Botched – The Return of Bray Wyatt

Can you remember back to when the door opened at the conclusion of the 2022 Extreme Rules Premium Live Event?

Can you remember the anticipation leading up to it? The cryptic clues, the QR codes that revealed just that little bit more about the impending return of Bray Wyatt after 18 months or so in the wrestling wilderness?

He’s got the whole world in his hands….

That was the song on everyone’s lips as Wyatt emerged amid an eerie light, to the thrill of the Philadelphia crowd.

Cameras lit up in the background, fans celebrated, and the wrestling world felt just that little bit more right.

Bray was “home” in the WWE and indeed, it felt as though the whole WWE Universe was in his hands.

To say that Wyatt and the WWE have dropped the ball ever since he emerged from the shadows and stepped back into the limelight would be a vast understatement. To be a little more accurate, I’d say they’ve dropped the ball, tripped over it, landed face-first in the mud, and torn their ACL. Then, as they were being carted off the field, they passed out and shit themselves.

That’s how bad Wyatt’s next few months have been.

I don’t know another wrestling fan that wasn’t pumped about Bray Wyatt returning to the fray in WWE. With Roman Reigns continuing his eons-long tenure as the undisputed champion, many floated that Wyatt could be built as a credible challenger for him – if not at Wrestlemania, then perhaps at Summerslam in 2023. I wonder if they still feel this way?

I wonder whether they see Wyatt as a legitimate challenge at all, right now?

Instead of that build toward the title, Wyatt entered into a feud composed of mind games with ‘Uncle Howdy’. I have to admit, it took me two appearances of Howdy to demonstrate that this storyline was going to be garbage. I was out pretty quickly, however, many held out hope that the destination would be worth the journey. Usually, people talk about how rewarding the journey is, but in this case, I would have rather sat between two bickering siblings on an eight-hour road trip than take the ‘Bray v Howdy’ journey for another moment. It’d still be irritating, but in eight hours, it’d be over. The WWE storyline was irritating for months!

It seemed to take a turn at the Royal Rumble when Wyatt took on LA Knight in a gimmicky ‘Pitch Black’ match, but the apparent union of the warring relatives, with Howdy dropping a big elbow onto Knight after the match was soon pushed aside as Wyatt shifted his focus to Bobby Lashley, reverting to his ‘Firefly Funhouse’ character in the process. No mention of “Howdy”: just Wyatt using goofy sound effects to get under Lashley’s skin and set up the Wrestlemania match against The All Mighty.

This is where we are after one of the biggest returns of the past 12 months – a rushed four-week build to Wrestlemania. Riveting stuff, huh?

It has to have people wondering how the WWE and Wyatt, himself, allowed things to degenerate so much that they had to pivot so suddenly. If there were one sure thing over the last six months, I would have bet on the return of Bray Wyatt being something worth watching. Instead, it has provided a cringe-worthy series of exchanges and the watering down of a character that should have been red hot for months.

Some have stated that Bray is in control of his story arc and is responsible for the mess we currently find him in. Even if that is true, the WWE still has to greenlight everything he proposes – was there nobody game enough (pardon the pun) to tap the returning star on the shoulder and inform him that the story he was planning… well, kind of sucked?

I’m not sure anyone could have screwed up the return of Bray Wyatt any more, even if they hired Vince Russo to throw Mike Rotunda on a pole and make Bray and Bo Dallas wrestle for his soul. This has been a monumental series of errors at a time when everyone seems to be full of praise for the job Triple H is doing as the Chief Content Officer.

Imagine Tony Khan had lured Wyatt to AEW and trotted this crap out for his new star to play with? You’d all want his head on a platter!

The one saving grace in all of this is that in wrestling, you can always recycle, repackage, and restore over a period of time. As sad as it seems, the WWE need to start doing exactly that with Bray Wyatt and perhaps the program with Bobby Lashley is the first step in that process.

Bray Wyatt had the world in his hands. He has every wrestling fan in the world waiting to see what he had in store.

And he lost plenty of us with this nonsense he offered up over the last three or so months. He is probably further away from the main event picture than he was when he was out of the loop. At least back then, there was an air of mystique and unpredictability about him.

Now, there simply doesn’t seem to be much of anything of substance. It will be interesting to see how Wyatt and the WWE are able to turn this around.

Because the alternative is it falls off a cliff.


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