Fans in attendance for a Tampa Bay SmackDown Live house show will see a small John Cena WWE return.

hasn’t been seen on television since being part of the losing Team SmackDown at last month’s Survivor Series pay-per-view. But the good folks of Cenation will not have to wait long to see the 16-time World Champion in action again.

According to Andrew Ravens of, a Cena WWE return is scheduled on a live SmackDown show on Dec. 30, 2017,  in Tampa Bay, where he will face AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal in a Triple-Threat match for the WWE Championship.

If Cena wins the match, he’ll break Ric Flair‘s record and become a 17-time World Champion. He tied The Nature Boy’s milestone by defeating Styles for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble earlier this year.

Of course, it’s unlikely Cena would accomplish the historic feat on a non-pay-per-view show. On top of that, he’s only a part-timer right now, so it wouldn’t make sense for he and Brock Lesnar (who barely appears on television these days), to carry the two major championships.

Cena and Mahal have both feuded with Styles since The Phenomenal One joined the WWE two years ago. Cena’s rivalry with Styles began in May 2016, but their feud essentially ended at the aforementioned 2017 Royal Rumble. This John Cena WWE return is a nice little way to rekindle that rivalry which featured multiple high profile and well received bouts.

As for Mahal, he lost the WWE Championship to Styles on the Nov. 7 , 2017, episode of SmackDown, and has since failed to recapture it. He’s set to get the rematch at this Sunday’s Clash of Champions pay-per-view, however.


Cena is now 40 years of age and has suffered numerous injuries over the last few years. This might not be a full-time John Cena WWE return as he is now heavily involved in the film industry. There has been speculation that his tenure with the WWE may end soon, but there’s no way to know for sure. He hasn’t been the face of the company for a while, and often receives major boos from the crowd.

Nonetheless, he’ll have the chance to make history and become a 17-time champion in two weeks. We’ll see if he can conquer two big stars in Mahal and Styles.

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