On the 3/27 episode of WWE SmackDown, Bray Wyatt challenged John Cena to a Firefly Fun House match at WrestleMania. At the beginning of the vignette, before he stuck Ramblin’ Rabbit in a blender, Wyatt’s lantern made a rare appearance in the Fun House.
Wyatt’s lantern, a signature part of his entrance when he was “the Eater of Worlds,” took on a more sinister look when he became The Fiend. Symbolizing his gimmick change, Wyatt hung a mask of his old face over the lantern, like he’d skinned his old self.
Of all the aspects of Wyatt’s first entrance as the Fiend at SummerSlam 2019, the lantern might be the most memorable. It’s been a part of his entrance ever since, but the installment of Firefly Fun House in question was the first time it’s spoken to Bray.
The audience couldn’t make out what it was saying, but it was obviously causing him pain before he told it to shut up. It had its chance to beat Cena, he said, referencing their WrestleMania XXX match, and now it was The Fiend’s turn. Abby the Witch told Wyatt he was just as delusional now as he was the first time he faced Cena.
That segment led to speculation about what kind of presence Wyatt’s old character would have in the Firefly Fun House match. Would he fight The Fiend for control of the vessel Wyatt, to put it in Matt Hardy terms? Would he be a modern day Mick Foley and interact with the Fiend and Wyatt, through the magic of pre-taping?
Fans got the answer on night two of WrestleMania 36. It, and the match as a whole, were stranger than anyone could have anticipated. Wyatt took Cena on a tour of his career, with some detours in wrestling history that included a time-displaced induction in the nWo.
Before they recreated a Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff segment on Nitro, the “Eater of Worlds” era Wyatt made his appearance. Everything about his arrival came straight from the WrestleMania 30 feud with Cena, including clips from the match itself (which obscured new AEW star Brodie Lee as much as possible).
Wyatt slipped right into his old gimmick like a Hawaiian shirt. He ranted with the trademark manic cult leader energy he always brought to the character. He brought up the hypocrisy of Cena as a man of the people when the crowd was behind Wyatt during their first WrestleMania match, complete with footage of Cena covering his ears while the crowd sang “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands.”
Wyatt continued by saying the ‘Mania 30 match was supposed to be the fulfillment of Wyatt’s prophecy, but it became his “grandest failure,” but now it was time to rewrite his own story. He then appeared in the ring in a rocking chair, springing from it with one of his old catchphrases — Run. — and then attacking Cena in the corner with a body splash, a rare offensive move in the match.
The “Eater of Worlds” segment of the match ended with Wyatt demanding that Cena “fix” his choice from their first match and hit him with a steel chair. Cena swung and hit nothing but air, as Wyatt had disappeared. Cena flung the chair down in disbelief and the setting changed to Monday Nitro.
As much as it might not have felt like it in the moment, this was the most important part of the Firefly Fun House match. The flashback to 2014 is what the entire match between Wyatt and Cena, and the Fiend character in general, hinged on. Bray Wyatt was undefeated in the WWE before his match with Cena. Following his loss, he suffered a high profile string of defeats.
His career highs, like a WWE Championship reign, were short lived. The Fiend was able to reverse that for a few months, but even his accomplishments were eventually speared into ruin. Wyatt would never move forward until he finally overcame Cena at the place where his troubles began: WrestleMania.
The fate of “the Eater of Worlds” remains open-ended. Will Wyatt move on from him completely now that he’s avenged him? Is it a persona he’ll go back to from time to time, the way Mick Foley switched between his three faces? (If so, Wyatt might be the only other man in WWE history to appear in a Royal Rumble three times in one match). Most importantly, who’s calling the shots in Wyatt’s crowded head?
Now that Wyatt’s finally defeated Cena, and apparently caused him to disappear from the WWE Universe, there’s the question of when we might get another Firefly Fun House Match. The only way to justify another one like this is to up the ante. Outside of avenging his loss to the Undertaker (perhaps with a detour to the boneyard), there’s no better reason for another Fun House match than the battle for Bray Wyatt’ soul.
The magic of a new kind of WWE cinematic universe could lead to the kind of match you could only see in a video game before now: Bray Wyatt vs. The Fiend. That may sound farfetched, but how much of the first Firefly Fun House match would have sounded the slightest bit plausible before it happened?
It’s hard to bet against what Wyatt can achieve when given the opportunity to do something completely different. It’s even harder to imagine where he could go next. Pitting his two alter egos against one another in a match for control of a demented children’s show host’s body might not be able to top the spectacle Wyatt and Cena put on at WrestleMania 36, but it could also be the only place it can go from here. One thing’s for sure, Wyatt and Cena’s WrestleMania match really did change everything.
Bray Wyatt already has to contend with The Fiend. Now it looks like he may also still have a piece of the Eater of Worlds inside him.