The former world champion already announced a schedule that he started working the day after Christmas and that schedule included two different Monday Night Raw appearances.
However, on SmackDown Live, Vince McMahon appeared and announced that Cena will remain a “free agent” and is one of the only wrestlers who can appear on both shows.
He also announced that the John Cena return would not come at one of those announced Raw appearances but instead will be on SmackDown Live next week.
— WWE (@WWE) December 26, 2018
This is the New Year’s Day edition of SmackDown Live and the reason that no one noticed this appearance on Cena’s announced schedule was because the WWE is taping Raw and SmackDown over the weekend.
Most fans saw John Cena start his “free agent” routine last year and it hit a crescendo when he bounced between SmackDown Live and Monday Night Raw trying to get into a major title match for WrestleMania.
That culminated with him calling out Undertaker, which ended with the Dead Man destroying Cena at WrestleMania in an unscheduled match. It was a shocking moment for one of the best WWE wrestlers of all time.
There is no telling what the John Cena return will mean, as he previously announced that he can’t wrestle when shooting a movie. Since Cena is a movie star first and foremost now, that means he won’t be around very much in 2019.
The New Year’s Day episode of SmackDown Live will tape on Saturday in Pittsburgh and will air in its regularly scheduled time of 8 p.m. EST on USA Network.