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Five times John Cena stunned the WWE Universe with a surprise return

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Nov 25, 2021

John Cena is seldom seen inside a WWE ring these days as he has become a bonafide Hollywood superstar, but you never know when he might pop up in the world of sports entertainment.

Cena seldom appeared in a WWE ring in 2018 after a year that saw him appear in a number of Hollywood feature films including Blockers and the Transformers spin-off Bumblebee.

Five times John Cena stunned the WWE Universe

Much like his predecessor as the WWE’s ultimate babyface, the Rock, Cena remains attached to the Sports Entertainment industry despite a successful segue into mainstream entertainment. This causes something of a schism among fans many of whom love Cena while others resent what they perceive as another wrestler ‘selling out’.

What is undeniable though, is that Cena can make a crowd ‘pop’ like it is nobody’s business. Here we look at his most exciting returns to the WWE.

Nexus invasion

This return wasn’t really that much of a surprise since the kayfabe storyline clearly set Cena up to be a disruptor who would plague the Nexus invasion.

Cena was ‘fired’ in December of 2010 but invaded Raw several times to stick it to the Nexus invasion. Including slapping around the biggest wrestling star ever to come out of South Africa, Justin Gabriel, slamming him into the hood of a car in the parking lot.

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Survivor Series 2008

Cena suffered a legitimate injury during a major push towards the WWE’s elite. He herniated disc in his neck and was unable to take part in the Championship Scramble match at Unforgiven in 2008.

After a making a full recovery from the injury, Cena made his full in-ring return at November 2018’s Survivor Series, where he would beat Chris Jericho to claim his first World Heavyweight Championship.

Survivor Series 2004

Cena’s return at the 2004 Survivor Series marked the end of his time as quite frankly a mid-card white rapper gimmick character and the beginning of his ascension to becoming a franchise player.

Until then Cena’s character had provided distraction and more than a few jokes with rapping that was at best passable but when he returned from a kayfabe stabbing in a nightclub he cut an angry an imposing figure for the first time.

He cost Team Angle their match at Survivor Series when he chased Carlito around the arena but it was the effective birth of a new edgier character who would grow into what he would describe as a “goody-two shoes Superman”.

WrestleMania 32

After a number of memorable Wrestlemania battles with the Brahma Bull. Cena returned to aid the Rock in his battle against the Wyatt Family.

This return while it wouldn’t result in a title win was one of the most exciting and unexpected returns in WWE history.

The WWE did a great job of keeping the return under wraps and the ‘pop’at Madison Square Gardens reflected that genuine surprise and delight.

John Cena

Royal Rumble 2008

Fittingly the biggest surprise return ever made by Cena was at the 2008 Royal Rumble. Cena shocked the WWE Universe by returning to enter at number 30 in the Rumble match, claiming the first of his two wins in the historic event.

The achievement was made that much more special by being at Madison Square Garden, sacred ground for hardcore WWE fans, and being completed by eliminating Triple H, the WWE’s apex heel.

John Cena

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