John Cena vs. Rusev flag match set for WWE Battleground

John Cena wasn’t the only wrestler who returned on tonight’s episode of SmackDown.

Cena opened the Independence Day show by making his first appearance on WWE TV since WrestleMania 33. He cut a patriotic promo, then addressed his “free agency” by calling himself an all-timer instead of a part-timer and mentioning top guys on both Raw and SmackDown as potential opponents.

Cena was interrupted by Rusev, who was also making his first in-person appearance in months. He took exception to the videos that hyped Cena’s return and was mad that Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan didn’t respond to his requests for a WWE title match.

Rusev disparaged America a bit before Cena challenged him to a flag match tonight, with Rusev saying that it would happen on his terms. Daniel Bryan then confirmed on Twitter that the match was set for Battleground on July 23rd.

Cena took time off after WrestleMania to work on film projects, while Rusev had been off of TV since undergoing shoulder surgery in March. WWE dropped a storyline where Rusev was saying that he would only come to SmackDown in the roster shakeup if he got a title shot. He was cleared to return to in-ring action last month and later came back at a house show.

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