Watch: John Cena Introduced by Vince McMahon for WWE Return at MSG

John Cena spent most of 2018 not wrestling. But the 16-time WWE Champion just made his prodigal [...]

John Cena spent most of 2018 not wrestling. But the 16-time WWE Champion just made his prodigal return not only Vince McMahon's ring but Madison Square Garden.

At MSG's December 26 show, McMahon himself announced Cena as Baron Corbin's surprise opponent. While Cena was advertised for the show, no one was quite sure how he'd be used. But with Corbin as his opponent, there was little doubt that Cena would emerge victorious in his first match since a Shanghai, China Live Event in September.

Cena pinned Corbin after unleashing his new finisher — The Lightning Fist. While the AA is still part of his arsenal, it looks like Cena will be using his special punch to end matches in 2019.

Cena's booked for a few more dates to close out 2018 and is slated for several nights of WWE to start 2019. WWE announced this week that Cena will be working the New Year's Day episode of SmackDown Live, a show that will actually be pre-taped on December 29.

Royals Farms Arena, Baltimore — December 28

PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh – December 29 (SmackDown Taping)

Amalie Arena, Tampa, Fla. – December 30

Columbus Civic Center, Columbus, Ga. – January 4

Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, Tallahassee, Fla. – January 5

Hertz Arena, Ft. Myers, Fla. – January 6

Amway Center, Orlando, Fla. – January 7 (Raw)

Charleston Civic Center, Charleston, W.Va. – January 11

Knoxville Civic Coliseum, Knoxville, Tenn. – January 12

Von Braun Civic Center, Huntsville, Ala. – January 13

FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tenn. – January 14 (Raw)

At 41-years old, Cena is conceivably coming to the end of his WWE career. With his Hollywood resume begging to blossom, Cena could follow in The Rock's footsteps and become a full-time movie star. However, despite his mileage and ambitions, Cena told ESPN earlier this year that he still has plenty of memories to make as a WWE Superstar.

"I'm far from done with the WWE. The WWE will always be my home, but in this current state of affairs right now with all this extra cool stuff that's going on, it's fun to try. It's a great time to be able to take a chance and I'm so eternally grateful to the WWE and its audience for bringing me to this point. I realize I'd be nowhere without them and I never forget them. I promise as soon as I have any sort of downtime, like I had when I was at the Greatest Royal Rumble and the string of shows I did before WrestleMania, anytime free time I get will not be free, it will be spent at my home in the WWE," he said.

"I don't feel like they're dependent on me in any way. I think the program is riveting as it stands and there are so many gifted young performers that deserve a chance and have earned a chance so there couldn't be a better time for me to take a break," he said.