John Cena opened this week's Monday Night Raw to explain why he made his shocking return to WWE programming at Money in the Bank on Sunday night. He said that the return of the fans sparked his return, and explained he was back to dethrone Roman Reigns of the WWE Universal Championship. He said he didn't want the title to get a record 17th reign, but rather "because Roman Reigns is an a—hole." He then tore down Reigns' run as "The Tribal Chief." Cena then confirmed the two would meet in the main event of SummerSlam next month at Las Vegas' Allegiant Stadium on Aug. 21.
Reigns responded to Cena's interruption from Sunday night on Twitter, writing, "The only two constants in the @WWE Universe. They all come back. They all acknowledge me. Nothing's different."
🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯@JohnCena has laid down the challenge for #UniversalChampion @WWERomanReigns at #SummerSlam ... and he'll be at #SmackDown this Friday to see The #HeadOfTheTable in person again! #WWERaw pic.twitter.com/kyYSBbyxvw— WWE (@WWE) July 20, 2021
While Cena was incredibly critical of Reigns in his promo, in the real world he's been extremely positive about the work Reigns has done in reinventing himself. "The Head of the Table" returned from hiatus at SummerSlam last year and promptly turned heel, aligning himself with Paul Heyman and winning the Universal title back in just one week.
"Roman is walking in his own steps, he follows in no one's footsteps," Cena told Bleacher Report in April. "This happens every time a marquee attraction has moved on. I went through it, everybody said it with Steve [Austin] and The Rock and I understand that. But Roman is crafting his own path, and I think it's very important to say that he's doing a great job. I feel this is the best he's ever been and that comes with comfort. I don't know what got him over that hill, but he's over it and that's a very important one to jump over."
"I just went out there comfortable with who I was and comfortable even if I failed," he added. "Taking brave choices and those brave choices haven't stopped and aren't stopping today as I continue to try to challenge myself. Roman has hit that point and that is, for audiences, a beautiful thing. Now he's going to challenge himself and entertain the audience in ways they didn't think he was capable of."