It looks like John Cena's return to WWE is right around the corner. According to Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful (via Comicbook.com), the 16-time world champion will return to WWE on Friday, July 23, for Friday Night SmackDown. It will be the first SmackDown to air after the pay-per-view Money in the Bank, which will stream on Peacock this Sunday. WWE will be back on the road this week, and for the July 23 SmackDown episode, WWE Superstars will take over the Rocket Mortgage Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
It's been reported that Cena will face Universal Champion Roman Reigns at SummerSlam. However, it's possible that Reigns won't be the champion as he will face Edge at Money in the Bank. In recent interviews, Cena did confirm his return to WWE but never revealed when it would happen.
"Yeah, I posted that back in May," Cena said on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon when asked about his Instagram post, which featured a WWE logo. "I was feeling rather nostalgic about the WWE, and I just wanted to post the logo. Some people took it as I was returning immediately, which is not the case. I haven't had my last match, and I can't wait to have my next match."
Cena also spoke to Chris Van Vliet about his return and said it's possible for him to turn heel since Reigns was able to do it. "I think this is the beginning to showcase the fact that it's possible," Cena said. "Now as WWE invests and builds its roster, it has a wealth of talent and truly has many anchors to the ship now. Certainly [with] Roman being a very, very marketable and definitive star. I think the reason for me not to explore that side is because WWE didn't feel confident they had any alternative [top star in the company]. And I respect that business choice, I really do."
Cena last appeared on WWE TV when it comes to a match was in April 2020. He took on "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 36 and lost. During his time away from WWE, Cena was busy filming movies and TV shows. He will be seen in the film The Suicide Squad in August and can currently be seen in F9. Next year, Cena will star in the HBO Max series Peacemaker, which is a spinoff to The Suicide Squad.