Michael Tarver Says John Cena Took Liberties With Him In The Ring, Had To Defend Himself

Michael Tarver is not sure why, but he was targeted by John Cena.

Appearing on VOC Nation's Talkin' Sass, the former Nexus member talked about how he would always be told that there were big plans for him in WWE, but that he had heat with one of the companies top stars backstage. Not sure exactly what caused the problem, Tarver notes that a lot of guys were less than thrilled with the new faction taking up so much TV time. Here is what he said:

Konosuke Takeshita On Competing In NJPW G1 Climax 34: The Timing Was Good, I'm Aiming For IWGP World Title

"It was never direct. So a lot of people would come up to me and would tell me, 'Hey, there's big plans for you. There's a lot of people very impressed with you. Just keep your head up.' Because everyone saw that I had heat with one person in particular. Everyone saw it. It was obvious. Backstage it was just relentless. I don't want to use the word bullying because I'm not a big -- but I stood up for myself. There were times where he would take liberties in the ring so I would give him some knuckles in the ring. I had to defend myself."

Although he and Cena ended up on good terms, Tarver couldn't believe how quickly everyone turned on him after singing his praises not too long before. He said the following:

"Everyone knows who it is, you just can't see him. It was Cena. I don't have any heat with Cena now. I make jokes about it, but you know -- there was a target on my back. I don't know why he targeted me, but it is what it is. We ended up on good terms... I had to defend myself a lot. Everyone was high on me and then just all of a sudden they all turned on me. People wouldn't shake my hand or speak to me. All of the top guys, I'd go shake their hands and they would just fade me in front of everybody. I'm like, 'Oh my God, what did I do?'"

Tarver thanks Booker T, Mark Henry, Teddy Long, MVP and Matt Hardy for helping him out through that difficult time. He had this to say:

"I thank God for like Booker T and Mark Henry and Teddy Long; they would pull me aside -- Mark Henry would pull me aside a lot and be like, 'Hey look, this is what's happening, just weather the storm. You got heat right now. Just weather the storm. Blah, blah, blah.' MVP would give me really good advice, like, 'Hey, just weather the storm.' Matt hardy was always really cool. I'm like, 'alright, thank you guys, I appreciate it.' They said, 'You're only getting this kind of heat because there's something there. Just weather the storm.'"

Tarver was released from WWE in June of 2011. The Nexus faction would only last two months longer before being disbanded in August. Tarver would go on to perform for the NWA and then on the independent circuit. He last wrestled on January 25, 2019, at the Legends of Wrestling Anti-Bullying Wrestlefest.

If you use the quotes above, please credit the original source with a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.

Get exclusive pro wrestling content on Fightful Select, our premium news service! Click here to learn more.