Roman Reigns and John Cena could be heading for a collision course for SummerSlam.
WWE will be filling the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on August 21 and it has been reported that they will be treating this event as a WrestleMania as it is their first full capacity stadium show since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Reigns currently dominates as the Universal Champion and is the biggest star in the entire company. Cena has been in Hollywood for a few years, but has also openly stated his desire to return to WWE.
Reports suggest the two will meet at SummerSlam and they’ve only met once before. It was back to No Mercy in 2017, just months after Reigns beat The Undertaker at WrestleMania.
This was long before the Tribal Chief arrived in 2020. Reigns was still pushed into the lead role he now occupies and WWE believed victories over Undertaker and Cena would get him there.
However, 16-time world champion Cena wasn’t in the mood to open the door for Reigns and lie down. He gave the former Shield man a real lesson on the mic when they signed on to RAW.
With then-RAW GM Kurt Angle chairing the proceedings, Cena’s opening salvo set the tone for the anger Reigns was about to experience.
“Roman Reigns has been the leading prospect who has been protected from anyone and anyone who gets in his way,” Cena said. “And then there’s me. And we’ve been through a lot together and you know me, I know you, and you know I have zero F’s to give and I’m the only guy that there’s no protection against.
“And that’s why I want to fight Roman Reigns because I know Roman Reigns doesn’t want to fight me.”
Reigns’ rebuttal made it clear that Cena wasn’t as important as he thought. He referred to The Undertaker’s “retirement” from WrestleMania – as we thought it was back then – as a much bigger achievement.
“You are the big dog,” Cena replied. “Everyone over there knows, everyone here?” I’m still trying to understand. You see Roman, I am what you would call a polarizing figure.
“Every week there are people who applaud because they stand up for what I believe in. And then there are people who boo because they don’t. And every week you can hear these people desperately wanting me to change my character content, maybe a little heel twist.
“But with you, it’s different. I’m not sure if anyone has ever told you this – they come and go with you because when they look at you they see what I see: a John Cena bootleg created by the company.
“That asshole here isn’t the guy,” Cena continued. “Dude, you’re just a guy. A guy who tries so desperately to fill shoes you never will. Listen close, young man … I’m not the Undertaker. I’m not a battered veteran at the end of his career with a bad hip.
“I am the fastest, the strongest and the hungriest in my life. And the reason you won’t sign is because you know if you’re doing your Roman Empire… (You can’t see me taunt) ”
Wow. Cena prepared Reigns for this exchange. Fans had been going back and forth on Reigns for a very long time and Cena found a very clever way to express exactly why this without giving up on the proverbial game.
He made him fit in, but also made it very clear to anyone who knows anything about wrestling what was going on – WWE had been trying to do Reigns for years and it wasn’t working out as they had hoped. .
Reigns proceeded to explain to Cena why fans booed him after so many years of agitation, loyalty and respect when he forgot his lines. Cena decided to be cruel in order to be nice.
“It’s called a kid promo and if you want to be ‘The Big Dog’ then you’re going to have to learn how to do it, so go for it. Meet at the fourth wall.
Eventually, Reigns got out what he wanted to say. He explained that for one, Cena sucked and for two, Cena was now everything he said he hated about part-time workers. Now he comes back if the pay is big enough and tries to cut out any “young talent” that might overtake him – but he can’t do that with Roman.
That’s when Cena really turned it on.
“You did? You did? See because Roman Reigns is a fool. Roman Reigns is a hell of a fool. There’s an old saying that it’s better to shut up and make people think you’re stupid. than to open it up and prove them right.
“All of you hang out here and use the same pathetic excuse everyone else before you. You, with all your gifts and all your opportunities, have the nerve to be mad at me. It’s good, it’s a good big dog. Congratulations, it took you five years to make a half-decent promo, but now I’m about to cut you down to size.
“So everyone out there thinks I have this mystical, golden shovel. That I have these magical powers that allow me to control everything and keep everyone’s destiny. Man, I can’t tell if you’re blind or stupid.
“Look and listen: they (the fans) hold the keys. They always have, they always will. But you have to blame me. It’s okay I’ve been hearing this din for ten years and I’m not tired yet. I’m strong enough, I’ve been called a lot worse by a lot harder.
“But you actually think I’m a shark. That I hold everyone back. That I swim to the top and keep them underwater at all costs. I’m on your level buddy, I haven’t been to the WrestleMania Main Event for five years. I was the opening game at SummerSlam.
“I have been honored and privileged to win the United States title at this point in my career and to use it as a beacon of opportunity to introduce new WWE Superstars like Kevin Owens and AJ Styles to do. to name a few.You took the American title as a demotion.
“And you stand there and blame me. Fine. I blame you. I’m always here because you can’t do your job. As for this court, you probably haven’t learned that yet. There is only one rule: move forward or move away. And over the years, there have been a few to step up, but no one to keep pace.
“And then I finally hear about this guy. The dude. The Roman reigns. The one who can follow. And now I’m watching you, listening to you. You should be ashamed that I’m part-time because I can do it part time better than you can ever do it full time.
The phrase “I’m still here because you can’t do your job” was so sharp on so many levels. Again, for those fans in the know, Cena is here to help make Reigns disappear because that’s what WWE needs and it hasn’t worked so far. Everything Cena said was true and as the old saying goes, the truth hurts.
The whole promotional battle has been a lesson for Reigns. It was an exercise with one of the best at the microphone. A man many believe beat The Rock the same way during their feud.
Of course, Reigns won the match. He was always going to do it. But he grew as a performer out of that rivalry and now we can revisit it with Reigns in a whole different stratosphere.