Planet Kayfabe: He’s Here… Now What?
By: Paul Matthews
October 10, 2022
Hello everyone and thank you again for reading Planet Kayfabe here on NoDq. Last night was WWE’s “Extreme Rules” PLE (that’s a ‘premium live event’, fellow 90s fans). A fine show, but most people are talking about a certain return that most of us expected. That’s the return of Bray Wyatt. WWE did an incredible job building this up. Starting out with QR codes, little easter eggs, and various clues peppered on the show. Most people caught on that it would be the return of Bray Wyatt who was released just over a year ago in July of 2021.
There is no mistaking that Bray is popular and a good grab back for WWE. If you’re a regular reader of mine, you know I’m not the biggest Bray Wyatt fan. It is nothing against him personally. He’s certainly a clever guy and has an intense passion for professional wrestling, but it’s just a shame that he’s not so good at the actual wrestling part of pro wrestling. It may sound stiff, but almost everything I have enjoyed about Bray Wyatt is all stuff that happened on the Titan Tron screen. Once he was in the arena, he lost a lot of that fear factor and mystique. He just looked like a fat redneck. Less like The Undertaker, to whom he is often compared to, and more like Mideon. It got even worse when the bell rang and unless he was working with Daniel Bryan, his matches were usually pretty bad and not just bad but boring.
To me, Bray Wyatt was the epitome of the old phrase “…and then the bell rang”. Yes, of course, character development and promos are important, but everything in WWE builds to a match in a wrestling ring. You have to be able to work. I know on the internet within IWC circles there is often an overemphasis on “workrate”, but it does matter. It’s never a good thing to be the guy who talks a big game and aims to strike fear in his opponents with wild backstage segments, dry ice, Halloween decorations, and promises of your demise only to waddle out there and just be a dull, round-faced, fat guy in the ring who no-sells, moves slow and is just exposed as someone you shouldn’t really fear at all. Yet… the babyface in the ring has to act like he is scared even though once Bray was placed in a wrestling ring he was really just a guy. Either a guy in a mask or a guy with a dumb-ass sweater on.
So, what do you do? Obviously, there is talent there. Obviously, there is passion. Do you just let this guy sit on his ass and find a new job? No. He’s in WWE again where he belongs. Even though I have been critical, as I have stated in the past, I am still open to seeing what Bray does and if any changes to his presentation are made. In recent years, I often thought of how it took Mark Calloway to make The Undertaker work. While Bray Wyatt is a cool character, I often wonder if the guy playing him simply isn’t good enough to live up to his own imagination. All this buildup has been great but based of what I’ve seen following this guy’s entire career in WWE, I don’t see the payoff being better. In short, the honeymoon is over once the moment the guy who says “we’re here” is actually here live.
Bray Wyatt came back and it looks like he enjoyed his time off. He looks to be back over 300 pounds which for him is not a good thing. He’s about Mick Foley’s height (maybe even a little shorter) and Mick always tried to avoid being 300 pounds because that’s the point where he felt he couldn’t work at his best. I know everybody is different, but Bray is no Mick Foley. Bray was never at any stage of his career as good of a worker that Mick was, so that tells me he needs to be even more mindful of his weight than Foley was who could still have great matches at around 285 pounds. I know its a modern taboo to question someone’s weight but it is both a cosmetic business and an athletic one. Weight always matters. If that fact makes you uncomfortable, then go to your local Sonic and enjoy a large milkshake. You are not a professional athlete. You can be a fat load and sweat just by going up your front stairs if that makes you happy. Bray, on the other hand, needs to lean out. Especially the older he gets.
All that aside, I ask again… What now? I said Bray belongs in WWE. He’s back. So now what? Put the belt on him? Throw him in a feud with some dude he already feuded with already within the past 5 years? Sounds pretty dull to me.
That’s the key, though. To me, it sounds dull.
On the other hand, Bray Wyatt has been surprisingly popular with kids, and whether you like it or not WWE needs kids watching again. I have written about it in the past how the business isn’t going to survive by a bunch of old Attitude Era hardcores going to shows and buying expensive fake belts. WWE needs the next generation of fans. Plus, as much as I hate Undertaker/Bray Wyatt comparisons, I will use one myself this time. The Undertaker was once the scary heel who made little kids cry and cower behind their parents. Eventually, Undertaker became a babyface. The presentation didn’t change much, he just set out to strike fear into the other wrestlers instead of the fans.
In short, Bray Wyatt should be a babyface. If he were any other wrestler, why wouldn’t you keep him babyface? He returned to massive applause. He has his fans and is popular. Has a popular gimmick. Everything points to him working as a babyface. Just let him be a babyface.
One of my biggest complaints about Bray Wyatt during that awful Fiend run was that he killed every babyface that he worked with. They all came out worse in the end. Seth Rollins said as much himself and he should feel that way because he was probably hurt more than anyone else after working with Bray and having to cry like a baby because some fat guy is wearing a mask and stumbling around in the ring wearing early 2000s Hot Topic NuMetal freak clothes. The mark of a good heel is one who heats up babyfaces. Instead, not only did Bray kill his babyfaces but he also almost killed his own career. If Vince McMahon still had his way, Bray would still be sitting on his ass eating bonbons waiting for his phone to ring for the rest of his life.
That is what this Paul would do. Keep him babyface. Use him sparingly. Keep him special. Keep the matches short. Let him dominate a bit. Give us a reason to give a shit about these great promos he was doing because I didn’t give a shit about all his spooky threats when I knew he was going to eat a clean pinfall when it was all over. As for what the other Paul will do, I don’t know. I imagine it will be different than what Vince did with Wyatt, though and it has to be or else this run will fail.
It’s simple. Turn babyface. Don’t overstay your welcome. Do the cool backstage shit on television. Win at the PLE’s. No scientific back-and-forth matches. Not yet anyway. Maybe save those for Wrestlemania. That’s how I would book Bray. I’d also keep the cinematic magic to a minimum, too. Again, I know the kids may have a different opinion, but I was not a fan of that trash he did with John Cena. That AJ Styles vs Undertaker match was much better in my personal opinion. I’m not saying to never do anything like it. Just because it’s not my cup of tea doesn’t mean it can’t work on a mass scale.
Never do another match like the HIAC with Rollins, though. That was the drizzling shit. Seriously one of the worst WWE matches I’ve ever seen.
There you go, WWE. I did all the brain work for you. Bray Wyatt’s booking has been so awful over the years that it even has its own sub-section on his Wikipedia page. That’s when you know a talent has seriously been botched. I have faith in Paul Levesque and I have faith in Bray Wyatt as a creative mind for his character… It’s just at one point that the bell is going to ring. Then we will see if he truly is something special that was just another victim of bad booking or just a guy unfit to fill the shoes of his own imagination.
If you missed my last piece, I said I would keep an open mind to a Bray Wyatt return. Sometimes something just clicks later in their career. It happened with Mark Henry. It’s happening right now with Sheamus, whom of which I haven’t cared about this much in probably ten years. It can very much happen with Bray and maybe a year from now I’m writing about how great his run has been and he’ll have my vote for Superstar of the Year. We’ll see, right? That’s why we watch.
Bo Dallas is going to have a significantly harder time getting me to give a shit when he returns, though.
Thanks again for reading, everyone. Best of luck to Bray Wyatt. I genuinely mean that. Even if I wasn’t a fan at all of his last run, like I said, the passion is there and I’d like to see him succeed beyond what he already has.
As for other news, I’m surprised to hear Jon Moxley signed a 5 year deal with AEW. I’m not surprised that he’s staying with AEW, but 5 years is a long time. As we know in 2022 alone, things change fast and he may feel different two or three years from now than he will in 2027. Good for Mox, though. It’s what he wants and he got it. He’s not interested in another WWE run and why would he be? He’s AEW’s world champion and probably their best world champion so far. He can pretty much do what he wants. He has more freedom than he did in WWE. He is making great money, and he is their top man. So, I’m not shocked at all that he is staying put, but the 5 years seems to be a bit much.
Sammy Guevara was involved in another backstage incident, this time, with Andrade Cien Almas. I’m not going to get into all the details about how it started, but pretty much, Andrade is trying to get fired and Tony Khan said he’s not going to fire him. If that’s the case, Tony Khan should just keep Andrade at home and maybe guys not named Jon Moxley shouldn’t be signing such long contracts with AEW.
To be honest I don’t have the slightest bit of sympathy for Andrade or Aleister Black or anyone else who all of a sudden wants out of AEW after signing a long-term deal. Especially if they were whining about their spot in WWE beforehand. Don’t like it? Don’t sign the contract. Not everyone in the fucking company can get a big huge push. Someone like Andrade should just be happy he is even getting a paycheck in an American wrestling company. It’s not like if he went to WWE that he would suddenly be pushed like Roman fucking Reigns. No. He’d be in the same spot he’s in now, just wit his wife. Maybe its her that should be the one trying to get a release. It’s not like anyone gives a fuck to see her on TV again.
Plus, it would be hilarious to see the same fans who say they are sick of Charlotte Flair pop huge for her if she ever made a surprise AEW debut. Ya know, just like TNA. All the WWE cast-offs are the real stars!
Tony Khan needs to spank the children backstage or something. Once again, it is clear they don’t respect him as a leader. He calls them to a meeting on Tuesday saying not to fight and 24 hours later they fight anyway. Just as the fog was starting to clear on AEW’s backstage woes this happens. Great timing, guys.
Thanks again for reading, everyone. Happy Columbus Day here in the US. I hope you have enjoyed your day off. Take care and God bless. For NoDQ, I’m KCA Paul Matthews. Take care, everyone.