The Cena and Reigns feud has definitely had a hard time getting going. For most, the confusion of adding Finn Bálor to the mix early on only added to the reasons why the announced Summer of Cena was beginning to look a tad lackluster. But the Cena vs. Reigns segment on SmackDown heated up this feud for sure.
John Cena, a legend and arguably one of the G.O.A.T.s of professional wrestling and future Hall of Famer, always does his best. Some feuds from the past didn’t go as well, but seeing that he’s returning and for just a limited time, this one needed to turn around.
His return can be compared to when McDonald’s brings back the Mc Rib…enjoy it while it lasts, dear readers.
He’s had a flourishing film career so far, and undoubtedly needs to get back to it; he is well on his way to perhaps being the next Dwayne Johnson in his right. But for right now, the feud needed to be kicked up a notch.
Let’s take a deeper look at just why the Cena vs. Reigns segment on SmackDown heated up this feud
This is familiar territory. Cena and Reigns faced each other before and Reigns—then like now—seemed a tad at a loss to keep up with John’s ability on the microphone.
Don’t get me wrong. Roman is perhaps at his best right now. He’s never been hotter, and he is firing on all cylinders for sure, but seeing John across from him in the ring seems to have been having an effect. That was until last Friday’s episode. More on that in just a bit.
The last time they seemed to have his problem on their way to their bout at No Mercy (2017), John went to familiar territory…that plane in the dark and desolate fields past the Fourth Wall of pro wrestling.
He broke it—shattered it actually—in a scathing promo, calling on Roman to get fired up, reciprocating even, both in intensity and conviction.
Last Friday…this happened again.
John Cena equally did this in his feud with one Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; Cena at one point during their very popular feud that spanned 3 years, drawing attention to notes Dwayne had written for his promo right on his own wrist in black ink.
The anger in Johnson rising immediately and the talented actor did everything in his power to show that he hadn’t been affected, but he clearly had. Anyone watching could tell the comment got to him…his chest puffing out and his eyes narrowing…all Dwayne and no Rock in sight, friends.
That feud apparently actually heated up so bad, it almost came to blows, Johnson told Muscle and Fitness back in 2014—“all that edge and attitude and bite…we nearly came to blows backstage and one night in the ring,” he said. “When I came back, I needed something to sink my teeth into as a performer. It got really uncomfortable for the fans…they sense something…but when it gets uncomfortable for the wrestlers and the executives of the company, then it’s something really special…”
Today they are great friends who show each other mutual respect, but back then, it was pretty sticky in the heat of the moment for sure.
But that’s John Cena. Back then, he wanted to draw the old Rock out; not the actor but the wrestler…and he got him; by making it real, he got him.
That’s exactly what he’s done to Roman once before and he’s doing it now.
And talk about the fourth wall! In his promo, Cena mentioned Dean Ambrose (Jon Moxley) who is obviously no longer with the company and is currently with AEW; he even referenced CM Punk, who is reportedly supposed to be premiering on AEW TV next week on Rampage (Fridays on TNT at 10 pm).
There have been reports that Cena personally asked Vince McMahon if he could take the promo there, and apparently, the chairman obliged. He trusts John implicitly and it shows in what he’s allowed to do every time he returns.
As was reported by sportskeeda.com, Dirty Dutch Mantel (Zeb Colter) actually mentioned this on an episode of Smack Talk:
“…So you don’t think any of that second part of the next segment was scripted? I do…I really do, because now Vince, he knows he has some competition with AEW and we saw that tonight, but I think Vince let that through. I think if anybody convinced him…Cena convinced him and it worked…”
It obviously has worked time and time again in the past, so why wouldn’t he trust him?
Personally, I think the WWE needs more wrestlers who cut the type of promos that are a little more scathing in scope and risky, no matter whom they hurt. This is professional wrestling, people. No need for sensitivity here.
This is probably why AEW is doing better than WWE in terms of attention and overall opinion. They are pushing the limits, while WWE is still worried about offending people and keeping it PG.
The older wrestling fans are certainly responding to the AEW product more and it would seem that John Cena is aware of this. He was a wrestling fan in his youth and he understands the pulse that thrums in the veins of true wrestling fans that were privy to what went down during the attitude eras and golden eras of the sport he loves and cherishes.
And in perfect John Cena fashion, he’s even taking the feud to social media, as he did with Dwayne.
So yeah…this heat went from 10 degrees to like a million in seconds. Or perhaps I should keep it in car guy terms, as John Cena most obviously is a car guy: This feud went from 0 to 60 in a nanosecond, and fans owe it all to his grit, Reigns’ reaction (which was perfect), and Vince’s trust in someone who at the moment, as an outsider, probably knows more than even the chairman himself.
Vince should probably think about seeing who he trusts back there for their opinion. It would seem to me that since we lost Pat Patterson, the decisions over at WWE have been questionable, to say the least.
That’s when things started to take a nosedive for sure. If you ask me, Vince should move Shawn Michaels over from NXT, and maybe then, we’ll have a semblance of having old Pat back.
RIP Pat. We still miss you.