John Cena vs. The Fiend (WWE WrestleMania 36 Night 2 4/6/2020)

Match Reviews

This review was commissioned by ryan_duckworth over on my Ko-fi account.

Where the hell is Cena’s “Deez Nuts” shirt?

One of the most “We make movies, pal” ass matches of all time. This has all the hallmarks of bad WWE “storytelling.” Massive quotation marks around that word, I’m talking about the kind of obvious, blunt gesturing directed at fans who exclusively watch pro wrestling via hype videos and Max Landis explainers. Even worse though, this has none of the tight editing and genuinely heart pumping energy that a truly great (or even decently made) 2000s WWE hype video might.

Instead, we’re treated to the very best of pandemic shutdown WWE wrestling. Two dudes shouting at each other in an empty warehouse, where the ring itself feels incidental to anything actually going on. This also touches on some of Bray’s worst tendencies as a creative force—the horror aesthetics without the production to value to back it up, the vague writing and empty philosophizing that spilled out from his promos into the entire match, and this misguided attempt to expand upon the aesthetic possibilities of a medium that he never seemed to have a natural knack for to begin with.

This reads like an e-fed writer’s attempt at synthesizing John Cena’s character. Vague allusions to longstanding internet wisdom (Cena should have turned heel, Cena is Hogan-esque) without properly giving those ideas the space they might actually need to grow. The ironic thing about that is that traditional pro wrestling storytelling tools have hit on those ideas so much stronger in the past. We’ve seen Cena’s opponents, for over a decade at this point, explore similar themes in ways that felt much more creatively and emotionally honest.

Here, we get the most surface level possible summation of Cena’s career, filtered through the lens of a poor “Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared” imitation. Beyond that, I find the whole thing just sort of incomprehensible. I get the overall idea that The Fiend is psychologically breaking Cena down to weaken him enough to be able to pin him at the end, but each individual segment is tied together with the thinnest of threads.

Cena was spitting bars though, so watch that bit, I guess.

Rating: What did I even watch, I watched it then and I still don’t get it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *