As John Cena and AJ Styles confirmed their SummerSlam bout in a heated face-to-face segment on SmackDown Live, one former independent wrestling mainstay took exception with some of Cena’s comments.
With Styles screaming at Cena that he proved at Money in the Bank that he’s better, he asked the leader of the Cenation why he’s still with the WWE. Cena answered “The Phenomenal One” the same way he has many others, referencing his desire to remain a WWE superstar despite his various mainstream opportunities.
“You, the only reason you’re here is to be a really good wrestler,” Cena said to Styles. “You’ve already proven that if it doesn’t work out for you, you’ll pick up shop and move someplace else.
“There is no place else for me, the reason I’m here is because the words hustle, loyalty, and respect are my heartbeat. I’m here out of love, what the hell are you doing here?”
Current SmackDown Live general manager Daniel Bryan, a former in-ring rival of Cena, had a unique take on Cena saying that WWE is the only place for him.
“I was actually taken aback and borderline offended by John Cena saying ‘hey, if this doesn’t work out for you, you’ll go somewhere else to wrestle,” Bryan said on Talking Smack with Renee Young. “And he would say ‘I only wanna wrestle in WWE.’
Bryan mentioned his two previous WWE firings, in 2001 and 2010, that forced him to return to the independent circuit to continue his career. He and Styles both took similar routes to WWE stardom, creating a strong following in smaller companies such as Ring of Honor and Total Nonstop Action.
“AJ and I are kind of cut from the same cloth in the sense of like, hey, he had to fight for a long time just to get the opportunity to be here,” Bryan added. “If he gets fired, he has a family to provide for, so are you saying don’t go work somewhere else? Go work in a garage or something?”
— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) August 3, 2016
Bryan went on compare John Cena to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the most prominent example of a WWE superstar expanding his popularity beyond the company. However, the difference between Cena and Johnson is that Cena is still a nearly full-time WWE superstar whereas Johnson makes rare appearances.
Since his first WWE championship victory at Wrestlemania 21, Cena has grown into WWE’s biggest commodity and most recognizable entity. Recently, he’s been in movies such as Trainwreck and Sisters, hosted his own show on FX called American Grit, and last month he hosted the ESPY Awards. The case can be made that Cena, 39, is one of the most in-demand entertainers in the industry.
— John Cena (@JohnCena) July 31, 2016
Bryan called Cena’s love for WWE and ability to manage his career and various outside projects “incredible.” However, he still had a hard time agreeing with Cena’s only-WWE mentality.
“That doesn’t mean you should knock things like AJ about like, ‘Oh, if you lose this, you’ll go somewhere else.’ Of course he will.”
While Styles’ WWE future following his feud with Cena is unclear, reports have indicated that he will be a staple of the WWE product for the foreseeable future.
Styles vs. Cena II can be seen on pay-per-view and WWE Network on August 21 as the biggest part of the summer emanates from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
[Image via WWE]