Many fans were disappointed that Bray Wyatt didn't emerge victorious from his Last Man Standing match at WWE Payback on Sunday night in Chicago. Some wanted the younger man to "win" their entire program by decisively putting John Cena down, if not in this bout, then with a clean victory at a future pay-per-view (PPV).
While we can argue if anyone was right to expect any WWE babyface, but especially the 21st century's version of Hulk Hogan to lose a feud against an upstart heel, however charismatic and talented Wyatt may be, what we shouldn't be arguing about in any way is the company and the leader of the Cenation's intent.
Bray Wyatt was booked into a feud against the true face of the company less than a year after he debuted because Vince McMahon, Triple H, John Cena and pretty much everyone with any power backstage sees The Eater of Worlds as a big freaking deal.
Case in point, the winner of last night's match offered these comments at the kayfabed post-Payback press conference last night:
Here's the sad truth that I have to come to grips with: Bray Wyatt is a bonafide superstar. He is... I would be hypocritical if I were to say that Bray Wyatt does not have a bright and possibly a championship future here in WWE. What I hope he takes away from tonight is maybe stay humble a little bit and everything you get, earn. I earned that victory tonight. And to be quite honest, he earned that defeat, he didn't just quit. It was because of his efforts, not only in his ability to speak but his ability in the ring, I believe we will see each other again.
This was not plugging in Umaga or Ryback (sorry, Big Guy) as a time killer between Cena championship runs.
While I have real issues with how their story was told and the booking of some of their in-ring encounters - especially the fan vote three-on-one match from Raw and Extreme Rules' steel cage match - no one should be throwing around terms like "bury" or claims of stolen "heat" today.
Bray Wyatt just seemingly wrapped up a four month long, main event feud with the biggest star in the company. During that time he was often depicted as at least the equal of Cena - earning victories, converting fans, providing iconic moments such as the masking him while ties up in the ropes and serenading him with a children's choir - despite having just joined the main roster last Summer.
Cena required back-up in the form of the tag team champions, a hardcore match type and dubious means to finally fell him. And then he delivered a speech in the aftermath that features a respectful tip of the cap, proclaims him a Superstar, predicts future success in the form of championships (and an even higher accolade from John, future programs with "The Champ") and possibly even sets the stage for a babyface turn.
Dolph Ziggler wishes he had been "buried" by Cena like that.
What matters now is what Bray Wyatt does next.
There is nothing left for either he or Cena to prove against each other for now. Together, they've made a statement in every way possible that Wyatt belongs at the top of the pro wrestling world.
Now, it's up to Wyatt to continue to deliver on the microphone and in the ring. And it's up to WWE to steer him in an upward direction.
That'll be a challenge, given that he's already been granted a feud with the top man in the company before his one year anniversary on the main stage. But the future of a really big star depends on it.
With everything they've invested in him so far, including John Cena's actions and words from Payback, I truly hope they're up to the challenge.