FireFly Funhouse Match : Deconstruction /Theories /Easter Eggs
Why? What? How do you start a recap of what I believe to be a masterpiece of storytelling in wrestling. This, in my opinion, was a reward to the longtime viewers of WWE. Many times the company panders to the casual viewer, and in this case, the hardcore fan was the target audience. For that, Bray Wyatt, John Cena, WWE, and even Vince McMahon, I thank you. I will be deconstructing this “match” and giving several opinions on its meaning, and calling out Easter eggs galore! Many of these opinions are conflicting, outlandish, and unverified. The great thing about a masterpiece like this is that, it is left up for interpretation. Make sure you contact me to let me know what your take on this “match” is. What do you agree with, disagree with , and what have I missed ( @pushnburry).
I am not going to waste time asking the question of where did this all take place. Like most of what I am about to discuss, it is open to interpretation. To be honest, the where doesn’t matter. It is irrelevant to the rest of the story. Some think it is in Cena’s mind, some think Wyatt’s mind, others think it is simply a fever dream that we all had after watching “Fear and Loathing in Last Vegas” followed by some sort of WWE walk though time. It makes no difference. In an attempt to check all boxes and cover as many theories as possible, I will breakdown all parts of this amazing cinematic experience. If you are reading this and somehow missed the Firefly Fun House ‘Match”, stop reading. No seriously. Stop right now and go find a way to watch this. Do it now. I will see you back here in about an hour; 15 minutes to watch, and 45 minutes to recover. I will be referring to this vignette as a “match” throughout this article even though it was much more than a match, and in no way a traditional match.
We start our journey with John Cena walking out to an empty performance center. Doing his normal John Cena camera pointing and acknowledgement of the audience at home. He then says to the camera, “ and welcome to Wrestlemania”. As he says the word Wrestlemania, the screen cuts to Vince McMahon saying the Wrestlemania introduction as he did in WM1. We then see Mean Gene flash by also saying Wrestlemania. This is followed by several pictures of different imagines that John or Wyatt are known for. You will notice several themes throughout this “match”. While I will explain more in detail throughout, it is important to observe the connecting stories linking each segment. This entrance to the “match” can be interpreted as not only the beginning of this “match”, the beginning of Vince’s dominance on wrestling, the beginning of corporate WWE/WWF but also the first of John Cena’s wrestling and WWE memories from when he was a kid. This is the introduction to Vince McMahon’s greatest creations; Wrestlemania, Hulk Hogan, and John Cena. Yep, I said Hulk Hogan. Just wait.
We see the Firefly Funhouse cartoon introduction, including music. Cut to Bray in the original FFFH ( Firefly Funhouse ) set waving at the audience at home as he tends to do prior to a FFFH episode. It is important to notice that this is the original FFFH set. No pictures of past victims, and included is the cult leader Bray’s stand up cardboard cut out sawed in half. Bray informs us that “there is a world that exists outside our realm and outside our comprehension. A world where our darkest urges are no longer kept secret. A world where GODS, MONSTERS,ANGELS, AND DEMONS are neighbors.” Don’t worry I am not going to quote everything Bray says during the entire “match”. This quote is important as it is one of the ongoing themes in the story. Its deeply layered, and I may be reaching, but for the sake of giggles and shits, stay with me. He will show you how John is referred to as all of these bolded words throughout the story. He then questions, “ Who are we really and why do we do the thing that we do”? These questions will be answered about John Cena as we move forward. He then starts speaking to John. He wanted him to know that John will face his most dangerous opponent yet. Spoiler… It is himself. Trippy, I know! Now lets take a deep look. Bray walks through the normal FFFH door that says “ Abandon all hope ye who exit here” which is a reference to “Donte’s Devine Comedy” or “Donte’s inferno” which was an entrance to Hell.
However, the door in that original story says “enter here” in stead of “exit here”. This can be seen as John entering the Firefly Funhouse but exiting what the world understands to be hell. John is exiting a wrestling hell in which John is the main attraction (WWE Universe). He is exiting all of this to enter into his own personal hell. Again this is one theory, he would easily be entering Brays mind, or even his own mind. John appears in the funhouse. He appears to be current John. Confident but clearly at unease. It is almost like we are picking up exactly where we left off on Smackdown. He sees Ramblin Rabbit appear. Ramblin tells him that Bray is through the door. John enters the door and we truly begin.
When John walks through the door, we are transferred to just before Cena’s first match. Vince puppet begins to speak to John. He is essentially giving John the Ruthless Aggression speech the Vince not only gave on live TV, but to all wrestlers in the back around this time. In true Vince form, he says if you can’t show me that you have. ruthless aggression …yur..yur..youre.. Fired!
Bray is now reciting word for word, the Kurt Angle promo given before John’s first match and introduction to the WWE main roster. This would be the next step in Johns career.
John walks out in his full first match gear in the same manner as he did against Angle. He walks to the ring and after Wyatt finishes Angles promo, John says Ruthless aggression and swings at Wyatt. He misses. Does it again. Misses. And again, and misses once more. During this time, Bray references how this is sad and that they are living Johns worst failure.
John has mentioned on many occasions that he was almost fired for this gimmick. He knew this gimmick was failing but kept doing the same thing every night. Over and Over. Yet he kept failing. This part of his career is a mirror imagine of what John is doing now. . Not only is this a tribute to the beginning of his career, it is also a tribute to Johns failures. How do we know this ? Well, Bray mentioned “ you can look but you can’t touch”. The theme music to his ex fiancé Nikki Bella, a relationship that failed terribly do to John not being able to change. The segment ends with Bray asking if this is really what John wants to do with his life. Another theory as to why John keeps repeating the same line, and then throwing missed punches, is to show John’s lack of wrestling skill, inferring that he only has a few moves. It is also a rib on John being known for calling his moves out loud for all to hear. It is a known fact that if you are sitting in the 3rd row of the damn balcony section, you can likely hear John calling his spots.
Here is where some of our roads may twist and turn. There are two distinct different opinions on the meaning of this next segment. It is possible that both are legit. We see pictures of John as a child. Then we move to Saturday Night Main event. This is a show that would have been on during Cena’s childhood. It is likely this is what John wanted to be as a child. There is also a heavy Vince, Hogan, Cena undertone throughout. Showing that Vince used Hogan and Cena in the same way. This shows that Cena isn’t an original, he is simply the 2nd Hogan created by the company or Vince. He is a carbon copy of Hulk Hogan in every way.
Bray goes into his promo about John being a physical specimen. He very clearly says that in this company, it doesn’t matter how little talent you have as long as you have muscles. This is both describing John and showing where Johns obsession to be a muscle man came from. It is also important to remember that Bray’s muscle man dance character is a rib on the idea that you have to be a big guy to be overly successful and receive the full rocket strap of Vince and the WWE. Even the name Bray gives Cena (Johnny Largemeat) is both a call back to his big guy message and a knock on the names of several of the WWE superstars through out the years. John comes out obsessing over his muscles by lifting weights over and over ( again doing something over and over). He does this so much that he can no longer use his arms. Not only is this likely a reference to John having no control – no control of his relationships, his ego, and most certainly his inability to perform in the ring – but also an indictment of the WWE system working their wrestlers to literal exhaustion. It is pretty clear that Bray is referencing the amount of injuries that wrestlers receive because of the workload, especially in the 80s. This is likely also a way to address John’s sole focus being the way that he looks. His physique being the most important thing to John and to the company. It is so important that John will both work himself to injury and will work through his injuries rather than give up his “lime light” for a few months. He would rather come back to the ring and work than let an injury properly heal.
John starts talking like 1980s -1990s Hogan. This is yet another comparison between the two. They are both known for being difficult to work with, and for burying talent. Bray even says, “look at those pythons”. Another hogan reference and a reference to John only being what he is because of his muscles and physique. This even had 80-90s montage music in the background. It was perfect. We then hear Vince puppet say “ Damn It, keep your hands up”. This is a call back to several people mentioning that Vince yells at wrestlers during matches, through the ref, telling them to put their hand up when they are being hit. He maintains that that is what it would look like if you were in a real fight. Most recently, Kevin Owens said this on a WWE podcast, and Bully Ray confirmed on Busted Open. Bray finishes this segment by saying “ what you gonna do brother, when you realize egomania ran wild on you” continuing with all the before mentioned themes. Wyatt throws Cena out of the picture. Side note: Bray also says “ you can’t help but worship him” when calling John out as his tag partner. This continues with the Devils, demons, angels, and god theory that Bray mentions upon the introduction to the FFFH match. A final connecting idea in this segment is the Hulkamania, Wrestlemania, and essentially Cenamania are all the same thing…an extension of Egomania.
John is now in front of the big smackdown hand in full Thuganomics gear. His music plays as he walks to the ring. You will notice Huskis the Pig boy dancing around while the music plays. This is important and this is when John became a glutton for fame and winning. This is also the next stage in his career. John realizes that he can now only speak in rhymes, similar to how he was at this time. One of the first things John says is “ you won’t take away my lime light”. Well that is one of the points in this segment. John was most concerned with being in the lime light, and did not want anyone else to have it. Just like he won’t give it to Bray now. He begins to make rhymes insulting Wyatt’s Husky Harris gimmick. Again, similar to what he would do to wrestlers during this time. John then makes a rhyme about Bray not taking advantage of all of his opportunities to be successful. “blowing every opportunity” says John. Clearly referencing Wyatts inability to win the big matches. This is obviously not something Bray can control. This is a bad booking decision, a bad Vince decision. John’s relationship with Vince combined with his egomania makes him unable to see this. This is where Bray becomes real. I would go as far as saying Bray was being Windhum Rotunda, the man rather than the character. He reminds John that he has earned everything and still things are taken from him. This is a reference to Goldberg taking his Championship. He reminds him that John is untouchable, but he is not a hero. He is a bully. Always making fun of peoples weaknesses. He is a terrible person who would do anything for fame. Then calls him poor lonely John Cena. Gives him one chance to do the right thing. To become John Cena the man, out of character and apologize for all that he has done. Not listening to the fans. Being a bully and not getting new wrestlers get over. John then gives another disrespectful rhyme. ( I believe all of these rhymes were actually used in matches in which John buried someone). He then runs at Bray and Bray is gone. He reappears behind John and hits him with a chain. This is a call back to Carlito hitting John with a chain when he lost his first championship to Carlito. Side note: Easter Egg – John is wearing a NY Yankees Jersey when we walks out for this segment. At first, you may think that this is normal. Regular old John Cena ( Dr. Thugonomics ) pandering to the crowd or what the crowd would have been. However, John is a Boston guy, so why wear a Yankees jersey? A few reasons. First, Vince refers to Cena as the Babe Ruth of the WWE. The Yankees are also a team that makes a lot of money, but most people hate. Being as John is Boston guy, him wearing a Yankees jersey is a sign of John selling out to the system. Last, it is a call back to CM Punk’s promo against John before MITB 2011 ( I think its 2011). Punk tells Cena that he has become what he hates the most.
Fast forward to Bray Wyatts cult leader gimmick. He says “ I was the color red in a world of black and white” This is a reference to him being different to everything in the wwe. He reminds us that we had the whole world in his hands. This is reminding us that Bray was over at this time. Bray reminds John that he was suppose to be the man of the people and his story should have culminated here ( being WM 30 when they faced each other). Bray asks why wasn’t he listening to the people singing for Bray. Instead, Cena gave him his darkest failure and its time to rewrite that story. He picks up Cena from the ground and starts to dance with him like he did to his opponents at that time. He then goes to give a sister abigail but instead decides to let him go. He then gives John a chair and told him he made the wrong choice 6 years ago. This is reference to him trying to get John to turn heel at the time of their last WM match. John decided to not turn heel, not lose the match by DQ, and ended up winning. This is not what the people wanted. They wanted bray to win. They wanted Cena to turn heel. John tries to hit this Bray with the chair and misses. History has been changed! Bray is making John out to be a monster, another call back to the beginning of the segment. We may have thought that Bray’s fiend character was the monster he referred to, but no. I believe it is Cena that is the monster in this scenario. Another verbal Easter egg is Wyatt calling John superman, and jab at John being called supercena by “fans”. This was said sarcastically by the fans.
We then show the opening to WCW, the entrance to Hogans heel turn. This is a correcting of the past by comparing Hogan and Bishoff to Vince and Cena. Eric (Bray) introduces Cena who comes out to Hollywood hogan music. Vince puppet shows up and says “its such good shit” a call back to Jon Moxley on the Jericho Podcast. Mox told Chris about the time he tried to convince Vince not to make him wear a gas mask in the ring telling the crowd they stuck.
John gets to the ring and finally realizes what happens and refuses to turn heel. In an attempt to fight against the heel turn, he starts to beat up Bray. This was all very symbolic and he is punching down to Bray, similar how he punched down toward all the wrestlers during his career. Keeps them down. This is also the moment John actually did turn heel. He may not have officially turned heel in the traditional sense. Make no mistake John beating Wyatt is when most fans turned on him. When he beat Bray that is the day he started getting the most amount of boos that persisted. You are now seeing short videos of moments in Cena career that he lost. Punk, Michaels, “If Cena wins we riot” signs, putting over Roman Reigns, all people that were already over. Yet he looks down and its not Bray he is beating up. It is Huskis the pig boy. A reminder of him beating the Nexus which also helped bury a group Bray was in. Also showing that he is always beating puppets, and isn’t even aware of what he is doing. Once again his ego and being corporate John wouldn’t allow him to see what was happening.
It is then when John is clearly questioning his career and Fiend does what the Fiend does. Claws him and pins him while FFFH Bray Wyatt counts the pin. Cena then disappears. It is very possible that Cena is lost in the funhouse. It is possible that John finally got what we wanted : “we can’t see him”. It is possible that John let Bray in. The craziest thing is now that Cena put Wyatt over in this match. He has gone from a heel to a babyface, which is his normal state, which is what Bray does to people. In facing his fear and losing to Bray, the people respect John again. Or is Johns imperfections and bullying what lost him in the fun house with no way of getting out. Remember at the beginning of this “match” Bray mentions angels, demons, monsters, and gods. I believe it is clear the both John and Bray are all three of these things.
- Angels : Cena is seen as an angel by many. Bray is the angel that is saving the WWE.
- Demons: Bray is battling his demon.. his past.. John. John is clearly battling his demons, all of which are mentioned in the article.
- Gods: Bray was acting like a god in his match against Cena, instructing the people in the crowd. John has always been viewed as a god in wrestling.
- Monsters: Bray’s alter-ego is the fiend who is a monster. John’s true self is being displayed as a monster in this “match”. This may be far fetched, but these types of dramatic undertones are what Bray Wyatt is known for.
There are so many opinions of how this ends, including something simple like, he is simply out of the fun house now. What do you think? One more side note: (and this may be the most important) In the final SD before WM John cut a promo, a promo that ended up playing again (in the background) as Fiend was finishing off Cena. The promo: “ Accomplishing what should have happened years ago. Ending the existence of the most over hyped over privileged over valued WWE superstar in existence” We thought it was in reference to Bray Wyatt, it ended up being about John himself. I can not stress this enough, if you haven’t watched the match….Do it. If you are a fan of Cena, Wyatt, WWE, and/or meta content and you have watched this “match”, I strongly encourage you to go and watch it again. The more you watch it the more you pick up. This article just scratches the surface of the amount of ideologies and Easter eggs in this “match”. Contact me or comment below @pushnburry