‘The Bear’ Cast Raves About That Big (Really Big) Guest Star

Photo Illustration by Erin O’Flynn/The Daily Beast/FX and Getty Images
Photo Illustration by Erin O’Flynn/The Daily Beast/FX and Getty Images

(Warning: Spoilers follow for The Bear Season 3.)

The Bear may have already broken its record for best guest stars ever. After featuring John Mulaney, Olivia Colman, Bob Odenkirk, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Will Poulter in its second season, the hit FX series has brought in some new players for Season 3. Wow, there’s Josh Hartnett from Oppenheimer! And, oh my god, wait—is that JOHN CENA?!

Cue that epic entrance theme, because yes, the WWE legend just made his debut on The Bear. In the fifth episode of this season, “Children,” Cena appears as Sammy Fak, brother of Ted (Matty Matheson) and Neil (Ricky Staffieri). Although Cena did go on stage naked at the Oscars earlier this year, this might be his biggest accomplishment of 2024.

The Bear cast said they loved working with Cena—because who wouldn’t? Cena seems like a great guy, having set the record for Make-A-Wish visits and also taking the role of Mermaid Ken in Barbie even though he was advised against it. It’s only natural that the team behind The Bear wanted to recruit him for a guest role.

 Matty Matheson as Neil Fak in Season 3, Episode 5 of The Bear.

Matty Matheson as Neil Fak in Season 3, Episode 5 of The Bear.


“He was a pro,” Matheson tells The Daily Beast’s Obsessed. “Showed up, didn’t even look at a script, just was fully prepared. Genuinely very inspiring, like, that’s how I want to show up on another set.”

Staffieri agrees, also complimenting Cena’s “big hands.”

“He’s so smart,” Staffieri says. “It shows in his improv, too. He’s very thoughtful, just a wonderful person. Wonderful to work with and just the sweetest person.”

Ayo Edebiri’s ‘The Bear’ Directorial Debut Is a Knockout

In the episode, Sammy visits Neil and Ted at The Bear to help buff out the floors. After scaring the crap out of Ted, getting in trouble for smoking cigarettes in the restaurant, and putting in the manpower to get the restaurant clean, Sammy departs with a quest from Sydney (Ayo Edebiri) to buy some duck at the farmers’ market. Adieu, Sammy Fak!

Matheson and Staffieri were honored to have Cena play their brother. “And obviously we all look alike,” Matheson says, “so it works perfectly.”

Even Ebon Moss-Bachrach, who plays Richie on the show, had a wonderful memory—if odd—to share about his experience working with the wrestling pro on The Bear.

“John Cena had, like, a medical book he was reading in between takes,” Moss-Bachrach says. “That guy has a serious brain on him.”

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