On the December 30th episode of Friday Night SmackDown, John Cena returned to the ring for the first time in more than a year.
The bout which saw Cena team with Kevin Owens to take on Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn was his first since appearing in a dark match at Madison Square Garden on September 10th, 2021. While his last televised match came against Reigns a month earlier at SummerSlam. Incredibly the match was also Cena’s first on SmackDown since teaming with Becky Lynch to see off Andrade and Zelina Vega in December 2018.
Incredible Stat Connected To Recent John Cena Appearance
When John Cena stepped into the ring on SmackDown he maintained his record of wrestling at least once a year since making his debut back in 2002. But there was also an insane piece of trivia connected to the appearance. Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens all made their main roster WWE debuts in matches or segments involving the 16-time World Champion.
First up was Roman Reigns who debuted as part of The Shield at Survivor Series in 2012. Crashing onto the main roster alongside Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose (Jon Moxley) the trio interrupted the WWE Championship Triple-Threat-Match involving John Cena, CM Punk and Ryback. The interruption ensured that Punk retained the gold.
Next in line for their debut was Sami Zayn who challenged Cena for the United States Title after being introduced by Bret Hart in his hometown of Montreal, Canada. Zayn famously injured his shoulder before the match even began but put in a crowd-pleasing display before ultimately losing.
Just two weeks later on May 18th, 2015 Kevin Owens also came out on Raw to answer John Cena’s United States Championship open challenge. However, instead of trying to win the title, Owens attacked Cena setting up a match at Elimination Chamber. The pair went on to clash at Money In The Bank and Battleground.