"There was a target on my back" - Former Nexus member had backstage heat with John Cena in WWE

John Cena allegedly had backstage heat with Michael Tarver
John Cena allegedly had backstage heat with Michael Tarver
Israel Lutete

Former WWE Superstar and member of The Nexus Michael Tarver says he had issues with 16-time world champion John Cena during his time with the company.

Michael Tarver competed as a rookie in the first season of NXT. He then made his main roster debut on WWE RAW in 2010 alongside other rookies during a match between John Cena and CM Punk. The group, which later became known as The Nexus, attacked everyone in sight and dismantled the ring area.

During a recent interaction with Sassy Stephanie on her Talkin’ Sass podcast, Tarver spoke about the backstage heat he had in WWE.

"[The backstage heat] was never direct. A lot of people would come up to me and would like tell me, ‘Hey, there’s big plans for you. Like there’s a lot of people very impressed with you. Just keep your head up’ because everyone saw that I had heat with one person in particular. Everyone saw it and it was just, it was obvious," said Tarver.

He revealed that the person he had heat with was John Cena and everyone in the locker room turned on him because of it.

"Oh everyone knows who it is, you just can’t see him. Yeah, yeah, so it was [John] Cena. I don’t have any heat with Cena now. I make jokes about it but, there was a target on my back. I don’t know why he targeted me but it is what it is but, you know, we ended up on good terms. We ended up on good terms. Yeah, I had to defend myself a lot. But, everyone was high on me and all of a sudden they all turned on me and I’m like why are — people wouldn’t shake my hand, they wouldn’t speak to me. Like all the top guys, I go shake their hands and they would just fade me in front of everybody," Tarver added.

Michael Tarver also said that WWE stars such as Booker T, Mark Henry, MVP, and Teddy Long would pull him aside and give him some advice regarding his heat with John Cena.

Michael Tarver accuses WWE of burying him

Michael Tarver and John Cena (foreground)
Michael Tarver and John Cena (foreground)

It's not uncommon these days to see a superstar flourishing in WWE NXT only to be used very little—or not at all—when they move up to RAW or SmackDown.

During the interview, Michael Tarver opened up on how WWE buried him and other developmental stars when they got called up to the main roster.

"It was exactly that. I chose to stand out [by not doing the NXT challenges] so, the irony of how WWE works, you could be the man or the woman in developmental and get to the main roster and be [blows a raspberry] and it doesn’t matter how good you are. If one of the main roster people there don’t like you, they will do everything they can to bury you and I got buried when I got to NXT, because I was like on top of the mountain. It was me and Wade Barrett and Justin Gabriel [PJ Black] and a couple of other guys and Heath Slater, you know, that was one of the top guys in developmental and then I got to main roster and just got buried," said Tarver.

Michael Tarver said that he and John Cena patched up over time in WWE, so there aren't any hard feelings between them anymore.

Thanks to POST Wrestling for the transcription

Edited by Alex Turk

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