John Cena’s return to WWE will include televised appearances on both Raw and SmackDown LIVE, but likely not the Royal Rumble.
During the Christmas Eve edition of Raw, a video segment with Vince McMahon dressed as Santa Claus aired. He announced three things: that Cena will be returning to Raw and SmackDown LIVE, that Women’s Tag Team titles will be coming next year, and that Dolph Ziggler will face Drew McIntyre in a Steel Cage Match on the New Year’s Eve episode of Raw (which is being taped this Friday in Detroit, Michigan).
A graphic aired later in the show advertising that Cena will be returning to Raw and SmackDown LIVE in the new year.
Cena had been announced for a series of WWE dates in December and January, which began at last night’s live event at Madison Square Garden in New York City. His dates include a SmackDown LIVE taping in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this Saturday, and Monday Night Raw events in Orlando, Florida on January 7 and in Memphis, Tennessee on January 14.
Though Cena was announced for those events, whether or not he would be appearing on TV had come into question before this week’s announcement clarified that he will be. Cena did an interview with the Toronto Sun earlier this month and said “none of these shows are televised” when talking about his return. It was also noted in the interview that Cena will begin shooting a new movie in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on January 20. The Royal Rumble takes place on January 27, which would almost certainly rule him out of the event.
“I mean he starts the movie January 20th, so that pretty much takes him out of the Royal Rumble,” Dave Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Ringside News).
“So if he’s not in the Royal Rumble, then he has no ticket or direction for [WrestleMania].”