Some of John Cena's last truly great matches came against the comparably-aged "Phenomenal One" AJ Styles. Styles downed Cena in a classic at the 2016 SummerSlam, and they managed to perhaps top that thriller at the 2017 Royal Rumble, where Cena captured his most recent WWE championship.
Speaking on his podcast with Conrad Thompson, former WWE producer Arn Anderson remembered that Cena, some years before Styles made the move to WWE, didn't get too excited about the prospect of one day working with the world class-level Styles.
"It was at a point when TNA was doing well," Anderson recalled. "I would watch there, sitting with Cena one afternoon, and I said, 'It would really beef up the company if we went out and stole Bobby Roode, AJ Styles and 'The Cowboy' James Storm. If you brought those three guys in, it would give you a whole plethora of new opponents, it would give a lot of guys new opponents.' John looked at me and said, 'We've got NXT, we make our own stars.
"I'm sure he was just transferring Vince's psychology to me when he said that, but I knew at that time what those guys could do in a match for John. If you just gave them six to nine months to come in and get over - these guys had their experience, they were ready. You could bring them on day one and you have a player. They were all on my radar for a while before they ever made it."
(Credit to Wrestling Inc for transcription)