Craig Wilson, Jamie Lithgow & Brian Damage
The WWE roster is filled with “superstars” at every level. There are the main roster guys who regularly appear on Raw and SmackDown, those who are used as glorified jobbers and those who are barely used at all. In this series of pieces, we will take an individual wrestler barely or poorly used and decide if they are worth keeping or should they be let go. Today we decide if we Book or Cook Bray Wyatt.
Craig: I was initially joking about this with Jamie but after The Wyatts lost to Ryback, Kane and Big Show at Fastlane – certainly against our predictions for the show – and with it being Dean Ambrose instead of the heavily rumoured Bray Wyatt that’s facing Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, you have to start to wonder about the long term future of Bray Wyatt.
Am going to say it: am not a huge mark for him or the stable. I know I’ll get dissent from Brian on this one. The same rambling promo time and time again and breaking up the family before putting them back together because creative had nothing else for them before adding in a new member to try and make it fresh. Based on all that, and the fact that they continue to look weak, the future isn’t looking too bright for Bray and co, is it?
Due to their menacing look, it should be the easiest job in the world to get these guys over. Have them destroy people week in, week out before having them beat meaningful people. But no, they job out to Kane, Ryback and Big Show. Sort of makes you wonder why they attacked Brock at the Royal Rumble, doesn’t it?
Jamie: I’m starting to lose faith too, and I’ve given Wyatt (and the group) the benefit of the doubt on many occasions. You mention his “rambling promos” and it’s hard to disagree. At first it was mysterious , we were wondering what he might be referring to. The answer on many occasions turned out to be; nothing in particular. These days we still don’t know exactly what he’s on about and as a result people have lost interest because he’ll probably just lose to whoever he’s wrestling anyway.
Although Wyatt’s plight is similar to the majority of the roster – Barrett, Ziggler, Cody Rhodes/Stardust, Sheamus, Rusev etc. – his case is particularly frustrating because he’s different. He’s such a character driven wrestler, he’s not just another guy in trunks trying to get over. Wyatt is over, fans want to care about him. The problem is he never seems to have anything interesting to say and he routinely finds himself as the secondary participant in a feud. I genuinely cannot recall a feud Wyatt has had that was designed purely to get him over. It makes me wonder why WWE still bother with him, he is not the type of character that can be done half-arsed but that is exactly how WWE are treating him.
Brian: I have to continue to disagree with you both on the issues pertaining to Bray Wyatt. He is a man…much like Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts who doesn’t need the aid of a title to make himself look important. Bray’s promos are always well done despite the rambling as they have been called. He wants to dominate the WWE and wants the world to follow him or get destroyed. Should he win a bit more? Sure, absolutely he should…but again, his presence makes any match he is in feel and look BIG. Not many other stars have that aura about them. Bray has “it.”
As far as being bumped in his match against Brock Lesnar, I may be in the minority, but I’m kind of glad that isn’t happening. Let’s be realistic, Brock doesn’t lose…so Bray would have been just another victim to him. That would be three Wrestlemanias in a row where Wyatt lost. Bray can make the match seem big and important…but he also needs to win on the grandest stage.
Jamie: I do agree about him dodging a bullet with Lesnar. I just can’t help but feel that he now looks like a bit of a chump because he was so clearly being positioned as Brock’s opponent. If WWE had a better track record of heels – the Wyatts in particular – doing bad stuff for no reason then fair enough, but we’ve been conditioned to believe that everything in WWE happens for a reason. I want to believe that Wyatt’s interactions with Lesnar had no deep meaning, but in all likelihood they were supposed to build to a match which has now been handed Dean Ambrose.
My main issue with Bray Wyatt is that while I do like the character I am fast losing interest due to his – and his family members – woeful win/loss record in big matches. Yes he’s a fascinating character, but at the end of the day he’s a wrestler. He can have all the aura he wants, but if he keeps losing big matches then what reason is there for fans to buy into him? These days I watch Bray Wyatt’s PPV matches with hope rather than excitement. In his most recent feud with The Undertaker I wasn’t excited that he might win, I was just hoping he wouldn’t lose.
Brian: I totally understand you feeling that way. Bray should win a big match here and there and what better way than at Wrestlemania? Hopefully it won’t be someone like Ryback or Big Show and somebody that can help propel the Wyatts forward. Who that is I don’t know…but what I do know is the WWE haven’t lost too much confidence in him because his entrances are made special during mania and still has some sort of push behind him at all times.
Jamie: I did notice his entrance in the Wrestlemania video promo. Every time I see it I think he looks stupid for carrying a lantern in gorgeous sunshine! But anyway, I agree that he really needs to have a big Wrestlemania this year. In all honesty it’s make or break – book or cook, if you will. If he loses or is booked against someone like Ryback then it’s game over for me. A character like Bray Wyatt has to be bought into by fans. We have to believe in him, not unlike The Undertaker. He’s so character driven that he can only really exist as a major player or a low card joke guy. He’s been on the main roster for close to three years now, if WWE truly believed in him then surely he should have achieved more than being a fascinating character with a cult following?
Brian: I see your point, but Bray Wyatt to me is a major player regardless of wins and losses. Would I like to see Bray win a title or two? Sure, but in the end…he has that special something that draws me to him. Something that isn’t manufactured by the WWE’s corporate machine. I say book him and book him for many years to come.
Craig: I agree with Brian, his WrestleMania entrances show that the company is willing to invest in the Bray Wyatt character but I also agree with Jamie it is make/book or break/cook this year as there will only be so long that they will continue to invest in him if there isn’t enough progress in the character.
The Bray Wyatt character is pretty cold at the moment. But it is worth noting that so was Dean Ambrose a few months ago and he very quickly got hot again and back into the main event picture. What is for certain is something needs to happen soon. One thing could be Bray being angered at the lack of success the Wyatts are having and maybe they take a violent turn attacking superstars left, right and centre or even adding another member to the group. There’s things that the WWE can do with them but I can’t help but think that they need to do something quickly…
So there we have it. In the Wyatts, and particularly in Bray, the WWE have a strong character but one they are wasting. I don’t necessarily think it’s by design – it’s more to do with the fact that a group like the Wyatts can’t just be booked the same as others or the mystique surrounding their gimmick is ruined. The pressure is on to get things straight with the group before it is too late. Can he grab a victory over Brock Lesnar at this weekend’s Roadblock Network special or is another high-profile loss for Bray on the cards?
You can read all previous ‘Book or Cook?’ pieces here.