John Cena on WWE SummerSlam Return: 'Dude, It Was Great'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 10, 2021

Professional Wrestling: WWE SummerSlam: John Cena sitting on ropes during match at Barclays Center. 
Brooklyn, NY 8/20/2017
CREDIT: Chad Matthew Carlson (Photo by Chad Matthew Carlson /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)
(Set Number: X161332 TK1 )
Set Number: X161332 TK1

John Cena said he couldn't pass up the opportunity to perform in front of a live audience again when WWE offered him a chance to take on Universal Champion Roman Reigns at SummerSlam last month.

Cena was asked about his WWE return during an appearance Thursday night on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

"Dude, it was great," the 13-time WWE champion told Fallon before joking about his loss to Reigns in the show's main event. "I had a wonderful match, I finished second place."

The 44-year-old Massachusetts native has transitioned into a mostly acting and hosting role in Hollywood over the past handful of years, but he still makes an occasional comeback to the squared circle.

He explained to Fallon the stars aligned perfectly this time around as he had a month off in his schedule, which coincided with SummerSlam and the return of fans to the WWE Universe. The company had only featured fans virtually via the ThunderDome experience for most of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I love live audiences,” Cena said. " ... There is no better feeling than being in front of a live audience, there really isn't."

Cena also discussed his first wrestling gimmick, when he was known as "The Prototype" during stints in Ultimate Pro Wrestling and Ohio Valley Wrestling.

"I was 50 percent man, 50 percent machine and 100 percent awful," he joked before Fallon showed an old promo Cena delivered while working as The Prototype.

After SummerSlam, Cena posted a goodbye message to the WWE Universe but hinted at another return in the future:

John Cena @JohnCena

Words cannot describe how appreciative I am that the <a href="https://twitter.com/WWEUniverse?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WWEUniverse</a> allowed me the opportunity to return and perform. Thank you staff, superstars, and most of all FANS for giving me an unforgettable summer at “home” with my “family”. The journey takes me away now but I’ll C U soon.

As he walked out the door, Brock Lesnar walked back in to begin a storyline with Reigns as the WWE attempts to keep plenty of star power atop the SmackDown brand.