My Two Centsss - Here's How I Would Book Bray Wyatt
By Super Chrisss
Sep 1, 2014 - 2:24:44 PM
One of the jobs of a columnist is to try and present a different perspective on things. For example, if 99% of the wrestling fans I communicate with on a daily basis (be it in real-life, on social media, or just through emails) cannot stand John Cena’s guts, I try and convince my readers why he doesn’t suck as bad as you might think he does. It’s usually not a good idea to go completely against the grain unless you can back up your statements, because then you’d be dwelling in Mr. Tito territory, a.k.a. ‘trolling’. So when I booted up my laptop this morning, less than twenty-four hours of starting another year of school, I wanted to discuss a topic that hasn’t been beaten into the ground by anyone with access to a keyboard. I could easily sit here and write 1000 words on why Dean Ambrose is the next Stone Cold Steve Austin, or I could describe to you how much I hate the evolution of Super Reigns, but I’d be preaching to the choir. It’s always more fun to step outside the box, take off the ‘smark’ goggles, and look at things from someone else’s point-of-view.
My colleague, Maverick, posted a column over the weekend in which he set out to defend WWE and their head-scratching booking decisions which led to what many would call a throwaway episode of Raw. For the most part, he did a good job of exploiting the show’s weaknesses and emphasizing on it’s strengths, hammering home the point that sometimes, we the IWC can be a bit too critical of the sport we claim to love. However, one thing Maverick failed to mention is the burial of Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan on WWE television this past week.
Those of you who follow my columns and/or follow me on Twitter know that I HATE using the word ‘buried’. It’s a term that many people – including myself – don’t always understand or use properly. For example, had one been following the career of Cesaro since his momentous win at WrestleMania 30, it would have been easy to interpret Cesaro’s booking as being ‘buried’. But, he wasn’t. He was simply put on the back-burner for a while and now finds himself competing for the U.S. Championship at Night of Champions in a few weeks’ time. Another wrestler who has arguably been ‘buried’ is Damien Sandow, as he has been essentially a jobber since failing to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase against Cena last year. Then again, Sandow continues to receive TV time on almost weekly basis, while many other low-midcard talent do not. So has he truly been ‘buried’? Like I said, the term is very ambiguous, which is why I tend to stray away from using it whenever possible.
Needless to say, even I cannot help but feel The Wyatt Family was buried by WWE Creative this past week. For those who missed it, John Cena teamed up with The World’s Strongest Tag Team to battle The Wyatts in the Raw main-event, but during the closing moments of the matches, Henry and Show merely looked on from ringside while Cena single-handedly disposed of all three men. A few days later on SmackDown, it was Super Reigns who teamed up with Henry and Show to give Bray and his henchmen another convincing loss in the main-event. I’m not a HUGE fan of The Wyatts (although I still prefer Harper of the three), but what a terrible way to book them. Just terrible.
Can you imagine what must go through the mind of a casual WWE fan who only tunes in to see the “Big 4” Pay-Per-Views and an episode of Raw every now and then? At Royal Rumble, they watched Bray Wyatt defeat a smaller wrestler in Daniel Bryan which was a very big win for The Eater of Worlds. A few months later, despite heavy interference from Harper and Rowan, John Cena was able to cleanly put away Wyatt. Fast-forward a few months to SummerSlam (keeping in mind Bray’s only win against Cena was due to a random child interfering in their Extreme Rules match), and Bray had a good match with another smaller wrestler, the veteran Chris Jericho. Bray wins, and the viewer is impressed, but then he decides to tune into Monday Night Raw last week only to see Bray go up against his kryptonite, John Cena. Despite the numbers being even, Cena did not need any help from his behemoth partners to dispose of the three evil-doers. Why the hell would a casual viewer remain interested in Bray as a character if he can defeat small wrestlers, but no one of his size or larger?
In my opinion, WWE does not truly understand the potential they have in Bray Wyatt (and, to a lesser extent, Harper and Rowan). With The Undertaker possibly having wrestled his last match ever at WrestleMania 30, the WWE and it’s Universe are in need of a new phenom; a larger-than-life presence to enter the arena; someone who can draw crowds in, but not the same way a John Cena or a Daniel Bryan or a Roman Reigns can. They need someone who’s not only different because of the way he talks, the way he looks, and the way he wrestles, but because he has a mystique about him. People should want to pay to see Bray Wyatt; not buy tickets to a Raw or house show and expect to see him because he’s part of the roster. Bray might be young, but he should be booked wisely and sparingly.
Someone mentioned this a few months back, when Money in the Bank was on the horizon and WWE was building hype by having the faces battle the heels in multi-man main-events, but how out-of-place did Bray look standing on the apron alongside Alberto del Rio, Randy Orton, and Cesaro? You never would have seen The Deadman tossed into a random match just to help sell the PPV. A star like Undertaker was booked for the PPV, and WWE didn’t have to stick him into a random match on the go-home Raw to encourage people to buy the card – the fans were buying [insert random PPV] to see, among other things, The Undertaker wrestle! Why give it away on free television? ‘Taker had a mystique, and Bray should have one too.
At the start of his main roster promotion, it seemed WWE understood this formula and they were going to apply it to Bray Wyatt. Even though his PPV debut failed to deliver, on paper, Bray Wyatt vs. Kane in a Ring of Fire match at SummerSlam ‘13 was appealing to both casual and die-hard fans, partly because it was a unique gimmick, and partly because it was one of Wyatt’s first-ever matches. The appeal was there, and so was the draw. As the months went on, WWE had Harper and Rowan wrestle the bulk of the matches, and Wyatt would usually come in after the match and hit Sister Abigail on whoever he was feuding with, be it The Miz, Kofi Kingston, or Daniel Bryan. One reason why Bryan vs. Wyatt at the Rumble was highly anticipated (despite some people worried Bryan would be pulled from the Rumble match) was because Wyatt did a lot more talking and hit-and-runs than actual matches. Their Rumble match was special, as was their cage match against The Usos, which saw that amazing ‘face turn’ from Bryan.
Up until very recently, I thought WWE was booking Bray perfectly. His feud with Cena was hit-and-miss, but he was getting over, as were Harper and Rowan, who’s feud with The Usos this summer resulted in some of the best tag team matches I’ve seen in quite a while. As Michael Cole constantly reminds us, The Wyatts’ following has certainly grown over the past year, but I worry that the number of followers who hold their phones up in the air alongside their entrance might wan if WWE are not careful. Wyatt’s feud with Jericho hasn’t quite met a lot of people’s expectations (nor has their first two matches) but The Demented One’s win at SummerSlam helped him regain some lost momentum…until last week. I still don’t understand why The Wyatt Family had to be fed to Super Cena/Reigns and friends. I know they had to build Cena back up (I can’t believe I just typed that), but why not offer up some other heels instead? Any combination of The Miz, Cesaro, Damien Sandow, Fandango, etc. would have served the exactly same purposes, with the losers having less to lose, anyway. Bray and his family were given zero favours this past week.
I know this might come across as me bashing WWE’s booking, but that’s not my aim. I’m simply suggesting WWE book Wyatt a lot more carefully from here on out. No, he does not have to win every match he competes in, but the matches he does compete in shouldn’t be random, filler matches either. During his feud with Cena, how many non-PPV matches did Bray compete in? The same during his feud with Jericho? It’s not too late to save Bray Wyatt’s mystique, but if WWE wants their fans to “follow the buzzards”, they might want to start booking him a bitttttt more wisely.
Your Two Centsss: How successful do you think Bray Wyatt's career shall be?
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