Former WWE superstar Alex Riley was the target of a verbal jab by Roman Reigns during his promo on Monday Night Raw.
Reigns dispelled the notion that he — who many have pegged as WWE’s franchise player — is the “next John Cena.”
“Sometimes he says stupid s**t, like trying to say I’m the next John Cena,” Reigns said of Cena during his final promo building toward their match at No Mercy. “Come on, man. Do I walk, talk or even look like Cena? I mean, I don’t know, I don’t have a mirror but do I look like a jacked up white guy with a giant head and a military crew cut? Nah. If I did, I wouldn’t have a career here. You don’t believe me? Ask Alex Riley about that.”
Here’s what has been reported on Riley’s issues with Cena.
Earlier in 2016, Riley appeared on Jim Ross’ “Ross Report” podcast and admitted that an incident with Cena “changed the path of” his career.
“I’ll put it this way. There was an incident and it certainly changed the path of my career. I don’t want to discuss it right now, but I will one day for sure. I will one day. It was a tough situation at times, I guess we can leave it at that.” Riley continued, “and, honestly, JR, I struggle with the morality of even talking about it and I’m not into blowing up anybody else at this point, but I promise you this, I will address it one day for sure. You don’t want to know. It was a tough situation.”
According to a PWInsider.com report from 2012, Cena ribbed Riley backstage and Riley came back angrily at Cena, which apparently was seen as him “breaking the code of the locker room.”
Later, two former WWE standouts discussed what happened behind the scenes.
Tyler Reks speaks on Alex Riley-John Cena incidents
Here’s what Tyler Reks (real name Game Tuft) said he had experienced while in WWE during a Reddit AMA:
“…There is truth that there was some sort of unknown, unreasonable heat between Riley and Cena. To the point where everyone on the roster thought that Cena was treating him in a way that was totally uncalled for.
“The entire locker room was on Riley’s side, a lot of condolences, and this is ‘ridiculous, bro,’ and it was every freakin’ day. Cena thought Riley did something wrong every single day.”
Reks later shared an example of something that apparently went down in the locker room:
“Like, it’s completely against the wrestler code to ever go through another wrestler’s bag. One day, Riley walked into an empty locker room and Cena was just going through his bag. He found some pre-workout vitamins and bitched him out for taking supplements, asking if he ‘thinks this is ok.’ Like, he was looking for a reason to get him fired.
We had the match when Linda was running for Congress for the Stand Up For WWE charity shows, and it was a tag match, I think it was a six man tag match if I remember right. And it was me, Hawkins, and Ziggler vs. Riley, and two other baby faces. Cena had made it clear that he wanted Riley to act a certain way and do certain things. And we structured the entire match to his wishes and it went flawlessly as far as we were concerned.
The second we walked backstage he came up to me and said ‘hey where’s numbnuts?’ And he sees the look on my face and tells me to go get Riley. So all six of us came back and he bitched out Riley in front of the backstage roster — about how he always tells him to do one thing and he does another, and Cena was ‘washing his hands of helping him.’ Even Ziggler was like, ‘What the hell, man?'”
Ryback speaks on Alex Riley-John Cena
“John [Cena is] blocked on my Twitter. I blocked him, he’s legit [blocked], I blocked him a long time [ago]. He [has] been a piece of sh*t to me since Day One. And people, the guy, I was nothing but nice and respectful to him and I know Alex Riley just came out and [admitted he had issues with Cena] and when people hear what really happened with that, they’re going to lose their sh*t. Like, and I know, I have a pretty good idea of what happened with that and the guys in WWE. And, one, it’s f*cking hilarious. And, two, it’s hilarious what people will find out about John. So he used to sh*t-talk me when I was in the ring. I remember I was in there against Mark Henry. You’ve got to remember, I came up with all these guys in developmental and I know everyone who’s sitting backstage. No, John [used to talk trash], I used to be back there for John when Riley was in the ring, when the company was f*cking with him because John was hot at him because of what happened and all this.
“But John would sit back there and bury Riley in front of everybody for no reason, and Alex Riley is f*cking money and he was money from Day One. Busted his ass, had awesome theme music, worked his ass off, went out there and got a reaction from the people, but because of John Cena and I swear to God, I swear to f*cking God, because of John Cena, his career is over in the WWE for no f*cking reason outside of John and his personal issues. Unbelievable.”
Alex Riley responds to Roman Reigns’ John Cena promo
Riley, now known by his real name, Kevin Kiley Jr., sent out a cryptic tweet after Reigns’ promo.
It’s worth noting the “C” in Riley’s tweet is an obvious reference to how “see” is spelled on much of Cena’s merchandise.
There were obvious similarities between the two superstars and Riley did receive a short-lived babyface push in a feud with his former on-screen mentor The Miz.
Perhaps Monday night’s promo proved that there was some credibility to his story, or was just WWE trying to capitalize on internet buzz and make the Cena-Reigns feud even more personal.
Riley was released from WWE in May 2016.
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