The John Cena/Roman Reigns storyline heading in to No Mercy has been a transparent reflection of conversations that have taken place online about the pair for years. It's as if WWE staffers have looked at some of the more commonly held arguments against 'The Champ' and 'The Big Dog' and handed them straight off to the opposing wrestler, regardless of how well the verbiage can sink or float in a pro wrestling context.
Though company insiders will perhaps consider the narrative of the piece to simply be a challenge for Reigns to step up to, the former Shield member has understandably struggled delivering the dialogue with the composure and assuredness of his more experienced colleague. In Roman's defence, Cena has been on the other side of this exact fence once before (his battles with The Rock between 2011 and 2013 pulled at the same threads), and hasn't had a problem burying a colleague six feet under if given the opportunity or instruction.
As recently as last month, the leader of the Cenation was seeing to it that Baron Corbin's slide was further expedited, whilst Alex Riley, Ryback and others have spoken out about his ability to systematically deconstruct selected talents he doesn't jive with.
John Cena though, is still merely window dressing for WWE at large. The company has a history of breaking down performers theoretically to rebuild them. The strategy often fails, leaving behind a wrestler spent of confidence, charisma, and future career progression.
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.