface side of the SmackDown women's roster is bare beyond Bianca Belair. Liv Morgan is the only other one who is receiving any type of push.

Moving Naomi to SmackDown is mutually beneficial to the show and to her. She's been floundering in tag matches on Raw for months, so this will give her the opportunity for a restart. 

WWE Releases New Braun Strowman Merchandise

Despite being one of six Superstars released by WWE on June 2, Braun Strowman has new merchandise available in WWE's official online shop. 

WWE CRAVE @wwecrave

Braun Strowman's official Merchandise are back in The WWE SHOP <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWERAW?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWERAW</a> <a href="https://t.co/oBRrOpkVz0">pic.twitter.com/oBRrOpkVz0</a>

WWE does have an alumni section in its online shop where merchandise for retired Superstars and legends is sold. 

Strowman, though, is still an active performer. He's unable to sign with another company because of the 90-day non-compete clause in his deal with WWE that expires on Aug. 31. 

It's also possible Strowman has re-signed with WWE. The company has brought back Superstars shortly after releasing them. Zelina Vega returned to SmackDown on July 2, eight months after she was cut. 

The Monster Among Men did tease a potential match with AEW star Wardlow on Twitter earlier this month:

Adam Scherr @BraunStrowman

Everyone thinks they do still they stand across the ring from me. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LikeNoOneTheyHaveEverSceen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LikeNoOneTheyHaveEverSceen</a>

AEW talent scout Mark Henry, who previously worked for WWE, told TMZ Sports he's got Strowman "super high" on his wish list and "there's already interest on both sides."

It's unclear where things stand with Strowman, but there will likely be an answer one way or another very soon based on when his non-compete is set to expire. 

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