John Cena appeared on the E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness with Edge and Christian and of course, the topic of Roman Reigns was brought up. This is what he had to say was the driving reason behind their feud. Keep in mind this interview seems to be done in kayfabe.
His issue with Roman Reigns as the face of WWE:
“In a very legitimate sense, my biggest hangup with Roman Reigns as the frontrunner of the WWE is the fact that he seems to lack in his ability to communicate with the audience,” Cena said. “And [it’s] not that he can’t. I know Roman. Like, 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 going to go out there and rip that kid every single week until he said, ‘enough’. And I thought his promo on Monday was brilliant. I thought it was like what a [Garry] 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, got goosebumps. And I know that it didn’t come from anybody else but him. Like, he went home and was like, ‘damn it, I’m sick of it. I’m going to stamp this M.F. right here.’ And 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, and 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. 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 going 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?’ and 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 Dwayne [Johnson] 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. And I think 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. Dude, we kind of matriculated with some pretty good talkers, so you either sank or swam every single F-in’ week with somebody to knock you down a peg no matter what every week. It’s rare that that exists nowadays. I was doing my best to get Roman Reigns.”