Historically Significant Disasters of Wrestling #95 Part Three: Re-Booking The Fiend- Up Until WrestleMania 37

Where we put this to bed, Cagesiders.

So John Cena has been vanquished, Cagesiders in the FIrefly Funhouse. The question is, what next? How do we keep this character from entering the meandering existence of WWE's Creative inertia.

Oh, one other thing, as an indulgence, we are putting the Greatest Match of All Time at WrestleMania rather than that turgid Last Man Standing Match, except Edge wins. I have a couple of reasons for this, which I will get to.

So a couple of weeks after Mania, we see a Firefly Funhouse segment at SmackDown, where Bray hangs John Cena's cap on the wall like a trophy and grins to the camera. He says that he thought that he would feel great after vanquishing John Cena, and righting the worst wrong of his career. But after a couple of days, all he felt was...empty. Like the job was unfinished. He puts on a doctor's coat and begins mock smoking a pipe. He says that after analyzing John Cena's egotism, narcissism, and amorality he has realized that Cena wasn't born like this- but rather made that way by a system that enabled his poor behavior. He looks at the camera and says that such a system must be ripped out for real healing to occur...

The next Raw we see Triple H in Vince's office being berated, with Shane looking smug in the background. He says that Wyatt is getting out of control and that his vendettas against money makers like John Cena will hurt the company's bottom line unless he is taken care of. Triple H says that he will take care of it and walks out of the office.

This culminates in an angle at Money in the Bank, where Triple H gets in the ring and cuts the following promo:

You know out of all of the people that have come through NXT I never met anyone like Bray Wyatt. Sure, there were guys that were more muscular, more good looking, but Wyatt had a way of talking to you, convincing you that you were the only one that mattered to him. And so like many people I was happy when he saw that Bray could take the anger, the hurt, the rage that he must have felt during his time on the main roster and channel it to success. But the thing is, Bray, nobody is bigger than the WWE. I get that you feel that the company did you wrong, man, but destroying it ain't going to make it better. So I'm asking you, Bray to step into this ring and talk to me, man-to-man.

The Firefly Fun House music hits and Bray comes out grinning and skipping. He grabs a mic and is about to speak when out of nowhere Randy Orton slides into the ring and hits an RKO. He then slides out and grabs a chair and wrecks it on Bray's back while Triple H walks slowly to the back, not even turning around before Randy punts Bray's skull in. Commentary put this over as some sort of arrangement between the Viper and the Cerebral Assassin, asking what Randy gets for it, while Bray is stretchered to the back.

What Randy gets for it, is revealed on Raw where he becomes the new #1 Contender for Drew McIntyre's championship at Backlash (give Edge instead a nice exhibition match against, say, Cesaro or Kevin Owens). He then has an Extreme Rules Match at Extreme Rules, which he loses again. At the same time, we don't see or hear from Wyatt again, allowing Randy to be put over as the person who vanquished the Fiend. The Raw after Extreme Rules, which McIntyre wins, however Randy is in the ring and incensed when all of a sudden the Firefly Fun House music hits and Bray (with a colourful neck brace) pops onto the screen. He says that he doesn't want to be in the ring with Randy, what with his voices and all, but he has a surprise for him next week! When Randy attempts to brush off these games, Bray says that this is no game, but rather a glimpse into their future.

This culminates in the next week's Raw where we see Bray putting an old fashioned tape into a VHS machine- soon revealed to be when the Miz was traversing through the Firefly Funhouse. Amidst the things we see in the Miz's Funhouse include:

  • Lots of references to the Miz being overlooked in his matches/feuds (e.g. the Rock interfering at Mania 27, Eva kicking Zack in the plums in Mania 28, Cena proposing at Mania 33, His own dad at Mania 35). Maybe have Bray recreate these, but have Miz somehow not able to make his presence felt?

  • His very middling film career, with Bray playing a director who keeps telling Miz that he "needs more" and Miz gurning really awkwardly.

  • His NXT feud with Daniel Bryan, where Bray plays a sort of meta-Daniel Bryan "Yes-ing" and getting cheered, while Miz's hard work continue to see him unable to be loved by either Vince or the fans.

This all culminates in a scene where we see Miz and Bray in a ring, where Bray simply asks him "All this work, all this failure, what's it for Miz?" Miz is about to answer, when he looks down...and sees himself in John Cena's get up. He takes it all off...only to find himself in a different coloured shirt...he tries to take that off and finds himself in more Cena merch. Bray puts his arm around Miz saying "it's ok to admit it", and the camera closes up to where we just see Miz's face muttering "I'm don't want to be...I'm not...Cena" over and over again. When he turns to face Bray again it's the Fiend who snatches Miz in a Mandible Claw and chokes him out, in Cena clothes. Bray (in current time) turns the tape off and issues the challenge for a Firefly Funhouse Match at SummerSlam.

Orton tries to whine to Vince and Triple H, who simply tell him that they got Orton two matches for the WWE Championship, now it is his turn to repay and do what he claimed to do weeks ago. Orton therefore accepts and we have the match- this time which includes:

  • The first evolution promo where Wyatt plays Triple H, with sock puppets playing Batista and Flair, before a scene where we see Orton on Wyatt's shoulders intercut with the thumbs down from Triple H and the slam.

  • A scene where Randy Orton is dressed up like 'Cowboy' Bob Orton, complete with cast. He is cutting a promo on SNME with 'Muscle Man Bray' (much like the Cena one) but every time the camera cuts away, the cast has got a bit bigger- soon covering his entire arm and then his entire body. Randy looks at Bray and pleas for Bray to get him out, but Bray says that he knows all about how family can tie you up.

  • A scene where Bray plays Cody when he inadvertently costs Orton the title at Royal Rumble. Orton, like in real life, gets in Cody/Bray's face and begins attacking him, but with every punch we see trickles of blood on Orton's face rather than Bray's, like he's hurting himself.

  • A scene where Orton is in the ring and different pop-up clowns appear representing people who have tried to help him in the past (Triple H, his father, his girlfriend, Edge, Cody Rhodes, other tag partners) while footage intercuts with them giving Orton advice. Orton RKOs them as they do this- like a weird game of whack-a-mole. This finishes with Bray popping up in full Wyatt Family garb and blocking Randy's RKO before levelling him with a Uranage. He then paces around Orton berating him, holding the WWE Championship, saying that they could have had everything but Orton has always been so blinded by trinkets like this one (holding the belt). Wyatt says that deep down Orton is still that scared little boy betrayed by Evolution, always seeking the approval of "his Daddy" (cuts with footage of HHH/Orton Mania 25 feud) but knowing there (Wyatt points to Orton's heart) that he has new favourites now (footage of Seth Rollins, Tommaso Ciampa, etc). Orton screams and drops Wyatt with an RKO before pacing back to the corner, psyching himself up with his head in his hands, slapping himself around (paying not much attention to the middle of the ring) when the Fiend pops up behind him and clamps on the Mandible Claw, choking him out, much like Cena.
The next night on Raw, we see Vince and Shane in the middle of the ring. Vince says that after the inability for Triple H to deal with the Fiend situation, he will be taken a sabbatical from WWE for a couple of months (this is.a way to get him off TV). Vince says he is delighted however, to name the person who will take over the running of Raw and SmackDown as the General Manager, who will ensure the end of the reign of terror that is the Fiend (Shane begins bobbing from foot to foot like he is about to do a full dance all over the ring)...Bray Wyatt!!!

The Firefly Music hits to Shane's horror and Bray comes down to the ring, waving to the announcers and then getting to the ring and holding his hand out for Shane to shake, who looks like he would rather be anywhere else and then shaking Vince McMahon's hand.

There are a couple of reasons why I've done this: Firstly, the pandemic required WWE to sharpen up its skit game, and there was no one on the roster who was better at it than Wyatt, so why not put him in a place where he can interact with lots of people on the roster. Secondly, it allows Bray to simmer while not over-saturating the Fiend or the Firefly Fun House. Thirdly, it allows an extra wrinkle in the Bloodline storyline, with them having to occasionally deal with a smiling GM that even Roman won't cross with much because what is lurking underneath.

So in the first couple of weeks, Braun Strowman will attempt to use his history with Bray to strong arm himself into a title match against McIntyre, but Wyatt holds firm, causing Strowman to wreck matches, destroy referees and essentially try to hold GM Wyatt to ransom... Only to have Wyatt sadly tell him that he is fired.

Overall, though I want to sort of have a Commissioner Foley-esque vibe to GM Wyatt over the next couple months, except in a more...twisted fun house way.

During early November, however, during a #1 contender's match to a Tag Team Title on Raw two giant in hoods figures come to the ring with chairs and decimate all the workers. After leaving all four workers injured, they reveal themselves to be Braun Strowman and (as he was known then) Dabba-Kato. Strowman gets on the mic and says that their employer has paid them to bring upheaval to WWE, and they will ruin anyone to ensure that his vision is realised. Bray attempts to threaten, but of course, technically both workers are not contracted to Raw or SmackDown so his authority is tenuous at best. He does realize though that who ever is doing this must be on the inside, as they are letting the two in the building. However, the attacks keep coming and workers begin to demand that Bray bring back the Fiend to deal with these ingrates. Bray, in his Funhouse persona, confides in none other than Daniel Bryan (as they have built a strange rapport) that he fears how much the Fiend will demand from Bray should he decide to go down that road. However, soon the attacks get too frequent and vicious to ignore and, with Roman and the Bloodline beginning to petition Vince for Bray's removal as GM, Bray finally takes action.

At TLC it is a Tables, Ladders and Chairs Handicap Match with the GM Contract hanging with the Fiend taking on Dabba-Kato and Braun Strowman. If Bray wins, Braun, Dabba-Kato and their employer (who is still unrevealed) can no longer set foot in a WWE ring. If Braun and Dabba-Kato wins, their employer becomes GM and Bray is fired from the position. The Fiend puts up a hell of a fight, delivering a Sister Abigail for Braun and Dabba-Kato and leaving them lying in the outside of the ring before slowly, painfully, heading up the ladder...before Triple H smashes him in the head with a sledgehammer, toppling him through tables. Through this distraction Braun manages to retrieve the contract and install Triple H as the new WWE GM. After they all get up and celebrate to the back the Fiend slowly gets up and begins ramming his head against the turnbuckle, with the commentary putting over the fact that the Fiend looks lost and stumbles to the back. Just as he reaches the top of the ramp, he takes off the mask facing away from the camera and drops it on the ground.

Now the reason for this is simple- The Fiend is great, but it has a shelf life. Because we haven't saturated him with surviving 22 Curb Stomps we can effectively 'break' the Fiend without breaking Bray. Instead we're going to take the character away before it gets stale. And we're going to give Bray a reason to evolve.

Hi, My Name is: Triple H - Cageside Seats

Incidentally I'm running this with Hunter, but this is with the caveat that he is healthy enough. As such you could substitute Hunter with Shane O'Mac.

So Triple H's tyranny takes us into 2021, with Braun and Dabba-Kato as his instruments of destruction and we don't see or hear anything from Bray until approximately 3 weeks from Elimination Chamber, where we see Braun Strowman beating someone or other when all of a sudden the screen activates and we see a figure silhouetted in the shadows.

I was lost for a while, brother. Caught in a swamp of rage and humiliation after you laid me low at TLC. But through that I realised what I needed to do. I couldn't turn to the Fiend- for the Fiend had never known humiliation and didn't know how to deal with it- only rage.

But I, brother, I have spat and ground into the dirt my whole life. I have tasted the bitterness of loss and the absence of love.

(He reveals himself as the old Bray, complete with the Denim Hoodie with his old lantern) Let us finish this Braun. Where it all began.

So at Elimination Chamber Braun takes on Bray in a No Holds Barred Match, with Bray taking on a little bit of a Cactus Jack Hardcore vibe and managing to squeak out a win after he smacks Braun in the knees again and again with a Singapore cane and makes him tap out with a leg submission.

At the same PPV, let's say Cesaro beats Dabba-Kato to relinquish him from Triple H's service (and thus allow him to form the alliance with Apollo Crews at Mania), which leaves Triple H vulnerable. Bray demands a match-Career vs Career. Triple H attempts to avoid the match for a couple of weeks, but is confronted in the ring by the Heartbreak Kid. Shawn says that he knows that it seems that Hunter's world is falling apart, but Bray has actually given him a gift- because as much as Triple H would like to see himself as a businessman deep down he is the Game; the Cerebral Assassin. And at WrestleMania in front of fans- perhaps for the last time- Bray is offering a chance to show everyone how good he is. Triple H smiles, nods, shakes HBK by the hand...and then pulls him in for a pedigree. Hunter then accepts.

And at WrestleMania- despite some heel shenanigans from Hunter, Bray prevails- thus cementing his face turn and giving him a major win to push this old/new persona of the old Bray Wyatt.

And you can still do the Firefly Fun House matches from time to time as a result because you haven't exhausted the gimmick, whilst rehabilitating the old, more sustainable character. Finally it allows Wyatt to become the Foley-like babyface that he is always promised to be.

And that's the end of this re-booking. Next time we look at how when a certain worker jumped ship, the former ship began taking on water. See you then!

#1 Owen Hart vs Stone Cold @ SummerSlam '97
#2 December to Dismember 2006
#3 The Fingerpoke of Doom
#4 The Scott Steiner vs HHH Feud
#5 Ryback vs Mark Henry @ WrestleMania XXIX
#6 Bret Hart vs Vince McMahon @ WrestleMania XXVI
#7 The Jerry Lawler/Michael Cole Feud
#8 The Curtain Call
#9 Bash at the Beach 2000
#10 Royal Rumble 2014
#11 Warrior/Hogan II @ Halloween Havoc
#12 The Cena/Laurinatis Feud
#13 The Firing of Ric Flair From WCW
#14 The Brogue Kick of Doom
#15 Lesnar vs Goldberg @ WrestleMania XX
#16 Immortal Revealed @ Bound for Glory 2010
#17 Sting vs Hogan @ Starrcade 1997
#18 Triple H vs Booker T @ WrestleMania 19
#19 The Corre
#20 The Undertaker vs Big Boss Man @ WrestleMania 15
#21 Jeff Hardy vs Sting @ Victory Road 2011
#22 Road Wild 1999
#23 The John Cena/Kane Feud of 2012
#24 Hulk Hogan's Mancow Interview of 1999
#25 CM Punk vs the Rock @ Elimination Chamber 2013
#26 The Reign of Bill Watts in WCW
#27 The Claire Lynch Affair Part One And Two
#28 Triple H vs Kevin Nash @ TLC 2011
#29 The Cactus Jack Amnesia Angle
#30 Hulk Hogan Leaving TNA
#31 HBK vs Hulk Hogan @ SummerSlam 2005
#32 David Arquette: WCW Champion
#33 Katie Vick
#34 nWo Souled Out 1997
#35 The Vampiro/Sting Feud of 2000
#36 Once in a Lifetime, Episode II
#37 The Angle/Jarrett Feud of 2010/11
#38 The McMahon/Lashley Feud
#39 The Shockmaster
#40 CM Punk vs Ryback @ Hell in a Cell 2012
#41 Hulk Hogan vs Roddy Piper @ Starrcade 1996
#42 The WWE Championship Reign of Diesel
#43 Cena vs the Wyatts
#44 The Main Roster Run of Emma
#45 The WCW Run of Bret Hart
#46 John Cena vs the Miz @ WrestleMania 27
#47 The Lone Wolf AJ Styles
#48 Alberto Del Rio vs Jack Swagger @ WrestleMania 29
#49 The Transition of Mike Awesome from ECW to WCW
#50 The Dolph Ziggler Conundrum Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five
#51 The Rise and Fall of Damien Sandow/Mizdow Part One and Part Two
#52 DDP & Jay Leno vs Hollywood Hogan & Eric Bischoff @ Road Wild 1998
#53 Triple H vs Randy Orton @ WrestleMania 25
#54 Lord Tensai
#55 LOD 2000
#56 Sid Vicious vs Scott Steiner @ Starrcade 2000
#57 Bret Hart vs Yokuzuna (feat. Hulk Hogan) @ WrestleMania 9
#58 Royal Rumble 2015
#59 The Crucifixion of the Sandman
#60 Brock Lesnar's First Year Back in WWE
#61 Bo Dallas' Main Roster Run
#62 Vince Russo vs Booker T for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
#63 Randy Orton vs the Big Show @ Survivor Series 2013
#64 AJ Styles vs Abyss @ Destination X 2010
#65 EV 2.0
#66 The Summer of Punk Part 1; Part 2; Part 3
#67 The Lex Express
#68 Goldberg's first WWE Run
#69 Paige's Main Roster Run 2014-2016
#70 Seth Rollins' First World Title Run
#71 Hulk Hogan vs Sgt Slaughter @ WrestleMania VII
#72 Sting vs Abyss in a Last Rites Match
#73 The Undertaker vs Big Show in the Punjabi Prison
#74 Ric Flair vs Hollywood Hogan @ Uncensored 1999
#75 Roman Reigns' Road to WrestleMania 32 Part One, Part Two. Part Three
#76 Hulk Hogan vs Sid Justice @ WrestleMania VIII
#77 Muhammad Hassan
#78 Sheamus' World Heavyweight Title Reign
#79 The Ghastly Match
#80 Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton @ Wrestlemania 33
#81 Goldberg vs Steiner vs Nash @ New Blood Rising'
#82 The Lesnar/Angle/Big Show feud of 2002
#83 Aces and Eights
#84 Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar @ WrestleMania 32
#85 Jinder Mahal: WWE Champion Part One, Part Two, Part Three.
#86 DDP & Karl Malone vs Hollywood Hogan & Dennis Rodman.
#87 Triple H vs Sting
#88 The 1992 Run of the Ultimate Warrior
#89 Jenna Morasca vs Sharmell
#90 The Lesnar/Reigns Feud of 2018 Part One, Part Two, Part Three
#91 The Higher Power Revealed
#92 The Brawl for All
#93 The 2019 Title Reigns of Seth Rollins Part One, Part Two
#94 The Main Roster Run of Karrion Kross Part One, Part Two

#95 Fiend vs Goldberg @ Super Showdown Part One, Part Two

The InVasion Saga

Article One: Shane has a surprise for Daddy
Article Two: Booker T vs Buff Bagwell and the Temple of Boos
Article Three: Daddy's little Girl Gets in on the Action

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