16-time World Champion and WWE legend John Cena made his return to WWE in-ring competition during the Superstar Spectacle special last Friday, September 8th from inside the GMC Balayogi Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad, India, which was the WWE’s first live event in India since 2017 when he teamed up with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth “Freakin” Rollins to face Imperium (Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci) in Tag Team action.
Prior to that, Cena returned on the September 1 episode of WWE SmackDown, where he did a segment with Jimmy Uso that saw him lay out the former Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champion with his patented AA finisher. It was previously reported that Cena will also be appearing on 7 episodes of WWE SmackDown starting this Friday, September 15th from the Ball Arena in Denver all the way until the end of October and during this return, Cena and Make-A-Wish will host children and their families in the eight cities SmackDown will be held to experience a WWE Event in person.
According to WrestleTix, John Cena’s drawing power is once again in full display for WWE, not only in TV ratings, but also in ticket sales as the company has sold a huge amount of tickets after Cena was advertised to appear on the upcoming episodes of SmackDown. After the John Cena announcement, the Denver show sold a total of 856 tickets, while the company sold 1,469 tickets in Glendale in a matter of moments, 1,541 tickets in St. Louis, 997 tickets in San Antonio, 622 tickets in Tulsa and 1,489 tickets in Milwaukee.
The September 1 episode of WWE SmackDown drew 2.443 million viewers and a rating of 0.65 in the 18-49 key demo, while the 2023 WWE Payback Premium Live Event set a number of records.