In one of their most heated face-to-face segments yet, AJ Styles and John Cena took numerous shots at each other on SmackDown Live this week, but one comment has had the WWE Universe buzzing.
Styles, 39, debuted at the Royal Rumble last year, entering at the No.3 entrant to a standing ovation. Since then, Styles has defeated Cena at SummerSlam captured the WWE Championship and more. However, Styles’ road to the WWE differs from Cena’s in that the Georgia native came through numerous independent promotions, whereas Cena was signed to WWE early in his career.
After SmackDown Live, Styles was a guest on the WWE Network postshow Talking Smack, where he explained why Cena would have never succeeded as an independent wrestler.
“He couldn’t have made it in the indies because he couldn’t hang with guys like me, that’s why,” Styles said. “I know everything there is to know about performing in a ring, you name any style and I can go out there and do it.
“John Cena, he cannot. John Cena is strong, that’s what he’s [got going], he’s a got a great mind for that ring. But there’s more to it than that…John Cena wouldn’t have lasted two seconds in an independent ring.”
But in a new interview with Yahoo Sports, Styles delved deeper into the Cena on the indies debate; the unpredictable and uncertain nature of an indpependent match against an unknown differs from WWE’s worldwide platform and familiarity.
“Let’s talk about that. The independent scene is really hard. When I say that, it’s because you may be the guy coming in from a different state that no one knows. So, how are you going to have people react? A lot of that has to take place through stuff they haven’t seen before and stuff they didn’t expect in the ring,” Styles said. “That takes a lot of athletic ability to get eyes on you and to pay attention sometimes. Every type of wrestling you can think of, you need to adapt to this guy who might only do lucha stuff or this guy might be 6-foot-8, so we know he’s not doing that. All that stuff has to happen.”
Ultimately, Cena and his ability to succeed outside the WWE will never be a legitimate concern. Cena has been the WWE’s main superstar since winning his first WWE title in 2005 and despite being in a part-time role now, he’s the WWE’s strongest asset. He’s made that clear since he recent return, explaining that he “wasn’t built for the indies” but was created for the WWE.
However, Styles answered the question of how Cena would respond in an independent ring as an unknown, doing his current shitck to an audience that never saw him before.
“But I say that [to say] how John Cena would do, nobody is really going to know. But I would venture to say as a nobody coming in, eyes would be on John Cena based on his look alone. He’s a tank. He’s a jacked-up man. That’s the first thing people would see, so he would get a reaction on the way he looks. Now, what happens in the ring won’t be as easy because the whole “You Can’t See Me” thing, people aren’t going to go and do that with him because people haven’t seen him before. There’s a lot that goes into the independents that a lot of people don’t understand. Who’s to say whether John would have done well or done terrible in the indies. How will we ever know? We won’t.”
[Featured Image by WWE]