Anyone who has been watching Monday Night Raw the past three weeks has seen the WWE expand on a trend where in-ring promos and interviews are stretching the boundary between storyline and reality. There is no better case in point than the Roman Reigns and John Cena promos which have used prime slots on the flagship show to take personal digs at both match participants.
In some cases, the WWE Universe wondered if certain digs have been planned or if the respective WWE Superstars have gotten carried away in the moment and had trouble staying within the realm of appropriate.
We've decided to take a look at the five most personal and controversial insults in the John Cena versus Roman Reigns promos. You tell us if you think things have gone too far.
5. The John Cena Bootleg
When John Cena was trying to entice Roman into fighting him at No Mercy, he needed to make Roman understand why "The Big Dog" wasn't as big deal as he thought and shouldn't get too big for his britches. "I don't know if anyone has ever told you this. They go back and forth with you because when they look at you, they see what I see: a cheap ass, corporately created, John Cena bootleg."
This was the first real time in all of the promos that a competitor dug into something behind the scenes and it potentially opened the door to more of this type of dialogue. The bootleg comment can be viewed as the reason these promos got so personal.
To make matters worse, Cena compared himself to one of the greatest wrestlers ever to grace a WWE stage and said he wasn't The Undertaker. Meaning, he wasn't a battered veteran at the end of his career with a bad hip. Ouch on two levels.
4. Don't Worry, I'll Wait
In a moment where Roman Reigns was trying to gather his thoughts and provide a second comeback to Cena's original insult, Cena found it best to give little time to Reigns who was clearly overmatched. "It's called cutting a promo kid. If you're going to be the big dog, you're going to have to learn how to do it. See ya fourth wall!"
Unlike the first insult, this specific reference to a promo and the fourth wall was a direct shot at the Internet and what it takes to make it as a WWE Superstar. It wasn't so much a personal shot about Reigns, but more his lack of having the goods to be the main guy in the WWE. Cena was telling Reigns, he didn't offer what Cena offers and that he simply wasn't ready to take the lead.
3. Jump Off That Bus With That Big @$$ Shovel
When Reigns finally got his wits about him, he started to unleash. Taking his cue from Cena, he began to talk about Cena's reputation to the fans. He referred to Cena being part time, trying to make it in Hollywood and his desire to bury talent with the shovel he carries around with him 24/7. Reigns suggested he wasn't doing any of the above very well.
"You're going to hop off that bus with your big @$$ shovel and bury as much young talent as you can." While the comment was meant to say what many have been thinking about Cena for years, it didn't quite have the stinging effect Reigns likely would have hoped for, since it clearly isn't true. Yes, Cena has a bit of reputation for getting talent he doesn't like removed and yes, Cena has gone over talent that probably should have gotten the rub instead. But, to suggest he's not put over young talent like AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Shinsuke Nakamura, or others simply isn't true.
2. You Can't Do Your Job
When the first promo ended, Cena left Reigns with some words that likely stung. "You blame me? Fine, I blame you. I'm still here because you can't do your job. When it comes to this yard, you probably haven't learned it yet, there's only one rule. Step up or step aside. ... you should be ashamed I'm a part-timer 'cause I can do this part time better than you could ever do it full-time."
This spoke directly to the fact that Reigns was making mistakes getting his words out, that people hated the fact the WWE was choosing Reigns as Cena's successor and that Reigns simply wasn't ready. This felt almost like a conversation that needed to be had in the back by two guys who want what's best for the company but decided to hash it out in public.
1. Consider Me Like a Drug Test
The final blow of these promos came when Cena went low. Referencing a Wellness Policy violation that was in the past for Reigns (a suspension he served), Cena asked The Guy to "consider me like a drug test holmes. You ain't gettin' past me!"
Like most of the lines in these promos, this had to be scripted and approved by the writers in the back, but it's tricky to understand why. It can't be good for business to point out that the guy you want to succeed Cena has a history of failing Wellness Policy tests and it certainly makes Reigns look weak. If that was the intention, it succeeded.
And, if you like the fact that these two are holding nothing back, this was by far the most straight to the heart insult uttered yet.