John Cena appeared to announce Tuesday on Twitter he'll return to WWE for the July 4 edition of SmackDown Live:
Cena hasn't wrestled since WrestleMania 33. In addition to his engagement to Nikki Bella, the 16-time world champion took time off in order to film The Pact.
A July 4 return would make sense for Cena.
In Jinder Mahal, WWE has gone back to wrestling booking 101 and put the WWE Championship on an "evil foreigner" who regularly flaunts his wealth and superiority to fans. While he was born in Canada, Mahal's Punjabi heritage is a big part of his current character.
Professional wrestling has largely moved on from the xenophobic tropes that littered the industry decades ago, but WWE isn't afraid to go down that route on occasion.
And what better way to knock Mahal down a peg than have Cena come back—on the Fourth of July no less—and declare himself a challenger for the WWE Championship. It could be like when Lex Luger bodyslammed Yokozuna on the USS Intrepid in 1993.
With that said, it would be disappointing if WWE spent so much time and effort to make Mahal look like a legitimate threat with the goal of then having him lose to Cena. All the momentum he had built in the previous months could evaporate in an instant.
In the months leading up to WrestleMania 31, Rusev was red hot and rode in on a tank for his match with Cena. But after Cena beat Rusev for the United States Championship, the Bulgarian Brute spiraled downward quickly.
The same could happen to Mahal if his title reign becomes footnote in Cena's epic summer return.