I honestly can't believe I'm writing this column…
When the Wyatt Family made their WWE debut, I thought I had it pegged right from the start. Bray was the superstar, of course. Excellent mic skills (even if he didn't always say anything of substance), great ring presence, obviously Koresh-ian leadership skills. Luke Harper was the sleeper. Great look, underrated ring skills, just get him a clean shirt and he could be a major factor in WWE.
Then, there was the other guy - Erick Rowan. Not quite as talented as the other two in the ring. . . Definitely not as charismatic . . . For God's sake, the man wore a sheep mask! While it looks neat during the entrance, when you're covering your whole face like that, that usually signifies a problem with your character.
Over the last few months, as the promos heralding Bray "setting them free" began, now I was sure of it. Bray would ascend to another level, Harper would get a mid-card singles push that he so richly deserved, and Rowan. . . Well, he'd either flounder in the undercard for a while, go back to NXT for a gimmick makeover, or wind up forming Highlanders 2.0 with Sheamus. Those were really the only three things I considered.
Which is what makes Monday night so completely surprising, as Erick Rowan is becoming the "star" of the Wyatt Family.
Why is Rowan, in my opinion, getting the highest profile slot? I'm glad you asked.
He's part of the "main event" storyline - While their Survivor Series match certainly was better than this teacher expected it to be, the Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt feud has not completely stolen the show in the same way Ambrose vs. Rollins did over the summer. Now, that's understandable, considering the history that the former Shield brothers had, as opposed to Bray randomly attacking Dean just to get his attention. Plus, Rowan's in the same story that Cena is, and as we all know, #CenaWinsLOL.
Rowan’s a face. I know that to much of the IWC, the difference between ‘good guy’ and ‘bad guy’ doesn’t matter too much, but the fact that fans get to cheer Rowan means something. He can be the hero saving the day. That’s important.
He’s involved in a singles program. - While Luke Harper might be the IC champion, he’s spending far too much time (to me) involved in multi-team matches as part of the residual Team Authority storyline. Contrarily, Rowan is feuding with the Big Show, and while those matches are never going to be ‘Angle vs. Benoit’ classics, it does put the focus on Rowan the entire time. That’s a big plus.
He has some character development. Look, I don't care that WWE let Tom Phillips basically rewrite Rowan's entire gimmick in a 90 second interview spot. I doubt we're ever really going to need the information that Rowan is a winemaker or avid guitar player ever again. All we needed to know is that there is more to Rowan than a sheep's mask and one word answers. Sometimes, in WWE, depth can be implied.
We still don’t know much about Bray Wyatt, even after all this time. He’s a cultish figure who likes messing with people. That’s about it. As for Harper, we know he’s a team player - that part is clear, for sure. Other than that? Nada. As silly as it sounds, the fact that Rowan seems to enjoy Renee Young more than others, can solve a Rubix Cube and doesn’t like bullies is MORE information than we have on either of the other two Wyatt Family members. . . In fact, it’s more than we know about a lot of the roster. How sad is that?
So, as shocked as I may be, I have to give Rowan (and WWE) credit - they’re rolling with the Rowan. . . For now. I’m still not sure how long it lasts, but its WAY more than I expected.