John Cena hasn't been on WWE television since the Firefly Fun House Match back at WrestleMania 36. The 16-time former world champion was forced to relive some of his greatest career failures as Bray Wyatt critiqued his behavior before "The Fiend" attacked. Cena wound up getting pinned by the demonic figure while Wyatt made the count, and disappeared moments later. Wyatt has since gone to chase after Braun Strowman's Universal Championship, while Cena turned his full attention to his acting career. But in a new interview with Sports Illustrated, Cena finally addressed that unorthodox match and what it all meant to him.
"I've had many experiences and many stories in WWE over my tenure there, and a lot of it has been embracing conflict and embracing the tale of good versus evil," Cena said. "This isn't the first time I've done something like this. For the viewing audience, it was the first time they'd seen a cinematic depiction of this, but this isn't the first time that we've seen a conflicted John Cena character. As with all the opportunities I get in WWE, I never try to be complacent and I always like to push the envelope. This was an instance where we could do just that, and I think we put forth a product that certainly got people's attention and got people talking."
Some of the sequences involved in the match included Cena recreating his WWE debut, a classic late-90s episode of WCW Monday Nitro (where he played Hollywood Hogan) and his WrestleMania XXX match with Wyatt.
"It left a lot of questions," he later added. "It wasn't just single-serving, it is something you can go back and watch and enjoy. Those are some of the best efforts."
The Firefly Fun House match and the Boneyard Match between AJ Styles and The Undertaker wound up creating a new trend for WWE with cinematic matches. Since then these pre-taped matches have popped up on every WWE pay-per-view, including The Horror Show at Extreme Rules wheree Wyatt defeated Strowman in a Wyatt Swamp Fight.
WWE's next pay-per-view, SummerSlam, will take place on Aug. 23 at a yet-to-be-named location. Check out the full card (so far) below:
- WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton
- WWE Universal Championship: Braun Strowman vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt
- Raw Women's Championship: Sasha Banks vs. Asuka
- SmackDown Women's Championship: Bayley vs. TBD
- United States Championship: Apollo Crews vs. MVP
- Raw Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits vs. Andrade & Angel Garza
- Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins