WWE | Pro Wrestling

Has Bray Wyatt Peaked In the WWE?

It was just a few months ago that the pro wrestling world was talking about Bray Wyatt. Today Wyatt is an afterthought, rarely mentioned among today’s WWE topics. Has the rising star of Bray Wyatt faded out?

The rise of Bray Wyatt was one of the great stories of 2013. Wyatt was the talk of the WWE before he even arrived as the social media went crazy once they got a taste of his vignettes. Wyatt quickly ascended to the coveted WrestleMania match against top star John Cena. Most thought that this was the beginning of greatness yet a few months later it appears that the greatness stopped there.

Bray Wyatt’s last several months have been some of the most fascinating to watch of any rising star. Wyatt came into the company with an immediate cult following. The fans were ready, the WWE was ready, and Wyatt was the breath of fresh air that everyone needed. The timing was perfect and in some respect, he was arguably the catalyst to a new youth movement we are seeing today.

Rumors of Wyatt wrestling Cena at WrestleMania were met with skepticism. Wyatt’s fans felt it was too good to be true while his critics thought he wasn’t ready. The critics were quickly proven wrong as Wyatt against Cena at WrestleMania seemed as organic as you could hope for. Not only was this one of the most anticipated matches in recent Mania events, Wyatt was being touted by many as the “next big thing” in the WWE.

Wyatt went into WrestleMania hot as the sun. Unfortunately not everyone believed in Wyatt as he fell victim to bad timing. Daniel Bryan’s win over Triple H was not going to be overshadowed by Wyatt beating Cena. The air came out of the balloon when Cena beat Wyatt and for a variety of reasons, the momentum of Wyatt started to slow down immediately thereafter.

Where did it all go wrong? Was it the job to Cena at Mania? I don’t think so. Plenty of great ones have overcome losses, some actually coming out of them better off. I think a couple of things came into play. For one, Wyatt the heel was being pushed as a babyface. Fans were encouraged to sing along to his music and his promos did more to generate cheers than heel heat. I think that while some will tell you that faces and heels don’t matter in 2014, I think this was a clear case where it does. Fans got confused and everything started to unravel.

Next and maybe the biggest hurdle Wyatt faced was his Steel Cage match against Cena at Extreme Rules. The match had a ton of anticipation going in and well I’ll be honest, it was terrible. It never clicked and the fans were chanting boring by the end of it. Not only was the match bad, but the finish was one of the corniest you will ever see in the WWE today. Again, great ones have gotten past stinkers but Wyatt was tainted badly coming out of this one.

From there he finished his feud with Cena on the losing side of the stick. That was to be expected and by that point, a loss should not have mattered. However I do think a perception was created and the perception became the reality. Bray wasn’t a money player. That perception was confirmed when he went from John Cena to Chris Jericho.

Now I have all of the respect in the world for Jericho. I am a fan and I think his work has always been impeccable. But the perception of Jericho by the WWE Universe is that he is a mid-card guy. It’s been a very long time since Jericho was booked as a headliner. The gap from Cena to Jericho was too big for Wyatt. Fans saw a guy who could not hang with the top guys and was now stuck in the middle of the card. It wasn’t working.

Finally Bray’s character never evolved. Now I’ll go back to a blog I wrote on this site on April 24, 2014. This was at the height of Bray-Mania. I did a blog evaluating the youth movement and opined that Wyatt was too one-dimensional to be a money player at the top.

“I am in the minority here, but I just don’t see a sustainable character here. I think Bray’s character is great but it isn’t something I could see several years now as the top babyface star in the WWE. I like his work a lot but can you really see little kids holding Bray up as their hero in a few years? This isn’t a knock on Bray now as I really enjoy what he’s doing but more an analysis on his future. I don’t think it’s nearly as bright as most do.”

I had several exchanges on Twitter from Bray fans telling me I didn’t know what I was talking about. Well I hate to say it, but I told you so. That is the biggest flaw as I see it in Bray Wyatt. He is very one-dimensional and I don’t think anyone truly understands his character. The ambiguity around whether he was a good guy or bad guy made this incredibly difficult for WWE fans. It’s been a year since he arrived and he hasn’t evolved whatsoever. That needs to happen if he is to reach the potential many of his fans predicted.

This isn’t to say that all is lost. Bray Wyatt is young and will get more opportunities. I can’t confirm with certainty he will get an opportunity at the level of a WrestleMania match vs. John Cena, but he’ll get some shots. Unfortunately it looks like his ascension back to that spot may be more difficult than any of us ever could have imagined.

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