Since Bray Wyatt debuted in WWE two years ago, his potential to become a major star and lead the company into the next generation of professional wrestling was obvious. The swampy religious cult leader that he portrays immediately gripped wrestling fans with a unique style in the ring and on the microphone. His physicality and size make him an intimidating presence in the ring, but his promos and interviews make him much more interesting. The self-proclaimed ‘New Face of Fear’ has all the tools to be the biggest thing in wrestling.
So why isn’t he?
Despite having all of the tools to be a major superstar in WWE, the use of Wyatt has left wrestling fans wanting more. Many among the WWE Universe have found that the stories Wyatt has been involved in are quite boring, especially since Wyatt set his ‘Wyatt family’ members free from his patriarchal grasp. Bray Wyatt was at his best when his disciples – Luke Harper and Erick Rowan – were by his side, making sure that their savior was able to impose his will on whomever he decided to haunt next. Even with Harper and Rowan by his side, however, Wyatt’s initially promising feuds with the likes of legendary wrestlers John Cena and Chris Jericho fell flat in terms of fan interest.
Wyatt’s ability to deliver an effective promo is undeniable, but his vocal style is often criticized. He speaks in a low voice, using vague and complicated language that doesn’t seem relevant to the feud at hand. He speaks of saving his opponent from their ways of sin, but it’s never truly clear what their sin is. The vagueness of his character’s backstory is also referenced a lot, but most of it has yet to be explored. Despite presenting an entertaining style of character building, it’s not hard to see why fans might be lost or disinterested.
The primary problem with the way Bray Wyatt has been booked is overexposure. In his feuds with major stars thus far, Wyatt has appeared on most WWE programs and given a vague promo. This aspect of the character has watered down what a great talent he is. It has become monotonous, but that’s a problem with an easy solution – mix it up. Wyatt doesn’t need to give a promo on every episode of Monday Night Raw. He doesn’t need to wrestle many matches, intervene in his opponent’s matches, or even appear on TV every week. Bray Wyatt’s presence speaks for itself. It’s a matter of making that presence stand out as a featured act, not blend in with every other part of the show.
Now, Wyatt is involved in a feud with another guy that is set to lead the next generation of WWE Superstars – Roman Reigns. This feud is a preview of what has potential to be an era-defining rivalry that can keep fans interested for upwards of a decade, akin to that of John Cena and Randy Orton. While Wyatt has already conducted a few promos in the same backstage smoky setting he’s taken residence in, there’s a different element to his character in this feud – he’s making it personal. Wyatt has insinuated that he might harm Reigns’ daughter (who makes an appearance in WWE’s ‘take time to be a daddy’ commercial) by luring Reigns into a room with a shrine dedicated to him spending time with his daughter, and by having a tea party while conducting one of his promos.
Making a feud personal by bringing a member of a wrestler’s family into the fold is a classic wrestling trope that usually garners additional interest in a story. In the case of Bray Wyatt, introducing Reigns’ daughter to the story can help his credibility as the WWE’s ‘New Face of Fear.’
Wyatt’s major feuds have been mostly lackluster to date (even with the Undertaker), but WWE may be figuring out how to book him yet. Making his promos less vague and more pertinent to the feud at hand, plus keeping his on-screen appearances limited will make him a more impactful character.
With Bray Wyatt, less is more.
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