For the past two weeks, we’ve seen Roman Reigns verbally square off against John Cena, pitting two of WWE’s top stars against each other. And while the battle of promos is clearly a mismatch, it’s also clear that the company is setting their match at No Mercy up as a possible “career-defining moment” for Reigns.
If he wins, Roman has toppled the 16-time world champion after Cena called him out, and he proves that the ring is his yard. If he loses, then Cena’s blistering promos ring true, that Reigns isn’t ready and can’t hack it as “The Guy” and is just a cheap John Cena bootleg.
As much as this seems like it’s being set up to be a “passing of the torch” moment from Cena to Reigns, it’s important to note that this wouldn’t be the first time WWE has tried to pass the torch from another megastar to the Samoan superstar. In fact, it’s easily arguable that no wrestler in recent history has had more “torch passing” attempts directed at him than Reigns.
And while these attempts haven’t really germinated, there are different reasons why each effort has fallen short.
Let’s take a look at some of the times WWE has tried to pass the torch from a big name to the company’s next big name, Roman Reigns.