It has been nearly a year since we first sat in wonder, amusement, and worry that we may have ate the wrong brownies while watching Bray Wyatt on the first firefly funhouse.
Since then Bray Wyatt has been limited in who he feuds with and the number of matches we have seen from and and The Fiend. WWE has wisely taken the less is more approach. But everything that has been a part of the funhouse has had deeper meaning. Huskus the Pig referring back to Bray’s original character in WWE Husky Harris. Mercy The Buzzard calling back to Wyatt’s “follow the buzzards” tag as the cult leader of The Wyatt Family. Abbie The Witch being the most obvious reference to Sister Abigail. And finally Ramblin’ Rabbit representing the criticism of Bray’s promo style of rambling on with no clear direction. One thing has become clear is that everything inside of the funhouse has meaning. Wyatt is someone who takes great pride in his character work. If you watch old promos of his you can see callbacks to things he said years ago. Maybe it was intentional then or, more likely, he is someone who studies himself to evolve his character work. And the good news is, at least for the time being, its working. Wyatt has risen to the top merch movers in the company at one point even selling out his replica title for over $6,000.
Through all the symbolism, criticism, and everything in between Wyatt has rose to the top of the ranks for WWE and is currently schedule to start working with old Wyatt Family comrade Braun Strowman. And for what the future may hold for Wyatt and Strowman we may need to look to the past.
Bray Wyatt vs Finn Balor
After months of the Firefly Funhouse we were finally introduced in ring to The Fiend at Summerlam in 2019. This match was originally supposed to happen at TLC in 2017 before Wyatt was pulled due to a medical concern and replaced with AJ Styles. At that time it was teased that Bray Wyatt would be wrestling as Sister Abigail in drag to go against Finn Balors demon. When that match couldn’t happen WWE made the best of the situation and to salvage the PPV they pulled AJ Styles off the road from Smackdown, (he was in South America the night before) brought him to TLC and put on a classic match. Wyatt and Balor would not have their paths cross again for nearly three years. But when the time came the demon was left behind leaving Balor to face The Fiend on his own. After suffering defeat Balor would be kept off tv until reappearing on NXT.
Bray Wyatt vs Seth Rollins
Immediately after sending Balor packing he turned his sites to the newly crowned Universal Champion Seth Rollins. Rollins was coming off possibly the biggest win of his career and concluding arguably the best year and a half run of his WWE career by slaying the beast Brock Lesnar in a great match at Summerslam. During this feud mistakes were definitely made. Rollins was the white hot babyface who had finally vanquished the part time beast. Wyatt on the other hand may have been the hottest character in the entire company and fans did not want to see him stumble. You had two people that the fans did not want to cheer against. So logically WWE made you decide. And the decision at Hell In A Cell 2019 was load and clear. The fans did not want to see Wyatt lose. They also didn’t want to see a Hell In A Cell end in a disqualification (or no contest?). The rematch was set for Saudi Arabia and the beast slayer was slain. Up next would be the environments champion The New Daniel Bryan.
Bray Wyatt vs Daniel Bryan
This feud would be the longest running feud that Wyatt has had in this long strange journey and so far the best. Wyatt and Bryan would wrestle multiple times and even though Bray would emerge victorious Daniel would do us all a favor and beat the red light out of Wyatt in the blowoff match. Their strap match at this years Royal Rumble has been hands down the best match Wyatt has had in years. The red light that was introduced at Hell In A Cell was gone and people could actually see the work. Daniel Bryan reminded us that he is in fact one of the best wrestlers in the world and probably the best wrestler in WWE. But again The Fiend emerged victorious.
Bray Wyatt vs The Miz
Sandwiched between matches with Bryan was a short feud with Miz. This would be the only time so far we have seem Wyatt wrestle outside of The Fiend coming in to this match as Funhouse Bray, sweater and all. Wyatt may have been revealed to be a stalker of sorts sending The Fiend to creep on Miz’s kids inside of Miz’s house (thanks for the nightmares and future therapy dad).
Bray Wyatt vs Goldberg
This was a match that happened. The reality is WWE wanted to get the title to Roman without Roman having to face Bray. They knew what would happen to Roman. So the decision was made to the title on Goldberg to build a bigger star power match vs Roman for Wrestlemania.
Bray Wyatt vs John Cena
In perhaps the most intriguing “match”? of The Fiends run has been him going against John Cena in a Firefly Funhouse match. When it was first announced there would be a Firefly Funhouse match I immediately has flashbacks of the infamous House of Horrors match vs Randy Orton and was not sold on the idea. But what came of it was magic. John Cena was Bray Wyatts most important opponent. For years fans have blamed Cena for derailing Wyatt when he could have been pushed as the companies next Undertaker. The Wyatt family was red hot coming off dismantling The Shield. Bray Wyatt just a few months prior was in maybe the hottest storyline at the time with Daniel Bryan concluding to Wyatt beating Bryan at the Royal Rumble. CM Punk had left the company. Undertaker was working once a year. Brock Lesnar was Brock Lesnar. WWE was desperate for a new star. Enter Bray Wyatt leading a chorus of fans singing “he’s got the whole world in his hands.” The world was ready. The time was then. A new face of fear was going to be crowned at Wrestelmania 30. LOL Cena wins. Bray had some good moments after this. But most will agree this is when Wyatt was stuck in limbo with the company.
Your Past Is Your Future
This line has been echoing in NXT since Finn Balor arrive. “My past is my future.” Balor has been a baby face his entire time in WWE. But many fans remember, and were begging for, Prince Devitt to return from his time in NJPW and pre WWE work. And when the time came standing side by side Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa facing the Undisputed Era, Balor stepped forward.. and Pele kicked Johnny Gargano in the head. Seth Rollins, who was the architect of The Shield, had been a white hot baby face since his return from ACL surgery. But many recalled the cocky heel who stabbed his brothers in the back and became the face of the authority storyline. And after his time facing Wyatt the heel is back. The Miz, who for the last year or more, had been working as a face. And to his credit he was doing a good job. And then there is Daniel Bryan. After stealing the title from AJ Styles in 2018 with a low blow and following it up with a kick to the beanbags of Brock Lesnar, the once face of the people was The New Daniel Bryan, the Environments Champion. Everyone who has been defeated by Bray Wyatt has ultimately flipped the script on the direction of their character. One Reddit user even theorized that Wyatt’s ability to emerge victorious depends whether there is internal conflict with his opponents. Balor, Rollins, Miz, Bryan, and Cena have all played both the heel and face roles during their career. And all suffered for it when coming to face Wyatt. The only one who has emerged victorious has been Goldberg, who has always known who he is. Goldberg is, was, and will always be Goldberg. But even he was reverted back to his old version of being in a match at Wrestlemania that no one wanted to see, ready to be booed by smarks, and then disappearing after it was over.
Staring down the barrel of the gun that is The Fiend is Braun Strowman. Strowman finally won his first heavyweight title after stepping in for Roman Reigns defeating Goldberg. And it didn’t take long for Wyatt to appear. Strowman was introduced as (well as a member of the rosebuds for Adam Rose) a member of the Wyatt Family. When time came for the brand split Strowman was split off on his own still working as a heel. Eventually Strowman would try to murder Roman Reigns and it was clear to fans, and later WWE, that Strowman was a face. And if Wyatt were to heel The Monster Among Men it may be on to Roman Reigns (covid-19 pending) who was the muscle of The Shield. Roman Reigns who once struck so much fear into Heath Slater causing Slater to stand motionless while his friends were attacked.
Maybe I am reading too much into the results and aftermath of Bray Wyatts feuds. Maybe I am giving too much credit to WWE for small details and long term booking, which is not one of their strong suits. Or medium suits. But one this is very clear with Bray Wyatt and its that every small detail may mean something. Wyatt has been the best booked character in WWE since the introduction of the Firefly Funhouse. And if you are a wrestler stuck in limbo, unsure of what your next move is, and need a refresher then Bray Wyatt is there to help you to the other side.