MONEY IN THE BANK: John Cena returns, announces WWE retirement

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World Wrestling Entertainment legend turned Hollywood star John Cena shockingly returned at Money in the Bank in Toronto on Saturday to announce he’s retiring after one final run in WWE.

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Cena, who was the face of WWE during its transition from the edgy Attitude Era into the PG era, was the face of the company for much of his 20-plus year career, winning the world title a record-tying 16 times and granting more wishes for Make-A-Wish than anyone in history.

During Saturday’s event, Toronto native Trish Stratus introduced Cena, who surprised the capacity crowd by coming to the ring to announce that he’ll be retiring from in-ring competition following one final tour, in which he plans to wrestle a full-time schedule and make as many appearances in as many countries as he can as his way of saying thanks to the WWE.

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“Why here?” Cena told the crowd. “I want to talk about that for a second, I want to talk about Toronto. Matter of fact, I want to talk about Canada. Matter of fact, I want to talk about Canadians. You see, I’ve been doing this awhile, I’ve been in WWE for over two decades and in that time I’ve seen incredible waves of prosperity like we got right now … and I’ve also seen tremendous hardship.

“So in all those years, one of the most important, one of the most impressive things that I learned was whether the WWE is hot, or cold, Canadians always show up … which in my mind makes this right here the perfect place to say what I got to say!”

At the post-show press conference, Cena detailed his plans, saying he plans to attend as many events in 2025 as he can, as well as admitting he wouldn’t be opposed to breaking the record for the most WWE titles in history, a record he’s tied for with Ric Flair.

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With more than 1,500 matches to his credit, Cena hasn’t wrestled a full-time schedule in WWE since 2018.

Cena’s retirement capped an entertaining event that saw Drew McIntyre and Tiffany Stratton win their respective Money in the Bank ladder matches, only to see McIntyre cash his in to dethrone WWE World Heavyweight champion Damian Priest. The bid, however, was spoiled when CM Punk appeared and cost McIntyre his opportunity.

Both Money in the Bank matches had the boisterous Toronto faithful screaming in approval, sitting on the edge of their seats and marvelling at the high-flying and at times breathtaking ladder bumps.

The main event featured The Bloodline’s Solo Sikoa, Tama Tonga, and Jacob Fatu (with Tonga Loa) taking on Undisputed WWE champion Cody Rhodes, Randy Orton and Canadian Kevin Owens. The match held its own as a capper to a night that took the crowd on an emotional roller coaster, overshadowed largely by Cena’s surprise appearance.

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A wild finish that saw the referee bumped not once but twice saw Fatu hit his Whisper in the Wind finisher while Solo hit his Spike and Fatu dragged the dazed referee back in the ring to count the 1-2-3, giving the Bloodlines faction the win.

The women’s Money in the Bank Ladder match featured Stratton, Naomi, Zoey Stark, Lyra Valkyria, Canadian Chelsea Green and Iyo Sky. The match featured many daring bumps and assaults with ladders and tables.

The match finished with Green nearly climbing to capture the briefcase, suspended above the ring, only to see Stratton climb a second ladder and push Green over, dumping her over the top ropes onto two tables below. Stratton then grabbed the briefcase for the win.

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The World Heavyweight Championship match featured Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins facing Priest for his championship. The finish may have been the only blemish on the entire evening after Rollins hit his Falcon Arrow for what appeared to be a three-count, though the referee stopped at two even though Priest had not attempted to kick out. Seconds later, McIntyre cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, only to be interrupted by CM Punk. Priest took advantage to retain his title and the segment concluded with Rollins and Punk staring one another down.

The second match of the evening featured Canadian Sami Zayn successfully defending his Intercontinental Championship against Bron Breakker. The opener was the men’s Money in the Bank match, which featured Jey Uso, Andrade, LA Knight, Carmelo Hayes, Chad Gable and McIntyre, which kicked the show off with a 20-plus minute ride that had fans cheering and yelling in disbelief as the entrants took massive bumps and risky jumps off ladders.

NOTES: Toronto native Trish Stratus hosted the event, coming to the ring before the show to a raucous ovation. The WWE Hall of Famer and multiple-time Women’s Champion introduced Deseronto, Ont., native Ryland James, who sang the national anthem before the capacity crowd … WWE announced that Bad Blood will make its return on Oct. 5 in Atlanta … King of the Ring Gunther will face Priest at SummerSlam for the World Heavyweight Championship.

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