What can you say about the work of Bray Wyatt? It’s been absolutely amazing. He is an almost totally original character – the likes of which we’ve never seen in WWE programming before. Husky Harris (Windham’s former gimmick) was going absolutely nowhere. Stupid name, no real gimmick, no direction. He couldn’t win and he didn’t. He was given an early exit while with the New Nexus – being punted by Randy Orton. He languished in developmental for a while. And then he was given a gift…a wonderful gift.
While in developmental, he was given the Bray Wyatt gimmick – along with a couple of “sons” to help him carry it out – Luke Harper & Erick Rowan. His story is one of torment. He’s been tormented his whole life – misunderstood and maligned by all who’ve known him…all except his sister Abigail. She watched over him, loved him, and protected him from all who aimed to bring harm to him. When she passed away, it brought him much pain. He pays tribute to her in the ring as he finishes off opponents with a move named in her honor: “Sister Abigail”.
The WWE has used a gimmick with slight similarities before. Dan Spivey debuted the gimmick, Waylon Mercy, in 1995 but, at 43 years of age and after many years of wrestling, Spivey wasn’t in the physical condition to see this gimmick through the way he could have years before. As such, from debut to retirement, the gimmick’s life span was only about 4 months – far too short a length of time for anything to really come of the it. Also, the production values used on the Waylon Mercy gimmick have been far eclipsed by those used to make the Bray Wyatt gimmick work.
The WWE ran disconcerting promos for over a month, each one revealing a little more about the story surrounding Bray and his family. When his “sons” and he finally debuted, the audience was more than ready for him…at least we thought we were. In truth, nothing could have prepared us for him. In a menacing video intro that greets us every time we see him, he lights a kerosene lamp slowly, says, “we’re here”, and blows it out. His brilliant entrance music plays and his sons and he come down the aisle. On the night of their debut, Kane would be their target. After the “Ring Of Fire” match between Wyatt and Kane, Kane would disappear from television. He hasn’t been heard from since, though in reality, he’s off shooting a movie and this was done to write him off television. Still, this was perfect for the Bray Wyatt gimmick. One claimed, many more to go.
Night after night, the intro is the same. They come down the aisle with nothing but a lit kerosene lighter lighting the way– stopping about three-quarters of the way down as Bray sits and rocks disconcertingly in a rocking chair for a bit while his theme music plays. They all then proceed to the ring and as the match progresses, Bray continues to exhibit weird, twisted antics until the match inevitably concludes with a tribute to his dear “Sister Abigail”.
To say this is the perfect match of worker and gimmick would be an understatement. Windham plays this out to perfection – complete with sinister laugh, menacing dialog, and strange ring antics that reveals a truly twisted soul. They’ve even added a brilliant slogan: “Follow the buzzards”. The workers making this happen are doing an absolutely stellar job of running with the most unique gimmick we’ve seen in years and for that, they are to be commended.
Production should be given major credit for all of this too. Without the brilliant videos (that always end suddenly), theme music, kerosene lighter, and rocking chair, this wouldn’t come off nearly as well. This is a gimmick that only WWE’s production values could pull off. Put this in TNA and it couldn’t possibly work.
For my part, I’m excited to see where all of this goes next. As of this writing, it appears Miz will be the next target. Bray has already mentioned his intentions of taking people out – one-by-one. Watching all of this happen should be a blast as I don’t imagine this gimmick to have a short shelf life. Bray himself is 26 years-old so he’s got lots of time to really make the most of this gimmick. I can see him going quite far and, given the amount of time and production they’ve put in to him, WWE sees that too. Let’s just sit back in our rocking chairs and see where all of this leads.
What do you think of this gimmick? Are you loving it as much as I am? Let me know what you think.