Ladies and gentlemen, I come to you under somber circumstances. Going into Wrestlemania week, I had hoped that we happy few members of the NAIborhood would find nothing but frivolity and joy, but it seems, as with all things, we must take some time to be sad.
Today, we lay to rest one of our dearest favorites. . . Someone whom we thought might one day live forever.
Today, we say goodbye to the dearly departed Bray Wyatt.
Mr. Wyatt came to the attention of WWE fans during my Lost Years, but even as only a very casual observer, I remember being puzzled by the then-named Husky Harris. “The Army Tank with a Ferrari Engine” remains as one of the all-time dumbest nicknames I have ever heard in my life. I knew he was the son of a legend, yet I also knew there was much more work to be done in order for this character to become a mainstay. I was not surprised when young Husky disappeared from view.
My Lost Years became truly lost as the 2010’s rolled on. Marriage and focusing on my career took precedent over reading RAW results and perusing news sites. In fact, I believe I was unaware of the existence of this so called “Wyatt Family” until deciding that I would once again re-enter the wrestling watching fray with the debut of the WWE Network, and when I did, the man I knew as Husky Harris was literally and figuratively unrecognizable.
Slimmer, shaggier and with a wardrobe that I believe was actually pulled from the Waylon Mercy collection, Bray Wyatt was a monster unlike few I had seen before. Part Skinner, part Raven and yes, even part Undertaker, I drank the Wyatt Family Kool-Aid soon after our first meeting, and yes friends, that was without seeing any of their feud with The Shield.
I firmly believed that Bray Wyatt was a stone’s throw away from greatness.
In hindsight, I can not be blamed for this. The man was in the midst of a feud with John Cena, multi-time world champion and face of the company! Surely this was going to be the debut ball for Monsieur Bray, and when that demonic child sang to Mr. Never Give Up, giving Wyatt the win, I knew there had been the dawn of a new era in WWE.
This was Bray Wyatt’s world. . . It was in his hands. . . We merely lived in it.
While he didn’t win the war with John Cena, I did not lose heart. Merely being in the ring, merely standing toe to toe with “The Face That Runs The Place” was enough. His next target was Chris Jericho and with all due respect to Y2J, he was clearly a foe much more easily vanquished when facing the might of the Wyatt Family. It is worth mentioning that he did, in fact, win that feud. Bray Wyatt was on the periphery of the main event scene, and when Bray set free his Family, I knew this was a symbol; the heralding of Bray Wyatt’s arrival.
Bray’s next target was Dean Ambrose and in him, I believe Wyatt found a kindred spirit. Both, I believe, were agents of chaos, as evidenced by the wildness of their matches. One more, Bray Wyatt stood tall and once more, I knew this was the final hoop to jump through before ascending to the throne of the immortals.
Then came, as Michael Cole so often says, the turning point - Bray Wyatt challenged The Undertaker. . .at Wrestlemania.
Those of us still under the thrall of our Face of Fear leader danced in celebration - The Streak may be over, but the legacy of The Undertaker is without compare. This could be the torch passing we had all expected - The symbolic movement from one WrestleMagic Phenom to another.
For the next two decades, the world would tremble at the feet of BRAY WYATT!
Then he lost. Badly. Sure, we could blame the unfortunate injury Wyatt suffered mere days before Wrestlemania, and yes, Bray Wyatt still shared a ring with The Deadman on the grandest stage of them all, but this was a blow, without question. If Bray Wyatt was not the next great supernatural wonder. . . Who was he? We quickly learned that he was the man to take on Ryback, and if the loss to Taker didn’t begin to make you question your faith. . . This did.
Sure, Bray Wyatt defeated Ryback at Payback but what was he doing there in the first place? This man challenged icons. Legends. Men far above, or at the very least on the same level as Bray himself. . . Now he chooses Ryback? Skepticism reigned. . . Until...
Roman Reigns. Those of us who questioned our savior once more drank from the cup of good tidings - Roman Reigns was the heir apparent to the title of “Mr. WWE.” To feud with him, especially in the way said feud started, made us revel in the wonder of the feeling that Bray Wyatt was moments away from being the Piper to Roman’s Hogan, the Orton to Reigns’ Cena. He couldn’t be THE guy, of course, but being THE guy’s most hated rival is certainly a badge of honor.
Then he lost. Again. Once more, the excuses poured into our minds, but at the same time, we began to see them as excuses for the first time. One can only take so many of the same kind of beatings before you begin to realize that the common denominator in all of them is YOU. Were we wrong to put our faith in Bray Wyatt? Was he not going to save us after all?
Members of our congregation, who had already began leaving in dribs and drabs, started to depart with more haste and vigor. I held firm, though, especially when it seemed the feud with The Undertaker (and by proxy, Kane) would resume. Once more, I allowed my rational brain to. . .well. . . rationalize. “Of course, Undertaker can’t lose at 2 consecutive Wrestlemanias. . . This is where the torch passing will happen. Sure, it won’t have the same effect as it could have, but it will still be memorable.”
Then he lost. AGAIN. When next we saw Bray Wyatt and Family, they were feuding with Team ECW, a group of talents whose primes, with respect, were not in this decade. . . If even this century.
It was then that I had to make a hard choice. I looked in the mirror and, perhaps for the first time ever, truly realized what Bray Wyatt was.
Bray Wyatt is, at his very best, a B+ heel in the WWE.
He can feud with the greats of his day, though he will rarely, if ever, come out victorious. He will dominate the mid-card when it suits him, but the idea that he could truly climb to the top of World Wrestling Entertainment was a falsehood.
The Golden Calf of the Wyatt Family was hollow all along.
I tried to make the best of it. After all, not only am I the Pope of Positivity but I am also the Maven of the Mid-Card. If Bray Wyatt’s ceiling was the IC and US title scene, I would be happy with that.
Then it happened. The final nail in the coffin for the character of Bray Wyatt.
The Wyatt Family, in full costume, went to Wall Street and rank the bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
There is no coming back from that. You can not possess Wrestle Magic whilst in Midtown Manhattan. Once you ring the bell at the Stock Exchange, there is no mystique to you anymore. You’re just an unshowered man in hippie clothes who speaks in half-worked riddles.
At 9:30 AM on Monday, March 28, 2016, Bray Wyatt passed away. He leaves behind multiple members of his family - Braun Strowman and Erick Rowan (please pay them a visit down in NXT sometime in the next few months) and, saddest of all, Luke Harper, who had to watch this travesty unfold while preparing for knee surgery. I sincerely hope that Harper can be saved - In fact, perhaps the House of Harper can rise from the ashes of The Family of Wyatt. . . But at this point, can we even hope for that?
I am the Pope of Positivity and I will try, as delusional as I may seem, to find the silver lining in all things. I take solace in the notion that by the end of this calendar year, perhaps Luke Harper will get a chance to set his own course in World Wrestling Entertainment. His talent is on par with the best in the company, and I believe he’ll get a chance to show it.
As for the man formerly known as Bray Wyatt? I believe, my friends, only days past the Easter holiday, that Bray Wyatt can be resurrected! HE CAN BE SAVED! However, he’ll need some help…
Remember, they are kindred spirits, both agents of chaos. They also have recently both caught the ire of one Brock Lesnar. This sounds like the beginning of a Two Man Crazy Train to Suplex City, except just like in Batman Begins, the train is planning on blowing itself up, taking the city with it.
Faces. . . Heels. . . I don’t think it would matter. The combined insanity of Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose would be a joy to watch.
Shane has repeatedly mentioned the problems in WWE, specifically the ones about the wrong guys getting all of the attention, while the truly talented ones get screwed. Go back and read this eulogy again - HE’S TALKING (ALONG WITH OTHERS) ABOUT BRAY WYATT!
Plus, who is Shane battling? The Undertaker! It’s not like those he and Bray are chums!
Bray Wyatt helping Shane McMahon beat The Undertaker is, in my mind, WAY better than any Bullor / Ballet club storyline. First of all, Wyatt is already a known commodity, which, and I’m sorry friends, Bullet Club is NOT. People will recognize the T-shirts, but that’s about it.
Second, Shane has spent all this time talking about the guys currently in the company. He has NO NEED to look elsewhere for help. There should be a line out his dressing room door of guys willing to take out Taker in order to give themselves a better shot in Shane’s “New” WWE.
Now we come to my favorite one. . . Which, of course, means it is the most ridiculous.
I’ve been saying for months now that Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas are far more similar than many of us choose to think. Both were cult leaders in their own right - Bo Dallas, sadly, just never got the chance to amass a following. They each preached in the power of their philosophies, which involved saving WWE from itself.
Why couldn’t they join forces - The yin and yang saviors?
If this idea doesn’t work for you, don’t worry, I’ve got another one - PUNT! The gimmicks aren’t working, so trash them and give them new ones. Let these boys embrace their kayfabe heritage as the sons of Irwin R. Schyster!
Ladies and gentlemen, I present Harris Wyatt and Dallas Beau, the Rotunda Brothers! Each has callbacks to their previous gimmick (in Bray’s case, his past 2 gimmicks) while also sounding extra snooty. Put the hair in ponytails (or cut it short - let’s get CRAZY), dress them up in suits (with red suspenders in homage to Daddy) and let them have some fun! Make them Authority lieutenants, put them in the tag division to feud with New Day, the Usos and Enzo and Cass. . . I don’t care - Just do SOMETHING!
Put their real life sister Mika with them. . . BUT HER NAME IS ABIGAIL!!! ABIGAIL ROTUNDA! SHE’S THEIR SISTER AND HER NAME IS ABIGAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
. . . . Ok, I might have gone too far with that one.
Yes friends, Bray Wyatt is no more. . . But if WWE has taught us anything, it’s that one can never say never. . . and nothing is ever truly gone forever.