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John Cena, Kevin Owens Beat Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn in Cena's Historic WWE Match

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 31, 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

In John Cena's first televised match since August 2021, he and Kevin Owens defeated Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn in a tag team bout on Friday night's episode of SmackDown.

WWE on FOX @WWEonFOX

YOUR WINNERS! <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnCena?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JohnCena</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/FightOwensFight?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FightOwensFight</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/N8ygkYq6xZ">pic.twitter.com/N8ygkYq6xZ</a>

Cena came out to a thunderous ovation before he and Owens earned the upper hand for much of this match.

WWE @WWE

.<a href="https://twitter.com/JohnCena?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JohnCena</a> IS BACK!!!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/7ZjCvN98D3">pic.twitter.com/7ZjCvN98D3</a>

The ending sequence featured Cena and Owens hitting Reigns and Zayn, respectively, with a pair of Five Knuckle Shuffles. Cena then grabbed Reigns for an Attitude Adjustment before Owens hit Zayn with a Stunner to get the pin.

WWE on FOX @WWEonFOX

YOU CANT SEE THEM!<a href="https://twitter.com/JohnCena?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JohnCena</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/FightOwensFight?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FightOwensFight</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/ywJ4xPzWrk">pic.twitter.com/ywJ4xPzWrk</a>

It was a rough night for Zayn, who was on the wrong end of punishment delivered by both of his opponents.

WWE on FOX @WWEonFOX

"You're embarrassing yourself in front of the Tribal Chief!"<a href="https://twitter.com/FightOwensFight?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FightOwensFight</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/WWERomanReigns?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WWERomanReigns</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/SamiZayn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SamiZayn</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/jkE7NoIJQ3">pic.twitter.com/jkE7NoIJQ3</a>

WWE on FOX @WWEonFOX

The Tribal Chief has seen enough...<a href="https://twitter.com/WWERomanReigns?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WWERomanReigns</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/7NeoHlyc6C">pic.twitter.com/7NeoHlyc6C</a>

WWE @WWE

Here comes <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnCena?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JohnCena</a>!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SmackDown?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SmackDown</a> <a href="https://t.co/Dut8Gc6oqY">pic.twitter.com/Dut8Gc6oqY</a>

Zayn seemingly threw his friendship with Owens away at Survivor Series WarGames last month when he hit KO with a low blow and served him up to the rest of The Bloodline in a WarGames match.

Rather than aligning himself with his longtime friend, Zayn pledged his allegiance to The Bloodline, much to the delight of Reigns and Jey Uso, the latter of whom was previously against Zayn joining the group.

Despite that, Reigns apparently remained unconvinced that Zayn was 100 percent committed to The Bloodline, especially as Owens continued to involve himself in the business of Zayn and The Bloodline as a whole.

The Tribal Chief made it clear that the only way to ensure Zayn could move on from Owens was to destroy KO once and for all, which led to Reigns challenging Owens to a tag team match on the final episode of SmackDown in 2022.

Reigns took on Zayn as his tag team partner and said Owens could choose anyone he wanted to be his partner. It wasn't long before Cena declared in a message via satellite that he would be the one to team with KO.

As part of his announcement, Cena noted that he had wrestled at least one match in WWE every year since 2002, and in order to keep that streak going, he agreed to team up with Owens.

Cena's last televised match before Friday came at SummerSlam 2021 when he challenged Reigns for the Universal Championship in the main event. Reigns won that match, and Cena returned to his duties in Hollywood.

While the 16-time world champion got to renew his rivalry with Reigns on SmackDown, the biggest storyline on display was the dynamic between Owens and Zayn.

Reigns seemingly made the match not only to take out Owens but also to further test Zayn's loyalty to him and The Bloodline.

The win by Cena and Owens may have represented some cracks in the foundation of Zayn's relationship with Reigns, and it likely means Owens will continue to be a thorn in the side of The Bloodline moving forward.


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