We’ve known for a while John Cena would return to WWE for the first time since WrestleMania 33 on the July 4 episode of SmackDown LIVE. However, on this week’s episode of Raw, the latest promo shown regarding Cena’s return referred to him as a “Free Agent.”
— WWE (@WWE) June 13, 2017
Following the announcement, many have been wondering when this change occurred. WWE.com published an article on Wednesday saying that Cena’s status “changed” during the Superstar Shake-Up after WrestleMania 33.
Shortly before Raw, PWInsider.com reported that there was “creative pitch” for Cena to be a “free agent” who could appear on both Raw and SmackDown LIVE.
The reason for this is because WWE higher-ups are panicking over the neverending decline in ratings for Raw and want the option of having Cena on both shows.
While he remains committed to the company, it’s no secret Cena has been far from a full-time wrestler for a while now. With that likely to continue to be the case, and with there said to be internal concern about dropping TV ratings, it makes sense for WWE to use him wherever they can, for however long they can.
It appears that Cena’s status in WWE going forward will be similar to that of The Undertaker, who is listed on WWE.com as a current WWE Superstar but is not officially aligned to Raw or SmackDown LIVE. As of now though, Cena is still listed as a SmackDown LIVE Superstar on WWE.com.