John Cena's Next WWE Appearance Announced

John Cena's full-time professional wrestling days are in the rear view. The 16-time WWE Champion slowly began transitioning to Hollywood in 2016 and has not been a consistent member of either a Monday Night Raw or WWE SmackDown roster in over five years. That said, Big Match John does pop back up for the odd program here and there, most recently with his Summer 2021 feud with Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Reports have swirled that Cena is all but locked in for a match at next April's WWE WrestleMania 39, which would be his first true bout at the Showcase of the Immortals since 2018.

The build to whatever that match ends up being could begin this month. As reported by Variety, Cena is set to appear on the December 30th edition of WWE SmackDown. This will be the final blue brand show of 2022 and will emanate from the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The report also teases that "more announcements are planned" for that specific episode of SmackDown.

Cena's return will come just four weeks before WWE Royal Rumble. While he is not currently advertised for that event, SmackDown could be where he announces his entry into the men's multi-man battle royal.

Multiple names are rumored to stand opposite against Cena at WWE WrestleMania 39. Recently, Logan Paul has made it known that he wants to lock up with Cena next April in Los Angeles.

"Truthfully, I think me vs. John Cena would break the internet," Paul said in November. "I texted Triple H right away, 'do you want to break the internet again?' That's a dream match. WrestleMania, in LA, on my birthday. Triple H, throw me a bone, give me a birthday present, let me take out John Cena."

While Paul himself is campaigning for a Cena match, two other names have been discussed behind the scenes: Austin Theory and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Theory confronted Cena earlier this year on an episode of Monday Night Raw, blasting the 45-year-old for his part-time status. In past interviews, Theory has said himself that he wants a match with Cena one day.

As for the Texas Rattlesnake, there is no confirmation on Austin wrestling at WWE WrestleMania 39, but reports have said that WWE wants him back in the ring. If the two sides can agree to terms, fans have pointed to Cena as a possible opponent due to the proven potential of past "clash of generation" matches, as seen with the success of Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock and The Rock vs. John Cena.

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Cena returns to WWE on Friday, December 30th.