With only a few days to go before WWE’s No Mercy pay-per-view as of this writing, all eyes are on John Cena and Roman Reigns as they prepare to face off in a battle of alpha babyfaces hated by smart fans. But even smart fans must admit that WWE has made Monday Night Raw a must-see program in recent weeks, thanks to the savage worked shoots involving both Cena and Reigns. Adult fans may still shout “Cena sucks!” in response to the kids shouting “Let’s go Cena!”, and Reigns is still being eaten alive by audiences who have long been sick of WWE’s insistence at giving Roman the God-push. But even the most jaded Cena or Reigns hater has to admit that their ongoing feud has been pure gold.
Still, that brings us back to our original point – John Cena and Roman Reigns are two extremely polarizing individuals. And that means they’ve both gotten their share of internet memes that burn, oftentimes almost like the average promo we’ve seen from both men in the buildup to No Mercy. So with that as a backdrop, let’s take a look at 20 savage memes that feature, or pertain to Cena and Reigns. (Take note that we’ve evenly divided our list into nine Reigns-only or Cena-only memes each, and two memes that feature, or pertain to both men.)
20. Cena: Give Me Back My Shovel
It’s been that way almost ever since he befriended Shawn Michaels and became part of the notorious backstage faction The Kliq – Triple H has long been associated with burying his colleagues. But that virtual shovel has also been allegedly held by a number of other WWE Superstars over the years, including Hulk Hogan, as well as his arguable modern-day equivalent, John Cena. As you can see above, he appears to be desperately holding his hand out, in hopes of grabbing that shovel from its usual (perceived) owner, the King of Kings.
One only need to recall the The Nexus, Alex Riley, Ryback, Damien Sandow, and more recently, Baron Corbin, as alleged examples of why the above meme is so savage. They’re all examples of wrestlers who lost feuds to Cena, only for their careers to head into a tailspin, never to recover, except in the case of Corbin, who still might have time to dig his way out and back into a sustained push.
19. Reigns: Go To Sleep On His Promos
Despite my best efforts not to include memes I’d already featured in previous articles, I had no choice but to recycle this double-feature from my list of savage Shield memes. And why not? On the left side, you’ve got Kevin Owens looking like he’s just consumed a batch of happy brownies, and on the right side, you’ve got CM Punk doing his trademark “Go to Sleep” gesture. Bet you’d rather see both men (assuming Punk didn’t leave WWE for the UFC) get the super-push over Roman, right?
18. Cena: Kicks Out At Two
Nowadays, we’re seeing much more of John Cena putting over younger or newer rivals. At 40, he’s not getting any younger, and he recognizes that WWE needs to pay attention to its youth movement. But it wasn’t too long ago when he was still criticized and lambasted by scores of wrestling fans for being “Super Cena,” the master of miraculously kicking out of two, not only because he had to live up to his “Never Give Up” mantra, but because Cena wins, LOL.
17. Reigns: Cup Of Joe
Some people like to drink their coffee black, but like many others, I just can’t do without some creamer and sugar when drinking a cup of Joe. But speaking of people named Joe, Roman Reigns is pretty much pro wrestling’s equivalent to black coffee. He looks strong and then some, but without any equivalent of creamer or sugar to make the coffee go down easier, he’s decidedly unpalatable to the average wrestling fan, who can’t stand the fact that he’s WWE’s newest equivalent to Superman.
While still on the topic of the cup of Joe/Joe Anoa’i analogy, what “ingredients” would make Roman Reigns bearable? Most fans would agree that these ingredients include elite promo skills, a more versatile moveset, and probably a heel turn, because that babyface booking isn’t working, just like it hasn’t been since late-2014.
16. Cena: All The Titles
Back in the late 2000s and early 2010s, that was when it was most evident that John Cena had a God-push in the WWE. And it almost seemed that the only thing left for WWE to do was to give Big Match John all of the titles. As the maker of the above meme saw it, that would have included Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne’s World Tag Team Championships, and even Beth Phoenix’s Divas Championship. Bet you couldn’t unsee that image of the Glamazon with a John Cena face, right? (Especially since they were briefly linked to each other back in the day.)
Still, we don’t think Cena would want to have such an all-encompassing God-push that he’d hold all of WWE’s championship belts. But we know someone who would have, right before Roman Reigns’ arrival in late 2012. And his name…
15. Reigns: Insulting Our Intelligence
It’s not a good catchphrase, it’s not a bad catchphrase. It’s a catchphrase. That’s probably the best way to paraphrase Roman Reigns’ pre-“this is my yard” catchphrase that he’d often use to address fans who kept booing him despite his babyface alignment. But WWE still thought it was the best Superstar catchphrase of the last decade, which is probably why 47,000-some fans thumbed-down the video featuring that list, as opposed to 14,000 fans giving it the thumbs-up.
Indeed, it felt as if Vince McMahon, contrary to what he said almost two decades prior, was NOT tired of insulting the intelligence of the WWE Universe. How the “I’m not a good guy…” catchphrase could outrank The Miz’s “I’m awesome,” Enzo and Cass’ “S-A-W-F-T” spiel, and Bray Wyatt’s “follow the buzzards” is beyond us.
14. Cena: Age-Appropriate WWE 2K Versions
This one’s an oldie but a goodie, especially if you consider WWE 2K18 is dropping in just a few weeks from now. But five years ago, wrestling fans were so sick and tired of John Cena winning time and time again, dominating almost every opponent, while pandering to the young children in the audience, the kids whom you’d hear every time on WWE television shouting “Let’s go, Cena!” That’s the Cena we know from the colorful t-shirts and fifth-grade humor, and according to the guy who made the above meme, that’s the Cena for WWE fans aged 13 and below.
On the other hand, you’ve also got Cena as the Doctor of Thuganomics, the guy who belted out savage battle raps against his rivals, a lot of them on the edgy and off-color side. That, as we know, is closer to the real John Cena away from the camera, and the Cena that fans above the age of 13 would rather see on TV.
13. Roman: On “The” Drugs
It seems like ages ago when WWE suspended Roman Reigns for 30 days following his first Wellness Policy violation. But the above meme, or any of its variations, can still be considered savage because of how people generally assumed Reigns was untouchable. Instead, it turned out that Reigns wasn’t that above the law after all, though if you come to think about it, his months-long mid-card push (which included an afterthought of a U.S. Championship reign) was almost a modern-day equivalent of how Triple H did a string of jobs for months after his involvement in the Madison Square Garden “Curtain Call.”
Though it was widely assumed that the musclebound Reigns had tested positive for steroids, reports suggested that “THE drugs” in Roman’s system were nothing more than Adderall, which is usually used to manage ADHD symptoms.
12. Cena: Kicks Out At Two… From Nikki’s “Finisher”
All indications point to John Cena and Nikki Bella having a good relationship as a now-engaged couple. And while we certainly aren’t privy to the more, um, intimate details of the power couple’s relationship, it’s funny to think about what would happen if Cena did what he always does in the ring while in bed with his fiancee. That is, of course, kick out at two.
Indeed, Nikki doesn’t look too happy as she appears to be adding a diary entry and writing about how her 16-time world champion significant other “kicked out” of her “finisher” after just two seconds. Now that’s no way to satisfy a woman in bed, though as you’ll find out later, this isn’t the only savage Cena or Reigns meme with the not-so-PG topic of bedroom activities as a theme.
11. Reigns: WrestleMania Win Is Coming
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, the above meme should definitely be relatable, especially because the next Roman Reigns victory at WrestleMania just might come slightly less than a year before the show’s eighth and final season arrives on HBO. Reigns winning at ‘Mania is to most wrestling fans what the arrival of winter is to the fictional land of Westeros. As such, one can say that winter is (most likely) coming to the Superdome in New Orleans, come April 2018, with wrestling fans taking to another ‘Mania win for Reigns like the White Walkers take to Westeros’ human population.
With Reigns and John Cena having a WrestleMania-worthy feud ahead of No Mercy, it looks like WrestleMania 34 will indeed feature the Big Dog defeating The Beast, Brock Lesnar, in the show’s main event, just as rumors suggested earlier this year. Many fans are praying it isn’t so, and that WWE would book another match for next year’s ‘Mania main event. But as we’ve learned so many times before in the past, WWE just wouldn’t listen to the fans when it comes to pushing Roman Reigns.
10. Cena: Gimmick Change
John Cena gets a lot of flak for working pretty much the same babyface gimmick he’s worked for the past decade-plus or so. He comes to the ring, throws his hat in the air, yells out “THE CHAMP IS HERE!”, and cuts an intense promo peppered with juvenile humor and the occasional “you can’t see me” gesture. Then he wrestles a match, hits all his big moves when you expect him to hit them, and comes away with the victory. Big Match John doesn’t deserve a lot of the flak he receives, but you can’t really argue with how 2017 Cena isn’t too different from 2006 Cena.
That is, unless you consider those new t-shirts he wears from time to time, shirts that establish his status as a WWE merchandising machine. It may be a completely new design or simply a different color, but you’re still far more likely to see John Cena parade a new shirt than see him make a heel turn that doesn’t involve him turning on his heel.
9. Reigns: Doesn’t Like Long Scripts
It’s called a promo, kid. If you want to be a big dog, you’ve got to learn how to do it. So said John Cena to Roman Reigns in that worked-shoot promo that got everyone talking a few weeks ago. Even with all the improvements Reigns has made on the mic, many still associate him with piss-poor promo skills, and it’s still not completely implausible to imagine Reigns upset to the point of being literally floored when he’s given a much longer script to read than usual.
Be that as it may, WWE remains largely to blame for Reigns’ difficulties on the mic, as well as the promo challenges faced by many other wrestlers. By strictly scripting their talents, WWE is holding a lot of wrestlers back in terms of mic skills, and if you need proof of that, just listen to any Reigns promo from mid-2014 to 2016.
8. Cena: Chuck Norris Can See Him
You remember Chuck Norris Facts, don’t you? In case you don’t, which is highly unlikely, they’re like Curt Hawkins Facts, only way cooler. And way more original. Yes, they were all the rage several years ago, as the internet celebrated the eternal badass-ery of Carlos Ray Norris, claiming that he’s counted to infinity (twice), killed two stones with one bird, unscrambled an egg, killed a cobra after it bit him, and so on, and so forth. Well, there’s something else old Chuck can apparently do, and that’s see John Cena.
For years, we’ve been hearing it from the Cenation leader – “you can’t see me,” oftentimes stylized as “U Can’t C Me.” We’ve heard it (and seen the gesture) so often that we can’t help but agree. If there’s anyone who can see Big Match John, it must be Chuck Norris.
7. Reigns: List Of His Moves
We certainly can’t blame you if the only two Roman Reigns moves you can come up with are the Superman punch and the spear, with the former move often setting up the latter as his finisher. Oh, and there’s the Samoan drop too, the roll-up into a sit-out powerbomb, and a couple of variations on the clothesline. Yup, that adds up to exactly five moves of doom for the Big Dog.
Of course, Roman knows more than those moves, and he had a couple more impressive-looking finishers/signature moves back in his days in developmental. But now that he’s poised to take over from Cena as WWE’s top guy of all the top guys, it seems like WWE wants to keep his moveset as simple as possible, with “simple” meaning “limited” in the eyes of many a fan.
6. Cena: Make-A-Wish Heel Turn
As wrestling fans should know, Damien Sandow is the Philosoraptor of wrestling memes. And while you may notice that it’s ironic that Sandow, who lost his Money in the Bank cash-in attempt against Cena, then lost his place in the upper mid-card forever, features in this meme, let’s ignore that for a moment and think of how savage the meme is.
At this point, there’s no need for a John Cena heel turn, even if fans have demanded it for years. And back when that demand was still ultra-high, it almost seemed as if the only thing that would convince Cena to become a bad guy was a Make-a-Wish kid asking for it. Yes, it would have been possible in theory, as Cena never turns down Make-a-Wish kids, but then again, we also have to remember that children make up the biggest percentage of Cena’s fan base. Savage meme indeed, but it’s not going to happen.
5. Reigns: In Bed
If you’ve got a partner who’s also a wrestling fan, the last thing you want is to tell them you’re going to do a Roman Reigns in bed. As this meme suggests, that essentially means sticking to a couple tried and tested positions, dropping tired cliches when talking dirty, and letting loose with an emphatic “Oohhhhhwaaaahhhh” upon climax. All in the quick and unsatisfying span of five minutes. Yeah, we agree that that’s not going to end well, and that someone’s going to be sleeping alone on the couch for several nights thereafter.
4. Cena: Making Wishes Come True
Here we present to you an example of a savage meme that actually ends up putting its subject over, or in other words, being savage toward the subject’s haters. Let’s admit it – a lot of us can be too harsh toward John Cena. Sure, he’s been accused of burying wrestlers, being a massive player when it comes to the women, having predictable movesets and match finishes, talking too loud in the ring, you name it. John Cena is no saint, that’s for sure, and while he’s not the best in-ring worker, he’s far from bad. But you’ve got to have lots of respect for someone who works so tirelessly behind the scenes to make those Make-a-Wish kids happy.
3. Reigns: Once Upon A Time…
Remember how bad Roman Reigns used to be on the microphone, back in the days when he was talking about sniveling sufferin’ succotash and Tater Tots? Well, we also got to hear another infamous, though less-referenced promo, the so-called “Roman and the Beanstalk” promo, where the Big Dog droned on about how once upon a time, there was a “little boy named Roman Reigns” who had some “magic beans.” We still cringe when we think about that on-mic atrocity, which was delivered with the exact smug facial expression Reigns was flashing in the photo.
It’s an oft-repeated refrain, but Reigns was over in The Shield because he had Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins to do most of the talking. When left to his own devices, he came about as someone who struggled for the longest time with his promos, while failing miserably as WWE tried to market him as a kid-friendly character. Just like they were doing when they had him cut that awful beanstalk promo.
2. Both: WrestleMania Main Event
To be honest, you can substitute Cena for Brock Lesnar to make this meme more current. But the message is still the same – Vince McMahon loves to see his well-built, well-pushed musclemen and hosses main event the Grandest Stage of Them All, and after two years of calling audibles and having the smaller, technically-superb smart fan favorite (Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XXX, Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 31) go over at the 11th hour, it would seem that Vince is done giving the fans what they want at the last minute.
A couple years back, that would have meant a Reigns vs. Cena WrestleMania main event, just the kind of rivalry that would make Mr. McMahon cream himself all over his corporate office like South Park‘s Randy Marsh does. These days, however, fans would rather see No Mercy‘s Cena vs. Reigns main event at next year’s ‘Mania, rather than see Roman win a third straight ‘Mania main event, this time against Brock Lesnar.
1. Both: Terrible Wrestlers?
A lot of people will still tell you that John Cena and Roman Reigns are not very good in the ring. In response to that, we present to you this Willy Wonka meme dripping with all its trademark sarcasm. Sure, a lot of fans dislike Cena and Reigns, especially the latter, and we get that. WWE has force-fed us babyface Cena for more than a decade, and the past few years have seen WWE do something similar, and arguably more egregious, to Roman. But it’s also uncalled for to refer to either man as a terrible wrestler.
Anyone who thinks Cena sucks in the ring only need watch his recent rivalry with AJ Styles for the WWE Championship. Styles may be capable of having top-rate matches with considerably less talented opponents, but Cena was obviously at the top of his game in that feud for the WWE Championship. And while Reigns may still need some work on his promos, he’s certainly improved significantly since the nadir that was “sufferin’ succotash.” He’s also a decent worker at the very least, as he’s been since his time with The Shield.
Boo them all you want for how WWE books them, but do not go as far as suggesting they’re terrible wrestlers. Save that for the likes of The Great Khali or Eva Marie.
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