WWE WrestleMania 39 night two closed with one of the most shocking main event results in history as Roman Reigns successfully defended his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against Cody Rhodes. Reigns’ victory sent the clear signal that he is still WWE’s top dog, and no one is going to come into his yard to take his gold anytime soon. WWE WrestleMania 39 night one, on the other hand, began with WWE United States Champion Austin Theory defeating eventual Hall of Famer, John Cena.
Theory’s win over Cena sent its own clear signal, that WWE has big plans for the young star. Why else would they have him pick up a win over a big name like the Doctor of Thuganomics? On the way to the match, however, Cena made things rocky for the cocky upstart by making it clear in a controversial Raw promo that the fans did not like the mayor of A-Town. The former multi-time champion also laid into Theory in regard to his in-ring work, and how crowd noise had to be piped in during his bouts to make them more engaging.
In an interview with Sam Roberts for the NotSam Podcast, Cena discussed that specific promo, and whether he caught Theory off-guard with it.
“No, no,” Cena began. “Austin is great and easy to work with, and we wrote that together. He was in every step of the process, and there comes a point where, you know, you need some creatives. Sometimes people need creative solitude so like, ‘I’m gonna go away and write my thing, and then come back and run it by you and see if it’s okay.’ And there are some guys who are just like, ‘See ya out there.’
“I can dress for weddings or funerals, man, just tell me what color suit to wear. I don’t mind. I respect everyone’s process but I do know, from all my experience, if you do not have something they care about, you do not have something. That’s it. So my job is to make them care, and this is not a process that I just do with Austin Theory. If you track back, and I’ve missed a bunch of times, too.
“I’ve tried to try to care. I’ve been too quirky at times, tried to be funny, and failed, but I’m trying. I’m always trying to make you care, and that’s been the way since I was doing raps. People would want to hear the lines, and then people wouldn’t want to hear the lines and are like, ‘Yeah, you can do your rap thing, and I’m just gonna kick the crap out in the ring.’ Fine. It doesn’t, that doesn’t matter.
“What matters is me making them connect and believe because if they believe, and maybe they laugh, then they feel sad for me when you kick the crap out of me. You know? And then I can get away with something like, my ethos is persistence because years from now people are gonna be like, ‘Yeah, that is actually kind of his what he does, he’s just, God, he just keeps showing up.’ You know? Like, man, he’s just here a lot.”
Cena did not stop there in regard to his promo philosophy and what he told Theory. According to Cena, he did not hold back when giving his thoughts to Theory ahead of their big match.
“It’s what I said to Austin theory,” he recalled. “Dude, you are young, you are athletic, you will work for this company. You’ll do interviews you go X, Y, and Z. I don’t believe what you do when you’re out there. I don’t, I said it to him personally before I said it publicly. No, I’m serious. I said, in the room with Austin Theory.
“I said the reason I came back to Boston is because you can’t do this yourself, yet. You cannot carry a WrestleMania promo yourself, yet. And if you fail, we waste the equity that I’m willing to give. And if in that match, I get hurt, I hold up a production, which puts 300 people out of work.
“Let’s do this right. Let’s get some equity here, and then you have to start thinking about the angles and well, ‘What’s the most important thing and what are we really trying to tell him? What’s our story?’ And okay, I don’t, I don’t believe what you do and that’s what I’m going with.”