With the highly anticipated in-ring debut of Bray Wyatt’s alter ego character ‘The Fiend’ in the rear view mirror, Wyatt has ascended to arguably the highest point of his entire career. The former ‘Eater of Worlds’ defeated Finn Balor at SummerSlam in impressive fashion and showed very little, if any, ring rust.
From carrying a lantern morphed to look like his own head, heading to the ring with a new and improved entrance theme performed by Punk band Code Orange, and showing off a new arsenal of moves, the crowd was left in a stunned state that is rare in the world of professional wrestling.
With Finn Balor reportedly asking for time off after this rivalry, this leaves Wyatt wide open for new potential rivalries. The current WWE roster is so deep at the moment that there are numerous options for a rivalry that we haven’t even seen yet in Wyatt’s career.
Superstars like Braun Strowman, The Miz, Samoa Joe, and Ricochet are just a few of the wrestlers that Wyatt hasn’t had a long term program with. The thing with his current gimmick is that it allows the freedom for Wyatt to create his own desired image for the character without much tweaking from outside parties and makes enough sense to work with a wide variety of superstars. Adding the Firefly Funhouse or ‘The Fiend’ personas can help when working with a heel or a face. The child friendly Firefly Funhouse persona could mesh a little better with a heel persona because of the humorous and playful ways of Wyatt. The Fiend is much more of a grittier character and should take on the hero competitors due to the villainous nature of the horror movie counterpart.
Wyatt was absent from this week’s Raw and Smackdown and that does raise question marks to why they wouldn’t use him after the huge reaction he got at SummerSlam. They could be going a few ways with his appearances going forward, they could possibly have Wyatt interfere with someone competing in the King of the Ring tournament such as Ricochet or perhaps Cedric Alexander. This would be a great way to establish a new feud and get a heel competitor to the next round without diminishing the attacked competitor’s reputation.
Another direction that they could go is withholding Wyatt for weeks at a time and keeping his appearances as a surprise to everyone. This would add to the shock level and make every appearance by Wyatt a special occasion. This could be somewhat like what Brock Lesnar’s role is. He isn’t always at the show, but it is highly promoted and exciting when ‘The Beast Incarnate’ shows up. The average fan might get irritated by not seeing him every week, but they’ll always be more excited than usual when either version of Wyatt shows up.
WWE have only scratched the surface with The Firefly Funhouse segments. The idea behind the absurd sketches could literally go any direction and it wouldn’t be a surprise to the fans. We have only seen a handful of segments from the Blues Clues-looking playhouse but there has always been something memorable from each installment. When the promos from Wyatt with a Mr. Rogers inspired gimmick started, people thought it was a bit goofy, but within a couple of weeks it turned into one of the most sought after segments of the show.
This definitely won’t be the last of the Funhouse, perhaps he could expand throughout the neighborhood and build the characters of each puppet more broadly. The segments are so goofy that they are borderline brilliant and people understand all of the subtle references, such as the Vince McMahon and Sister Abigail puppet. That is just one half of the gimmick, though.
The one side of the Bray Wyatt gimmick that we haven’t had as much view of is The Fiend. Until his match at SummerSlam, all we had seen from him was a few in-ring run ins, attacking Kurt Angle and Mick Foley, and seeing him pop up at the end of Firefly Funhouse. The mask is something that grabs your attention from the moment you see it.
It looks as if it’s a combination between the New 52 Joker and Leatherface. With so much mystery behind the character at the moment, a really neat direction would be The Fiend acting like his horror movie inspirations and playing predator to all of his opponents. Not just shutting the lights out in the ring and assaulting his opponents, but also assaulting them all over the arena. Cutting off the lights in the hallways, dark parking lots, and even possibly towards the wrestlers’ “personal lives”, such as in their homes, will nail home the point of how terrifying and dangerous this character is.
When the question comes up about who should get the bigger push over the two personas, the Firefly Funhouse version of Bray Wyatt or The Fiend, they should lean more towards how they’ve pushed this character so far by letting the two characters play off of each other. Let the Firefly Funhouse version of Bray Wyatt be the friendly, children television host role and warn his opponents about the danger of The Fiend and let the action only take place at the big shows. Only wrestling at the pay per views allows for the act to remain fresh and makes every match from Wyatt look like a marquee event.
With Wyatt being advertised for this coming Raw, it seems very likely that he will be interfering in someone’s King of the Ring match, but whose could it be? With the faces on the Raw roster involved you would have to think it is either Cedric Alexander, The Miz, or Ricochet but that’s the great thing about this new revamped character: it’s completely unpredictable. No matter which direction he goes next, expect pure and utter chaos from both Wyatt and The Fiend.