It wasn't your standard wrestling promo, with both men taking several shots at the other in what was supposed to come off as a shoot. It started off strange, with the fans not really sure what to think of what they were saying. By the end, the fans were into it and it worked. The viewer was left wondering how on earth the decision makers didn't deem this bout worthy to main event WrestleMania.
The segment started off with John Cena doing the goofy microphone work he's been doing ever since making his return, very loose and even exclaiming that he has "zero F's to give." Roman, on the other hand, started the segment off visually less comfortable than John, but by the end of the promo, came off like a star.
At first, Cena played it up as Roman being scared to face him at No Mercy. The strategy was clearly for him to piss off Roman so much that he would eventually agree to face him. Roman talked at the beginning about how he doesn't need to face Cena, how he defeated Undertaker and ended his career at WrestleMania, mentioning that is something that Cena will never be able to do. He told John "you're not as big as you think you are."
Cena then took a chance to unload on Roman for many of the things that Reigns' critics online often point to. He called Roman a corporate creation (a "corporate Cena bootleg"), said he couldn't cut a promo, called him protected, and said he's not the guy guy he's just a guy.
John also talked about "breaking the fourth wall" during the segment and said that the fans crave a heel turn out of him. Roman came back and said the fans don't boo him because they want him to be a bad guy, they boo him because he sucks. With Kurt Angle in the ring behind them, John said he was fine with that since the fans also tell Angle that he sucks. It should be mentioned that Angle's facial reactions through this segment were tremendous.
There was also a portion where it appeared that Reigns legitimately forgot his lines and Cena ad-libbed.
Pretty sure Roman Reigns legit forgot his line & John Cena went off script. pic.twitter.com/zSKynqjAcw— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) August 29, 2017
Anyway, Roman ended up getting frustrated with Cena interrupting him. He yelled at him to shut up, called him a "fake b*tch" and "part time fake b*tch." Reigns said Cena buries young talent and called him a backstabbing shark, but he also said he's the one guy who Cena can't bury.
John then came back and congratulated Roman on cutting his first good promo in five years. Cena then unloaded on Reigns. He said that he doesn't have some magical golden shovel. Cena said that the fans are always the ones in charge.0comments
Cena said that Reigns thought of his U.S. title run as a demotion, but he (Cena) used his U.S. title reign to elevate talent such as Kevin Owens and AJ Styles (yeah, the feud with AJ wasn't over the U.S. title). In regards to being a part timer, John said the reason he's still there is that Roman can't do the job. He also said he can do this part time better than Roman ever could full time.
At that point, Roman signed the contract (John already had). Reigns flipped the table in the ring over and they went face to face until being interrupted by Anderson and Gallows' music. This turned into a tag team match with Cena and Roman prevailing.