In August 2020, Reigns turned heel for the first time as a singles competitor in WWE. Prior to that, he performed as one of WWE’s top babyface superstars for over six years. Like Cena, the former Shield member often received boos from WWE fans despite being portrayed as a good guy.
Speaking to Bleacher Report’s Graham Matthews, Cena said doubts are always raised when a high-profile superstar, including himself, stops working full-time for WWE. He added that Reigns is doing a “great job” as the company's latest star attraction.
"Roman is walking in his own steps, he follows in no one's footsteps," Cena said. "This happens every time a marquee attraction has moved on. I went through it, everybody said it with Steve [Austin] and The Rock and I understand that. But Roman is crafting his own path, and I think it's very important to say that he's doing a great job. I feel this is the best he's ever been and that comes with comfort. I don't know what got him over that hill, but he's over it and that's a very important one to jump over."
While John Cena missed WrestleMania 37 due to filming commitments, Roman Reigns defeated Daniel Bryan and Edge to retain the WWE Universal Championship. The Tribal Chief has main-evented WrestleMania in five of the last seven years.
John Cena thinks Roman Reigns is proving his doubters wrong
John Cena and Roman Reigns are two of the most polarizing superstars of their generations. Both men performed as WWE’s top babyface for several years, even when many fans fought against the presentation of their characters.
Cena, a 16-time WWE World Champion, credited his own success with not being afraid to challenge himself and make brave choices. He believes Reigns has adopted a similar mindset following his WWE character change.
"I just went out there comfortable with who I was and comfortable even if I failed," Cena added. "Taking brave choices and those brave choices haven't stopped and aren't stopping today as I continue to try to challenge myself. Roman has hit that point and that is, for audiences, a beautiful thing. Now he's going to challenge himself and entertain the audience in ways they didn't think he was capable of."
John Cena faced Roman Reigns at several WWE live events between December 2017 and March 2018. In September 2017, Reigns defeated Cena at WWE No Mercy in their only televised one-on-one match against each other.