On Sunday night John Cena walked back onto WWE programming for the first time in 15 months, and the reaction was astounding.
The 44-year old interrupted WWE Universal champion Roman Reigns at the end of the Money In The Bank pay-per-view show.
Cena had not been seen in a WWE ring since a cinematic match with the Bray Wyatt/Fiend character at 2020's Wrestlemania, which appeared to put a bow on the Bostonian's career.
The multi-time champion has spent the intervening months building his movie career, starring in the latest Fast & The Furious instalment F9, and with a role to come in DC vehicle The Suicide Squad.
A divisive character throughout his WWE reign, Cena was usually booed as much as he was cheered - and revelled in it, never dropping his babyface character.
But the reaction to his surprise appearance at Fort Worth's Dickies Arena very nearly blew the roof clear off the building. It was a noise reminiscent of Steve Austin's days atop the WWE tree.
Cena's reappearance will almost certainly set up a match against Reigns at next month's Summerslam pay-per-view.
This year's Summerslam is the first to take place in an outdoor stadium since the 1992 edition at Wembley, with Las Vegas' Allegiant Stadium on hosting duties.
The WWE properly welcomed back fans for the first time since the pandemic hit for Friday last's SmackDown, and then again for Money In The Bank.
But live event sales have reportedly been soft for the long-running kingpins of professional wrestling in the United States.
While ticket sales for a September 10 date at their traditional Madison Square Garden base have been sluggish, their fresh competition AEW are close to selling out the Arthur Ashe Arena in Queens for their Grand Slam event on September 22.
Plainly, WWE chairman Vince McMahon is gathering as many tried and trusted 'big names' as he can for Summerslam in Las Vegas.
Bill Goldberg has already been lined up and, despite numerous unfulfilled teases, talk of a return for Dublin native Becky Lynch refuses to go away.
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