Also, Cena is 100% the face in this thing. Please. The rationalization smart fans have for rooting for heels is really tiresome.
What Cena said on Talking Smack: I'm not done. I'm not injured. I had a bad year in 2016 in terms of my win-loss record. I have something to prove to myself.
What AJ Styles is: An a-hole of the highest order. He tries to stock the odds against him. He gained his early advantage on Cena by manipulating a situation where his buddies from Japan attacked him, and then spent months bragging about it. AJ beat Cena fairly (which Cena admits) and then took Cena's respect of leaving his armband in the ring/salute to the fans and wore it as a trophy. AJ whines about Cena "big-timing" him, as if playing mind-games and showing confidence isn't part of competition.
Wrestling fans are heels. We wish we could cheat, brag, manipulate and take advantage of situations in our daily lives like heels do. However, real life and social norms prevent us from doing so. It's the nature of normal people to not be jerks. But we want to be so badly. We want to be bullies. We want to be on top. We think the only way to "win" in this world -- to become president, to become rich, to become the boss -- is by taking shortcuts and cheating. We just don't have the balls to break the rules of our society to do so. So we now live vicariously through jerks. There's a certain honor in being a jerk, and it's something we support, but we just can't do.
Like... Why does Kevin Owens get cheered over Roman Reigns? KO is a great performer, but he's a total butt-munch. He cut the line in NXT by ruthlessly attacking his best friend at his highest moment. He constantly wins via cheating. He cheapshots non-stop in his matches. He has also manipulated his "best friend" several times to avoid getting into a physical altercation. Roman hasn't done any of that. He's just tried to fight the good fight.
That's why Daniel Bryan and the YES! Movement was so remarkable. There is still a part of us that knows we are fighting underneath, and the ultimate victory comes from beating the odds fairly. Doing it that way is also hard. But it's truly honorable.