For years it's been reported that John Cena put a halt to Alex Riley's push in WWE. According to a PWInsider report in 2012, Riley responded angrily over a rib by Cena in the locker room, leading to Riley being pushed down the card.
Roman Reigns referenced Cena ending Riley's pushing during his feud with Cena in 2017, saying, "I don’t have a mirror but do I look like a jacked up white guy with a giant head and a military crew cut? Nah. If I did, I wouldn’t have a career here. You don’t believe me? Ask Alex Riley about that.”
Riley has said he would one day address the reports of what happened and has called out Cena on social media over the years, but has yet to shed any more details on what happened. Wrestlers like Ken Doane and Ryback have referenced the reports over the years, but haven't revealed full details.
In an interview with Chris Van Vliet, Riley was once again asked about the reported heat with Cena.
"I think it came down to, in the end, two men just not liking each other. As sad as that is, it had an impact on my career because he is who he is. I just happened to be in a situation where, right from the start, it was just...he didn't like me. I just don't think he did. I tried to change that the best I could. I worked very hard and tried to do the best I could to grow and learn and fit in in the way a wrestler fits in and the way he wanted me to fit in. It got to the point where, even some of the other guys were like, 'what's up?' 'I don't know.' It was a tough situation."
He continued, "I would hear [he didn't like me] from other wrestlers, from time to time. It certainly didn't seem that way when we would interact. It's wrestling. it's something where, you do the best you can to learn in a way that is productive and will get you better. I tried to do that the best I could. It just didn't work out."
Riley admitted someone made a mistake during an incident and he tried to apologize for his part, but it didn't change the feelings between the two men. He didn't detail exactly what happened.
When asked if he holds any hard feelings towards Cena, Riley replied, "No, not from me. There was one mistake that I made, or he made, where we got really crossed. And we kind of got in an argument. And I didn't think it was going to...I went to him immediately the next day and tried to apologize for whatever happened. I think he was pretty offended. It was two grown men that didn't see eye-to-eye at the time. I'm not holding any grudges. I certainly don't want it hanging over my neck for the rest of my life. Towards the end of it, I think we had patched it up and figured everything out. It was a tough situation when I was there, but I respect John. I respect his work ethic and everything he's done. I certainly didn't expect to be on the wrong side of it."
Cena has stayed silent on any issue with Riley. Riley remained in WWE until 2016 when he was released from his contract. He is set to return to the ring over WrestleMania 36 weekend in Tampa.
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