Overexposure is one of the biggest obstacles that WWE wrestlers have to deal with, particularly over the last eight years that Raw has been a three hour program.
WWE produces so much weekly content that it’s almost impossible for wrestlers to avoid being overexposed. The top stars wrestle long back-and-forth televised matches on a regular basis, which makes it harder for them to stand out from the mid-card stars. That’s why it’s damn near a miracle that Bray Wyatt has not wrestled a match on Raw or SmackDown television in over two years. It’s not a coincidence that he’s also one of the biggest stars in the promotion.
According to the data at CageMatch, Bray’s last televised match on Raw or SmackDown occurred on Aug. 13, 2018, when he was teaming up with Matt Hardy as The Deleters of Worlds. Wyatt was off television for quite a while after that. But he’s been back with The Firefly Fun House and The Fiend gimmicks for over a full year now, and has yet to wrestle on an episode of Raw or SmackDown since the gimmick change. Bray Wyatt and The Fiend only wrestle on pay-per-view events (or house shows and dark matches, before the global pandemic). This is the main reason why his matches still feel important. Bray Wyatt and The Fiend are not overexposed.
The reason this is on my mind is because I’m starting to get similar vibes with the return of Roman Reigns as a heel, with his special counsel Paul Heyman. Technically speaking, Reigns just wrestled a match on SmackDown last night, so it’s certainly not the same circumstances as Wyatt. But it looks like Reigns’ “Show up and win” schtick is an interesting tool to keep him from being overexposed. He lets everyone else do all the work for him, and then he just shows up at the end of the match and wins. Even with promos, Heyman can do 90% of the talking, so the portion left over for Reigns becomes more meaningful.
I don’t know how long WWE can keep Roman from wrestling long matches on television and looking just like everyone else. I don’t know how they can maintain the minimalist “Show up and win” gimmick with a singles match on pay-per-view, which he has coming up on Sept. 27 at Clash of Champions against Jey Uso, unless they are going to book a quick squash, or perhaps Uso is injured ahead of time by someone else. Maybe it’s not about overexposure, and it’s more about Reigns just portraying a heel who is trying to put in the least effort possible while being the top guy in the company.
Whatever the motivation is, Reigns comes off like he is too good for the mundane weekly matches that most everyone else on the roster (except for Wyatt) has to deal with, and it’s doing wonders for him. Wyatt and Reigns are both showing, in different ways, how much better it is when wrestlers are not overexposed.