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Posted in: Oliver's Twist
Oliver's Twist: On Bray Wyatt's Character
By Oliver
Apr 24, 2014 - 10:19:31 AM

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Ola, webfriends! First off, apologies if you were looking out for an NXT review last week – life and work got on top of me last week and come Friday I just had no time to give to it. But that’s enough about that – there’s something, or rather someone, important I want to talk to you about today. Someone who I think there are a lot of people interested in but equally a lot of people who are just not getting. Someone who I, personally, have watched grow from a simple gimmick to an out and out cult miracle. And someone who is, in my opinion, turning WWE upside down.

I speak of the Eater Of Worlds Bray Wyatt – a man who, in the past four months, has probably made as big a noise as any one man on the main roster. And yet, I see a lot of people who say they are not ‘getting’ Bray Wyatt, whether as a gimmick or as a performer. Which is fine, each to their own and all that, but my initial reaction whenever I read a comment to that effect is that the person making simply doesn’t ‘get’ complex gimmicks either. Now, I know that’s a kneejerk reaction and kind of bitchy of me and stuff but it’s the truth – the gimmick isn’t even that complex when you break it down, it’s just got some window dressing around it that people seem unable to see past.

See, Bray Wyatt has, since day one on the main roster, not been about winning. He’s not necessarily about losing, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a darker side to him than a simplistic character. Just look at his excellent match with Cena at WrestleMania to see that – he’s not entering the match to defeat Cena, as evidenced by him beginning the match imploring to be finished by his opponent from his knees. He’s there to corrupt Cena, to twist him and turn him into a monster. It was a masterful storytelling match, with Wyatt sowing the seeds of doubt in his opponents mind and nearly, so nearly, outing him as the monster he knew he was before the night began.

Yet the dark side of Wyatt isn’t one that needs an acute mind to interpret it – it’s simple, but different. Look at what he’s really done on the main roster. He’s targeted Kane, Daniel Bryan and now John Cena, but in none of those three situations has his final goal been victory in the twenty by twenty. That’s why I refer to as not being a simplistic character – he is not defined within the parameters that WWE have set themselves. His legacy, if that term can be used this early into his career on Raw, will not be defined by titles won or main events fought. In fact, his outlook on his WWE career might most easily be defined as the opposite of what you would expect anybody coming in to be. There was a line in one of his promos on heroes that has always stuck with me whenever I think about Bray Wyatt – ‘your heroes, children, they fight only for their own selfish vanity and greed’. Because what are titles? What are Slammy awards? What are PWI 500 placings? They are nothing but ego inflaters. They are but trinkets in a world where there are far more important things.

Just think about that for a moment – this is not a character that, by WWE standards, is black and white. Over the last however many years we’ve become conditioned to believe that those who hold the belts have the power – in fact, I’d probably say that was how it had been since a title belt was first introduced into the wrestling world. And whilst that might have been true until the mid- to late-90s, in the current day we know more than that – in kayfabe, yes, titles might be seen as important, but in reality (and this is, after all, the reality era) the situation is not as clear cut as that for a variety of reasons. But even with that in mind, people still chase the belts. People are still running after glory.

But not Bray Wyatt. He eschews all that, choosing not to go after belts but intangibles – minds, legacies, and even people – in his quest for greatness. He is a corrupter, and it’s shown in his stories. Whilst the Kane situation was, perhaps, not archetypal for him and falls outside of the box, there was still enough suggestion in there that hinted at what Wyatt was aiming for – little pointed barbs about his heritage and his crowd-pleasing run with Daniel Bryan – leaving the Big Red Machine as easy prey at Summerslam 2013. It was unfortunate, then, that that particular characteristic of Bray’s was briefly, but significantly, cut down at the precise point when it needed to be elevated – perhaps that’s had the knock on effect of damaging some people’s views of him now, those countless defeats of Kofi Kingston and the like. But boy, when he got refocused on in December and January, and really revealed who he is as a character, he started to nail it and has never let up.

Above, I mentioned three intangibles – minds, legacies and people – that Bray is using to define his WWE career. The first two can easily be pointed to in the two singles feuds he’s had since the turn of the year – against Bryan, he corrupted the mind. He turned Bryan into one of his followers, effectively turning the most loved guy on the show. Sure, it was short-lived for whatever reason, but as a touchstone in the history of the Eater Of Worlds it’s a key point. Equally, the legacies point is clear in his feud with Cena – in fact, the moment I realised Wyatt wasn’t winning at Mania was when it became about what John Cena does outside of the ring, from troop visits to Make a Wish. WWE were never going to have someone defending that take a fall at Mania, were they? But equally, that feud was of the mind as well – he wanted to corrupt Cena into damaging his own legacy. Bray is turning Cena against himself, taking the monster inside and trying desperately to make it come out, revealing Cena’s true self to the audience.

But perhaps these two are more geared towards the final of those three listed items – the people. It is surely no coincidence that Bray Wyatt has gone after two of the most loved WWE Superstars. Is the real aim of Bray Wyatt not, in fact, to corrupt Daniel Bryan, John Cena and any other that may cross his path, but to corrupt us, the fans, into being his followers? Bryan’s turn could be viewed as Wyatt attempting to co-opt his fanbase for himself, leading their loved hero into battle on a regular basis. Equally, the idea behind Wyatt wanting to show Cena off for who he really is could be viewed as him trying to cause the Doctor of Thuganomics to lose fans – and who are they going to turn to but the guy who has twisted their former hero into their hated enemy? Is that secretly Bray’s biggest target – not wrestlers, not titles, not trinkets, not awards, but the hearts and minds of those watching? Perhaps he’s actually trying to make everyone a member of the Wyatt Family.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Bray Wyatt will never hold a title – after all, what better way to get more followers than to stand atop the mountain as WWE World Heavyweight Champion? – but that a simple belt chase is never going to be for him. That’s why he shouldn’t be spending time in the midcard, or chasing the Intercontinental Championship – he simply doesn’t need them. He’s far better off chasing the minds of upper carders, determined to make an impact and convert the crowd. Whether it be one by one, or crowd by crowd, I think we may well all be singing ‘he’s got the whole world in his hands’ in a short while. For the more Bray Wyatt gets over, and the more crowds do it, the more he is getting what he wants. People. Minds. Legacies. Those are the things that truly represent power in the world, and that is what Bray wants. And he’s not going to stop until he, quite literally, holds the WWE world in his hands.

What are your thoughts on Bray Wyatt's main roster run to date? Do you 'get' him, or is he leaving you cold? Leave me a comment below, or drop me a Tweet (@MrOlliB) or an email using the link at the top of the page. Until we twist again, stay safe when crossing the road and drink more hot chocolate! Ciao!

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