After having watched WrestleMania (largely free of spoilers), I started reading some of the online reactions to the matches, especially the godawful Boneyard and brilliant Firefly Funhouse matches. I was intrigued!
Alfred Konuwa of Forbes decided the Boneyard match was:
…immediately lauded as a masterpiece, the likes of which will be lionized in WWE history…Alfred Konuwa
Surprising, right? I’ll see if I can find an actual review he did of what was essentially an ego trip squash match wherein a 55 year old part timer pretty much ended the careers of younger, better workers, filmed like a Z-movie. I’d love to understand the rationale that led to such a conclusion.
There’s something in Konuwa saying the online reaction was positive. USA Today seemed to like it, in a write-up that as nothing if not concise. Death Valley Driver, the message board I used to go to (a lot) in my early 20s also – generally – liked it. This was because they like schlocky “so bad it’s good” stuff like Walker, Texas Ranger and Sharknado rather than thinking it was anything approaching a “masterpiece”.
At least Konuwa decided the Firefly Funhouse match was “arguably the best of the show“. Phew!
In fact, the latter was not only incredibly enjoyable to view, but begat at least as much entertainment again for me in reading the analysis. Konuwa decided the segment recalling WCW’s New World Order era suggested this was a parallel world in which WCW beat WWF in the ratings war. Maybe, but I prefer the idea that this segment was Wyatt telling Cena that the next step in his emulation of Hulk Hogan was to turn heel, as nobody took him seriously as either a hero or an underdog anymore.
Post Wrestling has an insightful piece suggesting exactly that. Well worth a read.
In this vision, Cena has completed a fateful transformation into his childhood idol. Hogan, a man often criticized for overstaying his time in the spotlight at the expense of underprivileged talents, managed to prolong his oppressive dominance for multiple generations by tapping into his own dark side as part of the nWo.Wai Ting
But I think the best article I’ve read about the match – certainly the most detailed – is from Uproxx. They break down every element and spell it out, maybe a little heavy handedly, but you can’t fault their painstaking approach to analysis. I think this says it all in terms of their approach:
We begin with Cena’s creation. This is represented by Cena standing in a dark room, surrounded by nothingness, while a heart beats in the background. This is John before “John Cena.” His persona only exists in a dark void, waiting to be created. And who created him?Brandon Stroud