John Cena surprises Birmingham audience at 'The Suicide Squad' preview

The star of the upcoming superhero film, who will appear at Sunday's WWE show at Little Caesars Arena, came dressed in his full WWE gear.

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

John Cena surprised an audience of theatergoers at a preview screening of "The Suicide Squad" Sunday at the Birmingham 8.

Cena darted in to the theater before the noon screening, dressed in his full green and yellow World Wrestling Entertainment regalia. The pro wrestler-turned actor is back in the WWE, and is appearing at WWE's Live Supershow Sunday night at Little Caesars Arena. 

John Cena throws t-shirts during a surprise appearance at a screening of The Suicide Squad at the Birmingham 8 Theater on Sunday.

"Where's Roman Reigns?" Cena said in front of the audience of about 100 movie fans and journalists, pretending to look for his WWE opponent. "Well, son of a (expletive). I have brought the wrong uniform. This is an early screening of 'The Suicide Squad,' isn't it? Damn that driver, that son of a (expletive).'"

Cena then welcomed the crowd to film. In the ultraviolent James Gunn-directed comic book adaptation, Cena stars as Peacemaker, a hardened killer who aims to achieve peace through the most violent means possible.

People watch John Cena make a surprise appearance at a screening of "The Suicide Squad" at the Birmingham 8 Theater on Sunday.

"You're not ready for what you're about to see," said Cena, who also starred in this summer's "Fast and Furious" entry "F9." "But you'll see something I believe is spectacular, and I hope you do too. I really just wanted to come by today and welcome you to the beginning of what I believe is a transformation in the superhero experience."

Cena then tossed out promotional items to the audience, including shirts, wristbands and other goodies. 

On his way out, Cena addressed the crowd one more time. 

John Cena makes surprise appearance at a screening of "The Suicide Squad" at the Birmingham 8 Theater on Sunday.

"As they say in the WWE," Cena said, "you can't see me," and he ran out the theater door. The whole thing was over in under three minutes. 

Cena is set to face Roman Reigns and the Usos in a three-way tag team match at Sunday night's show at Little Caesars Arena. The show marks WWE's first visit to Detroit since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

MORE: Bianca Belair ready to welcome back WWE audiences to Detroit

"The Suicide Squad," which also stars Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, Viola Davis and Joel Kinnaman, is a sort-of do-over on 2016's "Suicide Squad," the financially successful but critically lambasted 2016 film. 

David Dastmalchian, from left, John Cena, Idris Elba and Daniela Melchior in a scene from "The Suicide Squad."

The new version is performing better with critics, holding a 96% percent on Rotten Tomatoes as of Sunday, to the 2016 film's woeful 26% approval rating. 

"The Suicide Squad" opens in theaters on Friday, and will stream concurrently on HBO Max.