– John Cena discussed his main issue with Roman Reigns as the face of WWE on E&C’s Pod Of Awesomeness on Friday. You can check out the audio and highlights below:
On his issue with Roman Reigns as the face of WWE: “In a very legitimate sense, my biggest hangup with Roman Reigns as the frontrunner of the WWE, is the fact that he seems to lack in his ability to communicate with the audience,” Cena said. “And [it’s] not that he can’t. I know Roman. Like, socially, he’s a great guy. He has a presence that’s undeniable, so I know it’s there. Just nobody had the nuts to bring it out of him, nobody. So my job in the WWE is to either be the best or be a vehicle for the best and I was going to go out there and rip that kid every single week until he said, ‘enough’. And I thought his promo on Monday was brilliant. I thought it was like what a [Garry] Kasparov chess move. Speak, say only what you need to say and let me cut a promo on myself. I, literally on the other side of the phone, got goosebumps. And I know that it didn’t come from anybody else but him. Like, he went home and was like, ‘damn it, I’m sick of it. I’m going to stamp this M.F. right here.’ And he thought of that and it was brilliant for the reasons you say: you could see it in his eyes, that those are his words, and that he believes it. The way he looked into the camera, the way he mocked me flipping the microphone, dude that’s a shot across someone’s bow. That’s a real shot and that’s why we watch.
“Although Roman and I may shake hands and play nice behind the curtain, there is an edge between the two of us of, ‘bro, I’m going to hold onto this as long as I possibly can because I feel you’re not even close to my league’ and him as a younger talent saying, ‘who the hell is this guy? And why won’t he just go home?’ and there is that conflict, that friction, and it is a professional, very respectful rivalry. It is a definitive rivalry and it’s the same with me and Dwayne [Johnson] and it’s the same with anyone I’ve ever stepped in there with because we all want to strive to be that number one. And I think in a locker room searching for personality, Roman knows who he is. He just doesn’t have everybody every week to tee off on him. Dude, we kind of matriculated with some pretty good talkers, so you either sank or swam every single F-in’ week with somebody to knock you down a peg no matter what every week. It’s rare that that exists nowadays. I was doing my best to get Roman Reigns.”
On why the feud is happening now and not at WrestleMania: “I can only speculate on why it is and this, not to take anything away from WrestleMania because what an impressive franchise WrestleMania has become,” Cena said. “I mean, you can look at the stats with Forbes calling it one of the five most profitable franchises, the amount of traction it does for the [WWE] Network and the company, but I think in trying to define what a great consumer experience the Network is, we are not at the challenge of consistently trying to give the consumer unbelievable matches all the time.
“And I know personally the outside commitments from me doesn’t help anything. I mean, first of all, I’m 40 [years old], which not only 40, but also doing this televised and on a consistent level for 15 years. And I’ve made a promise to myself, once I lose a step, I can’t justify performing for the audience because I don’t want to be that person. So I’m not saying I’m there yet, but I am saying I’ve had some talks with myself about that. There’s a lot of stuff going on outside WWE personally for me, which I don’t know what else I could possibly do, so do you hold out for an event in April and sacrifice these other things that could not only be good for personal development, but overall WWE development, I’d say you take the opportunities and figure all the rest of the stuff out.”
On Reigns’ promos against him: “That’s where Roman has great points. Like, he is in the trenches every day earning it. He can’t ever say that I didn’t do that, but in the same vein, he’s the one doing it now and if he can step up consistently week-in and week-out, and give the same performance he has given over the last couple of weeks, then, man, I can really take an about-face and take a step away for a little bit. But if he can’t, I’ll be back around. It’s actively time where this generation of Superstars need to step up and claim it.”