When it comes to twerking and selfies, WWE bears no shame in playing the role of the awkward uncle desperately trying to be relevant. Even as the company continues to stumble through the dregs of what’s ‘hip’ to them, more compelling elements of pop culture are completely ignored.
Where is WWE’s version of Walter White – a character whose destiny is driven by the purest of intentions, yet that same intent takes him down a dark path that he doesn’t even realize he’s on until after he already succumbs to it?
With this type of complex characterization, my PWF Empire Live co-host Stephen put it best: “Television is in the midst of a golden era, and WWE simply isn’t part of it.” There is one man, however, who’s done a great deal in trying to inch WWE closer to the promise land – and his name is Bray Wyatt.
The character that is Bray Wyatt operates under the objective of ridding the world of the same infected elements of humanity that caused him to be shunned from society. He employs a scorched-earth strategy on a quest to fulfill his agenda, wreaking havoc on dual fronts: physical harm and psychological warfare. In addition, the eerie mystique that encompasses him has attracted a cult of indoctrinated ruffians that execute his will at a moment’s notice.
Due to the performer’s talent, charisma, and imaginative mind, Bray Wyatt has truly become a captivating character. Bray Wyatt could’ve been the ‘big bad’ on season 1 of True Detective; Bray Wyatt could be the next major villain on The Walking Dead; he’d be an amazing addition to Batman’s rogues’ gallery. Bray’s potential for transcendence beyond the world of wrestling is awe-inspiring. In his current status, however, he’s imprisoned within the creative confines of WWE.
About 18 months ago, I released Part I of The Bray Wyatt Paradox: A Complex Character in the Simple World of Wrestling. In my analysis, I said, “Either Bray Wyatt dies a visionary, or lives long enough for people to realize he’s full of shit”; well… he stopped being a visionary a long time ago.
Even through his credibility deficit, he’s still as talented as he ever was. Bray Wyatt may call himself the “eater” of worlds, but he does an amazing job of creating them as well. His prose beautifully paints the narrative in nearly every feud he’s been in, win or lose. Unfortunately, when he does lose, WWE Creative metaphorically leaves him stranded in the wilderness to find his own way back home; he always returns, but not without the trek driving him deeper into debt and further away from effectiveness.
Just 24 hours after Survivor Series, Bray goes looking for redemption from a feud that he lost that was supposed to serve as redemption from the other feud that he lost. How could I possibly invest in a character like that? Hell, I’ve put more effort in this column about Bray Wyatt than WWE has in booking him.
Either TPTB underestimate the potential of Bray Wyatt’s character, or they overestimate his ability to constantly have to rescue himself from their bullshit. No matter the case, in the field of lost opportunities that is WWE, Bray Wyatt stands the tallest. The time that I used to devote to deciphering his promos (when they actually meant something) will now be spent daydreaming about what it’d be like if the character was transplanted into a fictional universe that was worthy of his presence.