WWE | Pro Wrestling

Bray Wyatt is a Textbook Example of How to Develop a WWE Character Correctly

Professional wrestlers may change characters many times throughout their careers. Mick Foley made a living out of doing just that.

Sometimes it works. Remember how Sting evolved from the surfer dude with the bleach-blond hair and the multi-color face paint into the brooding, black-and-white Crow character?

Sometimes it does not work. Joe Hennig was Michael McGillicuty one day and Curtis Axel the next. No change in appearance. Aside from a run as WWE Intercontinental Champion (an obvious nod to his late dad, Curt Hennig), he still looks like McGillicuty to me.

Then there is Bray Wyatt. One look at the evil cult leader, and you would have no idea that he once roamed the WWE ring as Husky Harris, the obese member of the Nexus heel stable.

That transformation was done the right way and the most believable way. Wyatt was off the main scene for about a year and a half, trying on different personas out of the hot spotlight that is WWE. And when he and WWE Creative found the right one, they ran with it.

It’s a move that has paid early dividends for Wyatt – real name Windham Rotunda –and has put him at the doorstep of major stardom in WrestleMania 30. Take into consideration that Wyatt is only 26 years old, so we could be seeing another Cody Rhodes-like run.

Of course, it makes no difference how many characters a wrestler portrays if he cannot portray any of them well. In Wyatt’s case, however, solid character performance runs in his bloodline.

Wyatt is the real-life son of WWE legend Mike Rotunda and the grandson of WWE Hall of Famer Blackjack Mulligan, two of the best-known character performers in wrestling. Rotunda actually went through several character morphs (The Varsity Club and “Capt. Mike” Rotundo in WCW, and evil tax collector Irwin R. Shyster in WWE). Mulligan is one of the premier cowboy characters to ever grace a ring.

So we should not be surprised that Wyatt is doing as well as he is.

Bray Wyatt likes to tell his opponents to “follow the buzzards.” As long as he continues to perform well in the cult-leader role and WWE Creative continues to feed him solid storylines, those buzzards will not end up circling him.

Bill Atkinson is a contributor to Camel Clutch Blog and the owner of WrestleWatch, a family-friendly wrestling web site. Follow Bill on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963 and visit WrestleWatch at www.wrestlewatch.com.

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