It’s been a tough week for wrestling and its followers. Someday after the establishment of Terry Funk was misplaced, maybe probably the most artistic and positively probably the most distinctive minds handed, Bray Wyatt, on the unfair age of 36.
What will likely be remembered about Wyatt greater than something was that in an organization like WWE, the place an excellent portion of the time all the pieces feels the identical and formulaic, he at all times stood out as one thing utterly completely different. Wyatt’s concepts, on paper, should’ve sounded miles past the place the buses don’t run, and but he was in a position to get all of them not simply on display screen however to work and be successful with followers. Whether or not it was the macabre, or the ridiculous, or the foolish, Wyatt’s segments had been like nothing else on WWE TV.
It began together with his bayou shaman the Eater Of Worlds, together with his cohorts Luke Harper (aka Brodie Lee) and Eric Rowan forming the Wyatt Household, and so they had been totally terrifying. Their feud with the Defend hit the heights and launched six-man matches again to the corporate and appeared a real conflict of supernatural forces, one drawing from the supernatural within the Wyatts and the opposite simply having an unbeatable aura. Whereas a whole lot of wrestling may be cartoonish — and that’s largely the purpose, or the characters are fairly fundamental — the Wyatt Household was genuinely scary and haunting. No matter nerve they hit, be it buried Deliverance shpilkes or somebody who’d simply learn Preacher one too many instances and transported us all to Angelville, every time they appeared they turned the world right into a horror film that left you not sure in case you had been purported to dive behind the sofa or not.
After which he pivoted, and offered the Firefly Funhouse, primarily if Pee Wee Herman overdosed on peyote. The weekly segments, Wyatt’s “kids’s present,” had been constantly the spotlight of each present as a result of most of us couldn’t determine what the hell was happening. And once we did, we actually didn’t know the place it was going. After all, that persona got here with the alter-ego of The Fiend, a debut that is still as raucous as something WWE has rolled out in a pair many years:
Not often, perhaps not ever, has wrestling Twitter and fandom united so shortly on one thing as when The Fiend entered the world, carrying a lantern designed to appear to be Wyatt’s personal head and the totally terrifying masks. The Fiend was instantly nearly everybody’s favourite character, and the truth that WWE didn’t actually know what to do with him was hardly Wyatt’s fault. Once more, it felt like Wyatt had created one thing supernatural.
The pandemic didn’t assist, but it surely did present the right discussion board for Wyatt to go run a full fly sample together with his concepts and creativity. With WWE keen to strive something for a behind-closed-doors Wrestlemania, Wyatt together with John Cena produced one of many higher items of absurdist/surrealist tv one may discover wherever with the Firefly Funhouse Match. Inside it, Wyatt was in a position to principally dissect all the pieces unsuitable with the fixed push Cena had been given his whole profession, the opening on the heart of it, and flay Vince McMahon’s reserving type with out Vince noticing (it was hardly surprising that McMahon merely didn’t get that he was being mocked):
It went a bit off the rails from there, as crowd-less wrestling sort of pushed everybody to a breaking level. Wyatt was ultimately let go, and his stubbornness and dedication to doing issues how he needed and the way he noticed them was cited as making him out as a simple goal for McMahon’s cuts.
When Triple H took over, he at the very least realized that Wyatt’s effervescent artistic thoughts was too wealthy to go away out within the chilly. The precise return nonetheless introduced an enormous pop, aided by all of the easter eggs within the weeks main as much as it by way of hidden VR codes throughout backstage segments or references to a white rabbit. And the pop when he appeared lastly:
His first feud with LA Knight bought shrouded in WWE bullshit-marketing, and positively Wyatt might have overdone it, although it actually hasn’t carried out Knight any hurt. And Wyatt by no means bought an opportunity to recuperate to attach it to the rest earlier than getting sick.
Nobody did theatricality like Wyatt, all of the extra spectacular in a setting that saved its theatricality on the rote stage. In a promotion that nearly at all times stays down the center to please sponsors or toy corporations, Wyatt not solely lived on the sides however saved pushing them farther out. He made you’re feeling issues that had been uncommon on a wrestling present (and he may additionally actually go within the ring, which tied all of it collectively). He earned two of the largest levels a wrestler can get, a Mania match with Cena and the Undertaker, and appeared an actual menace in each (and maybe the corporate ought to have pulled the set off on a kind of).
At 36 it’s such a loss, given how a lot he assuredly had left to provide in wrestling and in life to his younger household. Followers may by no means take their eyes off Wyatt, maybe the largest praise any wrestler can get. Irrespective of how far he took us out into the deep water, we at all times went with him.
Comply with Sam on Twitter @Felsgate and on Bluesky @felsgate.bsky.social