Cena who has been missing in action since April when he became engaged to his girlfriend Nikki Bella at WrestleMania, kicked off Smackdown Live with a passionate speech in which he declared himself a free agent able to take on competitors from both Raw and Smackdown.
The 16-time World Heavyweight Champion then listed top WWE Superstars that he would like to face in the ring including AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, United States Champion Kevin Owens, Randy Orton, WWE Champion Jinder Mahal, Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Universal Champion Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns.
Cena’s address was cut short by a returning Rusev, who had yet to appear on Smackdown Live following the Superstar Shake-Up in April. Rusev, with a Bulgarian flag in hand, then proceeded to degrade Cena and the United States.
Never one to back down from a fight, Cena challenged Rusev to a Flag Match to take place that night which the Bulgarian Brute declined claiming that he would fight Cena on his time. WWE announced that the Flag Match would take place at the next Smackdown pay-per-view event, Battleground on July 23.