It finally happened: the Eater of Worlds became the Eater of World Championships.
Even though it had long been rumoured, Bray Wyatt clinching the WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber 2017 still shocked plenty of fans. After years of bad booking, near misses, and one particularly terrible cameo at WrestleMania, the common consensus was that WWE had missed too many opportunities for their “New Face of Fear” to become exactly that.
Judging by the fans’ reaction on the most recent episode of Smackdown Live, the trigger should have been pulled a lot sooner. A composite of Waylon Mercy and The Undertaker with arguably the most distinctive wrestling style on the main roster right now, Wyatt’s popularity should come as no surprise, even if his promos do sometimes err on the TS Eliot side of incomprehensibility.
The smart money, sadly, is on Wyatt to drop his title at WrestleMania 33 to Randy Orton, who is a part of The Wyatt Family after being “hypnotised” by Bray. The storyline is inevitably leading towards an Orton betrayal with the stable in disarray – Orton’s been living up to his “Viper” moniker, snaking around the group and planting seeds of discontent, leading to Luke Harper’s excommunication.
As big a draw as it would be for the lapsed wrestling fan to see Orton add to his title tally, if WWE want to make the most of Wyatt’s momentum, his reign should end long after the biggest wrestling event of the year.
Since becoming an integral part of WWE, Wyatt has never had a continued period of dominance, or even solid booking. Following barnstorming Royal Rumble appearances, he’s made to look a fool by soon after. Every time he’s had a big win, it’s almost irrelevant as he’s soon made to look weak again; a cult leader too unconvincing to bring anyone new to his flock.
Back in NXT, Bray promised to change things in WWE, threatening to “bring down the machine” to rapturous applause. Apart from being embroiled in a few feuds of note and interfering where he shouldn’t, that hasn’t rung true. As he alluded to just that on Tuesday’s Smackdown Live, however, it could be time for a takeover, the scale of which we haven’t seen since a bunch of rookies destroyed a ring several years ago.
As farfetched as it is to have a cult leader who also happens to enjoy giving stiff clotheslines to other guys in a squared circle, it’s even more unbelievable that he’s had so few converts to his cause. Since the stable was formed, only Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Braun Strowman have been a part of it, with the former two being involved temporarily for storylines and the latter now loose on RAW.
With the most coveted belt in wrestling around his waist, it’s time for Wyatt to lead a revolution, not too unlike The Ministry of Darkness but with even further influence. As time goes on, more and more disciples should flock to Wyatt’s family; the outcasts, the also-rans, those who seem aimless. The disillusioned members of the WWE roster should be easy converts, the rats to Bray’s Pied Piper, and would give so many misused wrestlers an opportunity to do something. Zack Ryder has the beard and isn’t up to much right now, why not give him some brown khakis?
The surge of The Wyatt Family could be the opportunity to try The Invasion angle again, over a decade later. While it wasn’t a total failure, WCW’s B brigade never realistically had a chance of threatening WWE’s stars and the future of the company. But Bray and his flock, almost frothing to throw a spanner in the works of the machine and finally bring an end to The Authority? That would be almost impossible to mess up.
As much as I may be venturing into fantasy booking, Bray’s ascension has me excited. For the first time since a grumpy Chicagoan sat his ass down with a mic in his hand, WWE have given themselves the best possibly playbook for future storylines. For that to be a possibility, Wyatt should remain champion for a long time yet.