John Cena appeared on WWE programming for the first time since SummerSlam 2021 on this week's Monday Night Raw, celebrating 20 years since his onscreen debut. The 16-time world champion popped up backstage numerous times throughout the show before cutting a promo at the top of the third hour, thanking fans for all their years of support and hinting at his in-ring future in the company. Ratings from that episode have arrived, and while the viewership dipped slightly and the demographic rating remained the same, all three hours made the top of the cable charts.
Cena's appearances also drove big numbers on YouTube, with the collection of his backstage encounters already cracking one million views in less than a full day. He took to Twitter on Wednesday to thank everyone, writing, "Overwhelmed with ALL the messages thru this month. Being at #WWERaw last night gave me an opportunity to show you how much YOU mean to me. Thank you @WWE for every chance you've taken on me, so I will continue to always give my best for my home, for my family, for US."
Cena talked about retirement in an interview with Chris Hardwick last year. His upcoming acting roles include films such as Snafu, Argylle, The Independent, and Wile E. Coyote.
"Returning to WWE, it's a brand new world. A new cast of characters, new direction with the company, new platforms, new environment. There is a challenge there," Cena said. "To challenge myself as a 44-year-old to go back, there is an Intrinsic challenge there, a set of circumstances. That's a good challenge in many ways. My body could tell me after this extended stay, 'dude, you're done' or it could tell me, 'You're so far from done it's crazy.' That's another interesting conversation with myself. If physically, I'm slower, I've said openly to everyone that I will keep doing this until I feel I'm offending the customer. I will continually go out there and do what I can to contribute and add.
"I don't want to go out there and be like, 'Okay, just let him go out there and (do his thing).' I'm not into that because I know what it's like to pay for a ticket," he added. "If I were to get that on this go-round, it's a humbling and tough thing that I will have to hurdle. If I get the opposite and it's like, 'You're quicker and can do some things better and define a new personality,' then that's a new conversation because I do not have much time left and if I want to give it like, 'let's really commit to this thing and really go all in,' that's an honest choice where other stuff will have to take a backseat."