There’s been one question asked millions of times in the world of pro wrestling, over many years, something that’s puzzled fans for ages. That question is who’s going to replace The Undertaker? This is a very tough task to tackle, as you’re trying to take the place of a legend that grows more and more in status as the years pass. Undertaker has been mentioned in the realm of possibly the best big man in the business for as long as I can remember hearing the lists. This year, at WrestleMania, he actually put on such an impressive show that people have now moved beyond just considering him one of the best “big men” ever, moving him up into the conversation of possibly being the absolute best worker in the history of the business. As a diehard Undertaker fan, I can’t say this is really a surprise to me at all; actually it’s something I think has been a long time coming. The question has been nearly impossible to answer until recently, at least in my opinion.
I know it’s very early in the run, but there’s one man with the potential to become the “new Undertaker” for WWE, that many would be Bray Wyatt. Many people will say there’s no chance in hell because he’s not a seven foot tall monster of a man, he’s not a “dead man,” and he doesn’t have that dark look to him that Undertaker has carried for so many years. The biggest thing he has on his side, bigger than any of the other parts mentioned, is his absolute charisma. When you think of a worker who’s over with the fans, typically it’s their personality that draws people to them, and Bray Wyatt has personality in spades. In the early days The Undertaker would talk about his “creatures of the night,” something that drew those of us who felt a bit awkward, a bit different than other people into being his fan. The Undertaker was the worker for the misfits, the outcasts, the people who weren’t “normal” like the rest of society, and we ate it up every time he was on television. This is a sect of fans that’s been left alone for many years, they’ve been touched on here and there by different workers, but none really stayed the course.
When you look at the work Wyatt has done in his NXT run it’s a much more fluid style, sort of a dancing mixed with wrestling. I know people are going to be blinded, not capable of seeing the potential of the Wyatt character becoming as big a deal as Undertaker, I believe it’s a perfect time/place scenario. The character is a gimmick in an era where gimmicks aren’t common. With Cena and Bryan hitting the stride of a Hogan and Savage, someone needs to step into the role of darksider, Bray Wyatt is that man. While he’s not going to be “from Death Valley,” he’s still a dark, devious, powerful character, he’s already got his fan base and it’s only going to expand over time. I’ve been dying for Bray Wyatt to hit television because I have felt this was THE moment, if there were anyone for Undertaker to “pass the torch” to at some point, this man was the one for the position. We could still see, contract willing, Undertaker and Sting at Mania this year, if Undertaker feels he has one more in the tank, that would give a year to build up to Wyatt having a chance to take down the streak.
The Wyatt family is coming in with a feud against Kane, one that seemed to possibly hint at the Brothers of Destruction taking on the new Demons from the Dark Side. Word has come out that Undertaker may not be able to get back in the ring just yet, and I feel this is a big positive for Bray Wyatt and his future trajectory. I would have him feud with Kane for a while, leading to whatever outcome happens, whether it be Kane joining them, becoming a monster again, or any other end to the gimmick. My next move would be facing them off against Big Show, taking down the almighty giant himself. You would have little feuds here and there throughout the journey, eventually after they’ve taken out every single “monster” the WWE has to offer, in January of 2015 Wyatt would stand in the ring and speak about how he’s beaten everyone on his climb to being the most dominant “monster” in the history of the business. As Wyatt continues on, taking people down along the road to WrestleMania he talks about how titles aren’t on his mind, they’ll come in time, because time is on his side. His goal is immortality and the key to that is one man, The Undertaker, and he wants, he NEEDS to end the streak.
Having studied this business for so long, watching since my childhood and even going back and watching even older matches from before my time, I feel this is a great scenario for the business. Undertaker is on his way out eventually, we all know you can’t beat father time. You can’t let the spectacle die out with the end of the Dead Man, you need someone to carry on the tradition, and if done correctly; Bray Wyatt is that man. As stated, I know it’s early in the character’s run, but everything is there to make this happen. Within the year we could easily see people wearing Hawaiian shirts in the audience, holding “lanterns” as they would with urns in the past, and becoming “brothers and sisters” of the Eater of Worlds. There is so much potential here, I’m absolutely enamored by the possibilities for the future of WWE programming. It’s a fairly long road to go down, but I could see it happening pretty easily. The ascent will be amazing to watch, and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds, until then we’ll just have to keep following the buzzards.