Almost one month has passed since Super Showdown and defeat at the hands of Goldberg may still prove to be a huge turning point for "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt on his road to redemption in the WWE.
In my previous article for Wrestling News World I discussed his questionable booking to date and whether he was dead and buried following the events in Riyadh? I concluded however that dropping the title may not have buried him at all, it might actually have set him free to seek revenge on his former foes which in my opinion puts him on a path he should have been on from the very beginning.
Some of the main issues with his previous booking were that of The Fiend’s overexposure and repetitive attacks which became way too predictable. This resulted in some of the initial intrigue and interest being lost as the frequency of his appearances increased. In fairness to the WWE they had this original, horror movie like superstar at their disposal so during a time where pressures from broadcasters, shareholders, fans and industry ‘experts’ are at an all-time high their failure to resist unleashing this monster week on week is understandable. Unfortunately, their lack of restraint was instrumental in almost derailing WWE’s newest ‘Face of Fear’ however recent events may just have just put Bray Wyatt and his alter ego right back on track.
The improved booking began immediately when the post-Super Showdown episode of Friday Night Smackdown saw The Fiend challenge John Cena to a match at Wrestlemania 36. As the returning star walked down the ramp and the lights went out it seemed almost certain he would be the next victim of a vicious attack however what followed was a refreshing and restrained act from the deranged Wyatt. As darkness turned to light and the camera panned to stage as he stood silent, did ‘The Point’ and issued a challenge to the sixteen-time WWE Champion. Despite cutting a promo on how he would sit out the biggest PPV of the year in favour of giving future stars the spotlight Cena duly accepted with a simple tip of the cap and the segment did all it needed to get me on board for a potential main event worthy feud. Sometimes less is more and this was a perfect example.
Following a period of uncertainty, the Coronavirus pandemic forced the WWE to host last week’s episode of Smackdown from the performance centre in Orlando, Florida. Not only that, there would be no fans in attendance so I was intrigued as to how the show would be presented and how the creative team would continue to build towards Wrestlemania?
In what was an interesting show held together by an unscripted Triple H and Michael Cole on commentary John Cena and Bray Wyatt were given the final segment to build their feud and showcase their undoubted talent on the mic.
Cena was first up and in front of zero fans he still managed to captivate the WWE universe with a typically intense and believable promo which focused on Wyatt using him as an excuse for past shortcomings. Cena fought back describing Bray as lazy, complacent, over-hyped and insisted that he deserves no more chances ahead of more deserved superstars such as Drew McIntyre, Tomasso Ciampa, Matt Riddle and Velveteen Dream. The part time star threatened to do what he should have done six years ago and bury Wyatt for good.
An undeterred Firefly Fun House Bray enters the arena to meet his fired up opponent in the centre of the ring and immediately fires back. Bray sees straight through Cena's claim to care about the future claiming he only cares about his own spotlight. Wyatt admits that his previous loss to Cena warped his mind, but instead of running from the voices he is now listening to them with The Fiend acting as his saviour. Bray warns that it will be a slaughter at Wrestlemania and as he stands face to face with his rival he ends another gripping promo with a simple "Let Me In John".
These two are without doubt masters of the mic and they proved it with two captivating promos which had me hooked from start to finish. Both promos were delivered in a way that made this feel very real and hopefully this will turn out to be a psychological warfare for the ages that isn't reliant on physical attacks to create build and anticipation ahead of their eventual war.
A recent documentary on the WWE Network featured a young Bray Wyatt trying to find himself during his day's in WWE developmental. A Future WWE: The FCW Story was a fantastic watch with the segments on promo class being particularly interesting. It came as no surprise to see Bray excelling in promo class with his fellow rising stars waxing lyrical about his ability to captivate the entire class. As good as his promo work was as the leader of The Wyatt Family I did feel his promos lacked relatable content resulting in fan interest dwindling after a while. In contrast his promo content as "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt is entertaining, relatable and the hints to his history and past failings has you believing that his next target is in the forefront of his psychotic mind.
So a solid start on the rebuild of The Fiend and I hope last weeks gripping segment was by design and not forced upon them by circumstance. It was the perfect way to build this feud and I can't wait to see what's next?
My hope is for more off set encounters much like the fued between Bray and The Miz with Wyatt stalking his opponent and getting into the head of a usually unflappable star. Just imagine The Fiend interrupting a John Cena talk show appearance, ruining the regimented stars morning routine or keeping his opponent hostage in The Fiends hell hole as he looks to seek psychological advantage ahead of a match he can't afford to lose?
With rumours of tonight's Smackdown being taped hopefully this gives the WWE more freedom to give us something different tonight and my hope is that a segment involving Bray Wyatt once again steals the show as he continues to flourish on his mission for redemption.
Stay tuned fireflies.