Somebody probably called it, but I didn’t see “comes out as as close to Windham Rotunda as we’ve ever seen on WWE television to nervously speak on how challenging the past year’s been for him” in many people’s fantasy booking of Bray Wyatt’s return promo.
After weeks of chasing the “White Rabbit” and Wyatt’s mesmerizing appearance at Extreme Rules, that’s what we got though. We also saw what seemed to be Bray, wearing the mask we saw at last Saturday’s PLE and in his brief message on the latest Raw, cut off his own speech with an ominous warning (mostly a quote from Clive Barker’s Abarat).
Coming out of the latest expertly crafted and delivered beat of... whatever Wyatt’s comeback tale ends up being... the prevailing theory among Fireflys and other wrestling fans is that Bray is entering into a feud with himself. If the ‘Wyatt 6” group there’s been so much speculation about lately isn’t a red herring, the assumption is that each of those characters is a facet of Wyatt’s fractured psyche — in essence, Bray himself would be the 6.
So based on what we saw last night, with the masked Wyatt playing the heel and cutting off the “real” Bray in the ring, if we play that idea out... Wyatt is embarking on a program wherein he’ll feud with himself. Whoever is playing Huskus, Mercy, Ramblin’ Rabbit, The Fiend (who’s always been an aspect of Bray’s personality) & maybe Abby will just be manifestations of Wyatt’s subconscious, and who he’ll actually wrestle — hopefully not while wearing their costumes. Maybe that culminates in a cinematic deconstruction of his character a la what he did to John Cena at WrestleMania 36, but we’ll cross that spooky-ass bridge when we get to it.
What’s exciting about that idea is that it would be evidence Wyatt and/or WWE have learned from the past. It would avoid the issues we saw when the Eater of Worlds took numerous losses and couldn’t be taken seriously as a threatening cult leader any longer, and the well-documented disasters that were The Fiend’s feuds with Seth Rollins and Goldberg. It also avoids the mixing of supernatural stories with ones based in the more traditional pro wrestling world, which gave a lot of us whiplash during the pre-WrestleMania 37 angle with Alexa Bliss and feud with Randy Orton.
Basically, it puts Wyatt in his own bubble universe within the larger universe. It not only avoids conflicting narratives like those, but for the fans who just don’t want to engage with Bray’s brand of horror-tinged postmodernism? You can skip those without worrying that you’re missing part of a major title scene.
Of course, we don’t even know if we are heading toward a Bray vs. Bray (or “Brays”) feud. If we are, all of the above is a main reason to get excited about this new version of Wyatt. But even if we’re not? Or whatever he is up to falls flatter than his Hell in a Cell match with Rollins?
The main reason to get excited about a new version of Bray Wyatt is you know he’s going to try to do something new, or put a new twist on a familiar pro wrestling trope. Given how much of our entertainment is crafted to appeal to everyone without upsetting anyone — probably according to an algorithm — it’s thrilling to be taken on a journey by someone who believes in their creative vision.