It’s not uncommon for WWE to have a potentially massive superstar on their hands and do absolutely nothing about it. Such is the case with Bray Wyatt, a character so fresh and so intriguing that he captured the attention of the WWE Universe even before he made his Raw debut. He’s a superstar who has captivated audiences worldwide with his kayfabe-blurring character; a true rarity in today’s wrestling landscape.
It’s easy to argue that Bray Wyatt has been given top-notch matches and has headlined many shows, but what irks fans is the fact that he’s only allowed to be a small portion of what he’s fully capable of. Watch how the arena lights up with cellphone lights, aptly deemed his “‘fireflies”, when he makes an entrance. Listen to the crowd sing “He’s got the whole world in his hands” in unison as Bray stands in the ring with his loyal disciples: Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, and the monstrous Braun Strowman. And when Wyatt speaks, the fans listen, as they’ve done for all his promos.
Bray Wyatt was white hot when he made his debut; a transcendent superstar who had all the potential to take WWE and pop-culture by storm, only to have his career hit roadblock after roadblock thanks to WWE’s writers and bookers, who are constantly shifting their gaze to other wrestlers. Here are the 10 major obstacles that were hurled at Bray Wyatt, and although I’m sure he’ll overcome them all and rise to new heights of superstardom someday, it’s a shame that the “Era of Wyatt” hasn’t happened already.
10. Bray Wyatt Loses To John Cena at WrestleMania XXX
There’s a reason they call him “Big Match John”, and that’s because even on an event that was clearly wired to be the passing of the torch from the old guard to the new, John Cena was awarded the win against Bray Wyatt and his Wyatt Family. Everything from the opening segment with Stone Cold, The Rock, and Hulk Hogan, to the breaking of The Streak, to Daniel Bryan’s emphatic victory in the main event, was to signal the coming of a new age in WWE. Yet for some baffling reason WWE thought it would make sense for a cult of three large, lumberjack-esque men to be outwitted by one guy in a colorful cap and jean shorts.
This loss marked the beginning of Bray Wyatt’s slow decline. Whatever mystique and potential he brought with him was quickly slipping away, thanks in large to the fact that, after cutting some of the best promos in the history of the business and bringing veteran-like ring awareness with him, Bray Wyatt would still lose out to “the face that runs the place,” John Cena.
9. Daniel Bryan Turns On The Wyatt Family
After weeks of being hounded by Bray Wyatt and his disciples, everyone’s favorite underdog Daniel Bryan would ultimately surrender to Bray in what seemed like edgy storytelling at the time. Unfortunately, the angle only lasted a week and, even though Daniel Bryan made custom boots to go with his new Wyatt Family identity, he would turn on Bray in a Cage Match, and that was that.
The only consolation would be the reaction Bryan received when he peeled the “Wyatt skin” off his body. It made for a surreal scene; the crowd-control and the roar of the fans was unprecedented and unlike anything we had seen in very long time. It elevated Bryan’s status to new heights, but it painted Bray as nothing more than a gullible snake oil peddler who got duped by the only person he had ever truly recruited outside of Luke Harper and Erick Rowan.
8. The Rock Destroys Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 32
I consider myself one of The People. That’s fan-speak for, “I’m a huge fan of The Rock.” But even I was appalled at how poorly Bray Wyatt was handled at WrestleMania 32. Simply put, he wasn’t given a decent feud heading into the biggest WrestleMania of all time, but instead was fed to The Rock (and John Cena, again) during a segment that went on for way too long and consisted of one too many fat jokes.
Not only did Erick Rowan lose to The Rock in 6 seconds, which is something that had zero significance to The Rock’s non-career in wrestling, but Bray Wyatt would also get his ass kicked after promising to destroy the People’s Champion. It was yet another empty babble that ended with Bray looking foolish. Apparently even if you headlined the last WrestleMania against The Undertaker, you’re still not immune to former superstars, Hollywood actors, and the occasional Flo Rida coming in to bulldoze your career, making you look like a chump in the process.
7. Bray’s Anticlimactic Feud with The Undertaker
Every so often you’ll hear someone say “There’ll never be another Undertaker.” And I guess that’s true, because if you keep oppressing every potential “new Undertaker”, what chances do you have of creating another legend like him? Not only were the stakes for this feud lowered by the fact that The Streak was dead, but Bray Wyatt was forced to carry the rivalry all by himself on the road to WrestleMania, with the only promo by The Undertaker being a pre-recorded voice clip from who knows when.
The match itself was a bust, taking place in broad daylight under the blazing San Francisco sun and displaying no real chemistry between the two superstars. This could have been the feud of the decade; a dream match between two kayfabe-blurring superstars from the darkest recesses of WWE’s imagination, going to war after a heated feud full of mysticism and eerie vignettes. Alas, none of that happened, and the match turned out to be a borderline squash that favored The Deadman. Props to Bray for pushing the feud to the best of his efforts, but without the proper writing from WWE, it’s hard to make any feud look good, no matter how hard you try.
6. Brothers Of Destruction Waste The Wyatt Family
Bray Wyatt would get another crack at The Undertaker, and what better way to solidify oneself as a force to be reckoned with than by defeating The Undertaker and his brother Kane at the 25th anniversary of The Deadman’s legendary career. Unfortunately, WWE had other plans, and the Brothers Of Destruction ended up pulverizing the Wyatt Family.
To rub salt in the wound, The Undertaker would go on hiatus until WrestleMania 32, and Kane would make sporadic appearances on Raw thereafter… meaning neither one of them made anything of their victory over the Wyatts. Kane and The Undertaker are my two favorite WWE wrestlers of all time, but laying waste to new talent like this benefits no one. Bray desperately needed to win here to give himself some momentum heading into the new year, but WWE dropped the ball on the Wyatts yet again.
5. Husky Harris
Before he became the incomparable Bray Wyatt, Windham Rotunda was known as Husky Harris, a lackey member of CM Punk’s revised Nexus faction. This may not be a direct jab at Bray, but it goes to show just how oblivious WWE was to Windham’s talents, labeling him as some kind of cute cartoon character with a goofy name.
To make matters worse, they called him “the tank with the Ferrari engine” as if to say, “he’s big but he moves really fast.” But let’s forgive WWE in this case, because had they not misused Husky’s talents, he wouldn’t have gone back to the developmental ranks… only to birth arguably the greatest character in the last decade or so… Bray Wyatt.
4. Disbanding The Wyatt Family
Disbanding the Wyatt Family made absolutely no sense. WWE’s eagerness to capitalize on all three big men as separate entities bombed spectacularly, forcing them to reunite the group within a matter of months. Erick Rowan’s new gimmick as a dangerous albeit humorous silent genius of sorts was inconsistent, as was Luke Harper’s run as a partner to The Authority for a while.
Although extremely talented in their own right, the two were still sporting Wyatt garb and looked like awkward lost members of their former heinous cult. Thank Sister Abigail they got back together, if only because they complemented each other so well.
3. Cryptic Messages Or Psychobabble?
It has become standard fare for WWE to ignore Bray Wyatt’s cryptic promos and ominous messages. What started out as genuine riddles that served as omens to the impending destruction that the Wyatts were about to unleash slowly turned into nothing more than promos with cool words sprinkled all over. WWE’s failure to build on Bray’s rich mythology has turned him into a one-dimensional character who screams and yells these warnings but is never able to back them up. These days, his creepy vocabulary rarely strikes fear into the hearts of his opponents as it once did. It’s a shame because Bray writes some of the best promos I’ve ever seen, and if given the opportunity I’m certain he’d build a mythology around his Family that could rival even the best characters on any given TV show, let alone WWE.
Who is Sister Abigail? What was that ghostly apparition that appeared inside Hell In A Cell? Who was Wyatt referring to in that one promo? It’s nice to have suspense, but all questions and no answers clearly means that WWE sees Wyatt’s character as a guy who makes empty threats and uses cheap parlor tricks instead of someone who is legitimately a powerful entity to be taken seriously.
2. What Happened To Kane?
Remember when The Wyatt Family “abducted” Kane after their Ring Of Fire match at Summerslam in 2013? Seeing members of a Bray’s cult hoist a monster like Kane up and carry him to the back was a surreal sight. In the weeks to come, WWE.com teased images of Bray in his cabin with Kane’s mask hanging in a corner.
Sadly, that storyline went nowhere and only served as an indication of Wyatt’s career to come. Kane returned several months later, exacted revenge my meekly pushing Harper and Rowan over the top rope… and that was that. Nothing progressed, and no explanation was given as to where Kane was or how he escaped. WWE simply did not care about that storyline anymore.
1. Wyatt’s Victories Mean Nothing
Contrary to popular belief, Bray Wyatt doesn’t lose all his battles. The “New Face of Fear” has tasted victory against opponents like Chris Jericho, Ryback, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and even John Cena post-WrestleMania. The problem is, his victories mean nothing. This is by far the biggest problem with Bray Wyatt’s character.
While the man himself is a total package; arguably one of the biggest superstars just waiting to happen, WWE has failed time and time again to give him the proper motivation, reasoning, or progression in any of his feuds. Until WWE realizes that they have a legend-in-the-making right under their collective noses, Bray Wyatt will continue to show only a fraction of his true potential, forever inclined to work for a “creative team” that simply does not comprehend a character as complex as Bray Wyatt.