John Cena's Firefly Fun House Match vs. The Fiend Would Be Perfect WWE FarewellApril 7, 2020
Nobody knows what the future holds for John Cena in WWE. Assuming he will continue winding down his in-ring career, his loss to "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 36 would serve as a fitting coda.
Retirement matches or "loser leaves town" stipulations are common in wrestling, but fans rarely know with any level of certainty whether they're witnessing the last time somebody will set foot inside a ring. That's especially true with legends.
The Rock lost to Goldberg at Backlash 2003 and moved on to acting full-time. Hulk Hogan lost to Yokozuna at King of the Ring 1993 and left for the greener pastures of WCW. Andre the Giant's last WWF match was his and Haku's defeat to Demolition at WrestleMania VI.
There's a chance WrestleMania 36 could be the end of Cena in WWE—at least to the point where his appearances don't feel like a postscript. He went more than a year without wrestling prior to WrestleMania, and he has wrestled seven times since beating Triple H at Greatest Royal Rumble in April 2018.
The Firefly Fun House match could be a perfect way to wrap up Cena's narrative arc in WWE because it brought his career full circle.
Uproxx's Brandon Stroud has a detailed breakdown of the bout and examined the many themes throughout Cena's encounter with the theme.
Upon first glance, the whole thing might have appeared absurd and somewhat goofy. Imagine watching this without any context.
As Stroud explained, each set piece was in service to a larger story. It's almost funny to say out loud, but Cena suddenly looking conflicted as he attacked a pig puppet and revealed the overarching theme.
In kayfabe, the idea of Cena as this heroic role model babyface was actually a fraud because his on-screen character was a bad person.
Wrestling doesn't get the credit it deserves as a storytelling medium, which is a self-inflicted wound to some extent. People can point to any number of tasteless promos, tropes or angles to write off WWE as a highbrow form of entertainment.
But when it hits, wrestling can be every bit as good as a dramatic film or television series.
Cena was like Michael Corleone at the end of The Godfather saga. He's a 16-time world champion and one of the biggest stars of his generation, yet he felt empty because he alienated anybody who tried to be his friend and put himself ahead of everyone else.
If you want to go deep enough, the Firefly Fun House match makes you rethink Cena's entire legacy. Every time Big Match John came through and beat the odds, there was a small part inside Cena that hated himself for selling out in pursuit of success.
This isn't something fans expected to be contemplating coming out of WrestleMania 36.
Knowing full well that nothing is assured when it comes to his availability going forward, WWE and Cena could've opted for a safe WrestleMania match where he played all of the hits. This was the formula for his battle with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 34.
Instead, they ventured off the beaten path and tried a completely new concept.
Like The Rock, Cena will probably never leave wrestling for good. Maybe he'll show up for a reunion show or anniversary episode, or he could wrestle in a one-off bout that is explicitly fan service.
The Firefly Fun House might have been where we witnessed John Cena the WWE character wave goodbye.