In May 2015, Owens answered Cena’s United States Championship Open Challenge on RAW and attacked him before their match could even take place. Two weeks later, the then-NXT Champion recorded a statement-making win against Cena on his main-roster debut at WWE Elimination Chamber 2015.
Speaking on the SmackDown post-show Talking Smack, Owens made it clear that he did not impress some of his WWE co-workers:
“I was on the road, there was a lot of animosity, I didn’t have a lot of friends here,” Owens said. “I came in, I was NXT Champion. That’s true [still don’t have many friends], consequences of my actions, right? So, anyway, I don’t have a lot of friends, I’m traveling by myself, I drop John Cena on the first night. That tends to rub some people the wrong way. ‘Why is this new kid coming in, dropping the top guy? And I’ve been doing this for this many years, and I can’t get a break, blah, blah, blah.’”
Kevin Owens told the story during a conversation with Roman Reigns’ on-screen special counsel, Paul Heyman, about Jey Uso being “manipulated” in recent months.
Highlighting how Jey has changed, he said that The Usos, Naomi and Tamina unexpectedly paid for his food on one occasion during his early days in WWE.
John Cena vs. Kevin Owens: What happened next?
Although the John Cena vs. Kevin Owens storyline is best remembered for Owens’ debut win, Cena ultimately won the rivalry between the two men.
Cena won a non-title rematch in June 2015 at WWE Money in the Bank. One month later, he retained the United States Championship against Owens at WWE Battleground.
Please credit Talking Smack and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.