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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Sorry, the Bray Wyatt Character is NOT Impressing Me (Yet)
By Mr. Tito
Jul 30, 2013 - 10:57:55 PM
Follow the buzzards?
Months leading up to his official WWE debut, I heard repeatedly from the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) how incredible the new Bray Wyatt character was on WWE's NXT shows. We're talking comparisons to the best invention since sliced bread or the second coming of Jesus Christ. THAT GREAT. WWE was acting like the IWC by the over produced videos on the guy. I was like "what did they do to fix Husky Harris??".
So Bray Wyatt debuted on the July 8th, 2013 edition of Monday Night RAW, and by debuting, I mean coming out to a cool entrance theme and a cool lights out theme where Bray is carrying a lantern. I was impressed... WWE is consistently great at 3 things: (a) theme music, (b) arena lighting and effects, and (c) wrestler debuts. We were all set to prove the IWC correct on the hype they had given the guy. Then, the lights came on... Bray Wyatt sits in a chair while his 2 inbred hosses attacked Kane. We get nothing out of the overhyped guy but some taunts to Kane afterward. Baltimore fans cheered HUSKY HARRIS, the name of Bray Wyatt just 2 years ago and the IWC lost their shit. 2 years ago...
Things were better the following week when the Wyatt family attacked R-Truth. Then again, they were attacking R-Truth. Fans cheer for blood when R-Truth, the Miz, Zack Ryder, or other disliked wrestlers that the WWE once tried to overpush get attacked. The Wyatt family could have just walked away but Bray Wyatt had to pic up a microphone. He said some really weird stuff... It is the first promo cut, so I can understand a lukewarm performance. But what the hell did he actually say? "Follow the buzzards"? What the hell does that mean? Are you referring to the ones flying around the Husky Harris gimmick?
I saw a recent WWE Smackdown were it was the inbred HOSS duo of the Wyatt family taking on Brodus Clay/Lord Tensai ("Sweet T") in a tag team match. Granted, Clay and Tensai have been utter failures in the WWE despite being blessed with size that Vince McMahon has enjoyed in the past. I am not suggesting that Clay/Tensai are going to make the WWE tons of money anytime soon, especially with that stupid Funkadelic gimmick that only looks good with the entrance (see what I said above about theme music and arena production?) However, these 2 developmental wrestlers just got called up... What exactly have they proven to defeat a team that were scheduled to wrestle at Wrestlemania 29? And again, I don't think much of Clay/Tensai, but they look incredibly worse by letting newbies beat their ass. As goofy as Clay and Tensai might look, at least they are wrestling in tights to look somewhat legitimate.
More stuff with Kane this Monday. Exactly what has any of the 3 developmental wrestlers (yes, Bray Wyatt is developmental... he was demoted there from main WWE roster following Husky Harris) proven to make a former 2 time WWE Champion? I fully understand that Kane is old (46 years old), but exactly what has Bray Wyatt or his "family" done to deserve a shot at Kane in the first place? To be consistent, what has the returning Curtis Axel done to get the honor of wrestling Triple H and John Cena after he returns to the WWE roster? What gave Bo Dallas (Bray Wyatt's real life brother) the right to embarrass Wade Barrett repeatedly? Exactly what on earth did Fandango prove in his first few weeks with WWE to earn a spot on Wrestlemania 29 and to defeat former world champion Chris Jericho?
WWE is pushing these developmental stars like Main Eventers from the start despite the fact that they LACK the heat and emotional attachment of fans to merit such a debut. The most successful Main Event wrestlers took years upon years of working their way up the ladder to convince fans that they were Main Event worthy. Whatever you think about John Cena now, nobody can deny his rise to the top from 2002-2005. After getting over with the "Thug Life" attitude change to his character, he was actually drawing as the United States Champion. The successful midcard title reign convinced WWE officials that by Wrestlemania 21, John Cena would be ready for his first WWE Championship. That was in 2005. Gee, who is STILL on top of the WWE now 8 years later? Current WWE Champion, John Cena... (Cue the John Cena debut match from 2002 with Kurt Angle arguments... But Cena gained nothing from it and didn't catch on with fans until the "Thug Life" character change happened).
Debut these wrestlers but star them low on the ladder. Instead of attacking Kane on your first night, destroy Zack Ryder or something of that puny caliber. Deliver a brutal beatdown to a jobber-like wrestler and nail all of your finishing moves to impress the crowd. That's how Brock Lesnar debuted in 2002. He attacked a bunch of wrestlers who weren't even close to the main event and introduced his badass F5 finisher to impress fans. It's that simple... Granted, the WWE in 2013 versus 2002 is different... WWE had an actual midcard in 2002 but in 2013, everybody is a potential Main Eventer! Still, there are turds in the WWE pool that the Wyatt family could have destroyed on their debut other than Kane. Kane getting attacked actually lessens the effect of wrestling his former tag team parter, Daniel Bryan because he was "injured" by the Wyatt family weeks before and the threat of their interference was present for the Bryan match.
Follow the Buzzards, baby... And if you go to Bray Wyatt's Twitter page, @WWEBrayWyatt, you can actually follow him... Maybe he'll Retweet your comments as he sits in the rocking chair. I wonder what an internet service provider or wireless phone dealer thinks when the Wyatt family seeks service? Stupid how the WWE markets their wrestlers. They promote the Shield as an entity outside of the WWE but yet WWE Corporate is driving their Twitter account.
What the WWE and much of the Internet Wrestling Community needs to realize that this is 2013. Gone is what might have worked during the 1980's and 1990's: GIMMICKS. Fiction does not work in 2013 and it was pretty much eliminated when 2 guys, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, proved that they could ditch their "Razor Ramon" and "Diesel" gimmicks and still get crazy over. They proved that a made up fictional name does NOT get them over, the wrestler behind the gimmick does. Think about all of those stupid occupational gimmicks of the 1990's that the WWE tried. Duke "the Dumpster", Hog Farmer, Repo Man, Smokin' Gunns, Body Donnas, Dean Douglass, Isaac Yankem DDS, and even the Undertaker. That's right, I went there. For all of the hosses and fatasses that the Undertaker wrestled, including himself one time, it wasn't until he wrestled Bret Hart and then Shawn Michaels that we saw the best out of the Undertaker. Particularly when Shawn Michaels cost the Undertaker the WWE Title at SummerSlam 1997 and then the Undertaker went after Shawn Michaels. Undertaker took his in-ring work more seriously during the 2000's and the result is an outstanding legacy that commands an ongoing Wrestlemania streak.
Go look at Triple H... He tried HARD to get that blue blood snob gimmick over. Yet, the more he got away from that gimmick and shortened his name from "Hunter Hearst Helmsley" to Triple H, the more over and successful he became. The more Mick Foley began revealing a backstory of his life to wrestling fans, the more over he became and helped him become a main eventer. Guys like Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and the Rock certainly had gimmicked names, but their personas were merely extensions of their own personalities. They weren't pretending to be a fictional character. Their "gimmicks" were to be the absolute best WWE Main Eventer of their era and they succeeded quite well. The Ohio Valley Wrestling "Class of 2002" debuted wrestlers mostly with their real names or close to normal sounding names. Randy Orton, John Cena, and Brock Lesnar are still drawing 11 years later. No gimmicks needed. Just the wrestlers themselves getting naturally over, having great matches, and their characters being mere extensions of their own personalities. Did you see much difference between Brock the WWE wrestler versus Brock the UFC fighter? I sure as hell didn't...
WWE is selling that Bray Wyatt as a cult leader from some backwoods, even though most fans actually know the wrestler as a different gimmick just 2 years ago: Husky Harris, jobber member of the Nexus stable. Gee, that was another cult like group? And CM Punk became a leader of that group in his 2nd run as a cult leader. His first being the Straight Edge Society. It wasn't until CM Punk broke away from these stable leader positions and began extending his own personality that he actually got over. His "pipebomb" promo was every bit how CM Punk personally sees himself as a pro wrestler and he poured his heart out into that infamous speech. Ditched the deadweight of the stable he was in, which included Husky Harris, and exponentially grew as a wrestler during the "Summer of Punk" during mid 2011. He got over and now he's easily the #2 guy behind the kiddie houseshow/merchandise drawing John Cena. Wrestlers are at their best when they inject more non-fictional elements into their character rather than acting like someone they are not.
I seriously worry that the WWE has failed the man behind the Husky Harris/Bray Wyatt gimmicks, Windham Lawrence Rotunda. See those names? His parents are pro wrestler Mike Rotunda/Irwin R Schyster (IRS) and the sister of pro wrestler Barry Windham. That is pro wrestling royalty... Why not embrace that? And ditto for his younger brother Taylor Rotunda or in WWE/NXT, Bo Dallas. How about instead of wasting our time with the Husky Harris gimmick and Bo humiliating Wade Barrett, just debut Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas as a tag team. If the WWE insists on not using their real names, OK, just use variations of their family names and call Bray Larry Windham (play on Lawrence, rhymes with Barry) and Bo as Taylor Windham. Then, really embrace the family bloodlines by having Mike Rotunda (or even IRS) actually manage them. Think about that... And if they fail as a tag team, so what? They debuted small and can now rise to the top if they are truly talented. Dolph Ziggler started small by being a bit member of a Male Cheerleading stable. Demote or cut the wrestlers if they can't get out of the lower portion of the midcard.
But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO - We must debut all NXT develop wrestlers as INSTANT Main Eventers. Better yet, let's quickly give them the Money in the Bank briefcase and attempt to quickly get them over with a World Title reign... Working out great for Damien Sandow who was quickly rushed the Money in the Bank briefcase just 1 year after he joined the main WWE roster. He cuts loud insulting promos to fans and yet receives no heat. What exactly has Sandow done to deserve sniffing the Intercontinental Title, let alone the World Heavyweight Championship?
Problem with Bray Wyatt is that he's just a short time removed from Husky Harris and that the WWE is treating him like a Main Event act. Fans have better memories than the WWE thinks and fans also don't like wrestlers shoved down their throats. Most don't care about what happens in NXT or any developmental territory.
WWE has YEARS upon YEARS of WWWF, WWF, WWE, WCW, AWA, World Class, and ECW on tape in their vast video libraries. The McMahons and their soap opera writers to simply watch how all of the great wrestlers became great. They started low, climbed the ladder, got over with midcard titles, had a key veteran put them over at the right time, and then won the World Title when the WWE fans demanded it. Do you hear those loud chants of "YES! YES! YES!" for Daniel Bryan as he's getting a WWE Title shot? Nothing but getting over the natural way and proving himself in the midcard since his Wrestlemania 28 defeat for a World Title that he should have never had. That's how you roughly do it... The funny thing is that the McMahons, Vince McMahon in particular, cringes at giving a 5'10", former Ring of Honor wrestler his WWE Title. Yet, we the fans, are demanding it. Watch what happens if the WWE foolishly ruins his big moment at SummerSlam 2013 if Randy Orton cashes in Money in the Bank.
I don't want to shit on the wrestler behind Bray Wyatt and I'm not "trolling" as some of you might believe. I'm not. I know my pro wrestling history, as I write about it often (On This Day in Pro Wrestling History... columns to be exact), and I easily see the fact that those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it. The WWE is pushing hard on this Bray Wyatt cult leader gimmick... History shows that fictional characters beyond 1990 do not succeed unless you add more realism to the characters. Chances are that the WWE will take the foot off the cult leader gas in a few months and Bray Wyatt will probably focus more on character developments that are more of an extension of his own personality. Maybe what Uncle Barry or his dad IRS taught him about pro wrestling will be what actually gets Bray Wyatt over...
It's 2013... WWE is competing with Mixed Martial Arts for viewers 13-18 in age... As they enter Junior High and then High School, what type of talk makes you look like less of a dweeb or to impress chicks? Talking about cartoonish WWE wrestlers or real guys actually fighting in UFC? It's quite clear why one business is growing in that demographic (UFC) and why one is declining (WWE).
Follow the buzzards? The buzzards are circling around the pro wrestling industry and its old McMahon business model.
Comments and debates are welcome on Twitter. Bring it on. @titowrestling
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