We (this website, wrestling fans, and this writer) have made a lot of jokes about Bray Wyatt’s cryptic tweet game. While I can only speak for myself, I think most folks would say the laughs always contained a hint of melancholy. Either because we missed the performer being on our screens, or because we thought WWE was missing the mark with his character, the sentiment underneath was “this could be SO GOOD, but...”
His new gimmick - the host of a children’s show called “Firefly Fun House” who clearly still has some of his old character’s issues boiling just beneath his new smiling, happy exterior - looks like it could be a brilliant piece of reinvention. Wyatt is fully committed to the role which debuted on the April 22 Raw, and WWE’s shined a bright spotlight on its rollout the past several weeks. While I don’t think anyone guessed the particulars, it’s pretty much exactly what I and others hoped it would be, right down to the impression Matt Hardy’s fingerprints could be on the act.
Problem is, we could also say that about pretty much everything Wyatt’s been given since he was called up along with Luke Harper & Erick Rowan back in 2013. There have often been promising angles, interesting wrinkles, and feuds we were all looking forward to. But they end up leaving us scratching our heads and wondering what went wrong. I kind of hate myself for it, but as much as I loved the fresh, demented glee of the first “Firefly Fun House”, I’m also wondering if I’m not about to get fooled again.
There’s absolutely no reason this shouldn’t be a breakout hit for Wyatt. It’s exactly the kind of character a wrestler like him, who is willing to immerse himself in the bat$#!+ craziness of pro wrestling, can flourish with. The set-up allows for a different kind of talk show segment, and provides an opportunity for others to shine reacting to Bray’s weirdness - right up until he snaps and attacks them, that is. Those moments can kick off rivalries within which he can unveil more layers of his personality.
But why should we believe this won’t get screwed up, or fall out of favor with the creative team (or mostly likely the man in charge of the creative team), before it realizes its potential? Why is “Firefly Fun House” different from a House of Horrors match, or WWE’s watered down version of Hardy’s Broken Brilliance, or “Fashion Files”, or...
If your reaction to my worrying is, “see, this is why we can’t have nice things”, well, you’re probably not entirely wrong. I wish I could completely trust Vince McMahon & company and just go with it. But I’ve been watching wrestling in general and WWE in particular for a long time, and I’ve been burned too many times for there not to be a seed of doubt in my mind about just about everything they try. I absolutely do plan to give the reinvention of Wyatt every chance to succeed, and I’m totally confident we’ll get some great material like last night’s segment, even if it all ends in hologram projections and voice modulators.
When it comes to Bray Wyatt and WWE, fireflies, I suggest sticking with the old saying “always hope but never expect”.