In an attempt to amp things up for their upcoming match at SummerSlam, John Cena and Roman Reigns cut some worked shoot promos against each other at the start of WWE Friday Night SmackDown and there was no script involved.
As reported by Ringside News and later confirmed by Dave Meltzer, Reigns and Cena did not rehearse before they went out to the ring. Producer Jamie Noble was in charge of the segment and Cena was responsible for his lines, while Reigns and Paul Heyman were responsible for their lines.
Writer Michael Kirschenbaum’s role was to keep their promos from going off the rails. Kirschenbaum reported directly to Vince McMahon and he was also there to make sure that Kevin Dunn knew the music cues.
The news that Cena wrote his own lines is not a surprise since that has been the case with him for years and these days, much of what Reigns has been saying on TV is what he and Heyman have come up with. Reigns has been given a lot more creative freedom since he returned as a heel last August.
Reigns and Heyman’s idea was to add some shock value to get people talking. Their approach is similar to what was done in 2011 when Cena and The Rock cut worked shoot promos on each other and during their feud, there was real-life tension between them.
A WWE source told RSN that they did not know if Cena and Reigns even saw each other backstage before they went out to the ring and they did not know if they knew what the other person was going to say.