Down the (Fantasy Booking) Rabbit Hole by The Andrew Bello
“If You Can’t Beat’em; Join’em.” With these words, Randy Orton joined the Wyatt Family, and Internet wrestling fans collectively sighed. We’ve seen this before! It’s the same sh*t they did with Daniel Bryan. For many, a repeat of Daniel Bryan’s brief flight with the Buzzards was a foregone conclusion. Bryan, of course, infiltrated and turned on Bray Wyatt in a two-week span during his journey to main event Wrestlemania 30. Left in his wake was a “God” among men made to look a fool by a simple “goat”. Bray Wyatt, the Seducer and Destroyer, was seduced and destroyed. Would WWE’s Apex Predator Randy Orton cause him to suffer the same fate?
Probably. I think we all know that deep down but, for a second, let’s pretend “they” (WWE Creative…cough, cough…Vince!) are going to start booking in the interest of the Bray Wyatt character. Actually, that’s too specific. Let’s hope *crosses fingers* that they are going to start booking in the interest of their young talent, in general. They are moving into the new era. Yeah! The New Era. Remember when that was a thing? (¿Member?) What happened to that? Sure, they finally decided to join the 21st Century, and allowed the women to have some of the spotlight in a powerful, meaningful way that doesn’t revolve around them stripping or essentially being groupies for the male Superstars on a weekly basis. Oh, and we got the Cruiserweights. Ultimately, if it truly is a new era… We have to end the old era. Guys like Cena, Orton, Undertaker, Brock, Goldberg, Kane and Chris Jericho have been the very fabric of the last 15(+) years of professional wrestling. That’s why they are still here, but they are going to retire and have even more reduced schedules. They are no longer the show. It’s The Kevin Owens Show. It’s The Phenomenal AJ Styles’ Camp. It’s Monday Night (Seth Freakin’) Rollins. It’s the Ambrose Asylum. Or at least it should be…right?
So, back to Bray Wyatt. He is – or at least, he damn well has to be – an integral part of this new era. He’s young, he’s a legacy in the business, he can summon monsters, and he control people’s minds with his words. He’s got the whole world in his hands. People often compare him to the Undertaker with his paranormal attributes, but he just needs to be Bray Wyatt. The first step in that direction is to give him wins. More importantly, one or two “clean” wins, in big matches, on big shows with big stakes. Not titles necessarily, but real, epic battles for his opponent’s minds, bodies and/or souls. The wins don’t need to be squeaky clean, but they can’t continue to be the result of a Harper or Rowan pop-in. Perhaps, Bray Wyatt has to evolve.
Enter Randy Orton. Randy, a legend in the business by any legitimate measure, is getting older. He’s hurt. He’s married. He has a few stepkids. He’s made a lot of money. He’s still over af everywhere. He doesn’t need to win. He doesn’t need to ever win another title, start a cool faction or main event a Wrestlemania. He could, and probably should be putting a guy like Bray Wyatt over in this situation. Reddit user EXCannonSpike posted a theory on the SquaredCircle subreddit involving Randy Orton turning Luke Harper against Bray. That way, he would essentially have Bray1-on-1. While this would be a new spin on the aforementioned Bray Wyatt/Daniel Bryan feud. However, if Randy does separate Bray from his family member, it not only makes Bray look like a fool, yet again, but it also diminishes our ability, as fans, to believe in his powers. From my current understanding of the Harper-Wyatt relationship, Luke worships Bray. He has listened to and absorbed Bray’s rhetoric as his own ideology and is indebted to him for freeing him from the constraints of mainstream thinking. So, in this situation, we are to believe that a little jealousy would break that divide? I’m not going to say it won’t happen, because we are all too accustomed to the Murphy’s Law booking style of WWE. However, it absolutely should not happen.
Let’s assume that WWE is going to use Randy Orton to get Bray Wyatt over and make him a more serious, believable character. In that case, Randy Orton should not have an elaborate plot to overthrow the Wyatts, at least not one that hasn’t already been accounted for by Bray. In a (my) perfect world, this is the beginning of an evolution for the Bray Wyatt character. I’ve never been a big believer in Bray holding titles or getting title shots or even caring about the titles existence. He’s got the whole world in his hands. Why would he need a shiny gold belt? Instead, I would prefer if Bray seeks power, seduces it and either destroys it, or in this case uses it to destroy his enemies. I think Randy should fully succumb to Bray’s will, Bray should dispatch Harper with little pageantry and Bray should become the Manipulator of Souls. Sure, being a champion comes with its own type of power, but to control a sitting World Champion would be the ultimate display of power. Imagine a world where Bray is accompanied to the ring by an entranced WWE World Champion. It doesn’t need to be Randy Orton, but Randy could be the first victim of Bray’s ever-evolving power. Bray no longer needs the aid of oversized, aloof monsters if he can control a legendary wrestler of Randy Orton’s stature. We have seen a hint at this power during his feud with the Brothers of Destruction heading into last year’s Survivor Series. A Bray Wyatt that could seduce and manipulate legendary characters in WWE lore could create for some incredibly riveting storylines. Imagine if he could get inside the head of the Stephanie McMahon, Triple H or even…Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
The bottom line (in this case because I said so) is the Bray Wyatt character is dying on the vine. He’s too talented, too unique and too important to be left to look silly yet again. The fans want to cheer him as displayed by the ever-growing “fireflies” during his entrance. The biggest piece of evidence to the fans’ support was the Monday Night Raw main event which featured an oddball tag team of Bray and Roman Reigns. It seemed the WWE was hinting at a face turn and the fans were clearly buying into it. Due to an unexpected injury that storyline was abandoned upon his return. All I’m saying is that it’s time to pull the trigger on a push. He doesn’t need to be a babyface or a champion, but he does need to be credible. He needs a big win where Randy clearly does not. They actually work quite well together, and they could break Randy away from Bray whenever they want by having Bray release Orton from whatever trance he has him in. This leaves the door open for Wyatt to use similar tactics when embattled with his next opponent. If this method is not overused, he could be a force to be reckoned in the WWE Universe for a long time, maybe even longer than his in-ring career. But before we get there WWE needs to at least give him his first, real successful….run.
Andrew Bello is the host of The NeXT Level Wrestling podcast part of The Wrestling World Podcast Network. Twitter: @WWPNBello