John Cena, 16-time world champion, will retire from WWE after 2025

John Cena announced Sunday that he will retire from professional wrestling soon. According to him, 2025 will be his last year in the WWE ring.

Cena made a surprise appearance at Saturday’s “Monday in the Bank” Premium Live Event to make the announcement, saying that “Royal Rumble,” “Elimination Chamber” and “WrestleMania” would be his last next year. Cena clarified in a press conference after the show that he has about 30 or 40 dates from January 2025 through December, and that would be it.

“I approached WWE with this idea and they started talking about how this would be a great timeframe if we were ever going to do it,” Cena said. “The business is at incredible heights of popularity and notoriety. There are some big things going on, particularly the Netflix debut (in January 2025) and I’m proud to be an individual who can call WWE and say, ‘Remember that idea? The time is now.’ Let’s do something that brings us all together. They write the stories and we execute it the best we can.”

Cena first wrestled in WWE in 2000 and has been with the company since 2001. He is one of the most successful professional wrestlers of all time. His 16 world championships in WWE are tied with Ric Flair for what the company recognizes as the most in its history. This latest run could give him a shot at number 17, if the company so desires.

Cena, 47, has long said he wouldn’t wrestle again after age 50. Professional wrestlers are notorious for not staying retired, but Cena said he will. He won’t get physical anymore, he won’t even be a guest referee.

“People say they’re going to leave, and two years later they come back. I want to set the record straight right now, I’m done. This is it,” Cena said. “If you ever wanted to be a part of this final moment, we’re going to make it as big as we can and we’re going to fight everybody and we hope you come out and enjoy the fun.”

Cena has enjoyed a flourishing acting career over the past decade while slowly moving away from professional wrestling. He joined the “Fast & Furious” franchise and took a break from filming the second season of “Peacemaker” this weekend to make this WWE appearance.

(Photo: WWE/Getty Images)