by Martin Dixon
Run. Run fast and run far. Don’t stop, don’t even think about stopping. Keep your eyes forward, don’t look back and above all else RUN. The Wyatts are here, and the walls are about to come crashing down.
When the unsettling vignettes started appearing on WWE TV announcing the imminent arrival of this strange, dark new force to WWE, the universe sat up & took notice. Just who were these bizarre and strange collective? What did they want? who did they want? What would they do with them once they had them? The possibilities seemed endless, here was a malevolent pair of brainwashed, hulking backwoods dwellers and their sinister, charismatic leader, preaching messages of being the only “truth” in a world of liars. It was creepy, unsettling, off-kilter and exhilarating all at once. The vignettes themselves were almost visceral, assaulting the senses with hard, quick edits, half glimpses & cryptic messages. At the head of this was figurehead Bray Wyatt: soft spoken, but with an entire world of malice behind everything he said. This could’ve been something for the ages, something that could’ve impacted late 2013 WWE like a nuclear bomb, in the same manner as the Shield’s electric debut the year prior.
That was the hope anyway. I’ll admit to having my heart in my mouth as the excellent production of the Wyatts’ on screen debut played out, the anticipation was palpable as it all came down to a simple but terrifying and chilling phrase: “We’re here”. I sat watching transfixed as Kane was revealed to be the Family’s intended target, the henchmen of Luke Harper & Erick Rowan decimating “The Big Red Machine” was a sight to behold. Here was a feud to fire the imagination. Would Kane join them? What depths would he sink to and what would Kane be prepared to do if he intended to fight them?
It all seemed so good, even as Summerslam rolled around with the Ring of Fire match between Kane & Bray Wyatt. It wasn’t a very good match I’ll admit, the fire gimmick actually hurt the match in my opinion. I got the intimation, here was Bray entering Kane’s domain and sprang a trap that laid to waste one of the “Brothers of Destruction” but it all fell a little flat. I’m not a believer in having a gimmick match be the first major confrontation of a feud anyway, so my initial enthusiasm waned after the bell rang in the Staples Centre.
It turns out that this was all a smokescreen, Kane was requiring some time off to film a sequel to See No Evil, and the Wyatts were a means to an end, their destruction of Kane proving to be a convenient way of explaining away Kane’s on screen absence. That was fine by me, but it’s what the Wyatts’ did in Kane’s absence that I took issue with.
In short, they did nothing. There were a few references to Kane’s disappearance here & there, but as the Authority storyline took centre stage the family became increasingly marginalised. I have had many issues with the handling of the Authority story as a whole, far too many to go into detail here, but one I will share is the handling of the Wyatts & the missed opportunity for some richer story telling on WWE’s part. As opponents to the establishment, the Wyatts ideally should have found themselves in opposition to the Authority, and although not true babyfaces, having HHH & Stephanie having to marshal their forces against not only the likes of Daniel Bryan, but having to contend with the Wyatts creating havoc amongst the entire roster & threatening their vision of a “perfect” WWE would’ve been, to me at least, compelling viewing. As it was the Wyatts just meandered around, playing occasional boogeymen, dragged out when the Shield were otherwise engaged.
Kane’s return didn’t help the family either, as plans had changed to have Kane give up his mask & fire and brimstone, instead exchanging it for a suit & tie to become the Authority’s “Director of Operations”. I’ll go on record that “Corporate Kane” is something I’m enjoying, mostly because of the rather brave decision to completely tear down the popular Kane character for something VERY different, but I can’t hell but feel a little disappointment about the lack of any real resolution with the Wyatts.
The recent torment & acquisition of Daniel Bryan into the family fold is a huge step in the right direction to my eyes, for both parties. For Bryan, it’s an escape from the Authority & Randy Orton, and for the Wyatts it’s the storyline they always needed, they have successfully captured (at least on the surface) one of, if not THE, most popular star in the company right now, and when Bryan debuted as a Family member, the crowd chanting Yes! and No! at him in an appeal for Bryan to come to his senses was heartening, the fans care about Bryan, and despise Bray Wyatt for stealing him away from them. I have no idea where this plot will go between Bryan & the rest of the Wyatts but I am invested in it, outside of the intrigue of Batista’s imminent return, this is what I’m paying the most attention to on WWE TV, and I hope cooler heads prevail & we get the fitting climax that a story with this much promise deserves.
What about the members of the Wyatt Family themselves? There’s talent there for sure, Bray Wyatt himself is a revelation of a character. He makes the skin crawl when speaking and despite his size, stalks around the ring like a predator, but the chief weapon in his arsenal is love. Yes love, the gentle kiss to the forehead before the sudden violence of his signature “Sister Abigail” finisher leaves the impression that Bray might be insane after all, as do the caring, hushed tones that Bray speaks in.
Rowan & Harper are different beasts altogether. Big, monstrous, powerful, and in Rowan’s case, a little dull. The look is exceptional, and the big lumbering, uncouth hoss aspect perfectly plays into the gimmick as a whole, but I’m not as sold on Rowan as perhaps I should be just yet. I imagine in a post Wyatt existence, he’d be the one that would struggle the most to find a comfortable role. Harper is fine, his experience in the indies give him a good footing and he would always be able to make the most of a post Wyatt opportunity.
Bray Wyatt would struggle the most when the gimmick runs it’s course. Without the cadre of followers to call upon the mystique is gone. As much as I hate to say it, I would actually allow the Bray character to disappear instead of trying to find a meaningful new angle or just simply trying again with some new monsters.
It was touch and go there for a while but I feel that the Wyatt Family is finally finding it’s feet in WWE and finally has the storyline & profile to finally be something that fans & pundits will be talking about for many years to come, and I for one couldn’t be happier about that. Here’s hoping that comes to pass.
Thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far and remember to tweet me any thoughts, comments, love, hate & respectful disagreements atwww.twitter.com/BunnySuicida where I’d be happy to hear from you. Until next time folks, follow the buzzards.