Well there we have it. Bray Wyatt won a PPV match and, more importantly, settled a feud. While the House of Horrors match wasn’t the greatest thing ever to grace our screens, it was important to see Bray Wyatt come out on top in the end. The argument that Jinder Mahal’s interference helped Bray pick up the win seems a bit irrelevant now; Mahal’s attack was clearly meant to further ignite the feud between himself and Randy Orton. Why wouldn’t Mahal try and get under Orton’s skin a bit more when his eye is on the WWE Championship? The distraction allowed Bray the advantage which he took with relish. Bray then skulked out of the ring to consider his next move.
The next move culminated in having two high profile spots on the following night’s Monday Night Raw. A face to face meeting with Kurt Angle and an interruption in the Intercontinental Championship number one contender’s match. As teased a few weeks ago, Bray did indeed target Finn Balor, leaving the WWE Universe to wonder why he might’ve attacked the Irish superstar. Wonder why indeed, because that in itself is a short statement much associated with Bray Wyatt just now.
The obvious thing to say at this point is that the character of Bray Wyatt has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism lately. His battles for the last year or so – including two actual title reigns – have largely ended with him staring at the ceiling lights by the end of his matches. So why is Bray being kept at such an elevated level if he’s built to lose more matches and feuds than he wins?
He’s an enigma. He is prominent on the roster and at the tail end of shows. However, his promos are largely the same as they’ve always been, he’s proven to be more susceptible to losing important battles than cartoon show villains, and, as such, wrestling fans are starting to take him less seriously with each week that passes. His win/loss record in WWE apparently speaks for itself. So why should his adversaries be afraid of him? Why should his spooky messages still hold anyone’s attention? Why should his words, actions or indeed his mere presence mean anything anymore?
He’s treading water isn’t he? That’s definitely what’s happening, isn’t it? Well, no. Actually, he’s not in the slightest. He is, in fact, evolving, and Monday night’s Raw was a new beginning for Bray. Besides Braun Strowman, he is the most talked about superstar on Raw right now.
With that, here are five reasons why Bray Wyatt is not a superstar to give up on.
1 – He’s on his own now properly.
The erstwhile Wyatt Family had their former leader’s back for a long time. Luke Harper, Erik Rowan and the now seemingly unstoppable Braun Strowman all flocked behind him, ready to dismantle his enemies at the drop of his hat and bizarrely lose to The Rock at Wrestlemania 32. However, the family have all flown the nest now to pursue their own successes, leaving Bray to fend for himself. Since branching out on his own, a different sort of a buzz has thus surrounded Bray. A more critical eye has been cast upon him. He’s shown vulnerabilities that perhaps didn’t visibly exist before. Misplaced trust in family members, fear, loss of control after having his actual house burnt to the ground. These are all flaws that make Bray seem less psychopathic and more human. To us fans, and to anyone that enjoys character development, that should make right now interesting times for someone like Bray Wyatt, especially as he’s flying solo. The once self-proclaimed God now walks amongst the mortals, and with that he is starting a journey back to the top on his own.
2 – Raw, and the Intercontinental Championship picture, is a good environment for Bray.
The Eater of Worlds has a new world to consume, and that is Monday Night Raw. A new environment means a fresh start and, with more time each week to showcase himself and his talents on a solo level, Bray could conceivably benefit and prosper from an Intercontinental Championship reign.
We all know the Universal Championship is resting in a triangle between Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman. So if Bray could capture a Championship already elevated by others around him – namely The Miz and Dean Ambrose – then the potential rivalries he could have as champion are enticing. In terms of quality of potential opponents, it’s not exactly a step down from the WWE Championship over on Smackdown Live. Take your pick from any of the following conceivable opponents - Cesaro, Dean Ambrose, Finn Balor, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, The Miz. Cruiserweights like Jack Gallagher, Akira Tozawa and Rich Swann could be considered for an interesting take on the Championship dynamic. Even if ever there were more random NXT call ups throughout the year, you’ve got guys like Aleister Black and Hideo Itami you could throw into the mix. Bray would make an intriguing Intercontinental Champion on Raw no matter how you look at it, especially if he was allowed to run with it for longer than he was the WWE Championship.
3 – The Supernatural element is there to be capitalised on if championships are out of the picture
With The Undertaker now almost definitely considered retired, the supernatural-type character has departed and left a void to fill. No-one will ever replace ‘Taker like for like, but Bray Wyatt, given the appropriate backing and direction, could potentially fill that hole The Dead Man left and over time may allow him to portray a supernatural role in his own way for years to come. But should the void only be left to one superstar? The interesting aspect with that is that two or three other mysterious characters in the company besides Bray now that could compete for the spot as well – the aforementioned duo of former Universal Champion Finn Balor, NXT’s Aleister Black and maybe, just maybe, a certain Broken Matt Hardy and Brother Nero.
The Demon King is a sporadic character, often portrayed by Finn Balor when he needs forces beyond this mortal coil to help him overcome an adversary. The chaotic good, if you will. Bray is the opposite – a consistent presence of chaotic evil and therefore a perfect opponent for Finn.
Aleister Black is a relatively unknown entity at the moment (“No man is ever truly good, no man is ever truly evil...”) but certainly has an air of the paranormal about him. Time will tell as his character develops, but would he oppose or align with Bray? Perhaps he’s filling the hole Finn Balor left in NXT for the time being as a shadowy force to be reckoned with.
And what can we say about the Broken Hardys? Nothing apart from please let it happen. Broken Matt and Bray Wyatt would be absolute gold to watch, and most importantly for Bray, to listen to in terms of promos.
In any case, these men now represent all of the supernatural or mysterious type characters in the WWE now – and Bray Wyatt is still in pole position to make the most of it, provided he evolves his promos. Promos are now at critical mass for Bray; the vague rambling needs expanded on if he truly wants to become an intimidating character again. With that being said though, The Undertaker and promos were never the best of friends either, so there is hope yet.
4 – Stats in professional wrestling are next to meaningless.
Two things seem to be indicators of overall career success in WWE at the moment – number of WWE / World Heavyweight / Universal Championship reigns and win/loss records. However, neither is necessarily true all the time.
Warning – the following is not intended as a direct comparison between superstars mentioned. Do take with a pinch of salt, just like you should with professional wrestling.
Point 1 – The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels had only 11 Championship reigns between them in their storied and lengthy careers; ‘Taker had seven and HBK had four. Their epic matches elsewhere on cards and their willingness to craft stories inside and outside the ring without needing gold around their waists transcended them beyond needing titles to legitimise themselves as characters. Bray Wyatt seems to have adopted this approach so far and again, with the right opponents and the right direction, could start to carve out a more successful career path for himself sooner rather than later. There’s always time to evolve.
Point 2 – A buzz has developed around Bray Wyatt’s win/loss record online. According to The Internet Wrestling Database, around just 30% of his matches end in him picking up a victory. For figure hunters, that’s 180 wins and 402 losses in WWE rings. Sounds bad, right? Ok, let’s look at some other superstars and their own win/loss rates. One might consider a certain Seth Rollins to be more successful and therefore more legitimate in the ring going by wins. Well... not quite. Admittedly Seth has held more Championship gold in WWE than Bray has – four times to Bray’s two – but Seth Rollins actually has a very similar win/loss record to Bray in WWE. Seth’s record sits at 33% in terms of wins to losses, which is comprised of 252 wins to 476 losses. Triple H isn’t too far ahead of them in terms of wins and losses – his win rate stands at 51% (W – 414, L – 324). Also, Vladimir Kozlov won 63% of his matches while in WWE. Make of that comparison what you will.
There aren’t any league tables anyone has to top to be considered a contender for a title shot (coughJinderMahalcough (17% win rate, by the way)). Character is important now. Win/loss rates actually seem to bear little weight in the industry these days.
Professional wrestling is about creating moments, not win/loss averages. It’s a predetermined ‘sport’, remember? Bray Wyatt is still relatively young and should have a long road ahead of him yet to carry on improving.
5 – Ultimately, the company is better off with him than without him.
Bray Wyatt has been accused of being boring and stale lately. Personally, I disagree.
Over time, Bray has let his character evolve, starting with his look. Where once he was a voodoo influenced back water bayou oddity, he now more resembles a character with far more of a satanic cult-leader type influence. His current style is easily his best and most intimidating yet.
His character has created moments within the last year that have made people talk. He exhibited some sort of mind control within the last year over Xavier Woods, which was referenced well in this year’s Royal Rumble for continuity. He teamed up with Roman Reigns against the League of Nations to create one of the coolest visuals on Raw last year, signalling for Roman to hit a spear on Sheamus as he pinned Alberto Del Rio. He’s been dominant in a traditional Survivor Series match up. He’s won the tag team titles and a WWE Championship, the latter of which he consecutively beat both John Cena and AJ Styles clean for. He’s not without accomplishments or talking points. He is consistently in interesting situations.
With it being an industry of predetermination, fans have to understand that at its core, this is still a soap opera, and soap operas need storylines whether they work or not in the long run. Just like matches, you win some and lose some.
Bray Wyatt is the type of character a sports entertainment company needs. He should be allowed to continue to evolve as time goes on. More feuds, storylines, matches and moments will come in time. We’re following on from the reset moment in WWE’s calendar. Perhaps Bray Wyatt is about to reset himself once again and prove all of his doubters wrong.