Roman Reigns and John Cena do battle this weekend in what many consider a dream match at WWE No Mercy. After weeks of promos and shots, the two finally lock horns.
When speaking on the E&C Pod of Awesomeness, Cena addressed his thoughts on Roman Reigns, his performance in the feud and much more -- and it's a lengthy one.
"In a very legitimate sense, my biggest hangup with Roman Reigns as the front runner of the WWE, is the fact that he seems to lack in his ability to communicate with the audience. [it's] not that he can't. I know Roman. 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 gonna go out there and rip that kid every single week until he said, 'enough'. I thought his promo on Monday was brilliant. I thought it was a 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 have goosebumps. I know that it didn't come from anybody else but him. He went home and was like, 'damn it, I'm sick of it. I'm going to stamp this M-F. right here.' 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, 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.
"Because 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 gonna 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?' 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 (TheRock) 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. 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. We kind of matriculated with some pretty good talkers, so you either sank or swam every single week with somebody to knock you down a peg no matter what every week. It's rare that that exists nowadays. I was really trying to my best to get Roman Reigns. When the Rock came back, I wanted the Rock back. He came out on a different level, I got to open up on him. I think (Roman's) toughest task is in front of him."
"Roman was brought in so regarded from NXT and everyone knew he was the deal. In parallel comparison of the OVW class, you had blue chip prospects of Dave Batista, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar. I was not among that list, so I didn't get brought in the same way. I'm not saying that's bad. Those three names I just mentioned are Hall of Famers. I'm not resentful. I found very early on that I had to show somebody something or I'm gone.
"I know personally the outside commitments from me doesn't help anything. First of all, I'm 40, which not only 40, but also doing this televised and on a consistent level for 15 years. 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. 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. 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."
"That's where Roman has great points. 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 weeko ut, and give the same performance he has given over the last couple of weeks, then I can really take an about-face and take a step away for a little bit. 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."