X

John Cena to Appear on WWE SmackDown Dec. 30 Following Rumors of Return

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 9, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 18: John Cena, Wipeout on TBS and Peacemaker on HBO Max attends the Warner Bros. Discovery Upfront 2022 arrivals on the red carpet at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on May 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Discovery)
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Discovery

Legendary WWE Superstar John Cena is set to make his return to WWE programming later this month.

WWE @WWE

Mark your calendars, <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnCena?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JohnCena</a> is coming back to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> on December 30th!<br><br>You won't want to miss it! <a href="https://t.co/bVaiAz6rkd">pic.twitter.com/bVaiAz6rkd</a>

Joe Otterson of Variety first reported Friday that Cena would appear on the Dec. 30 episode of SmackDown, which is being held in Cena's adopted hometown of Tampa, Florida.

While WWE has yet to confirm the upcoming appearance, a source told Otterson to expect some announcements in the coming weeks.

Cena is one of the most decorated performers in WWE history, as his 16 world title reigns are tied with WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair for the most ever in professional wrestling.

While Cena was the unquestioned face of WWE for the better part of 15 years, he has made only sporadic appearances for the company in recent years due to his commitments as a rising star in Hollywood.

The 45-year-old Cena last did something with WWE in June when he appeared on an episode of Raw to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his debut.

Cena did not wrestle or set up a future match, but he cut a promo in which he thanked the fans, and he took part in several backstage segments, including a memorable confrontation with Austin Theory.

Aside from an untelevised dark match in September 2021, Cena's most recent in-ring action came in August 2021 when he lost a Universal Championship match against Roman Reigns at SummerSlam.

Cena wrestled several live event matches during that time, prompting WWE to coin it "The Summer of Cena."

If Cena does show up on the final SmackDown of 2022, it isn't yet known if it will be a one-off appearance or the start of something bigger.

The Royal Rumble premium live event is set for Jan. 28 in San Antonio, so Cena could very well announce his entry into the men's Royal Rumble match or set the stage for a different match on the card.

Cena has not competed at WrestleMania since WrestleMania 36 in 2020, and fans have eagerly anticipated his return to the biggest stage in the sport.

Doing something at the Royal Rumble would be the ideal way to build toward a WrestleMania match, and appearing on the Dec. 30 SmackDown will serve to fuel speculation of his involvement.

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