Bray Wyatt has been one of my favorite WWE superstars since his debut back in 2013. Wyatt’s character was unlike anything we’d ever seen before, mysterious and brooding, and boy could he talk. His promos were the biggest part of his mystique. In the beginning, I hung on to every word Wyatt uttered. His promos were astounding, and they brought with them the promise of something special, something truly unique. With his “family’ of followers backing him, there would seemingly be nothing that could stop Bray Wyatt from conquering the WWE, and in the process quickly becoming one of its top stars. We would soon find out, that as great as Wyatt’s character was, the WWE brass apparently had little faith in his drawing power.
Bray had his first big match that very same year, facing Kane in a “Ring Of Fire” match at SummerSlam. The Match was not spectacular, but it did what it was supposed to do – establish Wyatt as a legitimate threat within WWE. From there, Wyatt went on to feud with two of the biggest stars in WWE at the time, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. That feud only lasted a few weeks and while Punk moved on to other things, Wyatt and Daniel Bryan continued their feud. Tensions between the two boiled over all the way through the 2014 Royal Rumble, where the two had arguably the best match on the card. Wyatt went on to win this match, then he and the other members of the Wyatt Family interfered in the WWE Title match later in the evening. This would set Wyatt up for a collision course with mega-star John Cena, and eventually a seemingly endless bout of terrible booking for his character.
Wyatt cut an insane amount of promos promising to get Cena to embrace the monster within. The two feuded all the way up to Wrestlemania that year, an event that looked like it would signal a changing of the guard. Instead, Cena handily defeated Wyatt in a very typical Cena match. The two would square off again in a cage match that Wyatt won, and then one final time in a Last Man Standing Match. Cena would defeat Wyatt in that match as well, ending their feud, and also killing part of the legitimacy of the Wyatt character in the process.
Ironically enough, as it looked like Wyatt would be lost in the shuffle, he remained super over (popular) with the WWE audience. During each of his entrances, you could see the number of cellphone lights increase with each passing night. The WWE Universe would often cheer for Wyatt even when he was strongly booked as a heel. Just when I thought for a brief moment that Bray would finally get his moment to shine during the 2014 Money In The Bank event, he came up short. This was essentially the trial for a singles run by Wyatt, which saw him compete in several meaningless feuds, in which he lost almost all of them. Wyatt would go on to end an otherwise disappointing 2014 with a win over Dean Ambrose at that year’s TLC, but it would be his next performance that would show the world that he was ready for the big time.
Bray Wyatt would end up entering the 2015 Royal Rumble as the fifth entrant, but had one of the most memorable performances of anyone there. Although Roman Reigns would go on to win the match, it was Wyatt who would play the biggest spoiler of the evening. Wyatt eliminated a returning Daniel Bryan, who the crowd was 100% behind as soon as his music hit. After eliminating Bryan, Wyatt would last 47 minutes in the match before being dumped unceremoniously by Big Show and Kane. The next month, Wyatt would appear at the Fastlane PPV and call out the greatest character in WWE history, The Undertaker. It was finally time for Wyatt to step into the spotlight, and to do so he had to put down the guy that currently occupied the space he needed to be in. With the Undertaker losing to Brock Lesnar the year before, Bray Wyatt was the perfect person to come in and end Taker’s career. By doing that, Wyatt would finally have some legitimacy behind all those breathy promos, and he’d truly be “the new face of fear.”
Wyatt did a masterful job of building the feud between himself and The Undertaker. He came out night after night and spoke to the fans with a veracity and poignancy of a man on a serious mission. The biggest missing piece of the puzzle was the dead man himself, as fans were chomping at the bit to see Bray and Taker square off before their match at Mania. That wouldn’t happen though, and we had to wait until the actual match to see the two occupy the same space. This was it. Bray would finally get the chance to step up and begin his ascent to the top of the WWE mountain. Instead, Bray Wyatt jobbed out to the Undertaker, in a less than stellar match, and took a major shot to his legitimacy again.
Later in the year, Wyatt would go on to reform the Wyatt Family, this time adding a new member with the mammoth Braun Strowman. Even with the family reformed Wyatt still lacked the push from the brass, and once again spent an entire year (mostly) on the losing end of feuds. This cycle would continue all the way up until February of this year, where Wyatt would finally capture the WWE Title in an Elimination Chamber match. The WWE Universe celebrated his victory, and when he made his first appearance on SmackDown Live as the champ, he was lauded with “You deserve it” chants. The dream had finally been realized, Bray was champ, and he happened to be on the best show for good wrestlers. The honeymoon wouldn’t last long though, as Wyatt would go on to drop the title to Randy Orton at Wrestlemania. The last stake had effectively been driven into any remaining believability the Wyatt character had.
So here we are, four years into Bray Wyatt’s main roster career, and outside of a short Tag Team and WWE Title run, Wyatt has done nothing of considerable relevance. His once powerful, passionate promos are now just long-winded ramblings. They have lost their luster, they lack meaning, they lack presence, and even worse yet, they lack legitimacy. In all actuality, Bray Wyatt had the potential to be the greatest WWE character since The Undertaker. Given the fact that he’s been consistently inconsistently booked, I fear Wyatt will never reach that level. Despite having the ability to have really good matches, and despite being great on the mic, and even despite having a great look (as far as his character), WWE still can’t seem to book him in a legitimate feud to make him into the star that he could be. And now, with the massive influx of talent from the indies, Bray Wyatt seems to be in a very precarious situation. If he doesn’t happen to win the 2018 Royal Rumble, or the Money In The Bank match, he may see his stock on the roster fall even further.