This past Sunday, WWE provided fans with a great moment. In a night filled with the word “new”, something special happened. It’s been a long time coming, but after a fantastic match inside the Elimination Chamber, Bray Wyatt is your NEW WWE Champion.
WWE hyped up the new Elimination Chamber structure, which looked a lot “cleaner” than the previous one. My one complaint would be that the floor’s look padded, taking out some of the mystique. Regardless, that was one of the best Chamber matches I have ever witnessed. Everyone played their part perfectly. Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin set up their potential match at WrestleMania 33 and The Miz was… “Awesome” for his small role. One by one people were getting eliminated, until it was all down to John Cena, A.J. Styles and Bray Wyatt.
Once Bray pinned Cena (the champion at the time), it was a whole new ballgame. We were guaranteed a new champion. Styles and Bray ended up having a great back and forth encounter. Styles then went for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Wyatt caught him and hit the most impressive Sister Abigail’s Kiss I’ve ever seen.
He truly has the whole world in his hands. Bray Wyatt’s career has finally come fully circle, and in my opinion it’s about damn time! The son of Mike Rotunda (I.R.S. to some old school fans), Bray first showed up in WWE as Husky Harris. Joining the latest season of NXT (while it was still considered a game show), it was easy to tell how green he was. He later joined the New Nexus stable, and after CM Punk became their leader (weird times) he had to go through an initiation process. Remember when he got whipped with belts? One kick to the head from Randy Orton and he was back down to developmental.
As FCW transformed into the early stages of the NXT we see today, it was Harris (Rotunda) who came up with the Bray Wyatt gimmick. He had the freedom to hone his craft and create a following not seen before. The early formation of The Wyatt Family had a lot of promise, and when he left NXT for WWE he was treated as a hero.
Since joining the main roster, Bray has had some ups and downs. He had a small feud with Daniel Bryan that included a recruitment phase, but it wasn’t as successful compared to his recent story with Randy Orton. Many expected great things when The Wyatt Family defeated the dominant Shield at the 2014 Elimination Chamber PPV, but that didn’t quite happen. He entered a feud with John Cena and lost at WrestleMania 30. Losing a lot of momentum, Wyatt was left with no real direction. He lost to The Undertaker at WrestleMania 31 and wasn’t even on the card for WM 32. While unsuccessfully challenging The New Day for the Tag Team Titles, one could tell there needed to be a change.
Once the brand split happened, something actually did change. I’ve been praising SmackDown for being the land of opportunity, but I didn’t realize how much it would impact Bray. Its a platform for him to succeed in a way that he could never have on Raw. While feuding and teaming with Randy Orton, he has gotten more credit for his hard work. The Family even won Tag Team gold on the main roster for the first time (briefly, but still). All of his hard work was rewarded at the Elimination Chamber PPV this Sunday as he won the ultimate prize.
I almost lost hope in him, as did many fans. We wanted him to have the moon, but he could never reach for it. Bray never thought that though. Speaking to ESPN after his title win, Bray discussed his long journey to get to the promised land. His answers were a mix of his persona and his own true self. He stated:
“To me it was an up-yours to the authority, because when I walked into this, I don’t think anyone ever looked at me and said, ‘One day you’re going to be WWE champion. I’ve seen so many come and go over the years, and so many that look the part and thought they were something special and they just weren’t. And someone like me, I had to cut my teeth for years just to be recognized. No one looked at my direction. I had to grab them by the throat and make them look me in the eyes and say, ‘Look at me.’ This is a huge accomplishment for me, because no one else expected it but I always did.”
The “New Face of Fear” literally started from the bottom and clawed his way to the top. With the help of his fireflies (the fans), Bray Wyatt’s movement is at full force.
At this point, we know Orton could face Bray at WrestleMania. The hope is that he will retain the title and not be a transitional champion (like Cena’s 16th title reign was, but I’ll get to that another time). If he keeps the title in the 7+ weeks WWE has until the “Show of Shows”, it will be a glorious time. He definitely earned it.
Watch out world, he’s here! As of this moment, it truly is the Era of Wyatt. Run!