It's a pretty big deal when Vince McMahon labels someone the next John Cena, and Daniel Bryan recalls him doing exactly that with Roman Reigns.
In any sport, athletes are often labeled as the "next" somebody. Whether it be a Michael Jordan or a Tom Brady or a whole host of other examples. Pro wrestling is no different to other sports in that respect. Lex Luger was viewed as the next Hulk Hogan and AJ Styles is often directly compared to Shawn Michaels, praise indeed.
One man that everyone wants to be directly compared to nowadays is John Cena, whether people like to admit that or not. The 16 time World Champion has helped carry WWE on his shoulders, and once his career is over he will be considered by most as one of the greatest of all time. You certainly have to be good if you want to be compared to Big Match John.
Well, apparently around WrestleMania XXX Vince McMahon had a pretty clear idea of who he wanted his next John Cena to be and who it was will likely come as little surprise, Roman Reigns. McMahon told Daniel Bryan that he was dead set on The Big Dog being his next franchise player and Bryan had his own thoughts on that. The SmackDown Live GM recently appeared on Edge and Christian's Pod of Awesomeness and shared the story with its hosts and its listeners.
Daniel told McMahon at the time that he thought it was great that he wanted that for Reigns, but quikcly followed it up with "I want to be the next John Cena, and I’m going to push myself to be that person." For a while, Bryan did that but unfortunately, injuries cut that quest short. Since then though, Reigns has very much been molded by WWE in an attempt to make him the new John Cena, headlining the past three WrestleManias.
The timing of this conversation between Bryan and Vince makes a lot of sense. The Shield broke up shortly after WrestleMania XXX and ever since then WWE have relentlessly pushed Roman Reigns. Truth be told The Big Dog probably lacks a few key elements of what has made Cena so successful, but he has become one of WWE's biggest stars nevertheless.