During the last promo before his match with John Cena at No Mercy, Roman Reigns name-dropped former WWE Superstar Alex Riley.
The Big Dog used Riley as an example of someone who didn’t break through to the main event scene because of John Cena. Unlike some of the more overt “shoot” comments from the Reigns/Cena program, this one was a little more veiled - and has a few layers.
Roman’s comment could be interpreted as meaning the former NXT contestant and announcer didn’t succeed because Vince McMahon didn’t need another good-looking, athletic white guy with a crew cut. He could have been referencing the rumors which have been out there for years saying Cena specifically buried Riley after a falling out between the former friends. Or, you can read it as both, which would be evidence of one of Reigns’ arguments throughout this feud - that The Face That Runs The Place has run it for so long by eliminating potential threats via politicking for favorable booking - in this case convincing management to sour on A-Ry so he wouldn’t emerge as a challenger for his spot.
Riley, now working in Hollywood under his real name Kevin Kiley, responded to Roman’s name-drop on Twitter last night. It’s a response which is pretty open to interpretation, as well...
You're starting to C @wwe #wwe— Kevin Kiley Jr. (@KileyJrWWE) September 19, 2017
The use of “C” is similar to how Cena’s “You Can’t See Me” catchphrase is depicted on his merchandise, and could be read as Kiley supporting the burial take. As in, the greater WWE Universe is starting to see how Cena operates.
While others - namely Ryback - have spoken openly about Cena’s backstage manuevering, Kiley has only ever alluded to issues without going into specifics. This looks like more of the same, which is a good way to keep the topic alive without appearing too petty himself.
Or it could be something else entirely.
Either way, it’s an interesting wrinkle to the worked shoot feud between Cena and Reigns, and a reminder of Alex Riley’s WWE career. In the long-run, though, it’s probably not going to make or break this program.
And Kiley is probably more worried about lining up steady work like his supporting turn in Netflix’s GLOW than getting involved in old workplace drama.