Bray Wyatt received more character development in 10 minutes on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw than he’s received in years.
It started with one line right at the beginning as Matt Hardy greeted Wyatt at the gate: “Follow the Music.”
It’s a play on Wyatt’s catchphrase and the somber music that accompanied the line really gave me chills. For so long now, Wyatt’s been telling us to follow or ordering us to run. At the Final Deletion, Wyatt wasn’t leading nor was he giving us orders. He did the opposite.
He was vulnerable, right from the get go.
And how do I even describe the wonderful madness that was the Final Deletion? It was everything their feud’s been missing; they dialed the insanity to extreme levels and paired it with genuine storytelling.
It’s ironic, really. Woken Matt Hardy just gave Bray Wyatt the gift that I always had hoped Wyatt would be able to bestow upon others: character development.
Hardy led Wyatt to a run-down shack, breaking Wyatt by forcing him to remember the past. Abigail and his cabin, burning due to his own failures. Wyatt chased him all around the Compound…and was foiled by Senior Benjamin and a small model of the Earth.
He finally had the whole world in his hands. And he looked like a fool.
Brother Nero made a brief cameo in the end, singing the song into Wyatt’s ear before Matt Hardy delivered the final blow and pushed Wyatt into the Lake of Reincarnation. Senior Benjamin went to retrieve the body…
But he was gone.
This segment was so wacky, weird, silly, solemn, irritating and intriguing. It was fantastic. I think it may have even topped the original when you consider the seeds of storytelling that might begin to grow from it.
I don’t think many of us have “hated” Bray Wyatt, despite the complaints in recent times. We’ve just wanted more. Wanted new. We got that tonight.
It’s cause for a celebration. Wonderful!
The Stone Cold Playbook
Step one: get suspended. Last week, Vince McMahon suspended Roman Reigns for confronting the boss during a live television broadcast. Seems reasonable.
Step two: get arrested and beat up some cops. On this episode of Raw, Reigns broke his suspension, held up the beginning of the show by demanding to fight Brock Lesnar, and was promptly arrested for his misconduct.
Oh, but it wasn’t finished there.
Some U.S. Marshals appeared in Dollar Store flak jackets, read Reigns his Miranda Rights off a card, and cuffed him.
Then, one of the men tried to take Reigns’ elbow to guide him out of the ring. Reigns resisted, the Marshals struggled with him, and then Reigns ended up assaulting three federal officials.
Are you kidding me?
So what was step three? Apparently it was to have Lesnar ragdoll a cuffed man, have a stretcher job where the crowd chants “You Deserve It!” at Reigns, and then have Lesnar go back for more several times.
Step four: profit?
Perhaps it’s because I’m not a huge fan of either man, but this came off terribly to me. I was a fan of the story telling the past few weeks – and seriously, I’m trying to get into this - but the way Reigns behaved tonight completely contradicted his statements in recent weeks.
If he’s a locker room leader, why is he breaking rules like crazy? If he’s supposed to be “one of the boys,” why is he pouting and demanding things of the General Manager Kurt Angle that are completely out of his control?
Why isn’t he going quietly with the federal officers? Why isn’t he merely showing up to say “even suspended, I’m here. Lesnar’s not?”
Instead, Reigns held up the show, was openly confrontational with that “it’s my yard” thing, assaulted U.S. officials…and I’m supposed to feel bad for him?
How much better would this have been if Lesnar had been the one to assault the government officials and WWE was willing to sweep that under the rug for him? It would have proven Reigns’ point.
Reigns isn’t Austin. Reigns has deserved what he’s gotten from his behavior these past few weeks while Austin was actually being oppressed by a tyrannical boss.
Certainly they realize that, right?
Tyler Black and Prince Nevitt
The Intercontinental Championship is still crushing it.
Tonight, the Miz demanded respect from the crowd while pointing out how unfair it is that all the other champions get singles matches but he has to compete in a triple threat. He then “shot” at his two opponents by calling them by their indie names – and he got Balor’s wrong! Hah! – and shooing them off to bingo halls.
Well, the Balor Club had something to say to that.
Seth Rollins joined commentary for the six-man tag match and it’s hilarious how differently he treated his two opponents at WrestleMania. Take the Miz, for example: despite the Miz’s earlier words, he respects the man. However, Rollins thinks that the Miz does not defend his championship honorably.
It’s as simple as that. Balor, however…
Rollins said that Balor is a “hell of a competitor” which might as well be a “no comment” for as useless an answer that is. He gets short with his answers when Balor’s concerned. Their hatred of each other is frosty and real, and it was proven in the ending of this match.
The Miztourage tried to cheat to defeat the Balor Club, but Balor was able to fight out of a Skull-Crushing Finale and roll up Miz for a victory. It was a direct callback to his loss in the Gauntlet Match a few weeks ago, which I really appreciated.
The Miztourage put the boots to Balor Club after the match and Rollins made no move to help. The only thing that got him out of his seat was when the Miztourage went for a Shield Triple Powerbomb.
After the match, Balor and Rollins stared at each other over the Miz’s prone body and Rollins made sure that Balor owed him one.
I’m not so sure that’s how Balor sees things. This feud’s great.
Best of the Rest
Nia’s Gonna Kill You – I’m a huge fan of the Alexa Bliss/Nia Jax story. I’ve heard some say that the story makes them uncomfortable, but that’s the point isn’t it? The Dallas crowd drowned Alexa Bliss in boos - and rightfully so.
Bliss faked an apology by calling it “girl talk.” Then flipped the script by saying she didn’t lose a wink of sleep. She had a match with Asuka where she walked out as she’s wont to do…and then Jax appeared.
I wish this feud had gotten more time than it did. Bliss was barely able to escape Nia’s wrath, but Angle announced their match for WrestleMania.
Cesaro and Sheamus sleep together – I ship it. In customary tag team division format, Strowman had a singles match with Cesaro.
Cesaro caught those hands.
The Revival def. Titus Worldwide – Corey Graves rambled about Dana Brooke’s stats and the Revival hit a Shatter Machine on Apollo Crews for a quick victory. They are the first entrants into the Battle Royal at WrestleMania.
Mark Henry is in the Hall of Fame – BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT HE DOES! Mark, you were the scariest dude ever when I was growing up. Keep being awesome and congratulations.
…And if you wear salmon to the Hall of Fame, I’m going to lose my mind. What will it mean?!
Bayley and Sasha Banks fight Absolution again – Speaking of feuds that should have more time, the promos between Bayley and Banks before the match were very intriguing. Banks tried to guilt trip Bayley and Bayley’s still struggling with the inevitable reality that she’s going to lose her best friend.
They lost, of course. Their friendship is in shambles and they couldn’t function as a team. I really hope this match happens at WrestleMania, but I have my doubts.
John Cena Pleads for Undertaker, Gets Kane – Cena should go into politics. He framed the Undertaker as a bad guy for not giving a proper response to his challenge, claiming the fans deserved more from him than that. He even led a “Do something!” chant.
He got a Kane Chokeslam for his troubles. Talk about the most massive letdown ever.
Ronda Rousey Video – I enjoyed the Rousey video and I’m also a fan of keeping it off the show. After all, the match is set. What else could they do to promote this thing? Less is probably more with a new signing.
It was a good look at why she’s worth rooting for. And I loved the smirk at the end.
I thought that this was another good show apart from the abysmal opening and the continued silence from the Undertaker. Look, Roman fans, I’m trying, okay? But surely they know that the way he was portrayed tonight was a step backwards, right?
Your turn, Cageside. Where do we stand on the Road to WrestleMania?