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WWE News: John Cena discusses why Roman Reigns struggles to get over with WWE Universe

Gary Cassidy
SENIOR ANALYST
News
15.23K   //    11 Oct 2018, 02:39 IST

Reigns and Cena clashed in 2017
Reigns and Cena clashed in 2017

What's the story?

Well, they're without a doubt the two most polarising men to ever set foot in the squared circle - and they even clashed at No Mercy last year - but John Cena has finally opened up about why Roman Reigns has such a hard time trying to connect with the WWE Universe, and why he gets the reactions he does.

Speaking to Jimmy Traina on the SI Media Podcast, Cena gave his two cents on Reigns' troubles 'getting over' with the crowd.

In case you didn't know...

While John Cena has transitioned to somewhat of a part-time attraction within WWE, the 16-time World Champion carried the WWE torch for years and still makes sure that when he shows up, it's memorable!

Cena is a 16-time World Champion and has been the face of WWE for over a decade but, as his appearances have lessened, WWE seemingly looked to pass that torch to Roman Reigns - a ceremony that took place in the lead up to No Mercy 2017, where the culmination of the feud saw Reigns defeat Cena and the pair embrace afterward.

Shockingly, though, the rivalry ran very close to the bone with Cena targeting Reigns' apparent weakness of his promo-cutting skills, challenging the Big Dog to up his game.

The heart of the matter

Speaking to Jimmy Traina on the SI Media Podcast, John Cena discussed why he believes Roman Reigns has struggled to get over with a large section of the WWE Universe, partly blaming himself for the hurdles Reigns has encountered.

Roman has it tough. I kind of ruined this for everybody. The content, the format change did. Attitude Era was male 18 to 35. And our program still draws males 18 to 35. But we're a PG program. Which means you're audience is a six year old. I don't say don't cater to the male 18 to 35, but your audience starts at six or younger.

Pinpointing the change of demographic as a huge challenge for Superstars like Reigns today, Cena elaborated.

So you have to give them essentially Shrek or Cars, or the Lego Movie. Sometimes, 18 to 35 year old dudes don't want to watch the Lego Movie. Don't think there's not a second in my mind that our audience isn't six. Our audience is so mixed that there's never going to be a good guy that appeals to everyone.
Roman Reigns isn't always a popular man
Roman Reigns isn't always a popular man

Cena also went on to speak about how the stubbornness of some viewers ultimately became Roman's downfall.

Even if it's someone that the fans endorse and become the guy. It's a thing where the fans are like, 'Okay, you as a company are going with this guy? No, you're not because we get to choose.'

The 16-time World Champ pointed out that Reigns WAS hugely popular, stating that the WWE Universal Champion isn't the one that's changed.

When Roman was with The Shield, everybody loved him. He didn't really change much. He was soft-spoken, his actions spoken for him, he performs incredibly well. Yet there's a giant uprising because a lot of it is, 'You can't tell us what to like.' And that's okay. It's just tough waters to navigate as a company and it's tough to build stars.

But the wrestler-turned-actor was keen to point out that a lot of things still point towards Reigns' success.

You have to look at your consumers and the analytics. People really like Roman Reigns. And the numbers are there to prove it.
Reigns does have his fair share of fans though!
Reigns does have his fair share of fans though!

John Cena also spoke about the feud with Roman Reigns building towards their match at No Mercy and his role in the angle.

Letting Roman know that there is another level to the game. And if you don't step up to that level, you don't have the right to call yourself someone at that level. That's what my job with Roman was supposed to be.

The star, who's brought out his own children's book recently, praised The Shield man for his work in the feud.

The great thing with Roman is that he understood that and was open to it. You want to talk about being vulnerable and letting it all hang out. He got his teeth knocked out verbally and shot back with what I thought was one of his best performances.

And that vulnerability led to Reigns progressing and improving.

Over the story arc of five weeks, he did learn. There were slip-ups at the beginning, but by the end it was one of his best emotional investments in a program he's been in.
It seems Reigns has the Cena stamp of approval
It seems Reigns has the Cena stamp of approval

What's next?

John Cena is currently living in China and has hinted he may be there for a few more months yet - however, he is confirmed for one upcoming WWE event - Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia.

As for Roman Reigns, well, he is the Big Dog right now! He's currently holding the WWE Universal Championship and running rampant on Raw with Shield brothers Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Reigns defends his title at Crown Jewel against Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar.

Do you agree with John Cena? Let us know in the comments.

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Gary Cassidy
SENIOR ANALYST
Gary Cassidy is a freelance journalist from Glasgow, Scotland, specialising in professional wrestling with Sportskeeda. Gary has ten years' writing experience and a 2:1 Honours degree, and is also a subtitler working on both live and prerecorded broadcast for television channels across the UK, USA and Australia.
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