The final SmackDown of the year saw John Cena return to team with Kevin Owens as WWE looked to close out 2022 in style.
Cena and Owens faced WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn in a tag-team match, with the former pair emerging as the winners.
But while the return of WWE’s biggest-ever star took most of the headlines, eagle-eyed fans also managed to notice that Owens had taken a significant hit during the match. One that many thought of as an act of retribution from Reigns.
Roman Reigns hands out receipt to Kevin Owens
Fans noticed at the end of the match that as Cena and Owens had their hands raised, the latter was wearing an injury on his left eye.
Many were quick to speculate where he might have picked up the knock, with some believing it was when Reigns slid into the ring to disrupt Owens pinning Zayn, before delivering hammer blows to his opponent.
Videos: Roman Reigns punching Kevin Owens
— How many Gucci Mane clones are there? (@vonbtrippin) December 31, 2022
Another possible moment where it could’ve happened was when Reigns Clotheslined Owens, which can be seen below.
— Rhythm Wrestles (@Rhythmwrestles) December 31, 2022
An innocuous injury? Possibly. But others believe that Reigns was exacting some revenge for an injury Owens gave him earlier in the year
If you cast your mind back to Survivor Series, wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer reported in the Wrestling Observer that Reigns had suffered a ruptured eardrum during the WarGames match between The Bloodline and Owens, Sheamus, The Brawling Brutes and Drew McIntyre.
Meltzer reported that Reigns was “upset” but that the issue had been blown over just 20 minutes later.
However, some fans believe Reigns carried that grudge into last night’s match against KO and chose his moment to get his revenge.
“Look at Kevin Owens’ eye. Looks like Roman Reigns gave him a receipt for Survivor Series,” Wrestling News tweeted out.
“Roman Reigns got his receipt on KO for the ruptured eardrum at Survivor Series,” another said.
Look at Kevin Owens’ eye. Looks like Roman Reigns gave him a receipt for Survivor Series. pic.twitter.com/3gRKYdhyuh
— Wrestling News (@WrestlingNewsCo) December 31, 2022
Roman Reigns delivered them hands to Kevin Owens for that slap at WarGames 😬😭 Receipt received! pic.twitter.com/faOupXrJlF
— Public Enemies Podcast (@TheEnemiesPE3) December 31, 2022
John Cena’s return to WWE & the future
The focus and hype last night, though, was firmly on the returning Cena, with the 16-time world champion competing for the first time since SummerSlam 2021 when he lost in a title match to Reigns.
He has been busy with numerous filming commitments over the last few years which has seen his screen time in WWE diminish considerably. But Cena received an insane pop on his return, with fans delighted to see the WWE icon return to the ring.
While Reigns and Zayn had been feuding with Owens ever since Survivor Series, Cena had been dragged into the mix to team with KO for last night’s match.
The former adversaries became allies for the night, delivering a duel Five Knuckle Shuffle to Reigns and Zayn before both hit their respective finishers to win the match.
As SmackDown went off the air, Cena took to the microphone to thank everyone in the arena for allowing him to compete in the ring for 20 years